System on the complete works

Alberto Acquaro's studio

Subjects treated in the chapters of the Convivio


CONVIVIO - Treatise I - Chap. 1 Man's greatest aspiration is knowledge. Those few who manage to overcome so many difficulties and reach it must share it. Dante gives a "convivio" (feast) of 14 treatises (finishing 4).
CONVIVIO - Treatise I - Chap .II - In a banquet, first the bread is cleaned. Dante excuses himself for two inevitable points: speaking about himself and any difficulties arising from analysing the argumentations.
CONVIVIO - Treatise I - Chap.III - Some difficulties could arise from his comment on the Songs; speaking about himself serves to do justice towards some aspects of Dante's sentence to exile and poverty.
CONVIVIO - Treatise I - Chap.IV - Regarding his exile, Dante points out that usually fame exaggerates a person's good or bad points, accordingly his presence can minimise good and bad.
CONVIVIO - Treatise I - Chap.V - The use of vernacular in lieu of Latin must be justified. The reasons are: vernacular reaches many people, generosity and natural affection for one's own language.
CONVIVIO - Treatise I - Chap.VI - Vernacular must be used since the songs at the beginning of the treatises are in vernacular. Latin would not be able to "feel" the evolutions of different vernaculars.
CONVIVIO - Treatise I - Chap.VII - Latin would not have been sufficiently flexible or suitable for expressing sweetness; illiterate Italians would not have understood the comments nor literate foreigners the songs.
CONVIVIO - Treatise I - Chap.VIII - Because it addresses the masses, the choice of vernacular for the comments is dictated by generosity, it spontaneously gives something useful.
CONVIVIO - Treatise I - Chap.IX - Still on the choice of vernacular rather than Latin, Dante accuses writers motivated by their desire for wealth and power; he adds that literature has been left in their hands.
CONVIVIO - Treatise I - Chap.X - Here Dante explains the third reason for choosing vernacular - love for one's own language. This leads to its exhaltation, avoiding inaccuracies by translation and its defence.
CONVIVIO - Treatise I - Chap.XI - Dante gives some of the reasons for the denigration of his vernacular: inability to appreciate or use it; envy if those who can; pride in different dialects; cowardice.
CONVIVIO - Treatise I - Chap.XII - Dante explains why he loves vernacular: for two generatives (familiarity and validity) that he explains in this chapter and three wider reasons (benefit, study and custom)
CONVIVIO - Treatise I - Chap.XIII - Love for vernacular grew from its benefits, as a vehicle for science, from is constant study and habit of use. Having prepared the "bread" Dante passes to the "courses".
CONVIVIO - Treatise II - SONG ONE: "Voi che 'ntendendo il terzo ciel movete" - The contrast beween the memory of his love for Beatrice and for the lady of pity, who allegorically represents Philosophy.
CONVIVIO - Treatise II - SONG ONE - Here Dante explains how to "enjoy" the various "courses"; the text of a song may be taken as: literal, allegoric, moral and, finally, anagogic, penetrating higher truths.
CONVIVIO - Treatise II - Chap.II - About three years after the death of Beatrice, the lady Dante introduced at the end of his Vita Nuova (Philosphy) takes a place in his heart. The song is in distinct parts.
CONVIVIO - Treatise II - Chap.III - Dante begins with a literal sense to the first verse. He cites the sequence of the planets and the skies according to Ptolemy and Aristotle. The verse alludes to the sky of Venus.
CONVIVIO - Treatise II - Chap.IV - After listing the heavens, Dante treats the entities that move them: Angels, pure intellect, reflecting divine virtues on Earth. Dante quotes the thoughts of Aristotle and Plato.
CONVIVIO - Treatise II - Chap.V - This Chapter is a short treatise on Angelology. Here the celestial hierarchies are according to Gregory the Great, but "Paradiso" follows that of Dionysus the Aeropagite.
CONVIVIO - Treatise II - Chap.VI - Once it is clear that he refers to the celestial hierarchies of the Thrones, that move the sky of Venus, Dante explains the literal sense of the first stanza of the Song.
CONVIVIO - Treatise II - Chap.VII - Dante explains the literal meaning of the second stanza of the Song, the beginning of his soul's labour. Then a new thought saves him, one that tells him a lady will rescue him.
