Mars, Jupiter, Saturn: History and Its Reversals



After the central heaven of the Sun, this chapter looks at the three heavens—Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, the last three of the seven which Dante passes through. The classical nature of these heavens is discussed, and their connections, especially with Virgil, compared. Mars is the sphere of the city, and of crusading knights; Jupiter the sphere of justice and of condemnation of unjust rulers, and the praise of six who are saved; Saturn looks at the contemplative life within the monastery. The classical relationships of these heavens are explored, and a vein of despair which has to do with exile impending for Dante, and the question of how demonstrable God’s justice is, is analysed. The sense of history as decay is examined, with a comparative study of Inferno 14, and the sense of how salvation turns around is explored, with a speculation that Paradiso may believe in apokatastasis: that is, in universal salvation.


  1. Allan, Mowbray, 1989, ‘Does Dante Hope for Virgil’s Salvation?’, MLN 104: 193–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. ———, 1992, ‘Two Dantes? Christian Versus Humanist’ MLN 107: 18–35.Google Scholar
  3. ———, 1993, ‘Much Virtue in Ma: Paradiso XIX, 106, and St Thomas’s Sed Contra’, DS 111: 195–211.Google Scholar
  4. Anderson, William, 1980, Dante the Maker, London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  5. Anderson, William S., 1958, ‘Juno and Saturn in the Aeneid’, SP 5: 519–532.Google Scholar
  6. Antonín, Robert, 2017, The Ideal Ruler in Medieval Bohemia, Leiden: Brill.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Backman, Clifford R., 1995, The Decline and Fall of Medieval Sicily: Politics, Religion, and Economy in the Reign of Frederick III, 1296–1337, Cambridge: C.U.P.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Baldassarri, Stefano U., 2009, ‘Like Fathers like Sons: Theories on the Origins of the City in Late Medieval Florence’, MLN 124: 23–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Barolini, Teodolinda, 1990, ‘Q. Does Dante Hope for Virgil’s Salvation. A. Why do we care? For the very reason we should not ask the Question’, (Response to Mowbray Allan), MLN 105: 138–144.Google Scholar
  10. Battistini, Andrea, 1990, ‘“Rifeo troiano” e la riscrittura dantesca della storia (Paradiso XX)’, Lettere Italiane 42: 26–50.Google Scholar
  11. Benjamin, Walter, 2003, ‘On the Concept of History’, Selected Writings 4: 1938–1939 ed. Howard Eiland and Michael W. Jennings, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard U.P.Google Scholar
  12. Brownlee, Kevin, 1984, ‘Phaeton and Dante’s Ascent’, DS 102: 135–144.Google Scholar
  13. ———, 1991, ‘Ovid’s Semele and Dante’s Metamorphosis’: Paradiso 21–22’, in Rachel Jacoff and Jeffrey T. Schnapp (eds.), The Poetry of Allusion: Virgil and Ovid in Dante’s Commedia’ (Stanford: Stanford U.P.: 224–232).Google Scholar
  14. Burgess, Glyn S. (trans.) 1990, The Song of Roland, Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  15. Camille, Michael, 1989, The Gothic Idol: Ideology and Image-Making in Medieval Art, Cambridge: C.U.P.Google Scholar
  16. Cassell, Anthony K., 1984, Dante’s Fearful Art of Justice, Toronto: Toronto U.P.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Chapman, Dom John, 1929, Saint Benedict and the Sixth Century, London: Sheed and Ward.Google Scholar
  18. Chiarenza, Marguerite Mills, 1966, ‘Hippolytus’ Exile, Paradiso XVII: 44–48’, DS 84: 65–68.Google Scholar
  19. Cowdrey, H.E.J., 1970, The Cluniacs and the Gregorian Reform, Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  20. Crislip, Andrew, 2005, ‘“The Sin of Sloth, or the Illness of the Demons”: The Demon of Acedia in Early Christian Monasticism’, Harvard Theological Review 98: 143–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Daniel, E.R. 1969, ‘Apocalyptic Conversion: The Joachite Alternative to the Crusades’, Traditio 25: 127–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Daniel, Norman, 1984, Heroes and Saracens: An Interpretation of the Chansons de Geste, Edinburgh: Edinburgh U.P.Google Scholar
  23. Davis, Charles T. 1957, Dante and the Idea of Rome, Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  24. ———, 1984, Dante’s Italy and Other Essays, Philadelphia: Pennsylvania U.P.Google Scholar
