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Gaddi. Angels.<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Source: Dante Alighieri, and Corrado Ricci. La Divina Commedia. Milano: U. Hoepli, 1921. Volumes 1-3. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span> Francesco Traini. St. Michael.<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Source: Dante Alighieri, and Corrado Ricci. La Divina Commedia. Milano: U. Hoepli, 1921. Volumes 1-3. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span> Cimabue. St. Augustine.<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Source: Dante Alighieri, and Corrado Ricci. La Divina Commedia. Milano: U. Hoepli, 1921. Volumes 1-3. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span> Francesco. Traini. St. Thomas Aquinas.<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Source: Dante Alighieri, and Corrado Ricci. La Divina Commedia. Milano: U. Hoepli, 1921. Volumes 1-3. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span>

 

 

 

Cato

 

In the Divine Comedy, Cato, a Roman statesman and politician who lived before the time of Christ, guards Mount Purgatory.  At first glance, it may seem odd that Dante should give such importance to a pagan who committed suicide.  Dante's admiration for the Roman may be explained by the fact that Cato ended his life out of a desire to preserve his moral freedom and virtue, and not out of weakness or of pride.  Rather than submit to Caesar’s unjust and tyrannical rule, Cato chose to end his life.  In the Monarchia, Dante explains that Cato's suicide was an act of extreme moral strength, done in the pursuit of freedom:  

     Now add to their number those most holy victims, the Decii, who laid down their lives   

     dedicated to the salvation of the community, as Livy relates to their glory, not in terms 

     worthy of them but as best he can; and that sacrifice (words cannot express it) of the 

     most stern guardian of liberty, Marcus Cato. The former for the deliverance of their 

     fatherland did not recoil from the shadows of death; the latter, in order to set the world 

     a fire with love of freedom, showed the value of freedom when he preferred to die a 

     free man rather than remain alive without freedom.[1]

At the Final Judgement, Cato, along with all of the remaining penitents of Purgatory, will ascend into Heaven and be counted among the blessed.  [2]

 

Matelda 

 

After passing through the purifying flames at the top of Mount Purgatory, Dante enters Terrestrial Paradise, the home of Adam and Eve before original sin.  In the distance he sees Matelda, a beautiful woman who is gathering flowers in a field.  She guides Dante to the Lethe and Eunoe and describes to him the origin of the two rivers.  Her real identity is a mystery to Dante scholars and some have suggested that the character is based on the greek goddesses Persephone and Venus.  Others believe she is the Countess Matilde of Canossa or the medieval mystic St. Mechtildis of Magdeburg.  However, most Danteists agree that she represents the beauty and purity of Terrestrial Paradise. [3]

 

 

A l'alta fantasia qui mancò possa;
ma già volgeva il mio disio e 'l velle,
sì come rota ch'igualmente è mossa,
l'amor che move il sole e l'altre stelle. (Par. XXXIII. 142-145)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gustave Doré. Cato, The Guardian of Mt. Purgatory. 'My guide, then laying hold on me, by words/ and intimations given with hand and head/ made my bent knees and eye submissive pay/ due reverence.' Purg. I 49-52.{'<br/>'}Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.
Gustave Doré. Cato, The Guardian of Mt. Purgatory. 'My guide, then laying hold on me, by words/ and intimations given with hand and head/ made my bent knees and eye submissive pay/ due reverence.' Purg. I 49-52.
Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.

 

 

 

Gustave. Doré. Matelda at Lethe. 'The beauteous dame, her arms expanding, clasp'd/ My temples, and immerged me where 'twas fit/ The waves should drench me.' Purg. XXI. 100-102.{'<br/>'}Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.
Gustave. Doré. Matelda at Lethe. 'The beauteous dame, her arms expanding, clasp'd/ My temples, and immerged me where 'twas fit/ The waves should drench me.' Purg. XXI. 100-102.
Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.

