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Huck  Huck is offline
Join Date: 02 Jul 2003
Location: Germany
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Decameron by Waterouse

Taking a second view on the virtues-order I got a second observation, when I compared the standard row of the planets (so-called Chaldean order) with the already described order between virtues and ladies ...

8 Philomena II (= Minerva)
7 Pampinea = Justice = Saturn
6 Fiammeta = Caritas = Jupiter
5 Emile = Fortitudo = Mars
4 Lauretta = Fides = Sol
3 Philomena I = Prudentia = Venus (later Filostrato)
2 Elisa = Hope = Mercury
1 Neifile = Temperance = Moon


Looking during the research for "Lauretta" and her described character I found not much in the Decamerone text, which relates her to Fides, but more, which relates her to the "Laurel crown" for the poets.
"Sol = Apollo" constantly is related to the laurel crown, so the row of the planets would fit at this place rather splendidly. At the other planet positions:

7 Justice = Saturn ... seems good
6 Caritas = Jupiter ... seems possible
5 Fortitudo = Mars ... seems very good
4 (Lauretta-)Fides = Sol ... seems very good
3 Prudentia = Venus ... seems to be a hard contradiction !!!
2 Hope = Mercury ... seems good
1 Temperance = Moon ... seems good

Temperance is usually given with two jars filling water from one jar to the other: from empty to full, from full to empty ... this might be understood well with the behavior of the light of the moon: from empty to full, from full to empty in 29.5 days.

Prudentia clearly doesn't fit with the description of Venus ... but Filomena=Prudentia in the final order (10th day) exchanged her position from the "basis-order" (= seven female virtues from 1-7) at the position 3 to the place No 8, where Filostato should hve been positioned. "From 8 to 3 (Fillostrato), from 3 to 8 (Filomena)".

What does this mean, this "From 8 to 3, from 3 to 8" ?

In the I-Ching you have three basis-lines from the trigram (earth-man-heaven), but each basis-line has two states (yin and yang, binary scheme), and so the 3 basis-lines form 8 states (8 trigrams). With the idea "from 3 to 8".
This scheme is part of the program, how the I-Ching authors imagined the genesis of the world, which in its later state has 64 hexagrams (= 8 trigrams x 8 trigrams).

Naturally the I-Ching is Chinese and so "from far away", but it is based on a very simple basic math, which was spread around the world and is so "international", that one cannot limit its use not to China alone. Simply, one has to assume, that Boccaccio might have known about it. This "8 = 3 form" could be also addressed as a "3=7" scheme, as the 8th trigram might be identified with the summary of the 3 basic definitions. "3=7" also appears in the life-tree (Sephiroth-tree) definitions, as it appears in Kabbala:

The connections between the Sephiroth are more confusing than useful, the base is just, that the upper 3 circles (parents) are departed from the lower 7 circles (children; which actually are a 6+1-group).

When Boccaccio used 3 men and 7 women to meet inside his literary plot, then already the suspicion was given, that he might have used this binary scheme as a structural background and play. Well, he disguised this with "natural details", as poets often did to keep their reader banned to insecurity about the intentions of the poet.

Now this "simple "from-3-to-8" math is also addressable as a "1-7 scheme", as the three basic definitions are only one trigram (of the 8 trigrams). With my assumption, that the three figures Filostrato-Pamphilus-Diodeo have to be understood as just one man (= the poet), who meets the wonder of the 7 virtues in the Decamerone, I just reduce the plot to this 1-7 scheme.
8 (trigrams) x 8 (trigrams) now is just the size of a chess-board (64 fields) ... did the poet somehow reflect the chess game itself in context to his wok Decamerone? That's now an interesting question, which demands a long answer.


