v. 28. With us beyond.] Beyond the middle point they tended the same way with us, but their pace was quicker than ours.
v. 29. E’en thus the Romans.] In the year 1300, Pope Boniface viii., to remedy the inconvenience occasioned by the press of people who were passing over the bridge of St. Angelo during the time of the Jubilee, caused it to be divided length wise by a partition, and ordered, that all those who were going to St. Peter’s should keep one side, and those returning the other.
v. 50. Venedico.] Venedico Caccianimico, a Bolognese, who prevailed on his sister Ghisola to prostitute herself to Obizzo da Este, Marquis of Ferrara, whom we have seen among the tyrants, Canto xii.
v. 62. To answer Sipa.] He denotes Bologna by its situation between the rivers Savena to the east, and Reno to the west of that city; and by a peculiarity of dialect, the use of the affirmative sipa instead of si.
v. 90. Hypsipyle.] See Appolonius Rhodius, l. i. and Valerius Flaccus l.ii. Hypsipyle deceived the other women by concealing her father Thoas, when they had agreed to put all their males to death.
v. 120. Alessio.] Alessio, of an ancient and considerable family in Lucca, called the Interminei.
v. 130. Thais.] He alludes to that passage
in the Eunuchus of
Terence where Thraso asks if Thais was obliged to him for the
present he had sent her, and Gnatho replies, that she had
expressed her obligation in the most forcible terms.
T. Magnas vero agere gratias Thais mihi?
Eun. a. iii. s. i.
v. 18. Saint John’s fair dome.] The apertures in the rock were of the same dimensions as the fonts of St. John the Baptist at Florence, one of which, Dante says he had broken, to rescue a child that was playing near and fell in. He intimates that the motive of his breaking the font had been maliciously represented by his enemies.
v. 55. O Boniface!] The spirit mistakes Dante for Boniface viii. who was then alive, and who he did not expect would have arrived so soon, in consequence, as it should seem, of a prophecy, which predicted the death of that Pope at a later period. Boniface died in 1303.
v. 58. In guile.] “Thou didst presume to arrive by fraudulent means at the papal power, and afterwards to abuse it.”
v. 71. In the mighty mantle I was rob’d.] Nicholas iii, of the Orsini family, whom the poet therefore calls “figliuol dell’ orsa,” “son of the she-bear.” He died in 1281.
v. 86. From forth the west, a shepherd without law.] Bertrand de Got Archbishop of Bordeaux, who succeeded to the pontificate in 1305, and assumed the title of Clement V. He transferred the holy see to Avignon in 1308 (where it remained till 1376), and died in 1314.