Join Date: 02 Jul 2003
Framed Story: Decameron
Giovanni Boccaccio (1313 – 1375): Decameron (c. 1350 - 1351/53)
Full text version (English, sorted according chapters and stories)
Full text version (in one text; valuable, if you attempt to search the text for keywords)
(warning: both translations have considerable differences between each other)
Well ... coming so far, I got the opinion, that a key to the study of the Decameron would be to make a system, which describes the movement of the persons.
The scheme develops in 10 steps with 10 persons. In only few steps a person stays at the position where it had been before. The great exception is Dioneo, who in the first step takes position 4 (with this 3 positions behind Panfilo, who has No 1, and is with that 3 positions before Filostrato, who has No 7). So the 3 male members of the groups seem to be at the start mathematically arranged (1-4-7), each with two women following (Position 1 followed by 2 and 3, Pos. 4 by 5 and 6 and Pos. 7 by 8 and 9) ... above them (at the start) the queen Pampinea, which is considered the oldest of the women (with a little less than 28 years).
Well, this start position looks a little bit like a dance structure ...
The idea, that the 7 women present not "natural women", but have to be identified allegorical, for instance with the "7 virtues", is not new. In a side path I found an opinion of somebody else, that Elissa would present "Hope". Elissa is the youngest of the seven women (a little older than 18 years), so Hope might be a good choice ... so I thought. After some analyzes I agreed with my earlier assumption and the idea of somebody else: Elissa is Hope.
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
... now 9 days pass (and all the persons move), and at the 10th day (which has the theme "Virtues"), the figures have this position:
3 Filostrato ... man
9 Panfilo ... man
10 Diodeo ... man
Diodeo has now the meta-position 10, which he already had since the evening of day 1, when the society seems to have realized, that he's the real poet ... :-) ... as explanation is given, that at the end of the first day, Diodeo asked:
[quote]Dioneo, however, when the rest had done speaking, said: “ Madam, as all the rest have said, so say I, briefly, that the rule prescribed by you is commendable and delectable; but of your especial grace I crave a favour, which, I trust, may be granted and continued to me, so long as our company shall endure; which favour is this: that I be not bound by the assigned theme if I am not so minded, but that I have leave to choose such topic as best shall please me. And lest any suppose that I crave this grace as one that has not stories ready to hand, I am henceforth content that mine be always the last. ” The queen, knowing him to be a merry and facetious fellow, and feeling sure that he only craved this favour in order that, if the company were jaded, he might have an opportunity to recreate them by some amusing story, gladly, with the consent of the rest, granted his petition. [quote]
Dioneo takes with this the "moderator place" (Nr. 10) after the "king of the day (position 9 usually) told his story".
The king of the 10th day (position number 9) is Panphilo and beside him (Nr. 8) is Filomena. Filomena had been at the 1st day one of the two ladies dancing with Panphilo ("1 Panfilo - 2 Neifile - 3 Philomena").
For both - Dioneo and Panphilo - one could say, that they reached the "highest position in the scheme" (typical for men ... :-) ...).
If we look now for the remaining man, Filostrato, then we see, that for unknown reason he has fallen down at the 10th day to position No 3, near to Elissa the youngest and possibly "Hope" (No 2) and also "Lauretta" (No. 4). And if we go now back to the "Dance of day 1", then we find precisely "7 Filostrato - 8 Lauretta - 9 Elissa" ...
If we (the readers) would expect for the last day a sorted representation of the 7 virtues, we would accept easily ...
and then (at 7-1) the seven virtues in row
... as the key system of the work (and we would know, if "Elissa is Hope" and who all the the other hidden virtues are).
But ... poets are poets, and they love to puzzle around a little bit and so Boccaccio complicated the matter. Actually the row of virtues is given in the last days , but Boccaccio also wanted to point to the hidden roles of Filostrato, Panfilo and Diodeo, naturally.
As the 7 women are "hidden virtues", so naturally also the 3 men are "something". If one has no better idea, then the 3 men are just the author (Boccaccio himself) and the 3 men personal aspects of Boccaccio.
Diodeo ... naturally is the poet.
Panfilo ... means "I love all"
Filostrato means somehow "I love you", but possibly he has difficulties about the question, whom he means. At the begin he dances with Elissa and Lauretta (first day), and at the end (last day) he still doesn't know, whom he should prefer.
