IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 1653: Looking Back on Classical Myths in Dante and Boccaccio

Thursday 5 July 2018, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Matthew Treherne, School of Languages, Cultures & Societies - Italian / Leeds Centre for Dante Studies, University of Leeds
Paper 1653-aLa riscrittura di un mito classico: l'amore tragico di Didone in Dante
(Language: Italiano)
Ginetta De Trane, Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Università del Salento, Lecce
Index terms: Language and Literature - Italian, Language and Literature - Latin
Paper 1653-bDido in Boccaccio: Reception and Poetic Memory of a Tragic Myth
(Language: English)
Sabina Tuzzo, Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Università del Salento, Lecce
Index terms: Language and Literature - Latin, Learning (The Classical Inheritance), Women's Studies
Paper 1653-cConceptions of Mythological History in Boccaccio's Genealogy of the Pagan Gods
(Language: English)
Jon Solomon, Department of the Classics, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Latin
Abstract

Paper -a:
La vicenda della regina cartaginese ha ispirato svariata letteratura e ha conosciuto numerose interpretazioni nel corso dei secoli. Il mito dell’infelice Didone, regina e sposa legata alla memoria del marito ucciso si formula nella cultura latina e con Virgilio il personaggio diventa eroina tragica, che affronta il suicidio per amore. La leggenda è ripresa durante il Medioevo in diverse espressioni letterarie, musicali e figurative ed è presente anche nell’Inferno di Dante, il quale pone la donna nel cerchio dei lussuriosi, poiché si uccise per amore di Enea ed è indicata come colei che tradisce la memoria del giuramento sulle ceneri del marito Sicheo.

Paper -b:
On Dido there are two different traditions: the first one exalts the figure of Carthaginian heroine as the highest example of conjugal fidelity and pudency; the other dates back to Virgil and makes Dido a woman in love, whose passion seems overpowering and accompanied by a deep sense of despair until suicide. Virgil’s fabula had a great fortune through the ages till Dante, who in his Divine Comedy placed Dido among the ‘peccator carnali / che la ragion sommettono al talento’ (Inf. V,38-39). In the 14th century, however, Boccaccio rehabilitated that image of Dido, compromised by the condemnation of Dante in his Divine Comedy, and turned the figure of the Carthaginian queen into a fresh paradigm of pudicitia and marital fidelity.

Paper -c:
The chronological arrangement of mythological entries in Boccaccio’s Genealogy of the Pagan Gods concludes with Alexander and Scipio (GDG 13.71), representatives of a new epochal stratum in human history in which ‘renown was sought through virtue’ (per virtutem claritas quereretur) and which sharply contrasts with the previous strata of mythical figures whose divine lineage alone qualified them. However, Boccaccio’s Christian perspective necessitated Euhemeristic assumptions about these mythical divinities, so he frequently extracts a ‘historical’ analysis from narratives about culture heroes (e.g. [Cicero’s] third Jupiter) who provided laws and institutions to rustic peasants and were therefore worshipped as gods. Boccaccio often manages this internal contradiction by citing Eusebius’s Chronicle or Euhemerus’s Sacred History while ridiculing the ancients for their ‘foolishness’ (stultitia). Boccaccio’s approach in De casibus virorum illustrium, provides a contrastingly pessimistic conception of human history.