In reading the Divine Comedy (from here on Comedy) and The Consolation of Philosophy (from here on Consolation), one is bound to notice the reoccurring imagery of light and darkness. The repetition of these images stresses their importance in understanding the overall plotline. This leads me to ask the question, what does light and darkness symbolize in Dante’s Comedy and Boethius’s Consolation? Surely, an answer to this question will aid in the understanding of their message. In what follows, I argue that light symbolizes knowledge, truth, reason, and virtue. Darkness, of course, symbolizes their opposites: ignorance, falsehood, destructive emotions, and vice. Aquirre’s analysis of the imagery in the Consolation follows this same line of thought, giving good reason to investigate and develop further these two elements: “Two prevalent images in the Consolation are those of light for knowledge and darkness for ignorance; subsidiary images shape a semantic field involving blindness, veils, night, clouds, mist and correspondingly sight, day, sun” (684). As we will see, essentially the same thing can be said about Dante’s Comedy.
I have chosen to compare these two works on this thesis because of Boethius’s known influence on Dante. Boethius wrote during the 6th Century about a hundred years after Augustine’s death. Dante’s Comedy was written in the 14th Century and helped influence the Italian Renaissance. According to Marenbon, the Consolation was widely studied during the medieval period, especially the 12th Century, and was translated into other languages. Its influence was especially felt on vernacular poets, such as Dante, Boccaccio, and Chaucer (172-3). Boethius is referenced, although not by name, in Book 10 of Paradiso (180). There is also the shared high regard for the classical poets and philosophers, which actually plays a significant role in the construction of their works. Needless to say, there is a bond between these men and their writings.
Rather than analyze each book in turn and then draw out similarities at the end, I have divided my analysis into various thematic sections that are representative of both. Both books are therefore discussed in tandem, allowing their commonalities and emphases to stand out more clearly.
SOURCES OF LIGHT
Light, of course, must have a source. It turns out that various sources of light are implemented by both authors with similar ends. These sources include persons and natural elements, such as the sun. One of the key utilizations of these light sources is the progression in which they appear, as well as their contrasting natures.
Lady Philosophy serves as Boethius’s guide, leading him out of the darkened state of his mind. In this, she serves as a source of light – a source of truth, knowledge, and wisdom. As Aquirre says, “Her ‘medicine’…is to his ‘sickness’ what light is to darkness and rational argument to ignorance….” (677). This is made explicit when Boethius speaks to her as “our guide to the true light” (4.1.2). The fact that she guides to the true light does not make her something other than a source of light. A flashlight in a dark cave that guides the way out into the greater light of the sun is still a source of light. It is important to keep in mind, too, that Lady Philosophy is the personification of classic philosophy, which is associated with enlightenment, along with authority, protection, and guidance (Aquirre 690). So, Boethius sees philosophy as a source of light (reason) for his darkened state (destructive emotions) and personifies this with Lady Philosophy.
In the Inferno, Dante refers to Virgil as “the honor and light of other poets,” (1.82) and Dante is included in these other poets (cf. lines 83-87). Virgil lives up to this designation, beyond the obvious influence of Dante’s literary work, as he faithfully guides Dante through the darkness of the Abyss, bringing calm and reason to Dante’s fearful fits. Further, Higgins regards Virgil as playing an allegorical role as “Reason,” thereby representing “the highest virtues of mankind before the enlightenment of Christianity” (502-3).
Beatrice, too, serves as a light later in Dante’s journey. According to Franke, Dante’s vision in Paradise is conveyed in shadows and refractions, seeing only what is “in the soul-lights that cover over and dim down the divine radiance” (79). The idea that it is conveyed in shadows may sound counterintuitive to light. What Franke seems to be communicating is that the fullness of God’s light is experienced, at least initially while Dante becomes accustomed to the light (i.e. truth), in a dimmed fashion. That is, he is not yet able to look directly at the light of God, but must be gradually exposed to the light to allow his eyes to adjust, just as we must do when we walk outside after having been in a dark room. Again, the light symbolizes the truth of God, so the adjusting of the eyes is really an adjusting of the mind/thought. In short, Beatrice’s light, which is a refraction of the light of God, guides Dante into the fullness of light of truth (e.g. Par. 5).