And in the midst of it he exclaims:
[quote]"... nor willingly would I be called by any other name,
but only, the miserable and unfortunate Lover."[/b]
If we now - for the real order - put Filostrato at position 8 as the "3rd man" and exchange him with Filomena (moved to position 3, where she had been at day 1), then we would have in the "repaired 10th day":
1 Neifile = cardinal virtue Temperance
2 Elissa = theological virtue Hope
3 Filomena = cardinal virtue Prudentia
4 Lauretta = theological virtue Caritas
5 Emilia = cardinal virtue Fortitudo
6 Fiammeta = theological virtue Fides
7 Pampinea = cardinal virtue Justice
8 Filostrato ... man
9 Panfilo ... man
10 Diodeo ... man
The page "Brigata" presents the 10 figures in single aspects ...
1 Neifile is (in this text) honored for Modestia, which would fit with the virtue Temperance
2 Elissa is associated to Hope
3 Filomena is the only one, who plays chess (with Panfilo).. "Philomena and Pamphilus playing at the Chesse, all sporting themselves as best they pleased." ... after the third day. This might demand some prudence, so Prudentia might be correct.
4 Lauretta: The text gives her to "Justice", but I don't think, that this is correct. I give Lauretta to Caritas, mainly cause I think, that Justice is made by Pampinea, the oldest, at the first day, when she defined the rules for 10-day-stories experiment. Further I think, that Justice is the natural middle between 3 theological virtues and 3 remaining cardinal virtues.
5 Emilia is (by the text) presented as an example for narcism - I think, that this fits well with Fortitudo. It seems, that she is the "dancing-Queen".
6 Fiammetta is the great love in Boccaccio's real life and in Boccaccio's Decamerone she should present the "secret lover of Diodeo". According the "day-1-dance" Diodeo has Fiammetta and Emilia as possible partner. This is mirrored by the condition, that Fiammetta get's "somehow" the final words of all the Decamerone
7 Pampinea ... as already explained, I think, that she presents Justice.
Most difficulties in this "my representation" I see for Lauretta = Caritas and Fiammetta = Fides ... it might well be, that it was meant as Lauretta = Fides and Fiammetta = Caritas. In the Mantegna Tarocchi (which Trionfi.com gives to Rome) Fides is higher than Caritas, however, in the Minchiate (which is from Florence) Caritas is higher than Fides. Boccaccio wrote in Florence, but the Mantegna is (possibly) nearer in time to the Decamerone. And the assumed "basis row" of the cardinal virtues in Decamerone ...
1 Neifile = Temperantia
3 Filomena = Prudentia
5 Emilia = Fortitudo
7 Pampinea = Justice
... is identical to Mantegna Tarocchi
38 Spes (Hope)
.. the Minchiate (Florence), however, shows this row ..
... and this (again) shows a "high-flying" Prudentia, as it doesn't appear in the basis row, but ALSO at the final day of the Decamerone (with Filomena = Prudentia) taking the 8th position.
The one big confusing element about all riddles of the Tarocchi-row is "where is Prudentia gone too ?".
From the situation of the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo Tarocchi (painted by two artists) and the from this deck developing 5x14-theory it's stated, that the first 14 trumps (made by Bembo) only included the virtue "Justice", which at this state not naturally was meant as a a "cardinal virtue". With the addition of six cards by the second painter, who, as it seems, added two triads
Sun - Moon - Star
and the 3 missing Cardinal Virtues
Temperantia - Fortitudo - Prudentia (= World)
With the Charles VI Tarot the idea, that "card World meant Prudentia", was confirmed, cause in this deck Cardinal Virtues got a signifying "octogonal halo" and the card "World" had such a halo like her sisters Fortitudo-Temperantia-Justice.
Now we meet in a text, which is about 100 years older than the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo Tarocchi (and beside that it's a text, which had been very influential for Italian and European culture) a similar "high-flying and disguised" Prudentia called Filomena, which jumps out of the general order of the normal virtues.
"Filo..." as in "Filostrato" and "Panfilo" and also in "Filomena" translates generally as "I love" as in "Philosophy" (which means "I love wisdom" from Sophia" = "wisdom"). "Filo ... mena" lets me think of "mens, mentis", and I would translate the meaning of it with "I love understanding" or "I love thinking" and that would be a rather good name for "Prudentia" (the "babynames" literature comes to the opinion, that Filomena means "beloved", other thought of Philomela, the "Nightingale"). And I take my flight to the literary fact, that Filomena (as the only one of all 7 girls) plays chess - with Panfilo.
"Panfilo" was already before Boccaccio a literary figure with different writing forms Pamphilo, Panfilio ...
Here as a Magician in the Sola Busca deck, "Panfilio", in 1491
And here in "Andria" .. an old comedy of Terence ..
[b]Pamphilus' father had arranged for him to marry Philumena. After much curious developments it finishes luckily with Pamphilus marrying the sweet Glycerium and Philumena is free to marry Charinus, the friend of Pamphilus.
