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By Donna Mancusi-Ungaro

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Man's vision simply cannot of its own nature be capable of understanding. Only faith in God's righteousness resolves such mysteries. Gradually Dante's questions are considered, and the Eagle identifies the Christian faith as that which rewarded with salvation the souls who under other circumstances would have been condemned. These are, for example, the souls of Trajan and Ripheus who, though pagans, believed in Christ to come and met the requirements, so to speak, for salvation. "120 The Eagle is unquestionably a reminder of the universality of Empire advocated in the Monarchia, not only because of its political nature, but because its form portrays the unity of humana civilitas, knowing all that mankind can know.

Because the temporal goal to which the Emperor directs mankind is chronologically anterior to the spiritual goal to which men are directed by the Pope, Dante concedes a minimal degree of "subjectiveness" (with the unfortunate choice of words, "subiaceat" Chapter HI, xiii) on the part of the Emperor. After all, happiness in the attainment of the former goal is "somehow ordered" ("quodammodo ordinetur") to the happiness of the latter goal. However, Dante makes it very dear that unless mankind is free, unified, and enjoys the fruits of universal peace in this life under the auspices of a single, secular authority, it will be obstructed from realizing the first goal—let alone the second one.

In the letter Dante proudly recalls the words of Curio to Julius Caesar in his own appeal to Henry to come to Florence, He cites Lucan's Pharsalia where Curio appealed to Caesar and urged him to attack his native Rome. 97 The Monarchia would seem to share the sympathy of the letter, for Dante's advice in the treatise is wholeheartedly in favor of Empire. However, there is no direct reference to Henry or specific strategy advised such as a campaign through Tuscany. Indeed the reference to Henry in the Paradiso, to be seated in the universal imperial throne, is more akin to the universal theme of the treatise.

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