THE DIVINE COMEDY AND THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ARTS AND SCIENCES (Extrait/Excerpt)

The emperor, of course, is only a special case of the process that Carlo
Martello described, by which the heavens provide talented specialists
adapted to the needs of society at a given time. For Dante, the most important of all these heaven-sent specialists was to be the Veltro, the Hound
whom he expected, would eventually appear and expelí from human society
the Old Wolf of Greed — or is it Fraud? (Inf. 1.101-111). By addressing his
expectations directly to the heavens, the narrator indicates that he considered the appearance of this mysterious reformer to be governed by the
stars: “O heaven, in whose revolution it seems conditions here below are
thought to be changed, when will he come through whom she shall depart?”
(Purg. 20.13). Similarly, Beatrice predicts that sometime in the next
seventy centuries or so, “before January be all unwintered,” a reforming
governor will appear when “these lofty circles shall so shine forth” (Par.
27.139-148). Whatever these prophecies meant — and I am not at all sure
that Dante himself could be precise about them — it is clear that they
depend on the action of the stars, and consequently they are most probably
derived from astrology.

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