Johns Hopkins University Press

Introduction: The Lunigiana as refuge?

During Dante’s lifetime the bishops of Luni and the house of Malaspina vied with one another for domination of the Magra River valley, the heart of the Lunigiana region, where Ligurian, Tuscan, and Emilian political and economic interests often met. The convergence and sometimes the collision of those interests were aided by the Via Francigena and other thoroughfares that facilitated communications across this frontier zone.1 Although the area’s towns lay at some remove from the powerful city-states of northern and central Italy, they were close enough to their spheres of influence to be drawn into their factional wars, which anticipated the Trecento’s broader ideological clashes between republican and autocratic forms of governance.2 For all these reasons, the Malaspina enclaves wielded an influence that belied their smallness, and their masters deployed this influence to support popes or Hohenstaufens, Guelfs or Ghibellines, as convenience dictated.3 Closer to home, something approaching principled resolve was necessitated by the presence of the episcopal see of Luni; ancient even before its transfer to Sarzana by Innocent III in the first years of the thirteenth century, it had battled often with the Malaspinas and their forebears the Obertenghis for preeminence in the Lunigiana.4 Relations worsened dramatically when, in 1301, the Genoese count-bishop Antonio di Nuvolone da Camilla dei Fieschi captured the marquises’ castle at Brina (near Sarzana) and beheaded three of its defenders. The Malaspinas in turn attacked several villages where their feudal rights intersected with those of the prelate; and in 1304 Franceschino, marquis of Mulazzo,5 went so far as to attempt (albeit unsuccessfully) to [End Page 58] conquer the see itself by exploiting the Sarzana citizenry’s long-simmering resentment of episcopal lordship.6 Complicating matters further was the “contrasto interno al mondo malaspiniano” arising from the fact that Franceschino’s cousin Moroello III, marquis of Giovagallo, was married to Alagia Fieschi, a cousin of Bishop da Camilla.7 Increasing bloodshed and destruction of property eventually led both sides to pursue formal peace negotiations, in the concluding stage of which Dante, hosted by Moroello, served in an official capacity as Franceschino’s proxy. The sommo poeta is thought to have arrived in the Lunigiana in April, 1306,8 and the Treaty of Castelnuovo Magra survives to attest to his diplomatic activities in an area of Tuscany that, though very different from his native Florence, was itself no stranger to political chaos.9

It is therefore remarkable that, since at least the late nineteenth century, scholarly tradition has assumed that Dante regarded the Lunigiana as a refuge from political strife rather than its breeding ground.10 Even Isidoro Del Lungo, who in 1906 raised doubts about the peacefulness of the poet’s visit to the area, distinguished between the bishopric of Luni, “piuttosto arnese di guerra che asilo di pietà e di pace,” and the lands of the Malaspina family, whose renowned “cortesia” alone drew Dante and induced him to regard their territory as a “grata e onorevole stanza . . . larga tuttavia di agio a quella dottrinale preparazione nella quale egli perseverava già da anni.”11 Likewise, Alessandro D’Ancona asserted that “qui certamente ei [i.e. Dante] provò un senso di quiete contemplando le bellezze naturali della regione: le serene aurore e roggi tramonti”;12 Pompeo Giannantonio believed the poet would have found there “una tranquilla pausa nel tumulto delle passioni, una regione propizia alla meditazione”;13 and Mirco Manuguerra, referring specifically to the famous scene with Nino Visconti and Currado II Malaspina in Purgatorio 8, argued that “la struttura del Canto, tutto incentrato su questi due soli personaggi, che convivono in serena amicizia nel contesto già celestiale di un prato fiorito, è un chiaro affresco autobiografico del soggiorno lunigianese di Dante.”14 There is another possible interpretation of Dante’s stance on the region, however. Read together, Purgatorio 8, the Treaty of Castelnuovo Magra, and Inferno 24 betray a recognition that then-recent contributions to what had long been the “natura aspra, frammentata, confinaria di questa regione, centripeta e centrifuga” had in fact been made by the Malaspinas themselves.15 Far from offering respite from political violence, the Lunigiana was convulsed by it, and [End Page 59] because its lay masters were at least partly responsible for it, they would have been the readers Dante thought could benefit most from the civic and spiritual virtues that he associated with peacemaking. The three texts mentioned above show diplomacy uniting with didacticism to figure the Malaspinas themselves as pilgrims, whom Dante seeks to direct towards the divine peace he envisions as the eventual goal both of the ascent of Purgatory and of the agreement at Castelnuovo.

Impressions of Dante’s idyllic sojourn in the Lunigiana are based largely on the poet’s association of benevolent social and political order with Malaspinian court culture, hence Marco Santagata’s insight that “[w]hat counted in the Lunigiana was the human landscape.”16 This social environment was artfully transformed by Dante into an “idealized description” of the Malaspina family and courts,17 as for example in Epistola 4, which he wrote to Moroello after he had left the Val di Magra to stay with Guido Salvatico di Dovadola in the Casentino.18 The idealization in Purgatorio 8 and Epistola 4, however, conceals the long history of strife that is openly disclosed in the Treaty. If the romanticized Val di Magra of these texts contrasts markedly with the dysfunctional governance and factional wars rampant in Florence, Siena, Pisa and other city-states,19 it also contrasts, if silently, with then-current conditions in the Val di Magra itself. Loris Jacopo Bononi, reflecting on those conditions, rightly questions Giannantonio’s inference from Purgatorio 8 of “una Lunigiana dove ‘i cortili’ dei castelli malaspiniani, i campi circostanti sembrano notte e giorno risuonare di melodie trobadoriche, di giostre e tornei.” This penetrating insight deserves elaboration, but Bononi himself takes it no further, believing instead in the “sincerità dell’elogio dantesco” and repeating Giannantonio’s point that Dante, after all, praised the Malaspinian Lunigiana more fulsomely than he did the Scaligers’ Verona or the Ravenna of the Polentas.20 The poet, however, did more than this: in Purgatorio 8 he created an appealing public image for a land that Inferno 24 obliquely associates with a highly accomplished mercenary and that the Treaty of Castelnuovo Magra explicitly portrays as a war zone.21 To be fair to Bononi, it must be acknowledged that he does recognize the factitious quality of “la ‘fama’ che Dante ha dato a questo nostro territorio con pochi versi del Canto VIII del Purgatorio,”22 but the point warrants stronger emphasis: the locus amoenus that some scholars have made of the Lunigiana is a fiction created by Dante. Although his admiration for the Malaspinas was genuine,23 the depth [End Page 60] of his gratitude towards them has been called into question,24 and even the admiration itself is couched in terms suggestive of a public relations exercise aided by poetic license. Purgatorio 8 quietly acknowledges Dante’s own brief experience as an erstwhile honorary Malaspina, both as a proxy who assumed specific responsibilities for Franceschino (e.g. factor, procurator) and as a contributor to the Treaty’s introduction who spelled out the spiritual incentives for maintaining peace.

Purgatorio 8 and Malaspinian exempla

In Antepurgatory’s Valley of the Princes, the Dante-pilgrim and Virgil find themselves among souls of leaders who, though not unusually warlike or proud, “in vita non attesero alla missione politica loro commessa dalla volontà divina.”25 One of them is an erstwhile Ghibelline marquis of Villafranca who, when faced with a living visitor, promptly requests news about his former domains:

  “Se la lucerna che ti mena in altotruovi nel tuo arbitrio tanta ceraquant’è mestiere infino al sommo smalto,”  cominciò ella, “se novella veradi Val di Magra o di parte vicinasai, dillo a me, che già grande là era.  Fui chiamato Currado Malaspina;non son l’antico, ma di lui discesi;a’ miei portai l’amor che qui raffina.”

(Purg. 8.112–20)26

Like all the souls who have escaped Hell but have not yet been judged fit to enter Heaven, Currado must undergo intense preparation for his eventual ascent to the latter, a process that involves both purification and education, a cleansing of spiritual blemishes that will also teach him how human beings are meant to conform their wills to the divine will.27 Even as a shade the marquis still loves his lands and remembers wistfully the renown he enjoyed therein, his state of mind typifying that of every soul in Antepurgatory, “the place of vague beginnings, of hopeful responses, and of problems sensed but not solved”28 and the setting for “an additional trial to be endured” beyond the refinements of Purgatory itself.29 In such a liminal space as this, Currado, Nino [End Page 61] Visconti and their fellow sojourners yearn for transcendence but have not yet freed themselves of all their worldly attachments.

This duality animates Dante’s representation of Currado and can be discerned in the latter’s first words to the pilgrim, whom he has been studying closely ever since his arrival in the Valley. The nobleman’s two opening dependent clauses—“Se la lucerna . . . ,” “se novella vera . . .”—are syntactically parallel, a similarity that serves to soften the contrast between the different implicit questions they pose: the first about the pilgrim’s willingness to cooperate with divine grace,30 the second about whether the pilgrim has any true news about the Val di Magra.31 Both constructions express not certitude but hope;32 yet the theological musings of the first, expected in a realm where “[l]a preghiera è la grande protagonista,”33 are joined awkwardly to the curiosity voiced in the second about earthly matters. The contrast perhaps exemplifies that “principio della variazione” that, according to Marcello Aurigemma, defines Purgatorio’s eighth canto, which sees both the pilgrim and his various interlocutors “oscillanti, l’uno e gli altri, fra preghiera, trepidazione e fiducia in Dio da una parte, e ricordi della terra e del passato dall’altra.”34 Tonal variation, then, enables Dante to put in Currado’s mouth a question about the Val di Magra that, appropriately enough for Antepurgatory, reveals its speaker thinking as much about the past and earth as about the future and Heaven. The pilgrim, for his part, is made to answer in a way that reveals his own limitations, for he does not simply reassure Currado that all is well in his domains. Because he has yet to understand how happiness is finally obtained by souls bound for Heaven—even in the Earthly Paradise Beatrice rebukes him with the question “non sapei tu che qui è l’uom felice?” (Purg. 30.73–75)—the pilgrim inadvertently tempts the marquis to dwell on his former worldly greatness:

  “Oh!”, diss’io lui, “per li vostri paesigià mai non fui; ma dove si dimoraper tutta Europa ch’ei non sien palesi?  La fama che la vostra casa onora,grida i segnori e grida la contrada,sì che ne sa chi non vi fu ancora[.”]

(Purg. 8.121–26)

As Eugenio Donadoni points out, “[i]l Marchese aveva chiesto ‘novelle vere’ della sua Val di Magra. Ed ha avuto per risposta non novelle, ma [End Page 62] un panegirico de’ suoi, da uno che non seguiva che la voce della fama, e in quella contrada non era stato mai.”35 The moment underscores the fallibility and cognitive shortcomings of the Dantean persona: because he has not yet visited the Val di Magra himself, he defers to the authority of fame. This concession and the gratification of Currado’s pride are signs of the pilgrim’s naivete, faux pas rather than sins; the pilgrim is, after all, in Purgatory to learn, a process that allows for the making of mistakes. Yet the mistakes also convey Dante the poet’s subtle warning about the unreliability of popular acclaim and the riskiness of pride, issues to which I shall return shortly. If, for the time being, the words of the viator be read on the literal level, they seem to be an innocuous attempt to set the marquis’s mind at rest with the consolation that the Malaspinas’ good qualities have not diminished over time.36 Such consolation may well be the “news” Currado seeks;37 such a desire would befit the self-consciousness he displays in lines 117–18, in which he identifies himself first with reference to his erstwhile greatness and only afterwards by his name (“già grande là era. / Fui chiamato Currado Malaspina”), the order of priorities ensuring that his reputation literally precedes him. He then admits to an exalted, excessive love for his family that only now “undergoes refinement” (raffina), or, rather, will undergo refinement eventually in Purgatory proper.38 Part confession of sin, part boast couched in euphemism, his admission reveals Currado at once savoring his former worldly renown and atoning for his excessive attachment to it.

The Dantean pilgrim’s naivete, curiously, seems to encourage Currado in both respects. Many scholars have noticed this contradictory reinforcement (of pride and its purgation),39 though Michelangelo Zaccarello observes that the colloquy between the two men should be read against the backdrop of the “contesto intensamente teleologico” created by Currado’s reference to the light of divine grace that he hopes will enable the pilgrim to complete his journey up the mountain of Purgatory. Indeed, the poet’s concern for the telos of salvation appears even in his contributions to the Treaty of Castelnuovo Magra (as will be seen in the next section of this essay) and thoroughly pervades the Commedia’s second canticle, not least when the angels of its eighth canto every day defeat the serpent lurking in the Valley of the Princes. Christopher Kleinhenz has remarked on this canto’s triptych-like structure, in which the “left” panel, as it were, consists of the pilgrim’s conversation [End Page 63] with Nino Visconti; the “central” panel depicts the vanquishing of the serpent; and the “right” panel is devoted to the pilgrim’s dialogue with Currado.40

I would argue that it is indeed the teleological emphasis so adroitly underscored by Zaccarello that Dante wished his readers to bear in mind even as they pondered Currado’s wistful reminiscence that, while alive and ruling over his domains, he had been grande. The self-attribution of temporal greatness exists on a continuum that culminates in the majesty of salvation itself. There is no necessary contradiction between, on one hand, the eschatological coloring of the passage as a whole, and, on the other hand, the fact, as explained by Uberto Limentani, that Currado “does not ask for prayer or indulge in sentimentality, gives away nothing of his feelings and affections; his preoccupations are for the reputation of his family in so far as it keeps the tradition of chivalry alive.”41 The marquis of Villafranca has yet to experience the program of reeducation that will be made plain to the pilgrim when he and Virgil resume their ascent towards the Earthly Paradise; but we know that the nobleman will undergo it, for it is the same program to which all souls in Purgatory are subjected. What would such a spiritual apprenticeship entail for a shade like Currado’s? What awaits him when he leaves Antepurgatory?