  25. Doxsee, Elizabeth, 1988, ‘Trew Treuthe and Canon Law: The Orthodoxy of Trajan’s Salvation in Piers Plowman C-Text’, Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 83: 295–311.Google Scholar
  26. Dunn, Marilyn, 2000, The Emergence of Monasticism: From the Desert Fathers to the Early Middle Ages, Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  27. Emiliani, Cesare, 1993, ‘The Veltro and the Cinquecento diece e cinque’, DS 111: 149–152.Google Scholar
  28. Engel, Pál, 2001, The Realm of St Stephen: A History of Medieval Hungary 895–1526, London: I.B. Tauris.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Eriugena, John the Scot, 1976, Periphyseon (On the Division of Nature) trans. Myra L. Uhlfelder, Eugene, Oregon: WIPF and Stock.Google Scholar
  30. Ettlinger, Leopold D, 1972, ‘Hercules Florentinus’, Mittelungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 16. Bd.H.2: 119–142.Google Scholar
  31. Eusebius, 1999, Life of Constantine, trans. Averil Cameron and Stuart G. Hall, Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  32. Ferrante, Joan, 1984, The Political Vision of the Divine Comedy Princeton: Princeton U.P.Google Scholar
  33. Fine, John V.A., Jr., 1987, The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest, Ann Arbor: Michigan U.P.Google Scholar
  34. Finley, M.I., 1986, Denis Mack Smith and Christopher Duggan, A History of Sicily, London: Chatto and Windus.Google Scholar
  35. Foster, Kenelm, 1977, ‘The Son’s Eagle: Paradiso XIX’, The Two Dantes and Other Studies, London: Darton, Longman and Todd: 137–155.Google Scholar
  36. Freedman, Luba, 2011, ‘Mercury à la David in Italian Renaissance Art’, Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. Classe di Lettere e Filosofia 3: 135–157, 281–284.Google Scholar
  37. Gambero S.M. Luigi, 2005: Mary in the Middle Ages: The Blessed Virgin Mary in the Thought of Medieval Latin Theologians. Trans. Thomas Buffer. San Francisco: Ignatius Press.Google Scholar
  38. Gaposchkin, M. Cecilia, 2013, ‘From Pilgrimage to Crusade: The Liturgy of Departure, 1095–1300’, Speculum 88: 44–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Gatti, Luca, 1995, ‘Il mito di Marte a Firenze e la “pietra scema”: Memorie, riti, ascendenze’, Rinascimento 35: 201–230.Google Scholar
  40. Gee, Emma, 2000, Ovid, Aratus, and Augustus: Astronomy in Ovid’s Fasti. Cambridge: C.U.P.Google Scholar
  41. Giamatti, A. Bartlett, 1966, The Earthly Paradise and the Renaissance Epic, Princeton: Princeton U.P.Google Scholar
  42. Gill, Meredith J., 2014, Angels and the Order of Heaven in Medieval and Renaissance Italy, Cambridge: C.U.P.Google Scholar
  43. Ginsberg, Warren, 1982, ‘Dante’s Dream of the Eagle and Jacob’s Ladder’, DS 100:41–69.Google Scholar
  44. Gragnolati, Manuele, 2007, ‘Nostalgia in Heaven: Embraces, Affection, and Identity in the Commedia’ in John Barnes and Jennifer Petrie (eds.), Dante and the Human Body, Dublin: Four Courts: 117–137.Google Scholar
  45. Green, Louis, 1972, Chronicle into History; An Essay on the Interpretation of History in Florentine Fourteenth-Century Chronicles, Cambridge: C.U.P.Google Scholar
  46. Gregory, 1911, The Dialogues of Saint Gregory, Surnamed the Great: Pope of Rome and the First of that Name, trans. P.W., ed. Edmund Gardner, London: Philip Lee Warner.Google Scholar
  47. Hahn, Thomas, 1978, ‘The Indian Tradition in Western Medieval Intellectual History’, Viator, 9: 213–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Hardie, Colin, 1963, ‘Cacciaguida’s Prophecy in Paradiso 17’, Traditio 19: 267–294.Google Scholar
  49. Hawkins, Peter S., 1992, ‘Dante’s Lesson of Silence: Paradiso 21’, Lectura Dantis, 11: 42–51.Google Scholar
  50. Holmes, George, 1997, ‘Dante’s Attitude to the Popes’ in John Woodhouse (ed.), Dante and Governance. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  51. Honess, Claire E., 2006, From Florence to the Heavenly City: The Poetry of Citizenship in Dante, Oxford: Legenda.Google Scholar
  52. Huizinga, J., 1955, The Waning of the Middle Ages trans. F. Hopman, Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  53. Jennings Michael W., 2016, ‘The Will to Apokatastasis: Media, Experience, and eschatology in Walter Benjamin’s Late Theological Politics’ in Colby Dickinson and Stephanie Symons (eds.), Walter Benjamin and Theology, New York: Fordham U.P.Google Scholar
