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Mars, Jupiter, Saturn: History and Its Reversals

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Abstract

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.

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  1. 1.LondonUK

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