Emperor Justinian

 

The blessed of Mercury committed many virtuous deeds, but did so out of a desire for glory and fame.  In this Sphere, Dante meets the Emperor Justinian who recounts his life's story and the history of the Roman Empire.  In his speech to Dante, he criticizes the leadership of Florence and argues that the conflict between the Guelf and Ghibelline parties is the source of injustice in Italy. [4]


 

Gustave Doré. Justinian. 'Ye host of heaven, whose glory I survey! / O beg ye grace for those, that are, on earth, All after ill example gone astray.' Par. XVIII. 120-122.<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.</span> Giotto. Justice.<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Source: Dante Alighieri, and Corrado Ricci. La Divina Commedia. Milano: U. Hoepli, 1921. Volumes 1-3. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span>

 

 

 

Holy Warriors

 

The fifth sphere of the Paradiso is the eternal dwelling place of Holy Warriors and defenders of the Faith.  The blessed Warriors arrange themselves in the shape of a large luminous cross, and along the arms of the cross Dante sees eight spirits: Joshua, Judas Maccabeus, Charlemagne, Roland, William of Orange, Renouard, Duke Godfrey and Robert Guiscard.  From the cross, Dante hears a heavenly melody and is overcome with emotion upon seeing the apparation of Christ on the cross.  In the Sphere of Mars, Dante meets his great-great grandfather, Cacciaguida who died during the Second Crusade.  Cacciaguida prophesizes Dante's exile and criticises the state of Florentine politics. [5]  

 

Flaxman_Cacciaguida.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">John Flaxman. Dante Discoursing with Cacciaguida. 'Sire, I began, I mark how time for me/ prepares a blow that heaviest falls on those/ who look for it with most despondency.' Par. XVII. 106. Source: Dante Alighieri, Ichabod Charles Wright, and John Flaxman. The Divine Comedy. 5th ed. London: Bell & Daldy, 1867. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span> Dor_heavenly_cross.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Gustave Doré. The Ladder. 'Christ/ Beam'd on that cross; and pattern fails me now.' Par. XIV. 96-97. Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span> Dor_Cacciaguida_speaks_with_Dante.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Gustave Doré. Dante Speaks with Cacciaguida. 'But so was doom'd/ Florence! on that maim'd stone which guards the bridge/ The victim, when thy peace departed, fell.' Par. XVI 143-145. Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.</span>

 

 

 

Jupiter

 

The Sphere of Jupiter is home to souls who dedicated themselves to the pursuit of justice.  In the heavens, the souls arrange themselves into the Latin sentence “Diligite Iustitiam Qui Iudicatis Terram” which means “cherish justice, you who judge the earth”.  The final “m” in Terram transforms into the shape of a giant eagle which speaks to Dante about predestination and God's salvific will.  He tells Dante that there is a fixed number of elect known solely to God and that even the blessed of the Heaven do not know who will be saved.  

 

While speaking with the souls forming the Eagle's eye, Dante deepens his knowledge of God's mercy, and explores the mystery of predestination:  In the eye, Dante sees Trajan and Ripheus, two pagans born before the advent of Christianity.  Trajan was a Roman emperor who reigned between 97 and 117 AD.  His sense of justice and virtue led him to help a lowly widow in her time of need.  Upon his death, he descended into the first circle of the Inferno among the virtuous pagans.  According to the Eagle, Pope Gregory the Great was moved by the stories of Trajan's acts of justice and mercy.  He prayed to God to save Trajan from the pains of hell.  God resurrected Trajan who then converted to Christianity.  Upon his second death, he ascended to the Sphere of Jupiter.  

 

Although he was born before the advent of Christianity, Ripheus was a believer.  He was introduced to the Faith by God's mercy and grace and was baptized by the three cardinal virtues.  Because of his Faith and good works, God awarded him the graces necessary for justification. [6]

 

Dor_eagle.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Gustave Doré. The Eagle: Heaven of the Just. 'Before my sight appear'd, with open wings,/ The beauteous image; in fruition sweet,/ Gladdening the thronged spirits.' Par. XIX. 1-3. Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.</span> Dor_Trajan.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Gustave Doré. Trajan and the widow: Example of Humility on the Terrace of the Proud. 'The wretch appear'd amid all these to say:/ Grant vengeance, Sire! for, woe beshrew this heart,/ My son is murder'd.' Purg. X. 74-76. Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.</span>

 

Heaven of the Fixed Stars

 

In the Heaven of the Fixed Stars a chorus of angels sing the "Gloria Patri". 

