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  • Writer's pictureRobert Brinkerhoff

Inferno VIII: Gang Warfare

Inferno VIII: "Seize Filippo Argenti!"

Ink on paper, 2016

22 x 15” Dante encounters the Florentine politician Filippo Argenti, and the wrathful cease their violent battle to consolidate their attacks on him. Argenti then begins to tear at himself in due course, making quite a bloody scene.

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The wrathful turn on Filippo Argenti, but he literally beats them to the punch, tearing at his own flesh in a frenzy. In Bocaccio's Decameron, Argenti's ire is raised by a practical joke played by Ciacco, It's been said that Filippo Argenti once slapped Dante, that his brother had claimed Dante's possessions after his exile, and that the whole Argenti family opposed Dante's return. Dante held some pretty big grudges and the Hollanders explain the character in this gloss from their edition of L'Inferno. “From the cries of others the reader finally learns the name of this sinner (Dante has known exactly who he is—see v. 39). Filippo Argenti was a Black Guelph from a powerful Florentine family. His real name was Filippo Adimari de’ Cavicciuoli, but he supposedly was known as Filippo Argenti because he had his horse’s hooves shod in silver (argento). A number of early commentators relate that his brother, Boccaccino, got hold of Dante’s possessions when the poet was exiled. If that is true, we have here a pretty clear case of authorial revenge upon a particularly hated enemy. See Francesco Forti, “Filippo Argenti,” ED, vol. 2, 1970, pp. 873–76.”

Excerpt From: Dante, Robert Hollander & Jean Hollander. “The Inferno.”

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