CONVIVIO - Treatise II - Chap.VIII - On the subject of wordly love that is corruptable, Dante interrupts his explanation of the Song and briefly talks about the soul's immortality, obvious for various reasons.
CONVIVIO - Treatise II - Chap.IX - Dante explains the literal sense of the third stanza ; his soul is still in dilemna between the "old" and "new" thinking; the latter speaks to his soul in the fourth stanza.
CONVIVIO - Treatise II - Chap.X - Dante explains the literal meaning of the fourth stanza, in which the "new way of thinking" reassures his soul and invites him to trust the kind lady who comes to help him.
CONVIVIO - Treatise II - Chap.XI - In the fifth and last stanza, Dante addresses the Song itself, warning that only few will understand its meaning; he hopes that they will at least appreciate its beauty.
CONVIVIO - Treatise II - Chap.XII - The allegorical meaning of the Song is now treated. Heart-broken at the loss of Beatrice, Dante, thanks to Boethius and Cicero, finds solace in Philosphy, here appearing as a lady.
CONVIVIO - Treatise II - Chap.XIII - The first seven heavens correspond to the Trivius and Quadrivius sciences; after these relations, the third heaven cited in the Song in particular refers to Rhetoric.
CONVIVIO - Treatise II - Chap.XIV - After the first seven heavens, Dante discusses the links between the other three: Stars, Physics and Metaphysics; Crystal (Primum Mobile) Moral Philosophy; Empyrean Divine Science.
CONVIVIO - Treatise II - Chap.XV - The third heaven, Rhetoric, is the one that inspired study in Dante and thus his love for the kind lady, Philosophy; the allegorical meaning of some passages is now clear.
CONVIVIO - Treatise III - SONG TWO "Amor che ne la mente mi ragiona" - Exaltation of Philosphy as a consolation and analyses of the relations between philosophical knowledge and man's mind.
CONVIVIO - Treatise III - Chap.I - Dante explains his intentions to praise his new love, Philosophy; the Song is composed of a proem (stanza 1), praises (stanzas 2,3,4) and the envoy of the Song (stanza 5)
CONVIVIO - Treatise III - Chap.II - In the proem to the Song, Dante tells of the ineffability of the subject, his limits in treating it and thus regret. It precedes an analysis of the terms "love" and "mind" in verse 1.
CONVIVIO - Treatise III - Chap.III - Dante attempts to explain the nature of his new love, of the mind, that distinguishes man; words alone cannot describe such a purely intellectual experience.
CONVIVIO - Treatise III - Chap.IV - Still regarding stanza I, Dante explains why his love is ineffable but through no fault of his own, since he is conditioned by human limits of understanding and speaking.
CONVIVIO - Treatise III - Chap.V - In the first line of the second stanza, Dante speaks of the movement of the sun; after citing Pythagoras, Plato and Aristotle, he describes it according to the notions of his times.
CONVIVIO - Treatise III - Chap.VI - Dante explains the literal meaning of the second stanza of the Song, which begins by praising his beloved lady, blessed by God and appreciated by all who know her.
CONVIVIO - Treatise III - Chap.VII - Here the literal meaning of the third stanza of the Song is explained. Divine virtue descends on the lady whom Dante loves, so she is appraisable in such and of service to the world.
CONVIVIO - Treatise III - Chap.VIII - Dante explains the literal meaning of he fourth stanza of the Song. Continuing his praises to the lady he loves, he says she inspires all good actions and always opposes vice.
CONVIVIO - Treatise III - Cha. IX The fifth and final stanza is the envoy to the Song. Dante accuses himself of having described the lady he praises as "proud and without pity" in a former Ballad; he admits he was wrong.
CONVIVIO - Treatise III - Chap.X - Dante explains his mistake in wrongly judging the lady he now loves; he had judged her on her appearance. Dante concludes his explanation of the literal meaning of the Song.
CONVIVIO - Treatise III - Chap.XI Dante begins to reveal the allegory of the Canzone: the beloved lady is Philosophy: Philosophy is "the lover of knowledge", a deep and gratuitous love, not taken lightly.