 

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

Flaxman_Paradiso_Ninth_Sphere.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">John Flaxman. The Ninth Sphere. 'Glory to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost/ Now throughout Paradise was heard to sound.' Par. XXVII. 1. Source: Dante Alighieri, Ichabod Charles Wright, and John Flaxman. The Divine Comedy. 5th ed. London: Bell & Daldy, 1867. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span> Dor_heavenly_host.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Gustave Doré. Heavenly Host. 'The Glory to the Father, to the Son,/ And to the Holy Spirit, rang aloud/ Throughout all Paradise; that with the song/ My spirit reel'd, so passing sweet the strain.' Par. XXVIII. 1-4. Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.</span>

 

 

 

Gallery of the Blessed of the Paradiso

 


Carlo_dangio.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Carlo D'angiò. Source: Dante Alighieri, and Corrado Ricci. La Divina Commedia. Milano: U. Hoepli, 1921. Volumes 1-3. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span> Adam_and_Eve.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Adam and Eve. Source: Dante Alighieri, and Corrado Ricci. La Divina Commedia. Milano: U. Hoepli, 1921. Volumes 1-3. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span> Benozzo_St_Bonaventure.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">St. Bonaventure. Source: Dante Alighieri, and Corrado Ricci. La Divina Commedia. Milano: U. Hoepli, 1921. Volumes 1-3. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span> Cimabue_St_Girolamo.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">San Girolamo by Cimabue. Source: Dante Alighieri, and Corrado Ricci. La Divina Commedia. Milano: U. Hoepli, 1921. Volumes 1-3. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span> Creation_of_Adam.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Creation of Adam. Source: Dante Alighieri, and Corrado Ricci. La Divina Commedia. Milano: U. Hoepli, 1921. Volumes 1-3. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span> Creation_of_Eve.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Creation of Eve. Source: Dante Alighieri, and Corrado Ricci. La Divina Commedia. Milano: U. Hoepli, 1921. Volumes 1-3. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span> Dor_triumph_of_Christ.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">John Flaxman. The Triumph of Christ. 'Behold the Host/ of Christ Triumphant.' Par. XXIII. 19. Source: Dante Alighieri, Ichabod Charles Wright, and John Flaxman. The Divine Comedy. 5th ed. London: Bell & Daldy, 1867. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span> Flaxman_Cunizza.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">John Flaxman. The Departure of Cunizza. 'Ceasing to speak, she now the semblance bore/ of one engaged in somewhat else; and thus/ took on the wheel her staion as before.' Par. IX. 64. Source: Dante Alighieri, Ichabod Charles Wright, and John Flaxman. The Divine Comedy. 5th ed. London: Bell & Daldy, 1867. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span> Flaxman_souls_return_to_spheres.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">John Flaxman. Souls Returning to their Spheres. 'Seem to their Native Planets to Return.' Par. IV. 24. Source: Dante Alighieri, Ichabod Charles Wright, and John Flaxman. The Divine Comedy. 5th ed. London: Bell & Daldy, 1867. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span> Flaxman_the_Hierachies.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">John Flaxman. The Hierarchies. 'A will complete and stedfast have they gained.' Par. XXOX. 63. Source: Dante Alighieri, Ichabod Charles Wright, and John Flaxman. The Divine Comedy. 5th ed. London: Bell & Daldy, 1867. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span> Flaxman_trinity.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">John Flaxman. The Adoration of the Trinity. 'No Paean there, no Bacchic song they raise!/ But the three persons of the trinity.' Par. XIII. 25. Source: Dante Alighieri, Ichabod Charles Wright, and John Flaxman. The Divine Comedy. 5th ed. London: Bell & Daldy, 1867. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span> Giotto_Chastity.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Chastity by Giotto. Source: Dante Alighieri, and Corrado Ricci. La Divina Commedia. Milano: U. Hoepli, 1921. Volumes 1-3. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span> Lucia_by_Pietro_Lorenzetti_in_Florence.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Santa Lucia. Source: Dante Alighieri, and Corrado Ricci. La Divina Commedia. Milano: U. Hoepli, 1921. Volumes 1-3. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span> Roma_Carlo_Martello.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Carlo Martello (Charles Martel) Source: Dante Alighieri, and Corrado Ricci. La Divina Commedia. Milano: U. Hoepli, 1921. Volumes 1-3. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span> Dor_Angel_in_Purgatorio.