Chess passages in Decamerone

Chess passage 1:
First day: Just before Pamphilus starts the first story of the Decameron

In the morning, the Queene and
all the rest being risen, accounting over much sleepe to be very
hurtfull, they walked abroad into a goodly Meadow, where the grasse
grew verdantly, and the beames of the Sun heated not overviolently,
because the shades of faire spreading Trees, gave a temperate
calmnesse, coole and gentle winds fanning their sweet breath
pleasingly among them. All of them being there set downe in a round
ring, and the Queen in the middest, as being the appointed place of
eminency, she spake:
You see (faire company) that the Sunne is highly mounted, the
heate (elsewhere) too extreme for us, and therefore here is our
fittest refuge, the ayre being so coole, delicate, and acceptable, and
our folly well worthy reprehension, if we should walke further, and
speede worse. Heere are Tables, Cards, and Chesse, as your
dispositions may bee addicted. But if mine advice might passe for
currant, I would admit none of those exercises, because they are too
troublesome both to them that play, and such as looke on. I could
rather wish, that some quaint discourse might passe among us, a tale
or fable related by some one, to urge the attention of all the rest.
And so wearing out the warmth of the day, one prety Novell will draw
on another, untill the Sun be lower declined, and the heates extremity
more diminished, to solace our selves in some other place, as to our
minds shall seeme convenient. If therefore what I have sayde bee
acceptable to you (I purposing to follow in the same course of
pleasure,) let it appeare by your immediate answere; for, till the
Evening, I thinke we can devise no exercise more commodious for us.
The Ladies and Gentlemen allowed of the motion, to spend the time in
telling pleasant tales; whereupon the Queene saide: Seeing you have
approved mine advice, I grant free permission for this first day, that
every one shall relate, what to him or her is best pleasing. And
turning her selfe to Pamphilus (who was seated on her right hand) gave
him favour, with one of his Novels, to begin the recreation: which
he not daring to deny, and perceiving generall attention prepared
for him, thus he began.
So here appears the recommendation of Pampinea, presentation o Justice and Queen of the first day, not to to play Chess, Cards or Tables, but to engage in a story-telling adventure. That this whole finally turns out to be a form of Chess book, that's just the irony of the poet.
Pamphilus, possibly expressing just this Chess irony, tells then in the opening story (first of 100 others), how a rather bad man (who beside his many bad doings also had been a gamester, who cheated in dice games) finally becomes a saint ... after his death.
In the translated text also the word Cards appear, however there are arguments, that this only is due to later interpolation of the text, and that the original likely hadn't the expression "cards".

Chess passage 2:

After the end of the 10th story of the 3rd day:

...[Filostratos speaking] "... nor willingly would I be called by any other name,
but only, the miserable and unfortunate Lover."
Having thus spoken, he arose againe; granting leave to the rest,
to recreate themselves till supper time. The Garden was very faire and
spacious, affoording, large limits for their severall walkes; the
Sun being already so low descended, that it could not be offensive
to any one, the Connies, Kids, and young Hindes skipping every where
about them, to their no meane, pleasure and contentment, Dioneus and
Fiammetta, sate singing together, of Messire Guiglielmo, and the
Lady of Vertur. [b]Philomena and Pamphilus playing at the Chesse, all
sporting themselves as best they pleased.[b/] But the houre of Supper
being come, and the Tables covered about the faire fountaine, they
sate downe and supt in most loving manner. Then Philostratus, not to
swerve from the course which had beene observed by the Queenes
before him, so soone as the Tables were taken away, gave commaund that
Madam Lauretta should beginne the dance, and likewise to sing a
Filostrato has just been made "King of the day" (which means king of the 4th day) ... he proposes the theme: "Tales of lovers whose relationship ends in disaster", which is quite more depressive than Dioneo's "Tales in which wives play tricks on their husbands" (7th day) and Panfilo's turn to virtue (10th day):
"Wherefore I ordain that for to-morrow you do each of you take thought how you may discourse of the ensuing theme: to wit, of such as in matters of love, or otherwise, have done something with liberality or magnificence. By the telling, and (still more) by the doing of such things, your spirits will assuredly be duly attuned and animated to emprise high and noble; whereby our life, which cannot but be brief, seeing that 'tis enshrined in a mortal body, fame shall perpetuate in glory; which whoso serves not the belly, as do the beasts, must not only covet, but with all zeal seek after and labour to attain."
Whereby by the 3-fold male scheme so is told:

Filostrato : unlucky lover
Diodeo: half lucky - half unlucky (cheated)
Panfilo: lucky by love

At the begin of the 4th reign the author makes a few words defending his stor (the Decamerone) and then tells the story of somebody, who attempted to educate his son to a very pious life without women far off the general world, but experienced, that the son, when he turned 18 years old and it couldn't be avoided, that he saw some women, from this moment on nothing better desired than women.