Black describes Virgil and Beatrice as “two suns,” with Virgil representing the light of the classical tradition and Beatrice the Christian tradition. By this he means that the classical poets and philosophers are not of a derivative light, as moonlight is to sunlight, but that they are “their own authority”. Beatrice is even said to need this light of the classical tradition. The fact that God is represented as the eternal and true light, however, seems to cut against this perspective. The light of the classical tradition is derived from nature itself, which is the product of God. The classical poets and philosophers are not lights in themselves; they are channels of light in so far as they have intellectually apprehended the truths of nature.
In Inferno 4 (Limbo), the source of light is a bonfire (discussed more fully below). When we approach the Divine Comedy from the perspective of vertical reading (reading the cantos from the three sections/books of the Comedy parallel to one another), we see that in Purgatorio 4 the source of the light is the sun (lines 55-60). In Paradiso 4, the source of the light is the truth or God (lines 124-6). Higgins comments: “[The truth is] what is eternally true, the revealed truth of God as seen in His Word, Christ, and as found in Scripture and orthodox theology. This is the truth that Beatrice imparts, in her symbolic role as divine Wisdom” (663). This is evident from Canto 5 where Beatrice says that her sight approaches “the apprehended good” (line 6) and refers to that light as “the eternal light” (line 7). This progression of light sources is what Mazzotta has in mind when he describes the Comedy as a journey from darkness to light, which is a journey toward truth or God (23). In other words, as Dante journeys from the inferno to Purgatory to Paradise, things become brighter due to their relevant light sources – an increase in truth and the glory of God.
Likewise, there are important sources of light in the Consolation. Throughout the work, Phoebus Apollo, a Greco-Roman god, is mentioned as a source of light. Hamilton, in her classic book, Mythology, speaks of Phoebus Apollo as “the God of Light, in whom is no darkness at all, and so he is the God of Truth” (25). She also notes that his name, Phoebus, means “brilliant” or “shining” (26). So, it is understandable as to why Boethius would make use of Phoebus, especially in the poetic sections, if he largely relies on Greco-Roman philosophy and poetry, and needs a source of light to be representative of that classical tradition. For example, in Book 2 Chapter 3 meters 1-4, Lady Philosophy speaks thus: “When Phoebus in his rose-red car climbs higher,\ And starts to flood the sky with light,\ The constellations, gleaming white,\ Grow pale and dim before his thrusting fire.” This poetic imagery communicates the rising of the sun, thereby causing the bright stars in the blackness of the sky to vanish from sight in the greater light of the sun.
There is another, more important, source of light, however. This source, as can be expected, is God (cf. Olmsted 23f26). There is a contrast made between these two sources of light, of a lesser source to a greater and true source. This is explicit near the end of the book in the metered section of Book 5 Chapter 2. There, Lady Philosophy quotes Homer in referring to Phoebus as one who “Sees all things and hears all things”. This, again, refers to the light of the sun shining upon the earth, with the light representing knowledge. She counteracts this, however, with his inability to “pierce the depths of the earth and sea” – the sun’s light does not shine in all places. Is there another source of light to look to, one that is not so enfeebled? Indeed, it is God himself who “sees all, seated in the skies”. The last two lines are especially enlightening, establishing this contrast between the two sources of light: “Since he alone all things can see,\ The title of ‘true sun’ he earns.” Whereas Phoebus Apollo is associated with the sun in Greco-Roman mythology, God is here said to be the true sun, in the sense of being the greater source of light that has no limitations. Walsh remarks that the designation of “true sun” goes back to Plato’s notion of God “as sun and source of all light,” especially in Plato’s famous cave analogy in Book 7 of the Republic (159). In this case, the source of Phoebus’s light is God himself, much as Beatrice’s light is a refraction of God’s light. Further, Boethius seems to be presenting the philosophers (here represented by Plato) as superior to the poets (represented by Homer), which would certainly be consistent with Lady Philosophy’s castigation of the Muses of poetry in Book 1 (lines 7-11). After all, Boethius wrote The Consolation of Philosophy, not The Consolation of Poetry.
THE LIGHT OF NATURE AND THOSE WHO APPREHEND IT
We again turn our attention back to Canto 4 (Limbo) in Dante’s Comedy. It is here that Dante encounters the classical poets and philosophers (e.g. Homer; Aristotle), their facial expression being neither grief-stricken nor happy (line 84), which says something about their honored position as being less than paradise but greater than the lower circles of Hell. The mention of light, in one way or another, appears four times in this canto. First, there is the bonfire, which has already been briefly mentioned. On this, Dante says, “I caught sight of a fire\ Which carved for itself a hemisphere in the darkness” (lines 67-8) – a dome of light cast in the darkness. According to Higgins, this light represents the light of nature, or the truths that can be known, especially about God, through creation alone (i.e. general or natural revelation). This light, he says, symbolizes “the intellect in its natural, pagan state” (508-9). This would actually make the light both a source (the light of nature) and the discoveries resulting from that source (the intellect). It is knowledge taking hold of truth by the hand of understanding.
