System on the complete works

Alberto Acquaro's studio



Complete or partial comments of the XIV century testify to what extent studies regarding the Divine Comedy flourished, unfortunately without any accompanying of the original text.
The probably date of composition is given for the Comments included in this section.

"CHIOSE ALLA CANTICA DELL'INFERNO DI DANTE ALIGHIERI" (1322) by Jacopo Alighieri - A first edition (Florence, C/o Baracchi, 1848) was edited by Lord Vernon; a second by G. Piccini (Florence, 1915).

"IL COMMENTO DANTESCO" by Graziolo de' Bambaglioli (1324) - A first edition edited by Lord Vernon (Florence, Baracchi, 1848). A second edition edited by A. Fiammazzo, Savona 1915.

"CHIOSE ANONIME ALLA I CANTICA DELLA D.C. DI UN CONTEMPORANEO DEL POETA" (1321-1337) - First published, and edited by Francesco Selmi, to celebrate the sixth centenary of Dante's birth (Turin, Stamperia Reale,1865). "COMMEDIA DI DANTE DEGLI ALLAGHERII" with comment by Jacopo della Lana (1237) - edited by L. Scarabelli (Bologna, 1866-1867) with wide circulation.

"L'OTTIMO COMMENTO DELLA DIVINA COMMEDIA" (1337-1343) - edited by A. Torri (Pisa, 1827-29); other editions followed.

"PETRI ALLEGHERII super DANTIS ipsius genitoris COMOEDIAM COMMENTARIUM ..." (1340-41 - 1355) editum consilio et sumptibus G.G. Vernon curante V. Nannucci (Florentiae, 1846).

"COMMENTO ALL'INFERNO" by Guido da Pisa (1348-1350).

"ESPOSIZIONI SOPRA LA COMEDIA DI DANTE" by Giovanni Boccaccio (1373-1374) - there were several editions, starting from the one edited by A.M. Salnini in Florence to that edited by G. Padoan (Milan, 1965).

"COMMENTUM SUPER DANTIS ALDIGHERII COMOEDIAM" by Benvenuti de Rambaldis de Imo- la (1375) - edited by J. Ph. Lacaita, Florentiae 1887.

"COMMENTO DI FRANCESCO DA BUTI SOPRA LA DIVINA COMMEDIA DI DANTE ALIGHIERI" (1385) - edited and published by C. Giannini (Pisa, 1858-1862).

"CHIOSE SOPRA DANTE" (sayings by the false Boccaccio) - edited Lord Vernon (FLorence, 1846).

"COMMENTO ALLA DIVINA COMMEDIA" by an anonymous Florentine of XIV century (last years of 1300's) - edited by P.Fanfani (Bologna, 1866-74).


After the year 1450, when the printing press was invented, generally attributed to Gutenberg, the first publishing houses were set up at Mainz, Barbenga and Strasbourg, then the first Italian printworks at Subiaco, at the Santa Scolastica Monastery, through the work of two Germans, Conrad Schweinheim andArn ArnoldPannartz. This was in 1465 but it was not until seven years later that the idea of publishing Dante's poem came to mind. This is another example of how human resources are always turned to practical ends, and ideals only come second place. The same year (1472) saw three editions: at Foligno through the work of Giovanni Numeister and Emiliano Orfini, at Jesi thanks to Federico Veronesi and at Mantua through Giorgio and Paolo Teutonici. The Foligno edition is generally held to be the "main edition" because it was the first (11th April) and for its excellent typography and text.
The fourth edition came to light at Naples in 1474 thanks to Sisto Riessinger, aedited by he jurisconsult Francesco del Tuppo, but it was no more than a a repeat of the Foligno edition. Francesco del Tuppo also published the fifth and sixth editions in 1475(?) and 1477.
It should be underlined that in the following part of the XV century, in spite of the influence of humanism, with its scorn for the medieval world of Dante, there were as many as 16 further editions of the Divine Comedy; this proves how Dante's works were accepted and spread throughout Italy.
Of special interest is the EDIZIONE FIORENTINA DEL 1481, spublished by Nicolò di Lorenzo della Magna. This extraordinary edition, inspired and desired by the Signoria in a period when Florence had become the centre of Dantean litereature and studies on the Comedy. This edition, with illustration for the first canticle by Baccio Baldini based on drawings by Botticelli, for the first time included the famous comments by Cristoforo Landino, then regular teacher of Dantean Studies in Florence. His comment is preceded by a "Proemio", "Vita di Dante" and an "Apologia" on Dante and Florence. The poem beginning on page XV contains the following words: "Canto Primo della Prima Cantica o vero / Comedia del divino Poeta Fiorentino / Dante Alighieri". Here, in the 1481 edition, the epiteth "divino" represents an official recognition by the city of Florence.
Landini presented a wonderful embossed example of the 1481 edition, in parchment and bound in silver covers (now in the Biblioteca Naziionale of Florence) to the Signoria, with the intention that "by the hand of the Magistrate all powerful over the Republic, the Poet could return to his fatherland after his long exile".
Michelangelo owned a copy of the 1481 edition; he was an expert on the poem and a great admirer of Dante, and indeed his spirit pervades the miracle of the artist's "Last Judgement".


