Canto Xv and Medieval Society

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Submitted By mmsmart15
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Medieval society around the year 1300 A.D. can be summed up by Dante’s Inferno. In Canto XV we see Dante and his guide, Virgil, passing through the fourth ring of the seventh circle of Hell, the ring of the sodomites punishment. From his writings, we can learn about one of the technologies of Europe during Dante’s time. And also most importantly we can see glimpses of European society’s values as in heredity, idleness, fate, and the reach of Hell. In the beginning of Canto XV, we can see Dante and Virgil walking on to which seems to be a levee between a river and the fiery sands which tells us about technologies of the time. This he compares to “As the Flemings between Wissant and Bruges, to defend/ Against the tide that rushes in on them.”(15:4-5) By doing this, land is made useable to people. Land is a commodity. Here we see that medieval peoples had this technology at their hands to reclaim land lost to the sea for purposes of agriculture or town development. The fact that they could do this, tells that improvement in agriculture was growing. New technologies were being put to use which lead to more food production, in turn, lead to a growth in population of medieval Europe. As the two continue we can see the view of idleness in medieval Europe. When Dante and Virgil are walking along they come across a “troop of souls” and one of the souls sees Dante and recognizes him then pulls on his clothing to get his attention.(15:14) This is Brunetto Latini, a former mentor of Dante. Dante, is surprised to see him askes if he could sit down with him to have a conversation. But Latini’s reply is that “If any of this flock, O son,/ Stops even for an instant, he must lie still/ A hundred years, not brushing off the fire/ That strikes him.”(15:33-36) This constant motion in which all the souls must do in this ring made them not lead to idleness. Idleness is a threat to…...

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