CONVIVIO - Treatise III - Chap.XII - Dante returns to the first line of the Song to clarify the significance of "love", the specific study for conquering the lady. Then, the term "sun" leads to the concept of God.
CONVIVIO - Treatise III - Chap. XIII - In an analysis of other points in the Song, Dante explains that wisdom, that God emanates to the Angels, separately, can be experienced momentarily by men but only by some.
CONVIVIO - Treatise III - Chap.XIV - Dante comments on Philosophy; the Angels reflect divine light to man; true love of knowledge attenuates or extinguishes all other kinds of love.
CONVIVIO - Treatise III - Chap.XV - Dante again speaks about wisdom, which because of man's nature is the only possible way to happiness. His former, wrong idea of Philosophy was due to ignorance.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Song Three: "Le dolci rime d'amor ch'i' solia" - The subject is true nobility, that does not derive from heredity or high descent, but from a pure heart and virtue.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.I - To love Philosphy means loving truth and rejecting falsity and wrong. The most loathsome wrong is the false criterion for defining man's "nobility", due to limited intelligence.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.II - Dante comments on the proem to the Song. Passing from love to doctrinal poetry, he must adopt a "virile" and "subtle" style; he invokes Truth, the ultimate aim of Philosophy.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.III - In the second part of the Song, Dante speaks about nobility and what it means: according to Frederick II ("ancient wealth and beautiful costumes") and to others ("ancient wealth").
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Ch ap.IV - Regarding Frederick II, the last Roman Emperor, Dante maintains that a single Monarch, free from covetousness, is a necessary condition for the good of all mankind.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.V - Divine Providence prepared the way for a single Monarch to guide the world, the Roman people, to create a suitable land for spreading the truth of Christ.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.VI - After affirming the authority of the Emperor, Dante considers that of Philosphy, testified by the great philosphers who should live together with and complement world government.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.VII - Most people believe that for a man to be noble, all he needs is to descend from noble ancestors. This opinion will prove to be false, contrary to all reason.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.VIII - Aristotle said "That which appears to most cannot be totally false"; he was referring to reason, not the senses. A rich man only seems noble to the senses.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.IX - In support of the Emperor's idea of the concept of nobility, Dante argues that he has the authority to judge all types of man's behaviour.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.X - "Ancient wealth" alone cannot lead to nobility, since neither wealth nor time are the causes of nobility, wealth in particular cannot lead to nobility as it is wicked.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.XI - Wealth does not lead to nobity; inheritance comes by chance; on the other hand a good man can never make money dishonestly and rarely honestly as he is distracted by other things.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.XII - Dante upholds that wealth is not only contemptible in itself, it leads to anxiety to make more and fear of losing it. He wonders whether science has the same risks.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.XIII - Dante excludes the possibility that science, like wealth, can cause harm; science does not strive to always know the same thing, and knowledge cannot be lost.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.XIV - Returning to the common view that nobility is "ancient wealth", Dante objects that nobility grows with time; this is not something that can be inherited.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.XV - If nobility can be inherited, then we would all be noblemen or peasants, depending on what Adam was, seeing that mankind came from the same origins.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.XVI - Nobility is now discussed, what is consists of and where it is found. In a general sense, it lies in the perfection of the nature of all things, living as well as non-living.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.XVII - Moral virtues derive from nobility; according to Aristotelian Ethics, there are eleven, here listed; each one corresponds to two vices, for excess and defect.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.XVIII - Dante affirms that a cause-and-effect relation exists between nobility and the virtues; this is plausible when several things are simultaneously linked to a single unity.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.XIX - Proof that the virtues derive from nobility lies in the fact that where there is virtue there is always nobility, whilst the opposite is not true, as occurs for shyness of youth.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.XX - Virtues are the result of nobility, but also of passions. Finally, nobiliy can be defined as follows: "it is the seed of happiness, given by God to the worthy soul".
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.XXI - How nobility descends in us is explained. From the natural view, the "seed" comes from primordial intelligence, from the heavens; theologically it is a gift of the Holy Spirit
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.XXII - Man must ensure that the "seed of happiness" gives fruit. Following the principle that the living think of their good, mankind must look after his most noble part, his soul.
