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Book Sections Year : 2022

Writing the Inganno. Necromancy, Sciomancy, Geomancy in the Divine Comedy

Écrire l' inganno. Nécromancie, sciomancie, géomancie dans la Divine Comédie

Alessandro Benucci
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Abstract

The unambiguous sentence that plunges magicians, fortune tellers and other sorcerers into the depths of the infernal abyss, and encourages us to see the author of the Divine Comedy as a loyal defender of Christian orthodoxy, seems less severe when Dante refers to two divinatory practices: “necromancy” (or more precisely sciomancy) in Hell, IX, and “geomancy” in Purgatory, XIX by closely associating them with the journey of discovery – and the process of expiation – sought by the pilgrim to the afterlife. This article wants to relate this exception, which at first sight could be described as heterodox, to the dramatization (fictio) of the crossing of the afterlife as an epistemology of salvation. Measured, then, in the light of the intellectual risks involved in a superhuman enterprise based on surpassing oneself and acquiring knowledge normally forbidden, these two divinatory arts come to underpin the aesthetic foundations of a poetry of transcendence. Necromancers and geomancers are thus integrated into a strategy of literary substitution that Dante uses to exorcise his fears of the validity of his cognitive performance throughout the Divine Comedy.
Magiciens, devins, sorciers, nécromants, astrologues, augures : on ne saurait frapper les praticiens d' arts divinatoires illicites d' une punition plus humiliante que celle qui châtie Amphiaraüs, Aruns, Tirésias, Manto, Michele Scotto, Guido Bonatti et les nombreuses sorcières qui peuplent l' Enfer de Dante Alighieri. Tous sont plongés dans les profondeurs de l' abîme parmi les damnés coupables d' imposture envers autrui, dans la quatrième fosse du huitième cercle, la « bolgia des devins » 1 : telle est la punition particulièrement dégradante que la justice divine réserve à « chi affattura » 2 et a induit en erreur les êtres humains par le recours à la ruse et aux plus vils artifices : mirabilmente apparve esser travolto ciascun tra ' l mento e ' l principio del casso, ché da le reni era tornato ' l volto, e in dietro venir li convenia, perché ' l veder dinanzi era lor tolto 3 .

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hal-04384542 , version 1 (12-01-2024)

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  • HAL Id : hal-04384542 , version 1

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Alessandro Benucci. Écrire l' inganno. Nécromancie, sciomancie, géomancie dans la Divine Comédie. Ruse et magie de l’Antiquité à nos jours, PRESSES UNIVERSITAIRES DE FRANCHE-COMTÉ, pp.97-112, 2022. ⟨hal-04384542⟩
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