The poets and philosophers are therefore depicted as discovering something of truth and virtue by means of the contemplation of self, society, and the natural order of things. This is evident in that Dante refers to Virgil as one “who honour[s] sciences and arts” (line 73) and asks him why these honored ones are “separated from the others” (line 74). Virgil’s response is that their “honoured reputation” (line 76), by which he means the honored works they have produced, still benefits the living, and therefore “Wins grace in heaven, which gives them this advantage” (line 78).
Second, after Dante meets the four poets – Homer, Horace, Ovid, and Lucan – they continue “in the direction of the light” (line 103). The place of this light is a castle, encircled by seven high walls and a stream (lines 106-8). This seven-walled castle will be discussed below in the next section.
Third, after entering the castle, Dante says they moved to one side, to “an open place, well-lit, upon high ground” (line 115). It is here that Dante sees a plethora of historical and mythological classical figures, to include poets, philosophers, military heroes, mathematicians, and scientists (Belliottie 57). When Dante raises his eyes higher, though, he sees “the master of knowledge, Aristotle” (lines 130-2). Higgins remarks on Aristotle’s immense influence on medieval thought, especially with the scholastics in the areas of “natural history, metaphysics, ethics, and politics” (510). This would suggest that Aristotle made much of the light of nature, and therefore was head and shoulders above others in knowledge and wisdom.
Lastly, as Dante and Virgil leave Limbo to descend into the lower circles of the Abyss, Dante speaks thus: “And I came to a part where nothing is luminous” (line 151). Here, the little light that exists in Limbo is further emphasized by the absence of light elsewhere. It causes the reader to shudder at what lies ahead, and perhaps it was a temptation for Dante to remain where he was. At least in Limbo there was light and good company – virtuous and wise men. Now, Dante must descend into darkness. The obvious import here is that the lower circles of Hell lack men of virtue and are characterized by greater degrees of punishment.
The light of nature is more explicit in the Consolation, particularly due to it being a philosophical work. As Boethius recounts his earlier discourses with Lady Philosophy on “knowledge of things human and divine,” he refers to the probing of “the secrets of nature,” of tracing out “the paths of the stars,” and of having his character and course of life shaped “according to the patterns established in the heavens” (1.4.3-4). In other words, there are discernable truths, even divine truths, in the natural order of things, and it is given to man to contemplate and uncover their secrets of wisdom. Boethius brings this up as a recollection of what life was like prior to his imprisonment. Although he faithfully sought to apply the wisdom gained from such philosophical observations, it seems that Fortune has betrayed him. In short, Lady Philosophy exposes Boethius’s attachment to the things of the world at this point (his clouded thinking) and calls him to the transcendent.
Later in Chapter 8 of Book 3, Lady Philosophy also points to the truth of God discernible through the heavens, which ought to humble us and keep us from seeking happiness in material, transient things: “Contemplate the extent and the stability of the heavens, and then at last cease to admire worthless things. Even so, you should marvel at the heavens not so much for those features as for the innate reason by which they are guided” (line 8). The one who contemplates and discerns the heavens, in other words, is the reasonable soul who is not flummoxed by the misgivings of Fortune; they get above the sun to discern the eternal Reason that is behind all things.
There is a hint of Ecclesiastes in the Consolation here. Note how everything under the sun (a source of light) is vanity: “I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after the wind” (Ecc. 1:14). Like the Consolation, one must look beyond the sun for true and lasting solace: “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecc. 12:13).
A similar line of thought is presented in 4.4.27: “That is because their eyes are accustomed to darkness, and they cannot raise them to the light of clear truth…. In concentrating their gaze not on the order of nature but on their own emotions, they imagine that freedom to commit crimes or impunity for committing them is a blessing.” There is an obvious relation to Plato’s cave analogy here, of those chained and forced to look at shadows as if the shadows are the real thing. Their eyes are not accustomed to the bright sun, which is to say their minds are not agreeable to the truth. Further, what they imagine to be their freedom is actually their enslavement, not realizing the accountability they have to God as evinced from the order of things.
