Album Overview

Tartarus follows 14th century Florentine poet Dante Alighieri from the Guelph-Ghibelline wars to his journey through the afterlife as depicted in Divina Commedia 

 
 
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Guelfo

The Guelphs and Ghibellines were factions supporting the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor, respectively, in the Italian city-states of central and northern Italy. During the 12th and 13th centuries, rivalry between these two parties formed a particularly important aspect of the internal politics of medieval Italy.

Our protagonist, Dante Alighieri, is born into the Florentine Guelphs in 1265 and participates in the Battle of Campaldino in 1289.


Virgilius Maro

An ancient Roman poet of the Augustan Period. Most notable for his epic poem Aeneid, Virgil serves as a guide for Dante into Inferno. 

He represents reason and wisdom, making him the perfect guide. As the journey progresses, his treatment of Dante changes, depending on the situation. Often and most importantly, Virgil is very protective of Dante. He is very careful to explain patiently all of the functions of Hell and its various structures. Virgil is constantly solicitous of Dante's welfare, and he knows that Dante is dependent on him. At times, when Virgil himself is having difficulty with some of the shades, he tells Dante to wait behind, because he does not want to frighten Dante, who is completely dependent upon him, as both a guide through the geography of Hell and as a spiritual guide.

 

 

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Inferno

The first canto in Dante’s Divine Comedy and perhaps the most famous of the epic poem. 

On the night of Good Friday in the year 1300, Dante finds himself lost in a dark wood and full of fear. He sees a sun-drenched mountain in the distance, and he tries to climb it, but three beasts, a leopard, a lion, and a she-wolf, stand in his way. Dante is forced to return to the forest where he meets the spirit of Virgil, who promises to lead him on a journey through Hell so that he may be able to enter Paradise. Dante agrees to the journey and follows Virgil through the gates of Hell.

 


Purgatorio

the second part of Dante's Divine Comedy, following the Inferno, and preceding the Paradiso. The poem was written in the early 14th century. It is an allegory telling of the climb of Dante up the Mount of Purgatory, guided by the Roman poet Virgil, except for the last four cantos at which point Beatrice takes over as Dante's guide.

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Paradiso

The third as well as final part of Dante's Divine Comedy, Paradiso is the sequel to the Inferno and the Purgatorio and it narrates Dante's journey through heaven. Paradise, in this work, is depicted as a series of concentric spheres.

Ending Dante's epic on an uplifting note, this poetic narrative is an extended metaphor that traces his journey through heaven. It explores the vast theme of theology in a complex and extensive manner, and is itself a representation of the soul’s ascent to God. The central theme explored in this work is that of medieval theology. However, it interpolates other thematic elements like that of love, conviction, sin etc. This work, unlike the other two parts of Divine Comedy, delineates the landscape embellished with cardinal and theological virtues.

 


Optional Readings

The Aeneid by Publius Vergilius Maro

 

recommended readings

La Vita Nuova by Dante Alighieri 

Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri