Access options available:. The obvious difficulty is in deciding which correspondences, though real, lie beyond the probability of Chaucer's intent. Chaucer, indeed, often lets little details carry immense significance for character. Haskell's volume, for analyzing but not exhausting one under-investigated source of these, is worth the attention of Chaucer scholars. LEWIS, ed. The Chaucer Library.
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In , the young cardinal Lotario dei Segni dedicated a text to his older friend and near-classmate among cardinals, Peter Gallocia. I lately took a bit of rest during my many troubles, the occasion of which you know; but I did not spend this time in complete idleness. Rather, to put down pride, the chief of all vices, I undertook to write, as best I could, something about the vileness of the human condition.
This little work I have dedicated to you, asking only that if your keen mind find in it anything worthwhile, you attribute all to divine grace. The text that Lotario dedicated to Peter — De miseria humanae conditionis On the misery of the human condition — is a woeful treatise. It contains:. Misery is only part of the design.
In the prologue, Lotario explicitly presents himself as humble. Moreover, he planned another, complementary work that would exalt the dignity of human nature. From an all-encompassing perspective, De miseria humanae conditionis has an elegant design.
Its appeal is reflected in its reception: it was a widely disseminated and highly influential medieval and early modern text. Lotario was concerned with words and with acting in the world. Lotario, who was from a wealthy family, explained:. How many magnates are in need, and how much, I myself frequently experience. Wealth thus makes a man not rich, but poor. He declared that quantity of punishment will be ordered, but the quality of punishment will be uniform:.
For I have found from experience that if one who has been burnt applies cold, he feels a more burning pain. Dante within his Commedia insisted that his verbal figures were real. Lotario considered carefully the order of words in relation to truth. He recounted a scholastic exemplum:. Once a certain philosopher, wishing to ridicule the arrogance of a certain king, when he saw him sitting up high on the royal throne, fell down on the earth and worshiped him as a suppliant. And then all of a sudden without invitation he went up and sat beside the king.
The king was amazed, and knowing that the man was a philosopher demanded the reason why he had done this. Death is called a meeting, because Christ comes to meet the soul. Should I say the tolerable intolerance of diseases, or should I say the intolerable tolerance? I should better join both together, for it is intolerable because of the severity of the suffering and tolerable because of the necessity of suffering. Melius utrumque coniunxerim, nam intolerabilis est propter passionis acerbitatem et tolerabilis propter paciendi necessitatem.
Not what law decrees, but what your mind desires. You do not incline your intellect to justice, but incline justice to your intellect; not that what is lawful may be pleasing, but that what is pleasing may be lawful.
Non inclinatis animum ad iusticiam, set iusticiam inclinatis ad animum; non ut quod licet hoc libeat, set ut liceat hoc quod libet. Profit in the bank, loss in conscience; you capture money, but you take your soul captive. A person is valued according to his wealth, when wealth should be valued according to the person. Their nervousness makes them depressed, and their depression makes them nervous. Dietz p.
Lewis p. Manuscript variants have rather little significance for the discussion here. Different manuscripts have different orders of chapters, and some omit some chapters. Chapters 2, 3, and 8 in Book 3 are commonly omitted. Lotario is also spelled Lothario. That title, however, is neither original nor appropriate:. The de contemptu mundi tradition of the century or two before Lotario stressed withdrawal from the world and secular affairs. De Miseria more accurately describes the contents of this treatise, one which is admittedly one-sided, stressing the misery of the human condition but consciously reserving the dignity of human nature for a treatise to be written later.
It is a treatise, moreover, which does not call for withdrawal to a monastery. Lotario was born in or within the powerful Roman Conti family.
His father was Count Trasimund of Segni. Lotario studied under leading scholars at the leading universities of Paris and Bologna.
Moore p. Lotario wrote De miseria humanae conditionis in Peter Gallocia Galluzzi was born about in Rome. Through the mid-seventeenth century, about 52 editions had been printed. It was widely read and quoted, and greatly influenced other writers. Lewis pp. The translation of Dietz , p. Dietz combined with Moore , p.
The translations also draw on Lewis and my adaptations. Lex amoris anxia lex est legum nescia, lex obvia legum racioni. McDonough p. Armour, Peter. Dietz, Margaret Mary, trans. Howard, ed. Lothario dei Segni. On the misery of the human condition. De miseria humane conditionis. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill.
Lewis, Robert E. Lotario dei Segni. De miseria conditionis humanae. Athens: University of Georgia Press. Lugano: Thesauri Mundi.
McDonough, Christopher James, ed. The Arundel lyrics; The poems of Hugh Primas. Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 2. Cambridge, Mass. Moore, John C. Your email address will not be published. Lotario, who was from a wealthy family, explained: How many magnates are in need, and how much, I myself frequently experience. He declared that quantity of punishment will be ordered, but the quality of punishment will be uniform: there will be no order in quality: they will all be plunged from icy water into unbearable heat, so that the sudden extremes will inflict a more dread torment.
He recounted a scholastic exemplum: Once a certain philosopher, wishing to ridicule the arrogance of a certain king, when he saw him sitting up high on the royal throne, fell down on the earth and worshiped him as a suppliant. That title, however, is neither original nor appropriate: The de contemptu mundi tradition of the century or two before Lotario stressed withdrawal from the world and secular affairs.
Moore pp. References: Armour, Peter. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.
Explanation of De miseria humanae conditionis
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De miseria humanae conditionis: elegant medieval Latin design
De Miseria Condicionis Humane On the wretchedness of the human condition , also known as Liber de contemptu mundi, sive De miseria humanae conditionis is a twelfth-century religious text written in Latin by cardinal Lotario dei Segni, later Pope Innocent III. The text is divided into three parts; in the first part the wretchedness of the human body and the various hardships one has to bear throughout life are described; the second lists man's futile ambitions, i. According to Robert E. Lewis, the editor of the most recent translation in English, approximately manuscripts of the text are extant. The text in the Lewis edition is an unemended transcription of a manuscript from the British Library British Library, Lansdowne , ff. Martin in Battle, East Sussex.