In summary, to properly understand the order of nature, one must “contemplate the heavens,” or make use of the light of nature (Relihan 183).
THE FORTIFIED LIGHT, OR THE STRENGTH OF VIRTUE
Both Dante and Boethius incorporate an image of fortification with reference to the virtues. Whereas Dante uses an actual castle, given meaning by its walls and inhabitants, Boethius speaks of the citadel of the mind. Both, it seems, are getting at the same thing.
You will recall that Dante meets the classical poets in Limbo in Inferno 4. As they continue to walk toward the light, they come to a castle: “We came then to the foot of a great castle,\ Encircled seven times by lofty walls,\ And around which there flowed a pleasant stream;\\ We went over the stream as on dry land;\ And I entered seven gates with those wise men:\ We came into a meadow where the grass was cool” (lines 106-11). The seven-walled castle surrounded by a stream stands out as the centerpiece in the canto. Indeed, paintings of Dante in Limbo often incorporate this castle. The walls with their gates could represent the seven liberal arts, summarily referred to as the Trivium and Quadrivium. Within the Trivium, which constitutes language, is grammar, dialectic/logic, and rhetoric. Within the Quadrivium, which constitutes mathematics, is arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music (cf. Lewis 186). Or the walls and their gates could represent the seven moral and intellectual virtues (see Augustine’s Nicomachean Ethics) – prudence, justice, courage, moderation, understanding, knowledge, and wisdom. Raffa sees them as symbolizing one or the other (19). Yet again, they could represent the seven subjects of philosophy – physics, metaphysics, ethics, politics, economics, mathematics, and dialectics (Higgins 509). There is really no consensus on this matter. The stream, which they walk over as on dry ground, implying ease and swiftness, may represent eloquence (509; cf. Inferno 1.80). The stream and meadow also suggest Dante is walking into a garden. Mazzotta sees this as prefiguring the gardens in Purgatory, as well as Jerusalem being called a garden in Paradise (35). What is more, he sees it as a temptation for Dante, being numbered among the poets and conversing with these literary and philosophical giants in a verdant setting, all while he is supposed to be descending into humility (36).
If the walls and gates are meant to have distinct meanings, it seems best to understand the walls as symbolizing the seven virtues and the gates symbolizing the seven liberal arts. This view is partly derived from related imagery in the Consolation. Boethius, through Lady Philosophy, uses the same imagery of fortification against the “lawless stupidity” of the wicked. She also speaks of “our leader” drawing back her forces into “our citadel” (1.3.9-14). Walsh understands the leader to be “Wisdom” (118), which is one of the virtues; not to mention that philosophy is the love of wisdom. Later, she remarks why virtue is called what it is: “Moreover, virtue (virtus) is so-called because it relies on its strength (vires) not to be overcome by adversity” (4.7.19). Virtue, in other words, is a derivative of the Latin for strength. Those who are virtuous are those who are steadfast or resolute in the transcendentals of truth, goodness, and beauty. Relihan points out that this military language represents a motif running throughout the Consolation (188). Indeed, earlier, Lady Philosophy speaks of God as the epitome of virtue, referring to “the unchanging steadfastness of the divine mind.” She continues, “This mind, established in the citadel of his own oneness, decides upon the complex plan of the course of events” (4.6.8). It could be that Dante borrowed this citadel imagery to depict the steadfast nature of the virtues as exemplified in the classical poets and philosophers – stalwarts of the Greco-Roman intellectual and literary world. Further, Dante says that he “entered seven gates with those wise men”. He seems here to be associating the wisdom of the poets with the gates. The liberal arts, in this case, would be understood as the means of instilling virtue in one’s life.
LIGHT & DARKNESS GENERALLY CONSIDERED
We have seen some specific ways light and darkness are symbolized in these two literary works. Following is a look at how both the Consolation and the Comedy share the symbolism of light and darkness in a general sense.