  54. Jones, Catherine M. 2014, An Introduction to the Chansons de Geste (Gainesville: Florida U.P.).Google Scholar
  55. Kay, Tristan, Martin McLaughlin and Michelangelo Zaccarello (eds.), 2011, Dante in Oxford: The Paget Toynbee lectures. Oxford: Legenda.Google Scholar
  56. Keen, Catherine, 2003, Dante and the City, Stroud: Tempus.Google Scholar
  57. Keen, M.H., 1995, ‘Dante’s Circle of Mars and the History of Arthur’s Britain’, Arthuriania 5: 115–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Lane, Frederic C. and Reinhold Mueller, 1985, Money and Banking in Medieval and Renaissance Venice: Vol. 1: Coins and Moneys of Account (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U.P.).Google Scholar
  59. Langland, William, ed. A.V.C. Schmidt, 2008, William Langland, Piers Plowman: A Parallel-Text Edition of the A, B, C, and Z Versions, 3 vols, Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications.Google Scholar
  60. Lansing, Carol, 1991, The Florentine Magnates: Lineage and Faction in a Medieval Commune, Princeton: Princeton U.P.Google Scholar
  61. Leclercq, Jean, 1971, ‘The Monastic Crisis of the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries’, in Noreen Hunt (ed.), Cluniac Monasteries in the Central Middle Ages, London: Macmillan: 217–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Lofmark, Carl, 1972, Rennewart in Wolfram’s ‘Willehalm’, Cambridge: C.U.P.Google Scholar
  63. Loud, G.A., 2000, The Age of Robert Guiscard: Southern Italy and the Norman Conquest London: Longman.Google Scholar
  64. Mackay, L.A., 1956, ‘Satvrnia Ivno’, Greece and Rome 3: 59–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Macrobius, 1969, The Saturnalia trans. Percival Vaughan Davies, New York: Columbia U.P.Google Scholar
  66. Matthew, Donald, 1992, The Norman Kingdom of Sicily (Cambridge: C.U.P.).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Mayer, Hans Eberhard, 1988, The Crusades, trans. John Gillingham, 2nd edition, Oxford: O.U.P.Google Scholar
  68. Mazzotta, Giuseppe F., 1979, Dante: Poet of the Desert: History and Allegory in the Divine Comedy, Princeton: Princeton U. P.Google Scholar
  69. ———, 2014, Confine quasi Orizzonte; Saggi su Dante, Roma: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura.Google Scholar
  70. McNulty, Patricia, 1959, St Peter Damian: Selected Writings on the Spiritual Life: Translated with an Introduction, London: Faber.Google Scholar
  71. Menachal, Sophie, 1998, Clement V, Cambridge: C.U.P.Google Scholar
  72. Měřínský, Zdeněk and Jaroslav Mezník, 1998, ‘The Making of the Czech State: Bohemia and Moravia from the tenth to the fourteenth centuries’ in Mikuláš Teich (ed.), Bohemia in History, Cambridge: C.U.P.Google Scholar
  73. Moore, Edward, 1899, ‘Dante and Sicily’, Studies in Dante Second Series (Oxford: O.U.P.: 269–302).Google Scholar
  74. Morse, Ruth (ed.), 1975, St Erkenwald, Cambridge: D.S. Brewer.Google Scholar
  75. Nicolau-Konnari, Angel and Chris Schabel (eds.), 2005, Cyprus: Society and Culture 1191–1374, Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  76. North, J.D., 1988, Chaucer’s Universe, Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  77. de Oliveira Marques, A.H., History of Portugal (New York: Columbia University Press 1976).Google Scholar
  78. Osmond, Patricia J., 2000, ‘Catiline in Fisole and Florence: The After-life of a Roman Conspirator’, International Journal of the Classical Tradition 7: 3–38.Google Scholar
  79. Passage, Charles, 1977, trans. The Middle High German Poem of Willehalm by Wolfram of Eschenbach, New York: Frederick Ungar.Google Scholar
  80. Perry, T.K. 1957, A Short History of Norway (London: George Allen and Unwin).Google Scholar
  81. Peters, Edward, 1995, ‘The Shadowy, Violent Perimeter: Dante Enters Florentine Political Life’, DS 113: 69–87.Google Scholar
  82. Picone, Michelangelo, 1989, ‘La “viva speranza” di Dante e il problema della salvezza dei pagani virtuosi. Una lettura di Paradiso 20’, Quaderni di l’italianista 10: 251–268.Google Scholar
  83. Putnam, Michael, 1988, ‘Virgil’s Inferno’, Materiali e discussioni per l’analisi dei testi classici’, 20.21: 165–202.Google Scholar