An answer is suggested by the example of the shade of Omberto Aldobrandesco, whom the pilgrim encounters in Purgatory itself. On the terrace of the proud, Omberto is learning how to renounce his own self-importance and attachment to his ancestors’ achievements, which “mi fer sì arrogante, / che, non pensando a la comune madre, / ogn’ uomo ebbi in despetto tanto avante” (Purg. 11.62–64). Currado’s familial pride may well be less egregiously sinful than Omberto’s,42 but it will be unlearned and punished in roughly the same way; if the Lunigianese marquis is portrayed more sympathetically than the Maremma count, it is not because of any difference in the magnitude of their sins but instead because Currado has not yet begun his purgation—and also because, as scholars have long maintained, Dante wished to acknowledge the hospitality he had enjoyed years earlier in the Malaspinas’ domains.

There is a further reason, however. Although Currado is nostalgic for his erstwhile greatness, he explicitly asks of his visitor only a novella vera about the Val di Magra; he does not possess an insatiable appetite for hearing that greatness proclaimed to him indiscriminately. The pilgrim version of Dante seems not to realize this, so he tries to satisfy what he [End Page 64] thinks is his lordly interlocutor’s undiminished desire for fame, a fame that, he asserts, has everywhere spread the word about the family and their territory (“grida i segnori e grida la contrada”).43 In having his pilgrim claim that the Malaspinas and their lands are renowned throughout Europe, Dante may have been recalling earlier times when the family had indeed enjoyed fame, at least in cultivated literary circles, by hosting Troubadour poets.44 (Moroello seems to have revived something of that tradition by maintaining a literary circle himself, one involving Cino da Pistoia and Dante.)45 Fame, then, is a force for good when it celebrates the Malaspinian segnori and their contrada; on their face Purg. 8.124–26 are straightforward in acknowledging the worth of popular clamor when its object is Currado’s family and domains.

Yet the verb gridare used in this context recalls the noun grido, which had negative connotations for Dante when it referred to common report. In an Aristotelian excursus in the Convivio he voices distrust for the opinion of average people, who in his view lack the intellectual means to discern the ends, the final purposes, of things.46 Here the disparity between Dante the poet and Dante the pilgrim suggests that the former wished to portray the latter as one who attaches too much weight to fame and thus has much to learn about its transience.

To be sure, the basis of the Malaspinas’ reputation is admirable enough by the worldly standards borne in mind by the pilgrim. When the latter reassures Currado that “vostra gente onrata non si sfregia / del pregio de la borsa e de la spada” (128–29), he uses spada to signify military prowess, and borsa to mean monetary wealth spent generously and discerningly.47 Umberto Carpi has observed that these two virtues appealed to the poet as well as to the pilgrim; to the former’s way of thinking, they surpassed the commonplace because they transcended the marketplace; that is, they summed up the traditional nobility’s criteria for sound leadership as Dante romanticized them, as opposed to the values of the arrivistes.48 If Antepurgatory has a dual aspect, its temporary residents anticipating purification and education while also delectating in memories of their lives on earth, then Malaspinian chivalry as evoked in this liminal space also has a double character: temporal renown on one hand, deficiency sub specie aeternitatis on the other, despite the aforementioned continuum embracing Currado’s greatness on earth and eternal glory in Heaven. The poet allows us to consider both possibilities. Even as his pilgrim exalts the Lunigianese marquises above their peers, he does so in a realm [End Page 65] where merely temporal courtliness stands out for being an insufficient criterion of excellence.

More to the point, his statement “vostra gente onrata non si sfregia / del pregio de la borsa e de la spada” turns on a litotes that conceals a dark truth, one that was by no means hidden from the poet during his stay in the Val di Magra: the Malaspinas prevent themselves from being “divested” of the merits of purse and sword because they deprive others of them.49 No captain of armies, which is exactly what Moroello was, can excel at war or remunerate his allies and hirelings without robbing his adversaries of victory and wealth. Such considerations are muted by the Purgatorio’s elegiac mode,50 which allows the pilgrim to ignore the toll the spada exacts in human lives. During his sojourn among the Malaspinas, however, Dante himself could hardly have ignored it, and something of his personal knowledge of the family’s capacity for bloodshed colors the prophetic tirade he imagines Vanni Fucci, the notorious thief from Pistoia, unleashing on the pilgrim in Inferno 24:

  “apri li orecchi al mio annunzio, e odi.Pistoia in pria di Neri si dimagra,poi Firenze rinnova genti e modi.  Tragge Marte vapor di val di Magrach’è di torbidi nuvoli involuto;e con tempesta impetuosa e agra  sovra Campo Picen fia combattuto:ond’ei repente spezzerà la nebbia,sì ch’ogni Bianco ne sarà feruto.  E detto l’ho perchè doler ti debbia!”

(Inf. 24.142–51)

Fucci’s furious invective alludes to the mercenary successes of Moroello Malaspina in the turbulent, complex, and—for Dante, painful—history of Black and White Guelf factionalism. As David Herlihy explains, the names Neri and Bianchi grew out of a family feud, one that chroniclers in Dante’s time believed had begun with a tavern brawl in Pistoia in 1286 between two cousins of the Cancellieri family—but which actually had its origins earlier in the thirteenth century, in the tumultuous heart of Pistoian political life.51 In the mid-1230s two Cancellieri brothers, Ranieri and Amadore, had lent financial and ideological support to opposing Pistoiese factions, the magnates and the commoners; although the Cancellieri had been Guelfs and commoners themselves, only the Blacks [End Page 66] (descended from Amadore) remained loyally such, while the Whites (descended from Ranieri) gradually took up magnate and Ghibelline causes. Dante, through Fucci’s prophecy, places Moroello squarely in the urban epicenter of the violence between those two groups. Fucci concedes that at Pistoia in May 1301 the Whites—Dante’s own party—will initially prevail over the Blacks, to whom Fucci himself in life swore allegiance; but he also predicts, in language brimming with meteorological metaphors, that the Blacks will go on to win a decisive and vengeful victory over the Whites at Campo Piceno, and will be led by none other than Moroello in his role of captain of the Lucchese and Florentine Neri.52 Despite being stoutly resisted (combattuto) by enemies on the field, Moroello, according to Fucci, “will suddenly break the fog” of pitched battle like a bolt of lightning (vapor) whose explosive counterattack will shatter the Whites.53 Fucci’s verb dimagra refers to the initial thinning out or expulsion of the Blacks at Pistoia in 1301; his noun vapor alludes to Moroello, his subsequent ferocity at Campo Piceno compared to raw energy extracted by the god Mars from the val di Magra. The rhyming pun dimagra-di Magra links the Lunigiana district to the short-lived ascendancy of Dante’s fellow Whites, killed or exiled by the poet’s host. Fucci’s hostility towards the pilgrim, and perhaps the poet’s own bitterness, are intensified by the adjective agra, which completes the terza rima cluster dimagra-Magra-agra to underscore the White Guelfs’ harrowing and ultimately futile effort to resist the vapor Moroello. Fucci then accentuates the pain he wants to inflict on the pilgrim with his infamous, crescendo-like outburst, “E detto l’ho perchè doler ti debbia!” As Joan Ferrante observes, “[t]he sense of upheaval and loss is echoed in the rhyme that is both equivocal and core.”54 Edoardo Fumagalli finds that “la rima in -agra non ha riscontro nel poema”;55 and although this singularity suggests to Fumagalli Dante’s interest in Fucci, it also invites scrutiny of Moroello, a figure whose capacity to generate contradictory impressions is disclosed in Fucci’s lines and is not, I would suggest, entirely offset by the intimate tone of Dante’s correspondence with him in Epistola 4.56

Fucci’s prophecy amounts to more than just a prediction of battles won and lost. Although it issues from a damned soul, bristles with metaphors, and is localized to Pistoia and its environs, it also conveys, if obliquely, Dante’s own searing animadversion against the suffering that Italians in general inflict upon one another in their chronic wars, [End Page 67] a suffering that Dante had experienced firsthand and knew his fellow Whites had endured at the hands of Moroello. Between the lines of Fucci’s rant, Bruno Maier has discerned the poet’s awareness that continuous factional discord was exposing profound ethical lapses in the ways in which Italy’s city-states treated one another and their own citizens. For Maier, in this passage “si uniscono il tema politico della Commedia, quello dell’esilio dantesco e quello tragico dei conflitti comunali, che nella loro ferocia ignorano la pietà e la comprensione per il nemico vinto (‘sì ch’ogni Bianco ne sarà feruto’).”57 For this reason, the synedochic spada of line 129 has more than one meaning. As the pilgrim uses it, it symbolizes the martial component of Malaspinian chivalry that, in the pilgrim’s estimation, enabled the house to surpass in integrity other noble Italian families during a time of widespread decadence (as indicated in a later passage in Purg. 8, to be discussed shortly). Indeed, even Fucci’s lines, despite their gratuitous venom, have been said to concede “quella determinazione e vigorosa risolutezza di comando militare” that Dante undoubtedly saw in Moroello.58 From the poet’s perspective, the spada had positive connotations when it was used properly. These connotations were informed, however, by this-worldly rather than otherworldly values. The other side of the sword’s meaning is the unacknowledged reality of chivalry’s practical costs: the people killed, the cities devastated, the eternal salvation endangered by the conflitti comunali that in Trecento Italy were the very means whereby arms proved their potency both as literal weapons and as symbols of cultural capital.59 If Maier is correct (and I believe he is) in arguing that Fucci’s spitefulness hints at the disillusionment Dante himself felt when he pondered his strife-torn Italy, where piety has waned and where victors show no charity to losers, then Malaspinian chivalry is implicated too in this ongoing tragedy. The glory sought by those who live by the sword fuels the incessant wars that the poet, lamenting famously in his own voice, knew had reduced Italy to servile helplessness:

  Ahi serva Italia, di dolore ostello,nave sanza nocchiere in gran tempesta,non donna di province, ma bordello!

(Purg. 6.76–78)

Dante would of course eventually switch his allegiance to the Black Guelfs, both because he hoped for a return to his native city and because [End Page 68] he saw White Guelfism as a lost cause; in his view, only the Holy Roman emperors could impose sustainable order on Italy.60 Yet even before his shift, the gran tempesta to which he alludes in the above lines included the “tempesta impetuosa e agra” with which the Black Guelf Moroello had routed the Whites at Campo Piceno. Morello’s contributions to the stormy climate of early fourteenth-century Italy did not go unnoticed by Rome; despite his ostensibly pro-papal sympathies, his decision in 1304 to join the (also pro-papal) Florentine army that would besiege Pistoia the following year earned him a papal excommunication that would not be lifted until 1310.61

When the pilgrim informs Currado that the latter’s house is unique in practicing virtue, he ignores Malaspinian violence and blames papal corruption for the decline in ethical standards he sees throughout the world:

  “Uso e natura sì la privilegia,che, perché il capo reo il mondo torca,sola va dritta e ’l mal cammin dispregia.”

(Purg. 8.130–32)

If, as many scholars have suggested, the capo reo said to be twisting Earth out of shape is indeed papal Rome,62 then the Dante-pilgrim is here blaming universal iniquity solely on the popes. Such a position would be in keeping with the poet’s own opinions, voiced elsewhere.63 Less characteristic of the poet’s published views is the pilgrim’s suggestion that the Malaspinas, as noble dynasties go, alone embody righteousness, and that they do so both by custom and by their very nature.64 This view contradicts Convivio 4.20 and Purgatorio 7.121–23, which caution aristocratic families against exalting their own pedigrees. Too often, those texts claim, noblemen forget that virtue comes from inner nobility—something possessed by very few so-called nobles—and that it derives solely from God’s grace, not from their own attainments.65 When the eighth canto of Purgatorio credits all the Malaspinas with supreme and uniform courtliness and makes no reference to that grace, it either makes them the exception that proves the Convivio’s rule or else it bends the rule to attribute to them an impossible virtue in the present.66 Alternatively, the canto reflects Dante’s growing attraction to the values of a bygone nobility as opposed to the vulgarity and corruption the poet judged increasingly typical of Florentine mercantile and [End Page 69] even court culture.67 Even if this last explanation is considered the only correct one, it points to an awareness on Dante’s part of such mutability in principles and mores in his former city as to deepen the exhortative urgency of the passage quoted above. Precisely because of its eye to teleology, Purg. 8 presents any Malaspinas who might have numbered among the poet’s intended readers with a model of exemplary probity to which they should conform themselves in future, lest even they, seemingly secure in their hillside redoubts, should be overtaken by the decadence pervading the Tuscan metropolis.

Further poetic license, again with a possible view to promoting an idealized future for the Malaspinas, appears when the poet has his pilgrim refer to Currado’s family as vostra casa and vostra gente in the singular. This bit of grammatical shorthand also serves as rhetorical sleight-of-hand because it oversimplifies a complex state of affairs, the “house” and “people” having been in fact many and increasingly fissiparous. As Vasco Bianchi, Marco Santagata, Eliana Vecchi and Loris Jacopo Bononi have all underscored, there was no single Malaspina “court” (physical or ideological) in the Val di Magra, but rather an aggregate of residences used by various members of the family’s Spino Secco and Spino Fiorito branches, some of whom were Guelfs (like Moroello, a Black), others Ghibellines (such as his cousin Francheschino).68 By lauding a singular Malaspinian “house,” Purgatorio 8.124–32 idealize not only the family’s virtue but also their cohesion. Concealing their domains’ past and ongoing fragmentation, the lines express hope for an exemplary unity in the future, when all the various spini branches might be bound together in spiritual renovation, exemplified by the once-negligent Currado’s progress in Purgatory.

