The infernal dogs

As I said before, it’s not that Dante Alighieri hated dogs but rather the suspicion, if not hatred of dogs on the basis of witchcraft would’ve been more common than what most people assume. In Ortobello, Tuscany there’s an account of a woman who thought that the large dog is Satan and Arturo Graf mentions that the Devil can appear as a dog in Il Diavolo. This also occurred in Francophone texts but most especially in Early Modern demonology texts like Discours des Sorciers.

If any of these books had been translated in Italian before, it’s likely that the sentiment would’ve been more common than most people would realise. There’s actually a book where Dante himself owned dogs. Even if he owned them at some point or another, he still succumbed to common superstitions of his day as evidenced in The Divine Comedy.

Similarly in Cameroon, many people own cats and dogs (based on the sources I’ve read cats actually outnumber dogs there) but some still fall for the superstition that the meowing of cats and barking/howling of dogs leads to misfortune of sorts. Something I’ve posted before. Same things can be said of William Shakespeare. It’s not that he hates dogs but even if he owned a dog he still would’ve fell for the popular beliefs in his day.

Most evidently in the book ‘Demon Possession in Elizabethan England’ which mentions demonic dogs and stray dogs being singled out a lot, giving a better idea of Shakespeare’s mindset at the time. Similar things can be said of Dante.

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