  84. Quinones, Ricardo J., 1994, Foundation Sacrifice in Dante’s Commedia, University Park: Pennsylvania U.P.Google Scholar
  85. Ramelli, Ilaria L.E., 2007, ‘Christian Soteriology and Christian Platonism: Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, and the Biblical and Philosophical Basis of the Doctrine of Apokatastasis’, Vigilae Christianae 61: 313–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Reilly, Bernard F. 1993, The Medieval Spains, Cambridge: C.U.P.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Riche, Pierre, 1993, The Carolingians: A Family who Forged Europe trans. Michel Idomin Allen, Philadelphia: Pennsylvania U.P.Google Scholar
  88. Rosivach, Vincent J., 1983, ‘Mars the Lustral God’, Latomus T.42. Fasc.3: 509–521.Google Scholar
  89. Rubenstein, Nicolai, 1942, ‘The Beginnings of Political Thought in Florence: A Study in Medieval Historiography’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 5: 196–227.Google Scholar
  90. Runciman, Steven, 1965a, A History of the Crusades 1: The First Crusade and the Foundation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  91. ———, 1965b, A History of the Crusades 2: The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Frankish East 1100–1187, Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  92. Santagata, Marco, 2016, Dante: The Story of his Life trans. Richard Dixon, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Schiebe, Marianne Wifstrand, 1986, ‘The Saturn of the Aeneid—Tradition or Innovation?’, Vergilius (1959–) 32: 43–60.Google Scholar
  94. Schildgen, Brenda Deen, 1993: ‘Dante and the Indus’, DS 111: 177–193Google Scholar
  95. ———, 1998, ‘Dante and the Crusades’, DS 116: 95–125.Google Scholar
  96. ———, 2002, Dante and the Orient, Urbana: Illinois U.P.Google Scholar
  97. Schnapp, Jeffrey, 1986, The Transfiguration of History at the Center of Dante’s Paradiso Princeton: Princeton U.P.Google Scholar
  98. Steadman, John M., 1960, ‘Chaucer’s Eagle: A Contemplative Symbol’, PMLA 75: 153–159Google Scholar
  99. Storch, Rudolph H. 1970, ‘The Trophy and the Cross: Pagan and Christian Symbolism in the Fourth and Fifth Centuries’, Byzantion 40: 105–118.Google Scholar
  100. Tambling, Jeremy, 2010, Allegory, London: Routledge: 25–36.Google Scholar
  101. Taylor, Karla T., 1987, ‘From “Superbo Ilïon” to “Umile Italia”: The Acrostic of Paradiso 19’, Stanford Italian Review 7: 47–66.Google Scholar
  102. Thomas, Richard F., 2001, Virgil and the Augustan Reception, Cambridge: C.U.P.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. ———, 2004, ‘Torn Between Jupiter and Saturn: Ideology and Rhetoric and Culture Wars in the Aeneid’, Classical Journal 100: 121–147.Google Scholar
  104. Thorpe, Lewis, (trans.), 1969, Two Lives of Charlemagne. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  105. Took, John, 1997, ‘“Diligite iustitiam qui iudicatus terram”: Justice and the Just Ruler in Dante’ in John Woodhouse (ed.), Dante and Governance, Oxford Clarendon: 137–151.Google Scholar
  106. Tyerman, Christopher, 1998, The Invention of the Crusades, Basingstoke: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  107. ———, 2006, God’s War: A New History of the Crusades, New York: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  108. Vickers, Nancy J., 1983, ‘Seeing is Believing: Gregory, Trajan, and Dante’s Art’, DS 101: 67–85.Google Scholar
  109. Villani, Giovanni, 1906, Chronicle trans. Rose E. Selfe and ed. Philip H. Wicksteed, London: Archibald Constable.Google Scholar
  110. Whately, Gordon, 1984, ‘The Uses of Hagiography: The Legend of Pope Gregory and the Emperor Trajan in the Middle Ages’, Viator 15: 25–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  111. ———, 1986, ‘Heathens and Saints: St Erkenwald in its Legendary Context’, Speculum 61: 330–363.Google Scholar
  112. Wilson, Robert, 2008, Prophecies and Prophecy in Dante’s Commedia. Leo S Olschki.Google Scholar
  113. Wintle, Michael, 2009, The Image of Europe: Visualising Europe in Cartography and Iconography Throughout the Ages, Cambridge; C.U.P.Google Scholar
  114. Woody, Kennerly M, 1977, ‘Dante and the Doctrine of the Great Conjunctions’, DS 95: 119–134.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LondonUK

Personalised recommendations