To indicate how the family should respond to this proffered exem-plum, Dante has the marquis acknowledge that the idealization voiced by the pilgrim does indeed conform to courtly ideology:

  “Che cotesta cortese oppinioneti fia chiavata in mezzo de la testacon maggior chiovi che d’altrui sermone.”

(Purg. 8.136–38)

With the highly charged adjective cortese, Currado confers legitimacy upon the pilgrim’s enthusiastic praise of his dominions; and Dante the poet, via Currado, gives the pilgrim’s praise an authorial seal of [End Page 70] approval that appropriates marchional authority. The modifier has a wide range of applications in this context, as Kristina M. Olson has observed: “Purgatorio 8 claims a rhetorical moment of cortesia, where courtly language is the means by which the pregio of the Malaspina line is described, the means by which Dante pays honour to Currado and his family, and the medium for discussing a ‘future’ act of generosity on behalf of Francheschino Malaspina.”69 I would add that the word cortese, as Dante has Currado employ it, sanctions the ideals of Malaspinian conduct that the poet hopes the house will realize in the future even as the pilgrim couches those ideals in his flattery of the family’s past and present chivalric virtue.

The marquis’s acceptance of the idealization as cortese comes in the context of a prophecy according to which the pilgrim, within seven years (as hinted at by the astrological imagery in lines 133–35),70 will acquire his own knowledge of the Malaspinian domains, a knowledge that will prove more solid, because actually lived, than the “report” (sermone) of them that so far he has only heard from others.71 But Currado is not looking ahead solely to the real-life Dante’s visit to the family’s territory in 1306 or to the diplomatic negotiations related to that visit. He is also hinting—or rather Dante the poet is hinting, through Currado’s prophecy—that in seven years the pilgrim will acquire firsthand experience of the war-torn Lunigiana landscape, whose conditions make the pursuit of peace essential to the Malaspinas’ political and spiritual health. The harsh, even coarse, imagery Dante has Currado use when delivering his prophecy conveys immediacy without intimacy, largely because it hints at the brutality of exile that Currado knows awaits the pilgrim.72 In an overtly Christian poem of the fourteenth century, the image of nails (chiovi) puncturing any part of a living body, even the forehead (“in mezzo de la testa”), calls the Crucifixion to mind. It would be going too far to argue that Dante regarded his exile as a typological reenactment of Christ’s death on the cross.73 Yet the violence of Currado’s metaphor does capture the poet’s sensibility of sacrifice and trauma: the sacrifice exacted from him by his banishment from Florence and the trauma he experienced at the destruction of the Pistoiese Whites by his Lunigianese host. He would not have felt free to express this trauma openly, but it is nonetheless present in the doler intended by Vanni Fucci and in the dolor of which Dante believed all Italy was an ostello, an enormous hostelry for the pain caused by hostility. [End Page 71] The striking metaphor in Purg. 6.76 projects onto the whole peninsula Dante’s personal dependence on the hospitality of strangers during his exile, and perhaps sublimates his awareness of the ambiguous place in his imagination occupied by his host Moroello.

Marcello Aurigemma remarks that the beginning of Purgatorio 8 differentiates that canto from the one preceding it, in that “dà in complesso un senso di pace (si tratta, per meglio dire, di ricerca di pace).”74 Auri-gemma’s crucial parenthesis is a reminder of the teleological orientation Zaccarello discerns in the Valley of the Princes episode, and by extension in the whole of the second canticle. In Antepurgatory the search for peace is ongoing, and Currado Malaspina’s own spiritual repose awaits him as the fruit of the purgation and reeducation yet to come.

Earlier in this essay I remarked that the Dantean pilgrim risks “tempting” Currado by flattering him with praise of his house. The risk, of course, is minimal because the marquis is already dead; at worst he might dwell further on past glories when he should instead meditate on future bliss. The still-living are at risk of sin, however, and what Peter Armour has written in his analysis of the temptation symbolized by the serpent in the Valley of the Princes is applicable to the “temptation” latent in the pilgrim’s blandishments:

[A]s regards the actual threat which the snake, the “adversary” (Purg. viii. 95), poses to souls who are beyond temptation, one must also take into account the audience for whom this sacra rappresentazione is staged. Taken with the sensual beauty of the setting and the presentation of the negligent rulers (Purg. vii. 73–81, 91–136), the episode of the snake recalls the temptations to worldliness which surround a monarch and so acquires another level of meaning, as an exemplum or message to rulers who neglect not only their true political responsibilities—though in this respect the souls in the valley are contrasted favourably with their decadent successors—but also their personal spiritual duties.75

The Valley of the Princes need not correspond exactly to the Val di Magra, but Currado’s presence in the former bears a lesson for the marquis’s descendants in the latter, in part because the supernatural valley perfects its earthly counterpart.76 Negligence is hardly the worst of evils, but as Armour’s insight makes clear, it poses a real enough danger to living rulers who would govern themselves and others well. The portrayal of a Malaspina in this passage thus both honors and cautions the Malaspinas in Dante’s intended audience who were lords of their own [End Page 72] domains, monarchs on a small scale. The soul of Currado is assured of finding salvation and eternal peace, however long it may take him to do so; whether Franceschino, Moroello, and their kin might follow him would have depended in part on how seriously they pursued temporal peace in the Val di Magra. The Treaty of Castelnuovo testifies to their willingness to negotiate towards this end, even if, like Purgatorio 8, it offers an exemplum of conduct that it cannot enforce.

Promoting peace in the Treaty of Castelnuovo Magra

Before Dante’s arrival in the Lunigiana, the path to peace must have seemed as forbidding as “la più diserta, / la più rotta ruina” to be found along the Ligurian coastline (Purg. 3.49–50); but in October 1306 Franceschino Malaspina and Bishop da Camilla formalized the terms to which they had agreed in advance.77 Each of the feuding parties stood to gain from a temporary cessation of hostilities. The marquises would see increased stability in their lands as well as the end of punitive sentences issuing from the episcopal curia, which they had angered by infringing on the privileges it claimed over various Lunigianese villages. In turn, Bishop da Camilla would use stability to check the danger posed by the territorial ambitions of Lucca, whose slightly later statute of 1308 would take for granted, albeit unrealistically, the submission to that city of several Lunigianese towns and even the bishopric of Luni itself.78 Finally, because peace between the prelate and Moroello, a Black Guelf, would strengthen the latter in his dealings with Blacks elsewhere in Tuscany, Dante could imagine improved prospects for his own readmission to Florence resulting from the Treaty’s success.79 This possibility was a strong inducement to him to befriend the “vapor di val di Magra,” despite the violence at Pistoia and Campo Piceno. The homecoming never took place, and lasting peace proved elusive;80 but the negotiations bore some fruit in that the bishop, before his death in 1307, named Franceschino Malaspina the executor of his will.81

Formal diplomacy began on the morning of October 6 in Sarzana’s Piazza della Calcandola (now Piazza Giacomo Matteotti) and concluded later that morning at the episcopal palace at Castelnuovo Magra. The relevant Treaty is accompanied by a power of attorney, referred to by scholars as the procura or mandatum. This document was composed by [End Page 73] the Sarzana notary Giovanni di Parente di Stupio, who worked in the shadow of Bishop da Camilla’s curia but did not belong to it, the choice of an ostensibly neutral notary avoiding the semblance of partisanship.82 Although the procura scrupulously confirms that Franceschino Malaspina “has made, constituted and ordained Dante Alighieri of Florence his legitimate procurator, agent, representative and special envoy,”83 it should be noted that the decision to use proxies in negotiations sometimes aroused misgivings, as Glenn Kumhara has determined in his study of fourteenth-century and subsequent Italian treaties. “The large number of instrumenta pacis made through procurators,” he writes, “invites skepticism and can call the sincerity of the peace into question. Contemporary opinion considered a peace brokered through procurators as less likely to succeed in ending conflict than one in which the parties made the agreement in person.”84 Franceschino’s employment of an outsider thus risked “creat[ing] a distance between the parties, one which seemed to dilute the effects on one’s honor and lessen the commitment to a changed relationship.”85 In this light, the pleonasms referring to this particular proxy, conventional though they might be,86 would perhaps counteract at least the impression of distance. In asserting the Dante-procurator’s legitimacy, they are intended to dispel doubts about Franceschino’s own earnestness, even though every noun that testifies to the poet’s presence underscores his patron’s absence.

Dante’s role extended well beyond that of a typical proxy. As Eliana Vecchi explains, “[a]lle qualifiche di procurator e nuntius specialis attribuite all’Alighieri, che compaiono normalmente negli istrumenti di procura, si aggiungono qui actor, con riferimento alla possibilità di compiere atti giuridici, e factor quale garante attivo degli oneri e obbligazioni pecuniarie e immobiliari che verranno stabiliti.”87 As factor he was responsible for discharging his employer’s debts and acting as surety in transactions; but the Latin noun factor recalls its Italian counterpart fattore, which elsewhere in the poet’s writings denotes human creative endeavor and the praise accruing to it in the right circumstances. In Convivio 3.4, composed at roughly the same time as the Treaty, Dante writes: “[S]econdo la sentenza del Filosofo nel terzo de l’Etica . . . l’uomo è degno di loda e di vituperio solo in quelle cose che sono in sua podestà di fare o di non fare”; for this reason, “non dovemo lodare l’uomo per biltade che abbia da sua nativitade ne lo suo corpo, chè non fu ello di ciò fattore.”88 When the procura names Dante as a “legitimum procuratorem, actorem, [End Page 74] factorem et nuncium specialem,” it renders him potentially “degno di loda” by granting him a say, even if only a symbolic one, in quelling the strife he believed was destroying Italy.

Yet as important as these titles were in conferring diplomatic status upon the poet during the conclusion of these negotiations, it was his existing stature that had made his representation of Franceschino acceptable to both sides in the first place, even though the commission implies loyalty to one side only. In the medieval period, third-party mediators in conflicts were often influential personages whose reputations compensated for the possibility that they might not be as neutral as the term “third-party” suggests.89 The bishop and historian Otto of Freising had served as negotiator for his uncle Frederick Barbarossa in Barbarossa’s difficulties with the princes of Saxony; much nearer to Dante’s time, Albertus Magnus had successfully mediated between the archbishop and the citizens of Cologne because, though aligned with the latter, he had earned the respect of both parties.90 Such considerations should be borne in mind when evaluating whether Dante himself would have been viewed with suspicion by the bishop and his entourage simply because he was a proxy. His cultural authority, along with the titles bestowed on him, effectively raised his status to that of mediator.

The language of the mandatum implies that both parties esteemed the poet sufficiently to agree to his presence. Whereas in Purgatorio 8 Currado Malaspina hopes that the pilgrim is capable of receiving and cooperating with God’s grace, the power of attorney qualifies Dante himself, on behalf of Franceschino Malaspina,

to receive peace, calm, tranquillity, forgiveness and [their] perpetual duration from the venerable Father and Lord in Christ, Lord Antonio, by the grace of God Bishop and Count of Luni; for the giving and the returning [of peace] for himself, for his successors, for the church of Luni and for his friends, subjects and followers, from all and individual injuries, wars, enmities, offenses, burnings, damages, rebellions, injuries, homicides and whatsoever other crimes or enormities perpetrated, executed or hitherto agreed against the same venerable Father, the church of Luni, or the men and followers of the same.91

In his catalogue of outrages against the Luni bishopric, di Stupio multiplies forms of violence with seemingly damning comprehensiveness, faulting the marquises for a myriad of evils that are never mentioned in the Valley of the Princes in Purgatorio 8. The list of crimes borrows [End Page 75] in part from the language of an accord of 1281, which ended hostilities between the Malaspinas and one of Bishop da Camilla’s predecessors;92 the parallels underscore the recurrent feuds between the two parties but also suggest di Stupio’s notarial determination to impose control upon that violence, if only through formulaic diction and the recycling of words and phrases from an earlier context. Borrowing the language of a prior pact proves the repeatability of peace-making no less than of the bloodshed that necessitates it. The effect is that of a measured recitation of offenses that indirectly points to the benefits of peace without resorting to impassioned philippics; a carefully scripted process is underway, and both magnates and prelates have been through it before. Even the attribution of all this mayhem to Franceschino, Moroello, Corradino, and their followers is only implicit; the term recipiendam (loosely translated above as “to receive”) identifies the bishop as the aggrieved party empowered to give or withhold peace. As Vecchi observes, “il verbo recipere attribuisce al vescovo una sorta di preminenza, che è tipica dell’offeso nelle compromissioni pacificatorie, ma nel contesto è anche politica e spirituale.”93 If I understand Vecchi’s point correctly, the “spiritual” preeminence conferred upon the bishop by the word recipiendam anticipates the Treaty’s association of the Malaspinas, who will receive peace, with Jesus’ disciples, and Bishop da Camilla, who will give peace, with Jesus himself. It is to the Treaty, and its more literary evocation of Dante’s presence during the negotiations, that we should now turn.