In Book 4 of the Consolation, Lady Philosophy has this to say: “So do you see the clinging mire in which shameful deeds wallow, and the glow with which moral virtue shines? This makes it clear that good men never lack rewards, and that crimes never go without their punishment” (3.1). Here we see that light refers to the moral virtue of good men, and that shameful or criminal deeds receive their due punishment. This, indeed, is characteristic of Dante’s Limbo in particular and the Comedy in general. The virtue of the noble characters in Limbo has won them a gardenesque plot on the outskirts of Hell, fortified seven times; their only torture is having desire but no hope (line 42). However, those who lived in wickedness are fraught with unrelenting tortures, and these tortures or punishments are reflections of their earthly lives. This is known as “contrapasso (law of counter-suffering),” and it requires that the unrepentant undergo penance or judgment in proportion to the nature of their sins (Belliotti 55). For instance, clergy members guilty of simony (buying or selling ecclesiastical privileges) are placed upside down in holes resembling baptistries and have their feet scorched by fire. This may be a play on the biblical reference to baptism with the Spirit and fire (Mtt. 3:11-12). Contrapasso is, in other words, a reciprocal judgment. If you will, it is like “the upside down” in Stranger Things, but with reference to judgment.
In Consolation 1.6.21, Boethius is said to have adopted false beliefs resulting in clouded thinking through emotional disturbances, what McMahon refers to as “darknesses” (215). It is Lady Philosophy’s task to clear away the darkness caused by these “deceiving emotions” so that he will be able to see “the brightness of the true light”. What exactly is the cause of this thinking? Boethius “has forgotten how and to what end the world is guided, and his own identity within it” (Walsh 120). Put another way, Boethius has forgotten that God is in control, regardless of what befalls him. This is in keeping with the line of thought in the Consolation thus far that the universe possesses a God-imposed order. To be in darkness is to be ruled by one’s emotions rather than reason – a concept emphasized in Plato’s Republic.
Consolation 3.4 holds up wisdom and virtue as of a lasting quality that makes men worthy of respect, contra positions of high authority which tend only to corrupt. “This is because virtue has a native worth which it at once confers on those with whom it is associated. But honours bestowed by the common folk [i.e. civil offices] cannot impart such worth, so clearly those distinctions do not have the splendour possessed by true worth” (7-8). In other words, high positions do not make one virtuous. Rather, they are often filled by people of vice. Virtue, on the other hand, is inherently beneficial. This is likewise seen throughout Dante’s Inferno, as the virtuous poets and philosophers are given a place of honor, while many a leader, both civil and ecclesiastical, is allotted stricter judgment because of their hypocritical lives (a life of vice). Dante is communicating, at least in part, that these offices will not benefit you in the after-life, but a life oriented toward the good, true, and beautiful, will be of benefit.
Lastly, Consolation 5.2.9-10 serves as a summary of what has come before. It speaks of intellectual and moral slavery by devoting oneself to vices, thereby abrogating the possession of reason. In so doing, “they lower their eyes from the light of the highest truth down to the world of darkness below.” This light of the highest truth, as we have seen, is God; it is the same source of the greatest light in the Comedy. To lower one’s eyes from this light is to be clouded by ignorance and confused by destructive emotions. They have disordered souls, with the base appetites governing their reason – reason has abdicated its reign. In other words, the more one engages in earthly thinking and moral degradation, the more difficult it becomes to deploy reason (Walsh 158). This is discussed in the context of free will. It is said that the more people descend from the truth above to the darkness of earthly things below, the less free they are, being enslaved to their passions.
Relihand again notes that this language of light and darkness, and of passions and ignorance, is prominent at the beginning of the Consolation as much as it is at the end of the Consolation, implying it has been a constant theme throughout (190). Indeed, this is exactly what we have seen. Boethius’s conclusion is to “avoid vices, cultivate the virtues, raise your minds to righteous hopes, [and] pour out your humble prayers to heaven” (5.6.47-8). Earlier, he said that divine grace is the only way to converse with God, and that it is by means of prayer that we may be united “to that unapproachable Light” (5.3.34). Walsh points out the possible connection of this phrase to 1 Timothy 6:16, “who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see…,” suggesting “Christian inspiration” as opposed to merely inspiration in the classical tradition (160).
What we have seen is that both Dante and Boethius incorporate the images of light and darkness throughout these works as symbols for their message. Light symbolizes knowledge, truth, reason, and virtue; darkness symbolizes ignorance, falsehood, destructive emotions, and vice.
We can summarize the similarities of these two literary works as follows. Both Dante and Boethius refer to God as the ultimate or true source of light. While Dante is on a journey toward this light, Boethius is wrestling with these things in his mind in search of consolation. Both men encounter darkness along the way, though in different ways. Dante journeys into the darkness in order to reach the highest light; Boethius is in the midst of the darkness and is brought out of it through a philosophical remedy. In other words, Dante’s darkness is largely external (the world), whereas Boethius’s darkness is largely internal (the mind). Both men have guides – Virgil for Dante, Lady Philosophy for Boethius.