So, in this moment of the "first king of literature" (the earlier regents had been Queens, at least for the Decamerone) "Philomena and Pamphilus are playing at the Chesse".
This is very symbolic ... of course.

As already explained, a major topic of the Decamerone is to explain, why and how the prudent Filomena (later 8th place) raises herself to Pamphilo (at the last day at 9th position and king of literature), and how Filostrato dropped from 8th position to 3rd, a poor victim of love.

Chess passage 4:

In the introduction of the sixth day with Eliza as "Queene"

After dinner, they sung divers excellent Canzonnets, and then some
went to sleepe, others played at the Chesse, and some at the Tables:
But Dioneus and Madam Lauretta, they sung the love-conflict betweene
Troylus and Cressida. Now was the houre come, of repairing to their
former Consistory or meeting place, the Queene having thereto
generally summoned them, and seating themselves (as they were wont
to doe) about the faire fountaine. As the Queene was commanding to
begin the first Novell, an accident suddenly happened, which never had
befalne before: to wit, they heard a great noyse and tumult, among the
houshold servants in the Kitchin. Whereupon, the Queene caused the
Master of the Houshold to be called, demaunding of him, what noyse
it was, and what might be the occasion thereof? He made answere,
that Lacisca and Tindaro were at some words of discontentment, but
what was the occasion thereof, he knew not. Whereupon, the Queene
commanded that they should be sent for, (their anger and violent
speeches still continuing) and being come into her presence, she
demaunded the reason of their discord; and Tindaro offering to make
answere, Lacisca (being somewhat more ancient then he, and of a
fiercer fiery spirit, even as if her heart would have leapt out of her
mouth) turned her selfe to him, and with a scornefull frowning
countenance, said. See how this bold, unmannerly and beastly fellow,
dare presume to speake in this place before me: Stand by (saucy
impudence) and give your better leave to answere; then turning to
the Queene, thus shee proceeded.
Madam, this idle fellow would maintaine to me, that Signior
Sicophanto marrying with Madama della Grazza, had the victory of her
virginity the very first night; and I avouched the contrary, because
shee had been a mother twise before, in very faire adventuring of
her fortune. And he dared to affirme beside, that yong Maides are so
simple, as to loose the flourishing Aprill of their time, in meere
feare of their parents, and great prejudice of their friends.
And then the Queene, somewhat offended at the folly of the former
controversie, commanded Madame Philomena, that she should give
beginning to the dayes Novels:
At this opportunity the chess fever is a general one, nobody is mentioned with name ... well, and we experience, that this chess is accompanied by a curious noise. A small drama in the otherwise peaceful household takes place about the question, what is a virgin or what is not a virgin, and that just at the day, when the probable virgin Elissa is the queen of literature, which, as already told, is the youngest of all the ladies.