The Treaty proper surpasses the power of attorney in that it places the burden of honoring the peace not only on Moroello and Corradino but on all the Malaspinas, including those who have not reached the age of majority.94 Strikingly, even as it enlarges the procura’s “textual community” of responsible human participants, the Treaty restricts its accusatory scope to the suggestion that a superhuman agent is to blame for the region’s perennial chaos.95 The guilty party is Satan:

In the name of the Lord, Amen. In the one thousand three hundred and sixth year from his nativity, in the fourth indiction, on the sixth day of October, in the third hour. The power of the Devil having long been in the ascendant, wars and hateful enmities have arisen between the venerable Father and Lord, Antonio, by the grace of God Bishop and Count of Luni, and the eminent and exalted Lords Moroello, Franceschino, Corradino and their brothers, the Marquises Malaspina; and out of these [wars and hateful enmities] many murders, injuries, instances of carnage, conflagrations, acts of devastation, damages and perils have ensued. [End Page 76] And the province of Lunigiana having been lacerated in multifarious ways, the aforementioned Lords Bishop and Marquises have cloven to the example of the Father Most High, who said to his apostles “My peace I give you, my peace I leave to you . . . .”96

By citing diabolical influence, the agreement reflects a practical tendency in late medieval Italian instrumenta pacis to codify peace without obliging any human party to confess wrongdoing;97 the temporal adverb diucius echoes this tendency by being so nonspecific. As Nicolas Offenstadt has demonstrated in the context of the Hundred Years’ War, peace treaties of the era often blame conflict on the Devil, and although they describe his meddling in human affairs in vague, highly generalized ways, the mere act of referring to him underscores via contrast the divine aspect and thus the divine rewards of pursuing peace.98 Invoking Satan may prompt a cynical response from modern readers, but in the minds of those who subscribed to the Treaty of Castelnuovo Magra it would have evoked a palpable force capable of irrupting into human history from beyond time. Rhetorical convention need not rule out religious conviction; to the contrary, it communicated that conviction as effectively as di Stupio’s list of crimes pointed to actual offenses.

Dante likely played no part in initially motivating Bishop da Camilla and the Malaspinas to cease hostilities; they had decided upon peace and its specific terms well in advance of their two meetings in Sarzana and Castelnuovo, and the poet was brought in simply to solemnize the decided pact.99 In this light Dante resembles Albertus Magnus, who in mediating the strife between the bishop and burghers of Cologne had similarly “clothed the resolution, which had already been accepted by both sides, in a judgment in order to provide it with legal force afterwards.”100 His ceremonial role in shaping peace in the Lunigiana meant that Dante could exercise his literary talent and weave exhortations for peace into his illustrations of the influence of superhuman and superlu-nary forces on earthly affairs.

As discussed above, Vanni Fucci in Inferno 24 predicts that Mars will “draw” (tragge) Moroello Malaspina out of the Val di Magra to destroy the Pistoiese Bianchi; crediting Mars and blaming Satan perform similar cultural work in two very different kinds of text insofar as both gestures deflect attention away from the agency underlying Malaspinian violence. Dante believed that human beings, endowed [End Page 77] with free will, bore responsibility for their own acts; yet his Commedia reconciles astronomy with theology when it has the pilgrim initially behold Paradise as a spiritualized solar system whose planetary orbits contain different orders of saved souls, a reflection of his belief that the stars influenced human behavior even if they did not determine it.101 In light of Dante’s thinking in the Commedia and beyond, Mars assumes a variety of meanings: Paradiso 14–18 associate the planet, by analogy with the Roman god, with the Church Militant and with warfare prosecuted on behalf of the true faith.102 Convivio 2.13 characterizes the celestial body in terms of heat, dryness, and changes (sometimes violent) in the governance of kingdoms—“transmutamenti di regni,” echoing the medieval historiographical trope of “transfer of empire” (or “of rule”; translatio imperii) that Ernst Robert Curtius traces back to Ecclesiasticus 10:8.103 Dante may have thought that Moroello’s brutality at Campo Piceno was justified, or at least he may have learned to accept it; but the role of Mars in that ferocity, as asserted so spitefully by Fucci, implies a lesser dignity than what is ascribed to the sphere of that planet in the Paradiso. The portrayal of Moroello himself, in consequence, thwarts idealization when the various roles of Mars are kept in mind; “transmutamenti di regni” were the norm in Dante’s Italy and could just as easily occur in the Lunigiana (as they eventually did). One might retort that Fucci’s perspective is limited and even distorted by his sinful state; but the pain that Dante has the thief inflict on the viator chimes with Dante’s own hardship, which cannot be explained away by claims that Fucci’s malice perverts the figure of Moroello into a mere tool of Mars. Inferno 24 sheds light on what Moroello has done in war; Purgatorio 8 points the way to what the Malaspinas can do to make peace with God; the Treaty of Castelnuovo makes explicit the lesson that is implicit in Purgatory by describing the marquises’ and the bishop’s peace negotiations as “cleaving to the example of the Father Most High” (“summi Patris inherentes exemplo”).

Dante, not the notary, is usually credited with the Treaty’s theological flavoring in this passage.104 His homage to Malaspinian virtues in Purgatorio 8 invites comparison with the Treaty’s synthesis of theology with diplomacy, a synthesis that seeks to secure peace while salvaging the marquises’ reputation, the poet’s admiration for proficient warriors notwithstanding.105 After so much time—the Treaty’s prologue continues—the two warring parties have finally come to heed Scriptural [End Page 78] precept by emulating God’s peace in the “provincia Lunexane diversi-mode lacerata.” In this formulation the use of a double ablative absolute is noteworthy;106 it evades the question of human responsibility by refusing to identify those who have subjected the region to lacerating trauma. Yet the Treaty concedes collective agency, as well as the potential for such agency to be undermined, in its claim that the bishop and the marquises have now “cloven” to the example set by God’s own peace. The verb inherentes (lit. “[are] cleaving”) implies a deliberate choice, one that Dante applauds by echoing John 14:27, but with a twist: the poet attributes words to the first person of the Trinity that the gospel claims instead were uttered by the second. The minor misattribution widens the gulf between the personage conferring peace and the community receiving it, and implicitly casts the Malaspinas as supplicants before their “venerable Father and Lord in Christ” Bishop da Camilla. The Scriptural resonance is apt; discord had undone even the fellowship of Jesus’s disciples, and the potential for discord is hinted at in Dante’s promise “that the same Lord Franceschino will induce, if he is able, the same Lord Moroello to ratify and adhere firmly to all the things written above and herein, just as the aforementioned Lord Bishop promises and will bind himself in obligation [to the things agreed to] above and within.”107 Such “precautionary formulas” (formule precauzionali) as these inform Santagata’s judgment, mentioned earlier, that the conditions for peace had already been worked out in advance of the meeting at Castelnuovo Magra.108 Although the open-ended protasis si poterit leaves a loophole for Moroello and thus perhaps strains the Treaty’s model of apostolic tractability, the wording nevertheless records the poet’s vicarious promise to help Franceschino secure his cooperation. An optimistic note is sounded, the echo from the Gospel of John serving as an exemplum that raises the spiritual stakes of the Lunigianese peace proceedings.

The Treaty’s exhortative, exemplary quality is enhanced when it recounts that “in a sign of true and perpetual peace, the said venerable Father the Lord Bishop and the aforesaid Dante exchanged a kiss with each other.”109 Kissing was one of several symbolic gestures that typified medieval peace negotiations.110 Between rulers or between magnates (as opposed to dealings between private citizens), the “kiss of peace” was public and thus especially symbolic anyway;111 within the Castelnuovo context the gesture’s liturgical resonance had been intensified [End Page 79] in advance by the Treaty’s earlier allusion to Jesus’s bestowal of peace on his disciples.112 If the Johannine echo implicitly figures Bishop da Camilla as Jesus and the Malaspinas as Jesus’s disciples, what role does it leave for Moroello if he proves intractable? The text’s typology, if taken to its logical conclusion, would cast him as a doubting Thomas or a denying Peter, perhaps even as a traducing Judas, who infamously betrayed Jesus with a kiss. The artistry with which the Treaty formalizes peace, however, is subtle enough not to dwell on this possibility. Just as Purgatorio shows souls being taught virtue as well as being purged of vice, so too does the Dantean portion of the Treaty represent the Malaspinas as active learners of political and spiritual harmony.113 In freely and sincerely receiving the bishop’s peace, they signal their willingness to join with him in a fellowship at once earthly and divine. Although they likely recognized no coercive power in the rituals that accompanied their negotiations with Bishop da Camilla (including the ceremonial kiss), they would have been mindful of the rituals’ public nature and thus the infamy—broadly conceived—that might attach to them if they went back on their word and broke the peace.114

The didacticism with which Dante conflates supernatural and political considerations in the Treaty accords in a general way with his later appeal to “l’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle” (Par. 33.145). More specifically, it borrows—as is well known—from one of Cassiodorus’s Variae, specifically from Book 1, letter 1, which is addressed in the name of Theodoric to the emperor Anastasius and claims that those rulers who choose to seek peace are in fact responding to the grace of God.115 The Lunigianese potentates, episcopal and marchional, are said to

bear in mind that tranquillity, wherein peoples prosper and the welfare of nations is preserved, must be desirable to every state. It is the noble mother of good arts; it increases the race of mortals with restorative succession; it extends their powers and enhances customs. It is scarcely recognized how much of a virtue it is. Glorying in the soft tranquillity and serene pleasantness of peace among their friends, followers and subjects, by the illuminating grace of the Most High Savior they have come to the undersigned peace and to true and perpetual concord.116

In the Commedia, Dante has his viator declaim against malefactors, but as Franceschino’s actor-factor-procurator he needed to be discreet when contributing phrasing to the Treaty of Castelnuovo. Through Cassiodorus, he proclaims as a basic article of faith that “tranquillity . . . [End Page 80] must be desirable to every state [regno],” the use of the noun regnum being stretched considerably to encompass the Malaspinian domains, which lacked the cohesion that would have made them recognizable as a single, conventional regnum or even one populus or gens. Here Dante is urging his patrons to aspire not only to tranquility but also to unity.

Kumhara cautions that medieval Italian peace treaties sought only to manage violence, not to eliminate it altogether.117 But if Dante’s contribution to the Treaty is, as Vecchi surmises, “quasi un sigillo delle sue meditazioni politiche,”118 the poet-negotiator may be said to promote and even teach what he cannot legally enforce: an apostolic peace and oneness for the Malaspinas, both with their enemies and with one another.119 Although it merely places a literary imprimatur on proceedings that had already been worked out in advance, his wording creates an aspirational role for Dante as the rhetorical architect of a grace-infused political order, his sly achievements as factor/fattore anticipating what Teodolinda Barolini discerns as the Purgatorio’s “transgressive” promotion of the poet as “the object of God’s grace whom Currado is summoned [by Nino Visconti] to see” in the Valley of the Princes.120


The Treaty of Castelnuovo portrays the Malaspinas emerging from violence and aspiring to civil and spiritual redemption, taking small terrestrial steps towards peace that recall the sublime progress up the slopes of Dante’s Purgatory, that cosmic in-between space which “embodies neither the absolute evil of Hell nor the absolute good of Paradise, but rather the tendency to evil controlled by the opposing desire for good.”121 Even as it depicts the Malaspinas desiring the good, the Treaty exhorts them to work for it. The Valley of the Princes in Purgatorio 8 temporarily hosts a Malaspina who similarly embodies an in-between state; although the novella vera requested by Currado is not the “Good News” of the evangelists, the very use of the word novella allows Dante the poet to hint at the holier semantic potential of this noun as he uses it elsewhere,122 a potential that Currado will fully realize when he completes his ascent of the Mount and that his descendants too, by extension, are invited to contemplate and to achieve. Meanwhile, the fictional setting of the Commedia in 1300 permits Dante to keep his [End Page 81] pilgrim ignorant of an especially intriguing novella: that in 1306 he, the poet, will help to save the Lunigiana from the hell that Currado’s relatives had helped to make of it. As a Malaspinian factor, he will seek to conform the cessation of hostilities in northwestern Tuscany to God’s own peace, a task requiring him to brave ostensibly diabolical forces in order to reintroduce tranquility to a land where it had long been scarce. Pace the pilgrim’s affirmation in Antepurgatory, the Malaspinas had not succeeded in writhing free from a world twisted by the capo reo, though they may yet do so by enshrining the ideals dictated by the poet-diplomat.

The “chiaro affresco autobiografico del soggiorno lunigianese di Dante” said to adorn the eighth canto of Purgatorio thus contains more chiaroscuro than has been generally recognized.123 In tandem with that passage, Inferno 24 and the Treaty of Castelnuovo suggest a degree of ambivalence in their author’s view of his hosts, evident in the dissonance between the conduct lauded in the Valley of the Princes and the misconduct exposed in the Val di Magra. Existing simultaneously, those discordant reputations can be harmonized, Dante suggests, if the Malaspinas receive Bishop da Camilla’s proffered peace and thus rescue their fame (always a fragile commodity to begin with) from the danger of infamy. The best novelle vere to which the teleology of both the canticle and the concordat implicitly look forward, then, envisage the family’s synthesis of courtly virtues with heavenly ideals.


An embryonic form of this essay was presented at a meeting of the Canadian Society for Italian Studies at the University of Victoria in June 2013. I express my gratitude to Konrad Eisenbichler, then of the CSIS program committee; to the University of Victoria for grants that enabled me to travel to La Spezia, Pontremoli, Aulla, and Sarzana in 2013 and 2016 to conduct research and acquire material on local Lunigianese history; to the staff of the Abbey and Museum of San Caprasio in Aulla for their kindness; to Teresa Burlando for her hospitality in Cogoleto (Genoa); and to Marina Bettaglio, as always, for her generosity, wisdom and inspiration, and for the gift of Alessandro Barbero’s new study Dante (see below, n. 1). I also thank Anna Fenton-Hathaway for her editorial acumen, patience, and stylistic suggestions, and Justin Steinberg and two anonymous readers for saving me from many errors; I am alone responsible for any that remain.