Both Dante and Boethius were Christian men; and being such, they likely knew well the same imagery used throughout the Bible to depict virtue and vice, truth and falsehood, knowledge and ignorance, along with reason and destructive emotions. It is seen, for instance, in the wisdom literature of Proverbs: “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble” (4:18-19 ESV); or in John’s First Epistle, where we are told that “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1:5). Dante and Boethius, therefore, carry on a rich tradition of imagery found in both the Bible and classic literature. Of course, the Christian influence is much more evident in Dante’s Comedy than in Boethius’s Consolation. That being said, I have noted several instances where there seem to be allusions to biblical texts. Boethius’s philosophical thought is, at least in large part, consonant with Christian teaching.
This, of course, leads us to a final question to consider: Why did they rely so strongly on and have such a high view of these pagan poets and philosophers? Markos provides us with some insight when he remarks that the Greco-Roman understanding of the virtues was, “in its purest form, not antithetical to but prophetic of the biblical Christian virtues of faith, hope and love” (11). This may be seen most clearly in the character of Virgil serving as a masterful guide to Dante in the Inferno. Dante believed, as did many after him, such as C. S. Lewis, Tolkien, and John Henry Newman, that “the light of God’s revelation shines (if dimly and intermittently) through the literary masterpieces of antiquity” (Markos 250). The limited nature of the light they provide, however, is seen in that Virgil cannot accompany Dante all the way in his journey. Eventually, Beatrice takes over as guide.
In the Consolation, the light of the classical tradition is seen in Lady Philosophy as she utilizes the wisdom of the Greco-Roman philosophers to clear away Boethius’s clouded thinking and console him in his unfortunate state; but her counsel ultimately leads to true happiness in the true good, who is God.
Aquirre, Manuel. “The Sovereignty of Wisdom: Boethius’s Consolation in the Light of Folklore.” Mnemosyne, vol. 65, no. 4/5, Oct. 2012, pp. 674-694. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1163/156852512X585188.
Belliotti, Raymond Angelo. Dante’s Deadly Sins: Moral Philosophy In Hell. Wiley, 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/apus/detail.action?docID=818755.
Black, David M. “Dante’s ‘Two Suns’: Reflections on the Psychological Sources of the Divine Comedy.” International Journal of Psychoanalysis, vol. 98, no. 6, 2017, pp. 1699-1717. ProQuest, https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy1.apus.edu/scholarly-journals/dantes-two-suns-reflections-on-psychological/docview/2043655427/se-2?accountid=8289, doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy1.apus.edu/10.1111/1745-8315.12665.
Boethius. The Consolation of Philosophy. Translated with an Introduction and Notes by Joel C. Relihan. Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2001.
Franke, William. Dante and the Sense of Transgression : ‘the Trespass of the Sign’, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/apus/detail.action?docID=1080353.
Hamilton, Edith. Mythology. Grand Central Publishing, 1942.
Higgins, David H. Notes. The Divine Comedy. Dante. Translated by Charles H. Sisson. Oxford University Press, 1980.
Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Crossway, 2001
Marenbon, John. Boethius, Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 2003. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/apus/detail.action?docID=3052086.
Markos, Louis. From Achilles to Christ: Why Christians Should Read the Pagan Classics. InterVarsity Press, 2007.
Mazzotta, Giuseppe. Reading Dante, Yale University Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/apus/detail.action?docID=3421345.
Mcmahon, Robert. Understanding the Medieval Meditative Ascent: Augustine, Anselm, Boethius and Dante, Catholic University of America Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/apus/detail.action?docID=3134737.
Olmsted, Wendy Raudenbush. “Philosophical Inquiry and Religious Transformation in Boethius’s ‘The Consolation of Philosophy’ and Augustine’s ‘Confessions.’” The Journal of Religion, vol. 69, no. 1, 1989, pp. 14–35. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1204686. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.
Raffa, Guy P. The Complete Danteworlds : A Reader’s Guide to the Divine Comedy. University of Chicago Press, 2009. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip&db=nlebk&AN=285080&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
Walsh, P. G. Notes. The Consolation of Philosophy. Boethius, Oxford University Press, 1999.
 All Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version (ESV).
 See, for instance, Botticelli, A Map of Dante’s Hell. Detail: The Noble Castle of Limbo.
 Stranger Things is a t.v. series featured on Netflix and is created by Matt and Ross Duffer.