Sunday, April 13, 2008

By the Light of the Falcate Moon


Dante: In the Inferno section of Dante's trilogy The Divine Comedy, Mohammed is described as being one of the "Sowers of Discord," showing his entrails to Dante and Virgil in the Eighth Circle of Hell: Inferno XXVIII, 19-42.

Consistent with medieval Christian thinking, in which the Muslim world was viewed as a hostile usurper, Dante depicts both Mohammed--the founder of Islam--and his cousin and son-in-law Ali as sowers of religious divisiveness. One popular view held that Mohammed had himself been a cardinal who, his papal ambitions thwarted, caused a great schism within Christianity when he and his followers splintered off into a new religious community. Dante creates a vicious composite portrait of the two holy men, with Mohammed's body split from groin to chin and Ali's face cleft from top to bottom (Inf. 28.22-33). http://danteworlds.laits.utexas.edu/circle8b.html#mohammed .

Muhammad in Hell; Dante's Inferno Canto 28

A cask by losing centre-piece or cant
Was never shattered so, as I saw one
Rent from the chin to where one breaketh wind.

Between his legs were hanging down his entrails;
His heart was visible, and the dismal sack
That maketh excrement of what is eaten.

While I was all absorbed in seeing him,
He looked at me, and opened with his hands
His bosom, saying: "See now how I rend me;

How mutilated, see, is Mahomet;
In front of me doth Ali weeping go,
Cleft in the face from forelock unto chin;

And all the others whom thou here beholdest,
Disseminators of scandal and of schism
While living were, and therefore are cleft thus.

A devil is behind here, who doth cleave us
Thus cruelly, unto the falchion's edge
Putting again each one of all this ream,

When we have gone around the doleful road;
By reason that our wounds are closed again
Ere any one in front of him repass.

- Dante's Inferno, Canto 28


2 comments:

CGW said...

Love it.

Dag said...

Me too.