1. On the Lunigiana see e.g. Roberto Ricci, Poteri e territorio in Lunigiana storica (VII–XI secolo): Uomini, terra e poteri in una regione di confine (Spoleto: Centro Italiano di Studi sull’Alto Medioevo, 2002); Pompeo Giannantonio, “Dante e la Lunigiana,” in Dante e le città dell’esilio, ed. Guido di Pino (Ravenna: Longo, 1989), 33–46; Vasco Bianchi, Scritti Danteschi e Malaspiniani, ed. Dario Manfredi with memorial tribute by Loris Jacopo Bononi (Pontremoli: Paolo Savi, 2006), especially 51–70; the essays gathered, respectively, in Dante Studies 124 (2006) and in Il nostro Dante e il Dante di tutti: 1306–2006, special issue of Giornale storico della Lunigiana e del Territorio Lucense, n.s. 59 (2008); and now Alessandro Barbero, Dante (Bari: Laterza, 2020), 210–11. The pressures applied by nearby Genoa, Lucca, Pisa, Parma, and Piacenza prevented the rise of major cities in the Lunigiana: see Bianchi, Scritti, 58, and Giorgio Baruffini’s Enciclopedia Dantesca entry “Lunigiana,” online at Small fiefdoms and signories on the other side of the Tosco-Emilian Apennines were similarly inhibited by Florence: see Paolo Pirillo, “Signorie dell’Appennino tra Toscana ed Emilia-Romagna alla fine del Medioevo,” in Poteri signorili e feudali nelle campagne dell'Italia settentrionale fra Tre e Quattrocento: fondamenti di legittimità e forme di esercizio, ed. Federica Cengarle, Giorgio Chittolini, and Gian Maria Varanini (Florence: Firenze University Press, 2005), 211–25. The Via Francigena was frequented by pilgrims and mercenaries alike: see William Caferro, John Hawkwood: An English Mercenary in Fourteenth-Century Italy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), 51, 92.

2. John Larner distinguishes between “signorial domains” and “cities presided over by bourgeois or bourgeois-aristocratic oligarchies,” and notes that during the Trecento very few urban republics (e.g. Florence, Siena, Venice) withstood “the tide which was carrying Italy to one-man governments”: Culture and Society in Italy 1290–1420 (London: B.T. Batsford, 1971), 64. See too J. K. Hyde, Society and Politics in Medieval Italy: The Evolution of the Civil Life, 1000–1350 (London: Macmillan, 1973), 141–52. John Law distinguishes further between rural and urban lordships in “The Italian North,” in The New Cambridge Medieval History VI: c.1300–c.1415, ed. Michael Jones (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 42–68, at 450–51.

3. For these observations, see Bianchi, Scritti, 57–58, noting the “condotta spregiudicata e opportunistica” that typified the Malaspinas’ alignments. See too Renato Bordone, Guido Castelnuovo, and Gian Maria Varanini, Le aristocrazie dai signori rurali al patriziato (Rome: Laterza e Figli, 2004), 13. On the mutability of Guelfism and Ghibellinism, see Hyde, Society and Politics in Medieval Italy, 132–41, and Giuliano Milani, “La fedeltà di Dante a Moroello: L’epistola IV dalla prospettiva del destinatario,” in Le lettere di Dante: Ambienti culturali, contesti storici e circolazione dei saperi, ed. Antonio Montefusco and Giuliano Milani (Berlin: Walter De Gruyter, 2020), 243–64, at 248.

4. As far back as 1124, the city of Lucca had stepped in to mediate between the count-bishops of Luni and the Obertenghis over the latter’s capture of Monte Caprione: Bianchi, Scritti, 56 and n. 11; Luigi Mussi, Dante, i Malaspina e la Lunigiana (Massa: G. Mannucci, 1922), 7–9; Chris Wickham, The Mountains and the City: The Tuscan Appennines in the Early Middle Ages (Oxford, UK: Clarendon, 1988), 34–35, 278–79.

5. On Franceschino, see Renato Piattoli, “Malaspina, Franceschino, marchese di Mulazzo,” Enciclopedia dantesca, ed. Umberto Bosco, vol. 3 (Rome: Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana, 1971), 780, and Giuliano Milani’s notes in Dante Alighieri, Le opere, vol. 7, part 3, Codice diplomatico dantesco (hereafter referred to as CDD), ed. Teresa De Robertis, Giuliano Milani, Laura Regnicoli, and Stefano Zamponi (Rome: Salerno Editrice, 2016), 236–38.

6. In this sentence and the one preceding it I am indebted to Bianchi, Scritti, 64–65; Milani’s notes in CDD, 237; and Eliana M. Vecchi, “ ‘Ad pacem et veram et perpetuam concordiam devenerunt’: Il cartulario del notaio Giovanni di Parente di Stupio e l’instrumentum pacis del 1306,” in Nostro Dante, 69–194, at 153–54 (cited by Milani).

7. Giorgio Inglese, Vita di Dante: Una biografia possibile, with an essay by Giuliano Milani (Rome: Carocci, 2015), 89; Vecchi, “ ‘Ad pacem,’ ” 132. Alagia was of course the daughter, “buona da sé,” of Pope Adrian V (Purg. 19.143); see John C. Barnes, “Moroello ‘vapor’: metafora meteorica e visione dantesca del marchese di Giovagallo,” Dante Studies 124 (2006): 35–56, at 38–40; Marco Santagata, Dante: Il romanzo della sua vita (Milan: Mondadori, 2012), trans. into English by Richard Dixon as Dante: The Story of His Life (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016), 197, 231. (I thank Lorenzo Bartoli of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid for first referring me to Santagata’s book.) There were several Moroello Malaspinas whom Dante would have known; the debate is surveyed by Bianchi (who favors the marquis of Giovagallo) in Scritti, 45–49. Other studies include Simonetta Saffiotti Bernardi, “Malaspina, Moroello,” Enciclopedia dantesca, ed. Bosco, vol. 3, 781–82; Livio Galanti, Il soggiorno di Dante in Lunigiana (Mulazzo: Centro Dantesco della Biblioteca Comunale di Mulazzo, 1985), 20–26; Barnes, “Moroello ‘vapor,’ ” 36 (citing Bianchi in n. 4); Barnes, “Storming the Barbican: A Military Reading of Inferno VIII–IX,” in War and Peace in Dante: Essays Literary, Historical and Theological, ed. John C. Barnes and Daragh O’Connell (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2015), 73–94, at 89–92; Umberto Carpi, La nobiltà di Dante, vol. 2 (Florence: Edizioni Polistampa, 2004), 518–27; and now Milani, “La fedeltà di Dante a Moroello,” 244–46.

8. Galanti, Soggiorno di Dante, 51–63; cited approvingly by Vecchi, “ ‘Ad pacem,’ ” 164–65.

9. The Treaty is edited by Teresa De Robertis, CDD, 238–43; its accompanying procura or power of attorney is edited by Laura Regnicoli, CDD, 235–36. The notary seems to have begun copying the Treaty, then stopped to record the power of attorney, then resumed work on the main document; the problem has been studied often (e.g. by Vecchi, “ ‘Ad pacem,’ ” 166–69; Milani, notes in CDD, 234–35, citing Vecchi) but is not germane to the present essay.

10. The many studies of Dante’s experiences in and references to the Lunigiana include Alfred Bassermann, Dantes Spuren in Italien: Wanderungen und Untersuchungen (Munich: R. Oldenbourg, 1899), 148–63, translated by Egidio Gorra into Italian as Orme di Dante in Italia (Bologna: Nicola Zanichetti, 1902), 345–79; Isidoro Del Lungo et al., Il sesto centenario della venuta di Dante in Lunigiana: Estratto dalla “Rassegna Nazionale” (Florence, October 16, 1906); the collaborative Dante e la Lunigiana: Nel sesto centenario della venuta del Poeta in Valdimagra MCCCVI–MDCCCCVI (Milan: Hoepli, 1909); Mussi, Dante, i Malaspina e la Lunigiana; Livio Galanti, Soggiorno di Dante; Livio Galanti, La Lunigiana nella Divina Commedia (Mulazzo: Corriere Apuano, 1988); Livio Galanti, Il secondo soggiorno di Dante in Lunigiana e la composizione del “Purgatorio,” with preface by Giorgio Barberi Squarotti (Lunigiana: Società Dante Alighieri, 1993); Livio Galanti, Io dico seguitando: Il ritrovamento dei primi sette canti dell’ Inferno e la ripresa della composizione della Commedia, with preface by Vittorio Vettori (Mulazzo: Centro di Studi Malaspiniani, 1995); Giannantonio, “Dante e la Lunigiana”; Carlo Dolcini, “Qualcosa di nuovo su Dante: Due tesi politiche nel 1306,” Pensiero politico medievale 1 (2003): 19–25; Giuseppe L. Coluccia, “Dante e i Malaspina: Approfondimenti sulle origini della Divina Commedia,” Atti dell’Accademia delle Arti del Disegno, 2003–2004 (Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 2004), 21–51; Bianchi, Scritti; the various contributions to Dante Studies 124 (2006) and to Nostro Dante (see above, n. 1), especially Vecchi, “ ‘Ad pacem’ ”; Emiliano Bertin, “Un altro frammento della Commedia in Lunigiana,” La Bibliofilía 110, no. 2 (2008): 181–86; Emiliano Bertin, “La pace di Castelnuovo Magra (6 ottobre 1306): Otto argomenti per la paternità dantesca,” Italia medioevale e umanistica, n.s. 46 (2005): 1–34 (cited in Vecchi, “ ‘Ad pacem,’ ” 82 n. 32); and the studies cited below, n. 14. Also important is Santagata, Dante: The Story of His Life, esp. 194–209, 215, 219.

11. Del Lungo, “Dante in Lunigiana: Discorso letto nel teatro di Sarzana la sera del 6 ottobre 1906,” in Dante e la Lunigiana, 166–207, at 186 (on Dante’s finding true peace only late in life), 199 (on the bishopric), 191 (on the courtliness associated with the Malaspinian marquisates), 195 (on the intellectual comfort Dante found therein).

12. Untitled speech at Castelnuovo Magra, in Sesto centenario, ed. Del Lungo, 43–45, at 44.

13. Giannantonio, “Dante e la Lunigiana,” 46. Giannantonio’s thoughts on this matter are quoted much more extensively, and subjected to somewhat skeptical analysis (considered further below), by Loris Jacopo Bononi, “Giovanni Manzini di Fivizzano e l’Inferno di Dante: La più antica testimonianza scritta di una consapevolezza dantesca in Lunigiana?”, in Nostro Dante, 323–40, at 337–39.

14. Mirco Manuguerra, Via Dantis: Odissea ai confini della Divina Commedia (n.p. [Mulazzo]: Centro Lunigianese di Studi Danteschi, 2009), 36. For nuanced interpretations of the poet’s literary treatment of the Malaspinian Lunigiana in relation to his attitudes toward Florence and the Casentino district, see Georges Güntert, “Canto VIII,” in Lectura Dantis Turicensis: “Purgatorio,” ed. Georges Güntert and Michelangelo Picone (Florence: Franco Cesati, 2001), 109–20; Marcello Ciccuto, “Malaspina ‘prodi’ della Commedia e l’etica cortese dantesca,” Dante Studies 124 (2006): 25–33; Anna Fontes Baratto, “Le diptyque montanino de Dante,” in, ed. Anna Fontes Baratto, special themed issue of Arzanà 12 (2007): 65–97, at 87; Giuseppe Ciavorella, “Corrado Malaspina e sua gente onrata: Ospitalità e profezia (Purgatorio VIII, 109–139),” L’Alighieri 36 (2010): 65–85; Sabrina Ferrara, La parola dell’esilio: Autore e lettori nelle opera di Dante in esilio (Florence: Franco Cesati, 2016), 55–57; Enrico Fenzi, Le canzoni di Dante: Interpretazioni e letture (Florence: Le Lettere, 2017), 547–77.

15. Ricci, Poteri e territorio in Lunigiana Storica, 3.

16. Santagata, Dante, 195 (191 in the Italian edition).

17. Santagata, Dante, 196–97. The lack of a single, centralized Malaspinian “court” is considered below.

18. Space constraints prevent me from doing more than mentioning Epistola 4. For this text, see Dante Alighieri, La canzone “montanina, ed. Paola Allegretti with preface by Guglielmo Gorni (Verbania: Tararà, 2001), 2, 11–14. In Dante dalla “mirabile visione” a “l’altro viaggio”: Tra Vita Nova e Divina Commedia (Ravenna: Longo, 2016), Nicolò Mineo dates the epistle and its accompanying poem “tra fine 1307 e prima del 1308” (181) but points out that Dante’s host in the Casentino could have been Guido Salvatico di Dovadola or Guido di Battifolle (135–36). For Sabrina Ferrara, the epistle associates the Lunigiana with Dante’s pre-exile freedom, and the Casentino, where the poet fell in love with a local woman against his will, with the suffering he experienced after his banishment (Parola, 55–57). Milani, “La fedeltà di Dante” (261), dates the epistle to between late 1308 and late 1310.

19. According to Baruffini (“Lunigiana”), the inhibiting influence of nearby powerful communes explains why in the Lunigiana “[v]i mancava . . . quel dinamismo politico così vitale in altre regioni, ma che agli occhi di D. era prova della decadenza dei tempi: un angolo dunque di relativa tranquillità, almeno per il poeta, nel tormentato quadro dell'Italia trecentesca.”

20. “Giovanni Manzini,” in Nostro Dante, 338–39. For a roughly similar but far more impassioned tactical retreat, see Del Lungo, “Dante in Lunigiana,” in Dante e la Lunigiana, 189–207.