CONVIVIO - Trattato IV - Cap.XXIII - Speculation on signs showing that nobility is present. Four phases of human life must be distinguished: Adolescence, Youth, Maturity and Old Age.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.XXIV - For Adolescence (up to 25 years), nature offers "dispositions" towards nobility: "obedience", "gentleness", "shame" and "corporal adornment". The first is discussed.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Chap.XXV - Obedience, useful in education, must be accompanied by gentle manners that favour friendship, shyness that avoids mistakes, and pleasant appearance that helps sociality.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Cap.XXVI - In youth, i.e. between 26 and 45 years, the usual signs of nobility of the soul are: temperance, strength of character, the capacity to love, courtesy and loyalty.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Cap.XXVII - In maturity, that goes from 46 to 70 years of age, nobility of man's soul is usually evident in his prudence, sense of justice, generosity and kind ways.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Cap.XXVIII - A noble man lives his Senility, or old age from 70 to 80 years, in serenity, he prepares for his death as the end of a task and his return to God.
CONVIVIO - Treatise - Cap.XXIX - To close the subject of nobility, Dante reprimands those who expect a position simply because their father is noble. Finally, he explains how a city can be noble.
CONVIVIO - Treatise IV - Cap.XXX - Dante takes leave of his Song, entitling it "Contra-li-erranti" and dedicating it to his highly noble lady, Philosophy, and her friend, nobility.

VITA NUOVA - Chap.I - Following Aristotelian rules, Dante precedes his narration with a Proem, which gives the title of his work; it begins with his earliest memories.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.II -Dante remembers the first time he met Beatrice, when she was just nine and he was nearing ten. His love for her began at that moment, and he longed to find her again.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.III - Sonnet "A ciascun'alma presa" - Dante recalls Beatrice's first greeting. The emotion led to a dream which he wrote about in a sonnet; Guido Cavalcanti replied and so their friendship began.
VITA NUOVA - Cap.IV - From the day Beatrice first greeted him and his dream, Dante was so in love with her that all those who knew him were amazed at his behaviour.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.V - Dante recalls an episode that helped him hide his love for Beatrice: whilst he was admiring her among several women, one thought he was looking at her, leading to a useful misunderstanding.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.VI - During that time, whilst he was concealing his love, Dante wrote a poetic letter in Provenšal; in it he lists the names of the most beautiful women in Florence.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.VII - Sonnet "O voi che per la via" - The lady whom Dante pretended to love left Florence; to express his disappointment Dante wrote the sonnet (double) given below.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.VIII - Sonnet "Piangete, amanti" and the double sonnet "Morte villana" - Dante remembers the death of a friend of Beatrice's and wrote the two sonnets given below.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.IX - Sonnet "Cavalcando" - Dante recalls a journey he made to the place where the lady he used as a "shield" lived; he wrote the following sonnet in memory of this event.
VITA NUOVA - Chap. X - After the journey Dante wrote about in the previous chapter, and because of a lot of gossip, Beatrice refuses to speak to him, which throws him into despair.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XI - Dante tells how much joy the kindly greeting from the woman he loves gives him.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XII - Ballad "Ballata i' voi" - Dante recalls the moments of despair after losing Beatrice's greeting; his suffering and regret inspired the ballad below.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XIII - Sonnet "Tutti li miei penser" - Dante reflects on his state of dejection; conflicting thoughts assail him and disorient him. These memories inspired the following sonnet.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XIV - Sonnet "Con altre donne" - Dante painfully remembers a later meeting with Beatrice, at a wedding; the women with Beatrice found his embarrassment an object of derision.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XV - Sonnet "Ci˛ che m'incontra" - After the episode described in the previous chapter, Dante thinks about what happened. His sorrowful thoughts inspired the sonnet below.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XVI - Sonnett "Spesse fiate" - Dante again stops on the paralising effects that the sight of Beatrice has on him.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XVII - Once the period of despair is over, described in the three previous sonnets, Dante turns to new thoughts.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XVIII - Dante recalls a meeting wtih some of Beatrice's friends; in reply to a question from one of them, he says that having lost greetings of the one he loves, his happiness is praising her.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XIX - Song "Donne che avete" - After a few days of hesitation, during a journey Dante decides to start writing again, not only for Beatrice but for all women who know love.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XX - Sonnet "Amore e 'l cor gentil" - After the Song "Donne che avete", at the request of a friend, Dante wrote this sonnet on the nature of love.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XXI - Sonnet "Ne li occhi porta" - Following the sonnet on the nature of love, Dante feels the need to write another to explain how Beatrice was able to inspire that sort of love.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XXII - Sonnet "Voi che portate la sembianza umile" and "Se' tu colui c'hai trattato sovente" - On the death of Beatrice's father, Dante cries for her and pretends to speak to the women with her.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XXIII - Song "Donna pietosa e di novella etate" - Dante tells how, during an illness, he experienced sad reveries with presentiments of his own and Beatrice's death, inspiring the song below.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XXIV - Sonnet "Io mi senti' svegliar" - This tells about an imaginary love during that period; Giovanna, the women Guido Cavalcanti loved, and Beatrice are protagonists, described in this sonnet.
