Thursday, 1 April 2021

Tuscany celebrates the 700th anniversary of Dante's death

The year 2021 is the 700th anniversary of Dante's death. Throughout the year there will be events and celebrations of the great poet. If I were asked whose life marks the boundary in literature between the Mediaeval world and the Modern world, I would be hard put to choose between Shakespeare and Dante, even though Shakespeare died 300 years after Dante.

In any case, I will be posting here items about Dante that appeal to me, starting today with the report of the discovery of two triplets from the Divine Comedy that are not present in the current canonical text

In the holdings of the National Library in Florence, an incunabulum, printed in Venice on 1 April 1493, has been found containing one of the very first printed editions of the Divine Comedy, which, in addition to showing interesting variations to the currently known text, presents two triplets totally unknown until today. The verses refer to Canto VI of Purgatory, in which Dante has a vision of the future - or so the Comune of Florence would have us believe, according to their Instagram page (where else?).

Quando si parte il gioco della Viola,
Colui che perde si riman dolente
E il tristo colpo gli rimane in gola:
Ben lo imparò la bianconera gente,
La qual, credendo andare innanzi,
ratto lo gol in sua rete si trova.

HOWEVER, please note that this announcement was made on 1 April!

Here's my rough translation:

When the game of the Viola begins,
He who loses remains sore
And the sad blow stays stuck in his throat:
The Black and White people learned it well,
Those who, thinking to advance,
Find a rat has placed a goal in their net.

Here's what lies behind this joke:

The ancient aversion of Fiorentina (Viola - Florence) to Juventus (Black and White - Turin) dates back to 1928, the first competitive fixture between the two clubs. On 7 October of that year, in fact, in Turin, the Bianconeri defeated the Viola team, winning 11-0. The next day a Turin newspaper headlined: "Firenze, un…dici nulla?" "Florence, uh ... are you not saying anything?", a pun on 11 (undici) to 0 (nulla), the final score in favour of Turin - an affront never forgotten by the Viola fans.

Oh - and here's the manuscript - strange that in Venice in 1493 they embossed ACF and the Fleur de Lis of Florence on the cover!

See you here in Tuscany soon!

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