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by Dante Alighieri

Analysis: Allusions

When authors refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Classical Writers

Virgil is Dante’s guide, first mention (Inf. I, 79)…
Homer (Inf. IV, 88)
Aristotle, Ethics (Inf. XI, 80)
Aristotle, Physics (Inf. XI, 101)
Aesop (Inf. XXIII, 4-7)

Mythological Characters

Charon (Inf. III, 94-99)
Aeneas (Inf. IV, 122)
Minos (Inf. V, 4-15)
Cerberus (Inf. VI, 15-18)
Plutus (Inf. VII, 1-12)
Phlegyas (Inf. VIII, 19-24) – from Virgil’s Aeneid
Furies (Inf. IX, 38-48)
Medusa (Inf. IX, 52-54)
Minotaur (Inf. XII, 12-25)
Chiron (Inf. XII, 72) – a centaur
Nessus (Inf. XII, 67-69) – a centaur
Capaneus (Inf. XIV, 63-69)
Old Man of Crete (Inf. XIV, 94-111)
Geryon (Inf. XVII, 97)
Manto (Inf. XX, 52-93)
Ulysses (Inf. XXVI, 55-63)
Sinon (Inf. XXX, 98-99)
Antaeus (Inf. XXXI, 113-114)Dis (Inf. VIII, 67-75) – epithet for Classical UnderworldLancelot (Inf. V, 128-129) – a knight in Arthurian legend
Gallehault (Inf. V, 137) – a knight in Arthurian legend

Biblical References

Genesis (Inf. XI, 107)
Saint Lucia (Inf. II, 97-102)
Simon Magus (Inf. XIX, 1)
Saint Peter (Inf. XIX, 90-96)
Mohammed (Inf. XXVIII, 31)
Nimrod (Inf. XXXI, 67-81)
Lucifer (Inf. XXXIV, 28-57)

Historical Figures

Francesca da Rimini (Inf. V, 116)
Ciacco (Inf. VI, 52-54)
Filippo "Argenti" (Inf. VIII, 61) – "Argenti," meaning "silver" in Italian, was a nickname given to him because he shod his horse with silver horseshoes
Epicurus (Inf. X, 14-15)
Farinata degli Uberti (Inf. X, 32)
Pier della Vigna (Inf. XIII, 33-69) – not actually named in text, but scholars have identified him; also in endnotes
Brunetto Latini, Tesoretto (Inf. XV, 119)
Pope Nicholas III (Inf. XIX, 67-72) – not actually named in text, but scholars have identified him; also in endnotes
Pope Boniface VIII (Inf. XIX, 53), (Inf. XXVII, 85-105)
Catalano (Inf. XXIII, 103-109)
Loderingo (Inf. XXIII, 103-109)
Vanni Fucci (Inf. XXIV, 124-126)
Guido da Montefeltro (Inf. XXVII, 67-111) – not actually named in text, but scholars have identified him; also in endnotes
Bertran de Born (Inf. XXVIII, 134-135)
Geri del Bello (Inf. XXIX, 27)
Capocchio (Inf. XXIX, 136-137)
Gianni Schicchi (Inf. XXX, 32)
Master Adam (Inf. XXX, 61-90)
Bocca degli Abati (Inf. XXXII, 106)
Count Ugolino (Inf. XXXIII, 13-75)
Fra Alberigo (Inf. XXXIII, 118-120)
Branca Doria (Inf. XXXIII, 137-147)

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