VITA NUOVA - Cap.XXV - Dante treats the rhetorical style he uses to personify the concept of Love, giving several examples of Latin poets who used it (Virgil, Lucan, Horace, Ovid).
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XXVI - Sonnets "Tanto gentile" and "Vede - perfettamente onne salute". In praise of Beatrice, again Dante tells of the wonder she inspires and the nobility she confers to all that surrounds her.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XXVII - Song "Sý lungiamente". The previous two sonnets described the effect Beatrice had on others; here Dante tells how her virtues affect him; he begins a song, the first stanza follows.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XXVIII - After the song's 1st stanza, Beatrice left the earthly world. Dante decides not to speak of her death; he only says how the number nine also marked this event and why.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XXIX - Beatrice left the world on the ninth day of June (the ninth Arabian month). Dante explains how the number that marked Beatrice's destiny is linked to holiness and perfection.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XXX - After the death of Beatrice, Dante finds Florence stripped of its dignity. He cites the "incipit" of the lament of Jeremiah, as a sign of the subjects he will treat next.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XXXI - Song "Li occhi dolenti per pietÓ del core" - Dante, heart-broken, after crying so much wrote this song to pour out his sorrow.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XXXII - Sonnet "Venite a intender li sospiri miei" - Beatrice's brother, a friend of Dante, asks him to write in memory of someone dead, pretending it is not his sister. Dante wrote the following sonnet.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XXXIII - Song "Quantunque volte" - Dante, as well as the previous sonnet, also wrote a two-stanza song for Beatrice's brother; the first is the lament of his friend, the second that of Dante.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XXXIV - Sonnet "Era venuta" (with two beginnings") - On the anniversary of Beatrice's death, whilst Dante draws some angels in her memory, Dante greets some friends, dedicating the sonnet to them.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XXXV - Sonnet "Videro li occhi miei" - Dis- heartened and pensive, one day Dante notices a beautiful young woman looking at him in pity from a window. This sonnet is about her.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XXXVI - Sonnet "Color d'Amore" - Dante often met the eyes of the lady to whom he dedicated the previous sonnet; her glance full of love inspired this other sonnet.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XXXVII - Sonnet "L'amaro lagrimar". The pleasure Dante found in looking at the young women made him feel painfully guilty, which he expresses in the following sonnet.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XXXVIII - Sonnet "Gentil pensero" - Torn between a sense of guilt and the thoughts that Love could be giving him some consolation, Dante wrote the following sonnet.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XXXIX - Sonnet "Lasso! per forza di molti sospiri" - On the ninth hour of the following day, Dante had a vision of the first time he met Beatrice; he sincerely regrets his weakness.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XL - "Deh peregrini che pensosi andate". Dante recalls how during Holy Week, when the Holy Shroud was displayed, he wanted to speak about Beatrice to some of the pilgrims there.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XLI - Sonnet "Oltre la spera" - Two women ask Dante if he will give them the previous sonnet; this he does together with another sonnet especially written for the occasion.
VITA NUOVA - Chap.XLII - After writing the last sonnet, Dante had a vision that convinced him not to write about Beatrice again, at least not until he was able to write in a manner more worthy of her.

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