And in the Decamerone at 10th day, story 8 (Filomena's last literary contribution, which naturally has a deeper meaning) Filomena tells about a Sophronia, who shall be married to Gesippus, but Gesippus has a close friend, who falls deeply in love to the bride of the friend and finally turns about his inner conflict nearly mortal sick ... and the good friend Gesippus opens all the lucky ways, that the friend gets Sophronia, and he himself gets the sister of his friend.
This theater play "Andria" (from Terence, with Pamphilus and Philomena) was given in a big theater show in Ferrara 1491 for the wedding of Alfonso d'Este with Anna Sforza, and the Sola Busca (with a card Panfilio as "Magician") was dated to the same date "1491" cause a quote at one of the cards referring to the foundation of the city Venice. Alfonso d'Este in 1491 - short after the wedding (January 1491) - visited Venice (February/March 1491). Everybody might think, what he takes from this "strange coindence", but I would think, that the Sola Busca had been made for the marriage of Alonso d'Este.
Anyway ... but it sounds, as if this high-flying Filomena seems to be a women between two men. Usually the man has the choice ...
Pamphilus appears then also in this older text "Pamphilus de amore", described with translation here ...
... in which Pamphilus discusses with an old woman called "Anus" the conditions of his love life to Galathea (everybody might think what he wants with that, what "Anus" means in the given context, indeed Anus is also an old Latin name for "old woman ... here is the Latin text with "Anus ad Pamphilium" and "Panphilium ad Anum"
... ) and it's said in the description, that this work influenced a Pamphilus figure appearing as a seducer in Boccaccio's work "Fiammetta" (before Decamarone).
Further Boccaccio wrote a text "Filostrato" (also before Decamarone), so the conclusion is given, that Boccaccio had generated content already before the Decamarone, which filled the background - and this naturally isn't present in the Decamarone itself, but might be for Boccaccio and his contemporary readers might be taken as "known". So if we read ...
"... and Dioneo and Fiammetta sat singing together the song of
Palamon and Arcite" at the begin of the 8th day, which belongs to LAURETTA (who was just crowned then, with a LAUREL CROWN of course as all the lterary Kings and Queens in the Decamaron) and then know, that Palamon and Arcite became the first story of Chaucer's Canterbury stories, the "Knight Tale", and even more than this, it appeared already as theme in Boccacio's own "Teseida della nozze di Emilia" ....
... then complex details show up, just indicated with a few words
And Emilia is also in the Decamerone as Fortitudo.
Filostrato appears before the Decamerone ...
Alright, I've given and interpreted a few details, based on the speaker lists of the first and the last day (which surely have an important value), which in my opinion lead to the virtue identification.
But there are more details given with the speaker lists of 2nd till 9th day, then the literary King's and Queens list and additionally a singer for each day. Further each day has a theme. And there are 100 stories at this 10x10 chess board ...
Chess ... how often does chess appear in the text? Not very often, aber it often appeas at significant places.
Maybe I tell this in my next post to this theme.
"getting it home to the writing desk"
Last edited by Huck; 26-08-2011 at 06:34.
|26-08-2011||Ask a Professional Tarot Reader Top #1|
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Join Date: 02 Jul 2003
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
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:
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"
Neifile, likely the second youngest, isn't likely a virgin, cause she has a lover, as we're told here.
Solving the riddle of the first day (I've to remember my analyses of post 1) .... the speaker list of the first day:
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).
... 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"
"getting it home to the writing desk"
Last edited by Huck; 28-08-2011 at 08:22.
|28-08-2011||Ask a Professional Tarot Reader Top #2|
Join Date: 02 Jul 2003
The "Filicolo" ...
.., which is not a small book ...
... "is considered to be the first novel of Italian literature written in prose." Written in 1335/36 (Boccaccio 22 years old, he was - likely - already acquainted to "Fiammetta" alias Maria Aquino in Naples and had spend before already some time in Paris) it contains a longer chess scene. It's described in this article.
The hero wins (deciding sympathies), when he uses the strategy already known from the Filomena chess story (7th story of the 7th day), just by losing the chess game. Naturally Filomena's story (in the Decamarone) is about 15 years younger.
The story is the theme of "Floris and Blancheflour" ..
... it seems that the chess scene (which has a key role in the story) was already part of older versions.
"getting it home to the writing desk"
|28-08-2011||Ask a Professional Tarot Reader Top #3|
Join Date: 02 Jul 2003
The work on the Decamerone (and its influence on the later Tarot) found some prolongation in the Poilly thread, see post ....
"getting it home to the writing desk"
|18-03-2012||Ask a Professional Tarot Reader Top #4|