Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-m42fx Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-19T18:42:17.788Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Chapter 5 - Triumph and Apotheosis, Augustine to Dante

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 January 2023

Henrike Christiane Lange
Affiliation:
University of California, Berkeley
Get access

Summary

This chapter addresses textual and spiritual “spolia,” a term used in art history to describe any material or immaterial remnant from the past purposefully taken and inserted into a new context. Here the term is considered with its textual and spiritual resonances in Augustine (354–430), Giotto (?1337), and Dante (1265–1321), examining how they relate their works to the legacy of the ancients – both the Hebrew Bible and Greco-Roman letters, arts, and architecture. From its beginnings, Christianity had to develop a means for recuperating, relating to, and using the legacy of the pagan imperial past. In the early fourteenth century, particularly in Italy, questions that the early Christians had pondered reemerged in new forms – the Roman elements of Giotto’s chapel and Dante’s Comedy, under the guidance of Virgil, are exemplary of this complex relationship, as is Augustinianism contemporary to Giotto. Augustine – channeled through the exegesis of his fourteenth-century readers – is the most important link to the ancient Roman past, for Giotto’s chapel in particular, as Giuliano Pisani has shown, and in the larger historical context of the times.1 Augustine’s works were better known than those of any other church father, especially his De doctrina and De rubibus. His City of God foregrounds the issue of humility, installing Psalms of introspective intensity against the vainglorious character of the Romans. In Augustine, Dante, and Giotto, there is a celebration of the triumph of Christianity over paganism even while, or especially as, these figures make explicit use of the legacy of the pagans.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×