The sixteenth century marked the beginning of the renaissance and was the period most influenced by Petrarch, but, unfortunately, a century in which Dante was not widely appreciated. Nevertheless, there were some acute interpreters of Dante, such as Gelli and Vachi, and great admirers such as Michelangelo, Bramante, Raffaello and Julius II. Two vast comments on the Divine Comedy were published in Venice: in 1544 by Alessandro Vellutello and in 1568 by Bernardino Daniello. The sixteenth century saw 40 editions of the Poem and for the first time the publication of Dante's minor works (11 editions). The following are among the 40 editions mentioned: Edition of 1502 - edited by Pietro Bembo, based on the Vatican code 3199, it was printed in small format by Aldo Manunzio in Venice and was the prototype for innumerable later editions;
Edition of 1515 - second Aldine edition, dedicated to Vittoria Colonna; Luca Martini held a copy of this version and used it to transcribe the versions of the 1330 code now lost;
Edition of 1555 - printed in Venice by Gabriel Giolito de Ferrari, edited by Luduvico Dolce, for the first time it carries the title of "Divina Commedia", to be hallowedn over the centuries;
Edition of 1595 - published by Manzani and edited by the academics of Crusca, it was for over two hundred years the basis of the "vulgate"; it contains the words "this divine poem is the best part of our language".


The seventeenth century is the one of greatest incomprehension, if not indeed aversion towards the Divine Comedy as well as the "Monarchia". Ubaldini, Giannone, Gravina and Magalotti were exceptions and anticipated the subsequent re-appraisal of Dante's work. Only three editions of the Divine Comedy appeared during the century: in 1613 at Vicenza, in 1629 at Padua and Venice.


After a period of almost aversion towards Dante in the entire seventeenth century, the eighteenth, after an initial phase of contrast, saw a significant re-appraisal of his works. The first was"Difesa di Dante" by Gaspare Gozzi followed by the comments by Venturi and del Lombardi, research into "Vita di Dante" by Pelli and Giovanni Jacopo Dionisi from Verona. However, the most important was Vico who is probably the first critic worthy of Dante, the first to adequately appreciate the force stirred imagination and feelings beyond the rational aspects of the work. Alfieri also understood Dante's heroic nature and recognised the secret of the great poem in his work.
The seventeenth century saw thirty two publications of the Comedy; particularly important is the edition by Zatta of Venice (1758), the first edition of the Complete Works of Dante. Some editions were also printed outside Italy, e.g. in Leipzig in 1755, Paris in 1768, Noremburg in 1781 and Berlin in 1788.


The nineteenth century saw a total re-appraisal of the Divine Comedy. In the steps of Alfieri, Monti, Foscolo and Leopardo all express their admiration. In 1823, Foscolo published "Parallelo fra Dante e il Petrarca" in London and "Discorso sul testo della Divina Commedia" in 1825. These studies were s presupposition to the Crusca edition of 1837 and nourished a cult for Dante in Italy during the Risorgimento as well as great interest in his work all over Europe. Niccolò Tommaseo gave a considerable contribution with his "Nuovi studi su Dante" and his edition of the Comedy for the centenary of the Poet's birth. This fervour of stud continued for the entire century. and continued with the contribution of De Sanctis, who in his studies reconnect with Foscolo and Vico. The century saw well over 400 new editions and translations of the Comedy in a great many languages.

"DANTE 2000" - Alberto Acquaro's studio [Map]

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