Neifile, likely the second youngest, isn't likely a virgin, cause she has a lover, as we're told here.
Whilst this matter was in debate, behold, three gentlemen
came into the church, the youngest not less than twenty-five
years of age, and in whom neither the adversity of the times,
the loss of relations and friends, nor even fear for themselves,
could stifle, or indeed cool, the passion of love. One was
called Pamfilo, the second Filostrato, and the third Dioneo,
all of them well bred, and pleasant companions ; and who,
to divert themselves in this time of affliction, were then in
pursuit of their mistresses, who as it chanced were three of
these seven ladies, the other four being all related to one or
other of them.
These gentlemen were no sooner within view,
than the ladies had immediately their eyes upon them, and
Pampinea said, with a smile, *' See, fortune is with us, and has
thrown in out way three prudent and worthy gentlemen, who
will conduct and wait upon us, if we think fit to accept of
their service." Neifile, with a blush, because she was one
that had an admirer, answered
: " Take care what you say, I
know them all indeed to be persons of character, and fit to be
trusted, even in affairs of more consequence, and in better
company; but, as some of them are enamoured of certain
ladies here
, I am only concerned lest we be* drawn into some
scrape or scandal, without either our fault or theirs." Filo-
mena replied : " Never tell me what other people may think,
so long as I know myself to be virtuous ; God and the truth
will be my defence ; and if they be willing to go, we will say
with Pampinea, that fortune is with us."

The rest hearing her speak in this manner, gave consent
that the gentlemen should be invited to partake in this ex-
pedition. And, without more words, Pampinea, who was
related to one of the three, rose up, and made towards them,
as they stood watching at a distance. Then, after a cheerful
salutation, she acquainted them with the design in hand, and
entreated that they would, out of pure friendship, oblige them
with their company. The gentlemen at first took it all for a
jest, but, being assured to the contrary, immediately answered
that they were ready ; and, to lose no time, gave the necessary
orders for what they wished to have done.
So, there is a "complex relation" between the both groups (partly love-affairs, partly cousins), which by the will of the poet IS NOT EXPLAINED. Boccaccio wants, that the reader starts to solve the riddle, who is partner to whom. He just slips the information in, that Neifile is one of the "secret lovers", but it isn't said, to whom.

Solving the riddle of the first day (I've to remember my analyses of post 1) .... the speaker list of the first day:

Position 1 ... from which I think, that it is a dance

1 Panfilo - 2 Neifile - 3 Philomena
4 Dioneo - 5 Fiammeta - 6 Emilia
7 Filostrato - 8 Lauretta - 9 Elissa
Queen of the day: 10 Pampinea
There we see, that Neifile dances with Panfilo. And Neifile is very near to him. But then, c. 14 days later, at the 10th day of story-telling, we see this picture.

1 Neifile
2 Elissa
3 Filostrato ... man
4 Lauretta
5 Emilia
6 Fiammeta
7 Pampinea
8 Filomena
9 Panfilo ... man
10 Diodeo ... man
There we see, that Neifile has lost her Panfilo: Neifile is at position No. 1 and Panfilo at Nr. 9 in the farthest possible distance to each other. What has happened?

Well, somehow it was realized through analysis, that Panfilo took up relations to Filomena, the Prudentia and chess-princess... but that's no the full reason. Neifile is the moon, and it's the destiny of the Moon, that it is once in full light and another time in dark emptiness, and the period between both intervals is just 14 days.

Filostrato now, the "negative lover", seems to have one specific problem: Jealousy, the green-eyed monster.
At Filostrato's day (the 4th tragical day) he tells the macabre story of two knights, who were very good friends of each other, but one got a love affair to the wife of the other. So the cheated husband surprised the other on his way to his wife, killed him and cut his heart out of his body. Then he ordered his cook to prepare the "heart of a boar" for supper for him and his wife. When his wife became aware of the true circumstances, she jumped from the tower - dead. The knight has to flee from his own population ... all rather tragical.
At the last final day Filostrato tells another example of jealousy. One Nathan, somehow in Cathay (China), is very famous for his richness and generosity. Another man, Mitridanes, has the aim to get the same fame. But one day he is ashamed by an old woman, who begs for alms, and who goes to all his all his palace doors, which are totally 13. He gives 12 times, but at the 13th door he feels molested by her. Then she says, that she was at the palace of Nathan and got something at all 32 doors.
Mitridanes now sees no other way than to kill Nathan to get his desire fulfilled. He attempts to do so. But Nathan very quickly learns about his ambitions, but doesn't attempt to protect himself. Nathan offers his life and even to change the personalities, Mitridames to became Nathan, and Nathan becoming Mitridanes. Finally Mitridanes is ashamed about his desire: for him it's better to be "just himself" instead of somebody other. The enemy "Jealousy" is overcome.
Of special interest are the numbers of the palace doors. Nathan (32 doors) stands for wisdom, Mitridanes (palace with 13 doors) for a calendar with 13 moon months and so for "Time".