21. Del Lungo held, implausibly, that “[s]ui castelli dei Malaspina, o guelfi o ghibellini che fossero, non sventolava, su nessuno di essi, l’insegna d’un partigiano dalle audaci ambizioni di principe venturiero” (“Dante in Lunigiana,” in Dante e la Lunigiana, 191). On the dating of the completion of Purgatorio to 1315–16, see Giuseppe Indizio, “Dante e l’enigma del monaco Ilaro di S. Croce: Contributo per una vexata quaestio,” Dante Studies 124 (2006): 91–118, at 104. Santagata claims that “[t]he first half of Purgatorio . . . was written in haste, by the end of summer 1310” (Dante, 226, 234). The Inferno was drafted in part during Dante’s stay in the Lunigiana: Mirko Tavoni, Qualche idea su Dante (Bologna: Mulino, 2015), 18; Santagata, Dante: il romanzo, 119, cited by Marco Veglia, Dante leggero: Dal priorato alla “Commedia” (Rome: Carocci, 2017), 13 n. 1, nevertheless cautioning that Inglese (Vita di Dante, 103) dates the beginnings of the poem’s composition to the period “tra l’estate del 1308 e i primi mesi del 1309.”

22. “Giovanni Manzini,” 324.

23. As shown by Joan M. Ferrante’s analysis of Purgatorio 8’s pairing of Currado Malaspina and Nino Visconti in relation to Inferno 10’s pairing of Cavalcante de’ Cavalcanti and Farinata degli Uberti, in The Political Vision of the Divine Comedy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984), 214–21; and by Ferrara’s elucidation of Dante’s praise of Moroello Malaspina in Epistola 4 (La Parola, 55–57), which contrasts the Lunigiana to the Casentino. See too Santagata, Dante, 194–209; Barbero, Dante, 206–24. Pope Adrian V’s high esteem for his niece Alagia (Purg. 19.143) is often understood as indirect praise of her husband Moroello and his family; see the notes on Purg. 19 in Dante Alighieri, Commedia, vol. 2, Purgatorio, ed. Anna Maria Chiavacci Leonardi (Milan: Mondadori, 1994), 576 n. 142; Del Lungo, “Dante in Lunigiana,” in Dante e la Lunigiana, 198; Giannantonio, “Dante e la Lunigiana,” 33–46, 39–40 (citing Chiavacci Leonardi in n. 25); Barnes, “Moroello ‘vapor,’ ” 38–40 (citing Giannantonio); Galanti, Lunigiana, 43.

24. Santagata concedes that Frate Ilaro’s letter famously reports Dante’s intention to dedicate the Purgatorio to the Malaspinas, but that otherwise, “[s]o far as the Malaspina are concerned, Dante shows an astonishing lack of gratitude toward them. . . . [I]n Verona, Dante wipes away all trace of the Malaspina family” (Dante, 308; compare with 229).

25. Giorgio Petrocchi, ll “Purgatorio” di Dante (Milan: Rizzoli, 1978), 65. See too Eugenio Donadoni, “Il canto VIII del Purgatorio,” in Letture Dantesche (Florence: Sansoni, 1962), 825–46; Giuseppe Petronio, ll canto VIII del “Purgatorio” (Florence: Le Monnier, 1966); Umberto Bosco, Dante: Il “Purgatorio,” 2nd ed. (Turin: Edizioni RAI, 1967), 70–75; Denise Heilbronn, “Dante’s Valley of the Princes,” Dante Studies 90 (1972): 43–58; Marcello Aurigemma, “Il canto VIII del ‘Purgatorio,’ ” in “Purgatorio”: Letture degli anni 1976–’79, ed. Silvio Zennaro (Rome: Bonacci, 1981), 155–74; Margaret Grimes, “The Serpent of Purgatorio VIII,” Romance Notes 24, no. 2 (1983): 100–05; Ferrante, Political Vision, 214–21; Uberto Limentani, Dante’s “Comedy”: Readings of Selected Cantos (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 97–113; Teodolinda Barolini, The Undivine Comedy: Detheologizing Dante (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), 120–21; Güntert, “Canto VIII”; Natascia Tonelli, “Purgatorio VIII 46–139: L’incontro con Nino Visconti e Corrado Malaspina,” Tenzone 3 (2002): 263–81 (online at; Michelangelo Zaccarello, “Lectura di Purgatorio VIII,” Dante Studies 124 (2006): 7–23 (citing Aurigemma’s and Tonelli’s studies); Claire E. Honess, From Florence to the Heavenly City: The Poetry of Citizenship in Dante (Abingdon: MHRA / Routledge, 2006), 96–98, 105–6; Ricardo J. Quinones, “Canto VIII: In the Valley of the Rulers,” in Lectura Dantis: “Purgatorio,” ed. Allen Mandelbaum, Anthony Oldcorn, and Charles Ross (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008), 73–84; Giuseppe Mazzotta, Reading Dante (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014), 134–35; Teodolinda Barolini’s commentary on the canto in Columbia University’s Digital Dante Project, at

26. All quotations from the Comedy are from Dante Alighieri, Commedia, ed. Emilio Pasquini and Antonio Quaglio (Milan: Garzanti, 1987). On Currado as the marquis of Villafranca, see Alessandro D’Ancona, “Il canto VIII del Purgatorio, in Dante e la Lunigiana, 1–32, at 29; Bianchi, Scritti, 104; Galanti, Soggiorno, 123–25 and passim.

27. I thank an anonymous reader for urging me to consider Dante’s Purgatory as a place not only of purification but also of (re-)education. On the latter, see e.g. Barolini, Undivine Comedy, 101, 107–8; Jeffrey T. Schnapp, “Introduction to Purgatorio,” in The Cambridge Companion to Dante, 2nd ed., ed. Rachel Jacoff (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 91–106, at 97–98; Christopher Kleinhenz, “Dante’s Artistry in Purgatorio,” MLN 134 Supplement (2019): S-40–S-55, at S-41.

28. Francis Fergusson, Dante’s Drama of the Mind: A Modern Reading of the “Purgatorio” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1953), 29. See too Heilbronn, “Dante’s Valley of the Princes,” especially her insights that, on one hand, “[t]he orientation of Antepurgatory is unmistakably backward [i.e. towards life on earth],” and, on the other hand, “the souls suspended there—like the Aeneid’s restless Palinurus—wait to transcend the limits of their earthly existence. In this certain hope, the waiting souls are pilgrims” (44). Compare George Corbett, “Moral Structure,” in The Cambridge Companion to Dante’s Commedia, ed. Zygmunt G. Barański and Simon Gilson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), 61–78, at 71.

29. Jacques Le Goff, The Birth of Purgatory, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), 342.

30. Da Buti glossed lucerna as “lo lume; e per questo [Dante] intende la grazia di Dio illuminante”: Francesco da Buti, Commento sopra la Divina comedia di Dante Allighieri, ed. Crescentino Giannini, vol. 2, Purgatorio (Pisa: Fratelli Nistri, 1860), 185; compare L’Ottimo commento della “Divina commedia, n.e. (ed. Alessandro Torri), vol. 2 (Pisa: Niccolò Capurro, 1828), 118. Zaccarello adduces Matthew 25:1–13 to argue, against da Buti, that lucerna here must refer to “l’impegno e la capacità individuale” (“Lectura,” 21), but the traditional interpretation is upheld by Petronio, Canto VIII, 23; Aurigemma, “Canto VIII,” 171; Limentani, Dante’s “Comedy,” 111; and Ciavorella, “Corrado Malaspina,” 66. Compare the uses of lucerna and cera in Paradiso 1.37–42.

31. Benvenuto da Imola believed that Dante had intended Currado to be skeptical of outsiders professing to bear tidings, hence the commentator’s paraphrase of Purg. 8.115–17 as “non fingas mihi”: Comentum super Dantis Aldigherij comœdiam, ed. William Warren Vernon and Giacomo Filippo Lacaita, vol. 3 (Florence: G. Barbera, 1887), 241.

32. Ciavorella (“Corrado Malaspina,” 66) formally distinguishes between the “valore ottativo” of the first se and the “normale valore ipotetico” of the second, and provides a full theological explanation of the content of the optative se-clause: “in sostanza—afferma Corrado, che traduce un semplice augurio in elogio della carità divina ed in affermazione dell’importanza del libero arbitrio umano—, Dio concede all’uomo la luce della grazia, ma dipende dalla volontà dell’uomo accettarla o meno, tenerla accesa o spegnerla.”

33. Aleardo Sacchetto, E canterò di quel secondo regno: Motivi del “Purgatorio” dantesco (Florence: Le Monnier, 1963), 15.

34. Aurigemma, “Canto VIII,” 156.

35. Donadoni, “Canto VIII,” 844.

36. For defenses of Dante’s sincerity throughout the passage, see Petronio, Canto VIII, 22–26; Fontes Baratto, “Diptyque montanino,” 67.

37. I thank my student Marley Lemieux for suggesting this possibility. Galanti plausibly surmises that Currado must have been satisfied with Dante’s praise because he does not ask again for news of home (Lunigiana, 34).

38. Chiavacci Leonardi, ed., Purgatorio, 251, notes the reflexive sense of raffina even without the reflexive si (“la forma assoluta ha valore mediale, come spesso nella lingua antica”).

39. Donadoni writes: “Che l’austero signore fosse molto contento, dubito: a me sembra che l’imperioso ‘Or va,’ onde incomincia la sua risposta [Purg. 8.133], voglia troncare le entusiastiche lodi” (Donadoni, “Canto VIII,” 844). According to Chiavacci Leonardi, Currado interrupts Dante’s praise in Purg. 8.133 “[f ]orse a troncare l’indugio su quella grandezza che gli fu già troppo cara” (ed., Commedia, 253). Commenting on the oath that Currado hears from the pilgrim swearing to the Malaspinas’ virtue (“ ‘Ed io vi giuro, s’io di sopra vada . . . ,’ ” lines 127–29), Galanti notes that the pilgrim seems to have forgotten “perfino l’avvertimento avuto poco prima da Jacopo del Cassero sull’ inopportunità e inutilità di avvalorare quanto dice con un giuramento” (Lunigiana, 33–34). I am thankful to an anonymous reader for drawing my attention to the naivete signaled even in the pilgrim’s exclamation “Oh!”

40. Kleinhenz, “Dante’s Artistry,” citing (S-46, n. 17) and expanding upon a similar insight by Heilbronn, “Dante’s Valley of the Princes,” 51.

41. Limentani, Dante’s “Comedy,” 110–11. Limentani is contrasting the characterization of Currado to that of Nino Visconti. For a comparable interpretation, see Kristina Olson, Courtesy Lost: Dante, Boccaccio, and the Literature of History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015), 154, where Olson discusses the Dante-pilgrim’s conversation with Currado Malaspina. I am thankful to Marley Lemieux for this reference.

42. I am not sure that it is, but see Anthony Esolen, trans., Dante Alighieri, Purgatory (New York: Modern Library, 2004), notes on 437; Chiavacci Leonardi, ed., Purgatorio, 251, quoting and paraphrasing the Ottimo Commento’s gloss on Currado’s confession.

43. The poet does not have Currado chide the pilgrim for exaggerating, but exaggeration there surely is: as John Ciardi wrote, “[t]he house of Malaspina . . . was honorably known, though scarcely as well as Dante declares”: Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, vol. 2, The Purgatorio, trans. John Ciardi with introduction by Archibald T. MacAllister (New York: New American Library, 1961), 101.

44. On Malaspinian relationships with earlier poets like Raimbaut de Vaqueiras, Aimeric de Perguilhan, and Lanfranc Cigala, see Giulio Bertoni, I Trovatori d’Italia (Modena: Umberto Orlandini, 1915), 95–96; Antonio Restori, “Per le donne italiane nella poesia provenzale,” Giornale dantesco 9 (1901): 203–8, at 206 (cited by Bertoni, Trovatori, 96 n. 2); Francesco Branciforti, Il Canzoniere di Lanfranco Cigala (Florence: Leo O. Olschki, 1954), 21–23; Chiavacci Leonardi, ed., Purgatorio, 251, as cited by Fontes Baratto, “Diptyque montanino,” 69 n. 9; John Larner, Italy in the Age of Dante and Petrarch, 1216–1380 (London: Longman, 1980), 96–97; Gilda Caïti-Russo, “Il marchese Moroello Malaspina testimone ideale di un dibattito tra Dante e Cino sull'eredità trobadorica,” Dante Studies 124 (2006): 137–48, at 139; Vecchi, “ ‘Ad pacem,’ ” 165–66 (citing Tonelli and Caïti-Russo, among others); Franco Quartieri, Analisi e paradossi su Commedia e dintorni (Ravenna: Longo, 2006), 74–75; Alessandro Bampa, Studi mediolatini e volgari 60 (2014): 5–34, at 11 n. 16. Elements of Troubadour poetic discourse in Purgatorio 8 have been identified by Tonelli (“Purgatorio VIII 46–139”) and by Zaccarello, “Lectura” (citing Tonelli). Barnes (“Moroello ‘vapor,’ ” 47) suspects a Troubadour senhal in Inferno 24.145–50, yet another Malaspinian context and a passage discussed further below. See too Barbero, Dante, 211–12.

45. See e.g. Rose F. Egan, “Dante’s Letter to Moroello Malaspina: A New Interpretation,” Romanic Review 11 (1920): 149–69, at 150 (and source cited therein); Bianchi, Scritti, 23–51; Fontes Baratto, “Diptyque montanino,” 66; Ferrara, Parola, 41–57; Santagata, Dante, 191, 194, 196 and passim; Barnes, “Moroello ‘vapor,’ ” 40–46; Caïti-Russo, “Marchese Moroello Malaspina”; Emilio Pasquini, “Un crocevia dell'esilio: la Canzone ‘montanina’ e l'Epistola a Moroello,” in Studi dedicati a Gennaro Barbarisi, ed. Claudia Berra and Michele Mari (Milan: CUEM, 2007), 13–29; Fenzi, Canzoni, 547–77, 614–43; Ciavorella, “Corrado Malaspina,” cited in Santagata, Dante, 420 n. 16.