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Gustave Doré. Angel in the Purgatorio. 'What aileth thee, that still thou look'st to earth?/ Began my leader; while the angelic shape/ A little over as his station took.' Purg. XIX. 51-53. Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.</span> Dor_Theological_virtues_Faith_hope_charity.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Gustave Doré. Theological Virtues: Faith, Hope, and Charity. 'The one so ruddy, that her form had scarce/ been known within a furnace of clear flame; The next did look, as if the flesh and bones/ were emerald; snow new-fallen seem'd the third.' Purg. XXIX. 118-121. Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.</span> Dor_Beatrice_in_the_Celestial_Rose.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Gustave Doré. The Celestial Rose: Beatrice. 'Answering not, mine eyes I raised,/ And saw her, where aloof she sat, her brow/ A wreath reflecting of eternal beams.' Par. XXXI 64-66. Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.</span> Dor_Celestial_Rose.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Gustave Doré. The Celestial Rose. 'In fashion, as a snow white rose, lay then/ Before my view the saintly multitude/ Which in his own blood Christ espoused.' Par. XXXI. 1-3. Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.</span> Dor_Charles_Martel.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Gustave Doré. Charles Martel. 'The left bank/ That Rhone, when he hath mixed with Sorga, laves,/ In me its lord expected.' Par. VIII. 60-62. Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.</span> Dor_Dante_gazes_at_Beatrice.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Gustave Doré. Dante gazes at Beatrice. 'Again mine eyes were fix'd on Beatrice/ And, with mine eyes, my soul that in her looks/ Found all contentment.' Par. XXI. 1-3. Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.</span> Dor_heaven_of_the_just.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Gustave Doré. Heaven of the Just: the blessed form the phrase diligite iustitiam qui iudicatis terram. 'So, within the lights/ The saintly creatures flying, sang: and made/ Now D, now I, now L, figured i' in the air.' Par. XVIII. 70-72. Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.</span> Dor_ladder.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Gustave Doré. The Ladder. 'Down whose steps/ I saw the splendours in such multitude/ Descending, every light in heaven, methought,/ Was shed thence.' Par. XXI. 28-31, Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.</span> Dor_Pur_30_Ascension_of_Procession.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Gustave Doré. Ascension of the Procession. 'A Virgin in my view appear'd beneath/ Green mantle, robed in hue of living flame.' Purg. XXX. 32-33. Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.</span> Dor_Souls_of_the_blessed.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Gustave Doré. The Blessed. 'Not unlike/ To iron in the furnace, every cirque,/ Ebullient, shot forth scintillating fires.' Par. XXVIII. 80-82. Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.</span> Dor_souls_of_the_Just.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Gustave Doré. Souls of the Just. 'For that all those living lights,/ Waxing in splendour, burst forth into songs,/ Such as from memory glide and fall away.' Par. XX. 10-12. Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.</span> Dor_St_John.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Gustave Doré. St. John. 'Say then,/ Beginning, to what point thy soul aspires;/ And meanwhile rest assured, that sight in thee/ Is but o'erpowered a space, not wholly quench'd.' Par. XXVI. 7-10. Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.</span> Dor_St.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Gustave Doré. Saint Stephen: Example of Gentleness. Terrace of the Wrathful. 'After that I saw/ A multitude, in fury burning, slay/ With stones a stripling youth, and shout amain/ Destroy, destroy.' Purg. XV. 103-106. Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.</span> Dor_host_of_blessed.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Gustave Doré. The Blessed. 'So drew/ Full more than thousand splendours towards us.' Par. V. 99-100. Source: Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and Gustave Doré. Purgatory and Paradise. new ed. New York: Cassell & company, limited, 1883.</span> Tomasso_da_Modena_Alberto_Magno.jpg<br/><span style="font-size: 70%;">Alberto Magno. Source: Dante Alighieri, and Corrado Ricci. La Divina Commedia. Milano: U. Hoepli, 1921. Volumes 1-3. Falvey Memorial Library. Special Collections.</span>

 

 

 

References

1.  Citation.  Monarchia 2.5.15.

2.  Cato.  Purg.  I

3.  Matelda.  Purg.  XXI

4.  Emperor Justinian.  Par.  XVII.

5.  Holy Warriors.  Par.  XIV-XVII.

6.  Heaven of Jupiter. Par.  XVIII-XX.

7.  Psalms.  The New American Bible.

8.  Carroll, John S. In Patria: An Exposition of Dante's Paradiso. Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1971.