Elissa, the virgin "Hope", and in astrology "Mercury" (the god of trade and change) waits for her maturity and the "right moment". In Boiardo's Tarocchi poem we've the strange suits Fear, Jealousy, Hope, Love ... altogether 4 passions of Stoic philosophy.

The four passions were discussed: here . They were also a theme of Boccaccio's friend Petrarca in c. 1360 in "De remediis utriusque fortunae".

Elissa with Hope and Fear finds her response in Filostrato, with Jealousy (his theme) and Love (position of the planet Venus).

Chess passage 5:

End of sixth day, Dioneus becomes king and addresses the public (his Ladies).

I make no doubt (bright Beauties) but you many times have seene as
good, or a better King among the Chessemen, then I am. But yet of a
certainty, if you would be obedient to me, as you ought in dutie
unto a true King: I should grant you a liberall freedome of that,
wherein you take the most delight, and without which, our choisest
desires can never be compleate. Neverthelesse, I meane, that my
government shal be according to mine owne minde. So, causing the
Master of the Houshold to be called for, as all the rest were wont
to do for conference with him: he gave him direction, for al things
fitting the time of his Regiment, and then turning to the Ladies, thus
he proceeded.
Dioneo, right aware about his identity with the "true author Boccaccio" and aware, that all figures in his book are just chess-figures of his mind, makes an understandable joke ... :-)
... well, at his own day (evening before the 7th day), when he is the literary king.

Chess passage 6:

Inside the 7th story of the 7th day, chess princess Filomena is talking. The hero of her story, Anichino, has the aim to seduce the beautiful Beatrix, wife of the merchant Egano. Anichino's great trick: he let's Beatrice win in the Chess game. It works.

"It fortuned upon a day, that Egano being ridden to flye his Hawke at
the River, and Anichino remaining behinde at home, Madame Beatrix, who
(as yet) had taken no notice of Anichinoes love to her (albeit her
selfe, observing his faire carriage and commendable qualities, was
highly pleased to have so seeming a servant) called him to play at the
Chesse with her: and Anichino, coveting nothing more then to content
her, carried himselfe so dexteriously in the game, that he permitted
hir still to win, which was no little joy to her. When all the
Gentlewomen, and other friends there present, as spectators to
behold their play, had taken their farewell, and were departed,
leaving them all alone, yet gaming still: Anichino breathing forth
an intire sigh, Madame Beatrix looking merrily on him, said. Tell me
Anichino, art not thou angrie, to see me win? It should appeare so
by that solemne sigh. No truly Madame, answered Anichino, a matter
of farre greater moment, then losse of infinite games at the Chesse,
was the occasion why I sighed. I pray thee (replyed the Lady) by the
love thou bearest me, as being my Servant (if any love at all remain
in thee towards me) give me a reason for that harty sigh."

Well, it's Boccaccio's book and game.
What would be, if you would leave the three guys out of the book? Under this condition the 7th story of the 7th day would be the last story of the book and the game would be at 7x7-board, well, the king would be missing. Women chess.
Prudentia Filomena plays with this idea. Clever Anichino makes the woman heart's happy by letting her win. Then together Beatrice and Anichino cheat her husband Egano in a rather tricky way.
Read it, if you desire more of it ...

In this book talk forum they've a quite different model for the virtues-girls comparison as I got ...
Pampinea - 'Full of Vigor' represents Prudence
Fiametta - 'Small Flame' Temperance
Filomena - 'Faithful in Love' Fortitude
Lauretta - 'Wise, Crowned with Laurels' Justice
Neifile - 'Cloudy' Charity
Elissa - 'God is my Vow' Hope
Emilia - 'Rival' Faith

... I agree only with "Hope"
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