46. Justin Steinberg, Dante and the Limits of the Law (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), 27, analyzing the Aristotelian discussion of vernacularity in Convivio 1.11.3–7. I thank an anonymous reader for drawing my attention to Dante’s contempt for the popular grido.

47. “With the expression ‘the value of the purse’ Dante wanted to distinguish between generosity motivated by the recognition of merit in the person benefited, and that form of giving that crosses the line into payment for services and even into charity, already condemned in the canzone Doglia mi reca” (Santagata, Dante, 196).

48. “Si pensi all’esordio dalla lettera a Moroello accompagnatoria della ‘montanina’, dove sono esemplarmente concatenati i concetti di gratuitas dell’affetto di Dante per il suo signore, di admiratio di quest’ultimo per i libertatis offitia prestati in curia dal suo servo: un modello di rapporto fra potere politico e prestazione intellettuale in cui i benefici della borsa del signore sono associati all’economia del dono invece che a quella del mercato” (Umberto Carpi, L’Inferno dei guelfi e i principi del Purgatorio [Milan: FrancoAngeli, 2013], 73–74). On the distinction between the magnates and would-be magnates of Florence, see Barbero, Dante, 123–25, 218–19. See too William Robins’s discussion of the waning of cortesia as lamented in Inferno 16: “The Case of the Court Entertainer: Popular Culture, Intertextual Dialogue, and the Early Circulation of Boccaccio’s Decameron,” Speculum (2017): 1–35, at 5–8. Robins’s article is cited in Milani, “La fedeltà di Dante e Morello,” 253.

49. On non si sfregia as “does not divest itself,” see Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, trans. Charles S. Singleton, Purgatorio, vol. 2, Commentary (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973), 173.

50. “Tuttavia, il dramma che accende e penetra la struttura dell’Inferno e diventa tragedia, nel Purgatorio si purifica in un alone di nobiltà e di verecondia e diventa elegia” (Sacchetto, E canterò, 26).

51. In what follows I depend on Herlihy, Medieval and Renaissance Pistoia: The Social History of an Italian Town, 1200–1430 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1967), 198–202.

52. Dante’s son Pietro recognized the allusion to Moroello: see Petri Allegherii super Dantis ipsius genitoris Comoediam Commentarium, ed. Vincenzo Nannucci (Florence: Guglielmo Piatti, 1845), 220. For discussion of the passage, see e.g. Bruno Maier, Il canto XXIV dell’ “Inferno” (Florence: Le Monnier, 1962), 46–49; Umberto Bosco, Dante: L’ “Inferno”, 2nd ed. (Turin: ERI, 1967), 178–80; the notes in Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy, trans. Charles S. Singleton, Inferno, vol. 2, Commentary (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970), 423–27; Bianchi, Scritti, 44; Joan M. Ferrante, “Canto XXIV: Thieves and Metamorphoses,” in Lectura Dantis: “Inferno, ed. Allen Mandelbaum, Anthony Oldcorn, and Charles Ross (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 316–27, at 325–27; Edoardo Fumagalli, “Canto XXIV,” in Lectura Dantis Turicensis: “Inferno,” ed. Georges Güntert and Michelangelo Picone (Florence: Franco Cesati, 2000), 335–43, at 337–38; Barnes, “Moroello ‘vapor,’ ” 47–56.

53. For explanation and analysis of Fucci’s imagery, see Dante, The Divine Comedy, vol. 1, The Inferno, trans. John Ciardi, with historical introduction by Archibald T. MacAllister (New York: New American Library, 1982), 212; Santagata, Dante, 229; and especially Barnes, “Moroello ‘vapor,’ ” 47–56, and Barnes, “Storming the Barbican,” 90–91.

54. Ferrante, “Canto XXIV,” 326. In his interpretation of the lines Umberto Cosmo goes even further, perhaps too far: “Dalle case dei Malaspina si alzerà la meteora sinistra che come turbine si scatenerà sugli affetti a Dante più cari, sulle speranze più tenaci; e in quello schianto della sua anima, in quell’ infrangimento di tutto se stesso, a lui non resterà che riprendere il bordon del pellegrino e avviarsi nuovamente verso l’ignoto” (Il canto XXV dell’Inferno, in Lettere dantesche, ed. Giovanni Getto (Florence: Sansoni, 1964), 447–66, at 465.

55. Edoardo Fumagalli, “Canto XXIV,” 337–38.

56. That Dante had good reason to be thankful to Moroello is nevertheless undoubted, as illustrated by Santagata’s discussion of the marquis’s protection of Dante during the latter’s long sojourn in Lucca, a city particularly hostile to White Guelfs (Santagata, Dante, 209).

57. Maier, Canto XXIV, 49.

58. Vecchi, “ ‘Ad pacem,’ ” 110. See also Galanti, Soggiorno, 130; Galanti, Lunigiana, 22; Galanti, Io dico seguitando, 61; and especially Galanti, Secondo soggiorno, 65–67, scoffing at the interpretation of Cosmo, Canto XXV dell’Inferno, 465. Others who claim that Dante held Morello in high esteem include Quartieri, Analisi e paradossi, 75–81 (on Dante’s high regard for all the Malaspinas); Santagata, Dante, 229; and Barnes, “Moroello ‘vapor,’ ” 38, 53, 56. Barnes is persuasive in suggesting that the poet had “a sneaking admiration for larger-than-life soldiers,” men of extraordinary prowess like Farinata in Inferno 10, Capaneus in Inferno 14, Omberto Aldobrandeschi in Purgatorio 11 (whom we have encountered already), and indeed Moroello, via Fucci’s prophecy: see Barnes, “Storming the Barbican,” 88–91, quotation at 88. Barnes adduces the meteorological imagery used to describe both Moroello and the avenging angel at the gates of Dis in Inferno (“Storming the Barbican,” 83–84, 87, 90–92, furthering the discussion in Barnes, “Moroello ‘vapor’ ”).

59. Maurice Keen, in Chivalry (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984), 227 and 277 n. 29, notes that the late fourteenth-century Gelre Armorial of Claes Heinenzoon recommended Lombardy’s ceaseless wars as a “school of arms” for would-be knights.

60. The complex background to Dante’s volte-face is explored sympathetically by Del Lungo, “Dante in Lunigiana,” in Dante e la Lunigiana, 192; Tavoni, Qualche idea, 142–46, 231–32; and more critically by Santagata, Dante, 188–94, 224–29. See also Giuliano Milani, “Esili difficili: I bandi politici dell’età di Dante,” Letture Classensi 44 (2015): 31–46, at 40–45; Giuliano Milani, “La fedeltà di Dante a Moroello,” 246–49; and Barbero, Dante, 208, 215. Carpi associates the development of Dante’s pro-Empire politics with the poet’s sojourn among the Malaspinas (L’Inferno dei guelfi e i principi del Purgatorio, 231–33). Mineo surmises that in early 1307, when the poet was once more a guest of Moroello Malaspina, “[p]uò aver assunto una posizione di equidistanza tra Bianchi e Neri. Un modo di vivere l’essere super partes” (Dante dalla “mirabile visione” a “l’altro viaggio, 135).

62. E.g. Limentani, Dante’s “Comedy,” 112; Dante Alighieri, Commedia, ed. Pasquini and Quaglio, 471, n. to Purg. 8.131; Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio, ed. Chiavacci Leonardi, 252, n. to line 131 and adducing other examples in Dante. Benvenuto da Imola long ago understood capo reo to refer to both the pope and the emperor (papa et imperator): see Comentum, vol. 3, 243. Quinones acknowledges this possibility but leans toward the view that “the intervention of the papacy” is intended (“Canto VIII,” 82). On the possibility that Dante had Pope Boniface VIII in mind in particular, see Singleton, Purgatorio, vol. 2, Commentary, 174.

63. A fine overview is presented in Ferrante, Political Vision, chapter 2.

64. Or, better, by “[h]abitual virtue and natural inclination. The first is acquired, the second is given by nature” (Singleton, Purgatorio, vol. 2, Commentary, 173, adducing Convivio 1.11.4).

65. This and subsequent in-text references to the Convivio are to Dante Alighieri, Il Convivio, ed. Giovanni Busnelli and Giuseppe Vandelli, with introducton by Michele Barbi, 2nd ed., and appendix by Antonio Enzo Quaglio (Florence: Le Monnier, 1964).

66. Olson comments that in Purg. 8 “nobility is hereditary for the Malaspina family, an exception to the rule” (Courtesy Lost, 154; see also 141); Barolini notes the Malaspinas’ exceptionalism as “an example of the ‘rare’ passing on of virtue from father to son” (“Farewell,” commentary on Purg. 8 in Commento Baroliniano, Digital Dante Project).

67. See above, n. 48.

68. Santagata, Dante, 196–97 (accepted by Milani, “La fedeltà di Dante e Morello,” 252–53); Bianchi, Scritti, 51–70, 78, 109–11; Vecchi, “ ‘Ad pacem,’ ” 164 n. 316; Coluccia, “Dante e i Malaspina,” 25–27; Bononi, “Giovanni Manzini,” 338, painting an especially bleak picture of Malaspinian fragmentation. See also Bordone, Castelnuovo, and Varanini, Le aristocrazie, 63. When Dante reflects on being “separated from the threshold of [Moroello’s] court” (“a limine . . . curie seperato”) in Epistola 4, where curie is in the post-classical genitive singular, he is referring to one Malaspinian fragment out of many. Del Lungo notes the “moltiplicità di quei rami” but is probably wrong in seeing in their strongholds “vere corti ciascuno di essi” (“Dante in Lunigiana,” 191).

69. Olson, Courtesy Lost, 147. See too her analysis (141–57) of the different depiction of Currado Malaspina, and thus of cortesia, in Boccaccio’s Decameron 2.6 and Esposizioni 16.

70. For commentary, see Singleton, Purgatorio, vol. 2, Commentary, 174.

71. Singleton, Purgatorio, vol. 2, Commentary, 174; Quinones, “Canto VIII,” 83.

72. Paul Stern (Dante’s Philosophical Life: Politics and Human Reason in Purgatorio [Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018]), interprets the pilgrim’s exile as Currado prophesies it as “a specter of humanity’s future if those with the requisite knowledge and capacity neglect to provide the conditions of [political] excellence” (77). Dante’s exile is certain, however. It is the audience, the Malaspinas included, who must work to avoid a future in which “human aspiration might meet its end, envalleyed in a superficially beautiful yet stultifying community” (77).

73. Nevertheless, as Milani illustrates, his banishment by Florence’s Black Guelfs was characterized by an innovative conflation of elements from both criminal and political legal theory that marked a major advance in state-sponsored persecution (“Esili difficili,” 36–40).

74. Aurigemma, “Canto VIII,” 157.

75. Peter Armour, The Door of Purgatory: A Study of Multiple Symbolism in Dante’s Purgatorio (Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1983), 3.

76. “The landscapes . . . of Purgatory as a whole must be seen first not as abstractions but as the ultimate realities. They are not allegorical representations of their earthly equivalents; rather, the earthly equivalents are but figures or adumbrations of them” (Armour, Door of Purgatory, 9). D’Ancona nevertheless supposed that Dante had the Val di Magra in mind when he described the Valley of the Princes (“Canto VIII del Purgatorio,” 7–8, 10), and Galanti enthusiastically agreed (Secondo soggiorno, 52–54).

77. In what follows, I am indebted to Giuseppe Benelli, “L’identità lunigianese nelle celebrazioni dantesche del 1906 e del 2006,” in Nostro Dante, 21–38, at 28–29, citing Galanti, Soggiorno di Dante.

78. As discussed by M. E. Bratchel in Medieval Lucca and the Evolution of the Renaissance State (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 52–54, 75–77, 85–86. With regard to at least some of its pretensions to Lunigianese lands, the Lucchese statute of 1308 “is a record of ancient claims rather than a description of rights effectively exercised” (76).

79. Benelli, “L’identità lunigianese,” 28, and sources cited above, n. 60.

80. Bianchi claims that the negotiations at Castelnuovo largely, though not entirely, ended warfare between the two parties (Scritti, 68), but other commentators are more pessimistic: see Del Lungo, “Dante in Lunigiana,” in Sesto centenario, ed. Del Lungo, 3–21, at 18–19; Del Lungo, “Dante in Lunigiana,” in Dante e la Lunigiana, 200–1; Galanti, Soggiorno di Dante, 47; Vecchi, “ ‘Ad pacem,’ ” 75, citing and quoting a private letter by the Lunigianese historian Giovanni Sforza. A five-year schism broke out in 1307 when, following the death of Bishop da Camilla, the canons of Sarzana came to an impasse over his successor, some favoring the pro-Ghibelline Guglielmo Malaspina di Villafranca, others the Guelph Gherardino Malaspina. See Santagata, Dante, 296–97; Bianchi, Scritti, 69; Vecchi, “ ‘Ad pacem,’ ” 125–27. In general, “[t]he most distinctive feature of warfare in Italy . . . was its perpetual nature. Violence did not end with formal declarations of peace” (Caferro, John Hawkwood, 91).

81. Mussi, Dante, 7; Bianchi, Scritti, 68; Galanti, Soggiorno, 47; Vecchi, “Ad pacem,” 124–25.

82. On di Stupio and the rationale behind his selection, see Vecchi, “ ‘Ad pacem,’ ” 96–110. See too Milani, notes to the power of attorney, CDD, 237 (citing Vecchi); Bertin, “La pace.” Vecchi nevertheless notes an alignment between the Sarzana notarial class and the Luni bishops going back to the early thirteenth century (“ ‘Ad pacem,’ ” 84).

83. “[F]ecit, constituit et ordinavit suum legitimum procuratorem, actorem, factorem et nuncium specialem Dantem Alegerii de Florentia”: power of attorney, ed. Regnicoli, CDD, 235. Translations from the Latin of the procura and the Treaty are mine unless otherwise noted.

84. Glenn Kumhara, The Benefits of Peace: Private Peacemaking in Late Medieval Italy (Leiden: Brill, 2017), 136. Kumhara illuminates various legitimate reasons for the use of proxies (Benefits, 137–39), though none of his case studies exactly resembles the scenario in the Treaty of Castelnuovo.

85. Kumhara, Benefits, 136–37.

86. Maurizio Gotti discusses the “pleonastic use of lexical items” in treaties: see “Text and Genre,” in The Oxford Handbook of Law and Language, ed. Peter M. Tiersma and Lawrence M. Solan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 52–66, at 53. On the benefits of “enumerating a number of quasi-synonyms which, taken together, cover the semantic field in question,” see Heikki E. S. Mattila, “Legal Vocabulary,” in Oxford Handbook, 27–38, at 31.

87. Vecchi, “ ‘Ad pacem,’ ” 162–63.

88. Emphasis mine. This is one of several examples of Dante’s use of the word fattore cited in the online Enciclopedia Treccani, s.v. fattore, quoting Domenico Consoli in the Enciclopedia Dantesca.

89. Hermann Kamp, “Arbitration and Peacemaking,” trans. Johanna M. Baboukis, in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology, ed. Clifford J. Rogers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 57–58, at 57.

90. See Hermann Kamp, Friedensstifter und Vermittler im Mittelalter (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2001), 20, 186 (on Otto); 249–52 (on Albertus). This book is also cited in Kamp, “Arbitration and Peacemaking,” 58.

91. “[A]d pacem, sedationem, quietationem, remissionem et finem perpetuam recipiendam a venerabili in Christo patre et domino domino Antonio, Dei gratia Lunensi episcopo et comite, dante et reddente pro se et suis subcessoribus et Lunensi ecclesia et amicis, subditis et sequacibus suis, de omnibus et singulis iniuriis, guerris, inimiciciis, offensionibus, incendiis, dampnis, rebellionibus, vulneribus, homicidiis et quibuscumque aliis delictis seu enormitatibus perpetratis, tractatis vel contrattis actenus contra ipsum venerabilem patrem et Lunensem ecclesiam vel homines et sequaces ipsius” (CDD, 235).

92. Vecchi, “ ‘Ad pacem,’ ” 163.

93. Vecchi, “ ‘Ad pacem,’ ” 163.

94. As noted by Galanti, Soggiorno di Dante, 41.

95. The phrase “textual community” derives, of course, from Brian Stock’s classic formulations in Listening for the Text: On the Uses of the Past (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990); see too Martin Irvine, “Medieval Textuality and the Archaeology of Textual Culture,” in Speaking Two Languages: Traditional Disciplines and Contemporary Theory in Medieval Studies, ed. Allen Frantzen (Albany: SUNY Press, 1991), 181–210 (text), 276–84 (notes).

96. “In nomine Domini, amen. Anno a nativitate eius millesimo CCCoVIo, inditione IIIIa, die VIo octobris, in hora tertia. Diucius diabolica exsuperante potencia, inter venerabilem patrem et dominum dominum Antonium, Dei gratia Lunensem episcopum et comitem, et magnificos viros et excelsos dominos Morroellum, Francischum, Conradinum et fratres marchiones Malaspina, guerris, inimiciciis odiisque subortis, ex quibus homicidia, vulnera, cedes, incendia, vasta, dampna et pericula plurima sunt secuta ac provincia Lunexane diversimode lacerata, prefati domini episcopus et marchiones, summi Patris inherentes exemplo suis dicentis apostolis ‘Pacem meam do vobis, pacem meam relinquo vobis’ ” (CDD, 238).

97. Kumhera, Benefits, 30, 36.

98. Nicolas Offenstadt, Faire la paix au Moyen Âge: Discours et gestes de paix pendant la guerre de Cent Ans (Paris: Odile Jacob, 2007), 44–48. Offenstadt’s book is cited in Kamp, “Arbitration and Peacemaking,” 58. Bertin cites a thirteenth-century notarial document that, like the Treaty of Castelnuovo, blames the Devil for human aggression (“La pace,” 8–9).

99. Santagata, Dante, 197–98: “it is clear that the signing could be carried out so speedily because the negotiations had already taken place and the agreements already reached. In short, Dante took part in the final stage because he had the necessary experience to keep an eye on what the notary was doing.” Santagata also gives some support to the claim (see below) that Dante wrote the Treaty’s preface and gave it to the notary to copy. See also Barbero, Dante, 207.

100. Kamp, Friedensstifter und Vermittler, 250 (“Albertus Magnus . . . von beiden Seiten im Vorfeld schon akzeptierte Lösung nur deshalb in ein Urteil kleidete, um ihr dann Rechtskraft zu verleihen”; translation mine). Kamp nevertheless notes Albertus’s involvement even in the early stages of negotiations.

101. For example, “[w]hen we find lovers in the sphere of Venus, this is because Dante believed that the planet literally moved or disposed people under its influence to love” (Corbett, “Moral Structure,” 74). Corbett adds, however, that “the seven planetary heavens would have suggested to Dante the ethical schemes of the seven remedial virtues or the three theological and four cardinal virtues” (74). See too Purg. 30.108–17, where Beatrice faults Dante for failing to live up to the potential with which he had been endowed both by planetary influences and by divine grace.

102. Hence Claire E. Honess’s observation that “[i]n the heaven of Mars . . . the souls form a cross of light, and therefore under the sign not of Mars, the bringer of war, but of Christ, the bringer of peace” (“Politics,” in The Cambridge Companion to Dante’s Commedia, ed. Zygmunt G. Barański and Simon Gilson [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019], 192–207, at 200).

103. Ernst Robert Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, trans. Willard R. Trask (New York: Harper and Row, 1963), 28–29. Barnes discusses the passage in question in the Convivio in “Morello ‘vapor,’ ” 51–52, quoting from Convivio, ed. F. B. Ageno (Florence: Le Lettere, 1995).

104. On the issue of Dante’s authorship of the prefatory part of the Treaty (the so-called arenga), including the borrowing from Cassiodorus discussed below, see Dolcini, “Qualcosa di nuovo”; Bertin’s richly analytical discussion in “La pace”; Vecchi, “ ‘Ad pacem,’ ” 168–69; Inglese, Vita di Dante, 90 (both Vecchi and Inglese agreeing with Bertin); Paolo Pellegrini’s discussion in Anna Maria Liguori, “Scoperta una nuova lettera di Dante che riscrive il suo esilio,” La Repubblica online, October 17, 2018 (I thank Marina Bettaglio for this reference); and Alberto Casadei, Dante: Altri accertamenti e punti critici (Milan: FrancoAngeli, 2019), 278–86. Dante’s authorship of the arenga might explain why that portion of the Treaty uses the word tractatus to refer to the agreement, while the rest of the document styles the accord a contractum. On the difference between these two terms, see Milani, notes in CDD, 243, citing Vecchi, “ ‘Ad pacem,’ ” 169–70.

105. See above, n. 58. Dante’s thinking on peace has been explored in several chapters in War and Peace in Dante, ed. Barnes and O’Connell (see above, n. 7): Matthew S. Kempshall, “The Utility of Peace in Monarchia,” 141–72; Elena Lombardi, “ ‘Per aver pace co’ seguaci sui’: Civil, Spiritual and Erotic Peace in the Francesca Episode,” 173–93; Vittorio Montemaggi, “ ‘E ’n la sua volontade è nostra pace’: Peace, Justice and the Trinity in the Commedia,” 195–225; Pamela Williams, “The Pursuit of Peace in Dante and Petrarch,” 227–49, at 227–40 and 248–49.

106. The grammar of the phrase is remarked on by Vecchi, “ ‘Ad pacem,’ ” 166. For a dense study of the Treaty’s grammar and allusiveness, see Bertin, “La pace.”

107. “[Q]uod ipse dominus Francischinus inducet, si poterit, ipsum dominum Morroellum ad omnia suprascripta et infrascripta ratificanda et firma tenenda, ut et supra et infra promictet et se obligabit dominus episcopus antedictus” (CDD, 239, italics mine).

108. Santagata, Dante, 197 (Santagata, Dante: La storia, 193); see also above, n. 99, and Vecchi, “ ‘Ad pacem,’ ” 165.

109. “[E]t in signum vere et perpetue pacis dictus venerabilis pater dominus episcopus et Dante predictus sese ad invicem osculantes” (CDD, 240).

110. Kamp, “Arbitration and Peacemaking,” 58; Hanna Vollrath, “The Kiss of Peace,” in Peace Treaties and International Law in European History: From the Late Middle Ages to World War One, ed. Randall Lesaffer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 162–83, at 164. According to Yannick Carré, kissing on the mouth is to be understood when no other body part is explicitly mentioned (Le baiser sur la bouche au Moyen Âge: Rites, symboles, mentalités, XIe–XIVe siècles [Paris: Leopard d’or, 1992], 348, cited in Offenstadt, Faire la paix, 210 and quoted at 391 n. 195).

111. Vollrath, “Kiss of Peace,” 182; Offenstadt, Faire la paix, 210–12, challenging Carré’s argument that the gesture disappeared over the course of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

112. For a rich discussion of the Roman pre-Christian, and subsequently Christian and specifically liturgical, resonances of kissing, see Vollrath, “Kiss of Peace,” 168–69.

113. The goal of Purgatory’s educational and purifying regimen is, of course, the eternal peace of Heaven, and Vittorio Montemaggi has pointed out that “it is in fact in Purgatorio that the majority of the thirty-six occurrences of the word pace in the Commedia is found” (“Peace, Justice and the Trinity,” 210).

114. My argument in this sentence derives from Vollrath, “Kiss of Peace,” 181–82; see too Fredric L. Cheyette, “Suum cuique tribuere,” French Historical Studies 6 (1970): 287–99, at 294–95 (cited in Kamp, “Arbitration and Peacemaking,” 58). Steinberg, in Dante and the Limits of the Law, 17–21, shows that Dante’s sense of the injustice of his exile was informed by belief in the tangibility not only of infamia iuris but also of infamia facti, “social infamy deriving from the opinion of the community” (17).

115. The Letters of Cassiodorus, trans. Thomas Hodgkin (London: Henry Frowde, 1886), 141–42. For studies of Dante’s borrowing from Cassiodorus, see above, n. 104.

116. “[A]ttendentes etiam quod omni regno desciderabilis debet esse tranquilitas, in qua populi proficiunt et gentium uctilitas custoditur, que bonarum est artium decora mater, mortalium genus reparabili subcessione multiplicat, facultates protendit, mores excolit vixque quante sit virtutis agnoscitur, in eorum amicorum, sequacium et subditorum occiosa tranquilitate et pacis amenitate placida gloriantes, excelsi Salvatoris gratia illustranti ad infrascriptam pacem et veram et perpetuam concordiam devenerunt” (CDD, 238). My translation is based partly on Alan Gewirth’s rendering of the Cassiodorean passage as adapted by Marsilius of Padua, Defensor pacis, trans. Alan Gewirth with new afterword and bibliography by Cary J. Nederman (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001), 3. In proposing “with restorative succession” for the text’s reparabili subcessione, however, I defer to the definition of reparabilis as “that restores or repairs” in Odo John Zimmerman, The Late Latin Vocabulary of the Variae of Cassiodorus, with Special Advertence to the Technical Terminology of Administration (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1944), 115.

117. On this point, see Kumhera, Benefits, 10.

118. Vecchi, “ ‘Ad pacem,’ ” 169, emphasis in original. Similarly, Dolcini sees in Dante’s adaptation of Cassiodorus signs that the poet “aveva cominciato a costruire una sua dottrina politica” (“Qualcosa di nuovo,” 24).

119. The Treaty thus acknowledges the importance of peace in its political and spiritual senses; for a fuller discussion of Dante’s conceptualization of peace in the Monarchia, see Kempshall, “Utility of Peace,” esp. 167–68 and 172; Montemaggi, “Peace, Justice and the Trinity,” esp. 216–25 (with regard to the Monarchia and the Commedia).

120. Barolini, Undivine Comedy, 121. By now it will be clear that I agree with Elisa Brilli that “one should not consider the diplomatic and the literary as being opposed in Dante’s thought. On the contrary, certain of Dante’s significant literary innovations bear the mark of his diplomatic experience as a banished Florentine” (Brilli, “The Art of Saying Exile,” in Authority and Diplomacy from Dante to Shakespeare, ed. Jason Powell and William T. Rossiter [Farnham, Surrey, UK: Ashgate, 2013; London: Routledge, 2016], 15–38, at 16).

121. Ferrante, Political Vision, 199. Another way of summing up the ethos of Purgatory is indicated by Warren Ginsberg: “In Purgatory, old forms of social relations and the love that reconstitutes them coexist in the same act” (Dante’s Aesthetics of Being [Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999], 16).

122. E.g. Purg. 33.143–45; see discussion in Schnapp, “Introduction to Purgatorio,” 93–94.

123. Manuguerra, Via Dantis, 36.