SiStan ChapLee

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Trees are tough (6)

The first team of knights comes back in a hurry, frightened, from the enchanted forest. Another knight, after mocking them, volunteers to go there and accomplish the mission. His name is Alcasto in Gerusalemme Liberata and in the draft of Gerusalemme Conquistata; it will become Drogo in the final version of GC.

[16: 27]

Crollava il capo e sorridea, dicendo:
- Dove costui non osa, io gir confido.
Io sol quel bosco di troncare intendo,
Che di torbidi sogni è fatto nido.
Già no 'l mi vieterà fantasma horrendo,
Non di selva o d'augei fremito o grido,
O pur tra quei sì spaventosi chiostri
D'ir ne l'inferno il varco a me si mostri -.

He shook his head and smiled, and then said,
"Where this(*) does not dare, I will surely go.
I mean to cut down that wood alone,
Which proved such a nest of gloomy dreams.
No dreadful phantom will prevent me,
Nor will the noises of the trees or birds,
Even if in those frightening places
I were to see the very gates of hell." (**)

(*) The knight who reported to Godfrey of Bouillon.
(**) A wink to the reader: Since Dante's "dark forest" lay near Jerusalem, it can be supposed to be the same as the wood now entered by the Crusaders.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Off Topic: I love Tasso, but love THIS from before

Cthulhu runs for the presidency

Recreation of the World


Marvel Minotaur movie: a still from the set

Harbor Pearl

Meet the Lucifers: Satan, Sin, Death

Four 'reboots' of illustrations from the book: Torquato Tasso, Creation of the World (Il mondo creato), International Authors, 2016. The book includes some 60 illustrations by The Magic Trio: Nivalis70, Selkis, and ilT. The new digital backgrounds added here have been kindly provided by Selkis. Felt-pen drawings from personal stocks; other materials from Web sources. Pictures assembled and reworked with DeviantArt muro tools.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The 7 Days of CryAction 4: 459-519

by ilT + Selkis

We will now show the
[460] full moon’s usefulness
for earthly items
and sea species by
swelling itself and life,
and vice versa by waning,
in a balanced blend
of humidity and heat.
No, no cold celestial
mass is the moon, though
less hot than Apollo.
[470] When she in a circle
shows her warm curves
bullying her brother
as a past-midnight sun,
nights become welcome
more than when she has
a scythe or silver horns
because of sunbeams.
Then verdant trunks
germinate greener
[480] and flourish fatter;
more savory undersea
are clams; and caravaneers
sleeping outside feel
their brains banging.
We’ll skip her skittering
effects on wind ’n’ waves:
let it suffice to cite
her place and power.
Human nous should never
[490] dare measure the moon
since our science sways.
She’s so great as to grant
light to cities set apart
by oceans and countries—
either in the wild West
or in Aurora’s halls
or below the Bears
or in the burning belt
that splits the planet,
[500] all are equally lit
all with direct rays.
This definitely fixes
its big size, in spite of
any sense or reasoning
so shut up, O sophists.
He who gave us gnosis
will hopefully help us
approach aletheia.
His world-forging wisdom
[510] is big in tiny things
and bigger in big ones
for example moon & sun;
but by weighing either
against their Author—
He who gathers greatness
in himself and holds
the Whole in his hand
both will be just like
Ant-Man or Meister Floh.

(to be continued on Sept. 4)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Trees are tough (5)

[16: 23]

Esce allhor da la selva un suon repente
Che par rimbombo di terren che trema;
E d'euro e d'austro il mormorar si sente,
E quel de l'onda che si rompa e gema.
Come rugga il leon, fischii il serpente,
Com'urli il lupo e come l'orso frema
V'odi, e v'odi co 'l tuono ancor la tromba:
Di così vari tuoni un tuon rimbomba.

From the forest a sudden sound then comes
That recalls the echo of an earthquake; (*)
They hear the whisper of Euros and Auster (**)
Together with breaking and moaning waves.
As if a lion were roaring, a serpent hissing,
A wolf howling, a bear growling they hear,
And a trumpet mixed with thunderbolts: from
So many different tones one tone blows. (***)

(*) Renaissance Italy experienced some disastrous earthquakes.
(**) The western and southern winds in Greek parlance.
(***) Tasso plays on the double meaning of the 16th century word tuono: thunder (the same as in current Italian) and musical tone (tono in current Italian). This "acoustic horror" is quite typical of him, who often suffered from auditory hallucinations.
Unfortunately, the pun disappeared in the final printed text, which in line 8 simply reads "sounds . . . sound" (suono instead of tuono). Some other stylistic variations were introduced, but preserving the general description.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

1628: The Astrology Affair

digital background by Selkis

One of the craziest episodes in Tommaso Campanella's crazy life was the Astrology Affair. In 1628 some astronomical phenomena made wheeler-dealers think, hope, and say that the Pope -- Urban VIII -- would die soon, in 1630. [He would reign until 1644, and would meanwhile condemn Galileo Galilei, even if they used to be friends.] For a counter-omen the Pope asked the top expert in the field: Campanella, who however was a notorious and dangerous "heretic" whom the Inquisition had kept locked up in jail for 27 years, so the meeting needed some discretion.

Campanella reassured the Pope about his death date, and would finally prove to be right, but his, or rather their enemies divulged the philosopher's secret instructions on "How to escape Fate" (De siderali fato vitando). Campanella reacted by writing another booklet, Apologeticus ad libellum De siderali fato vitando, that aimed to show that his ideas on astrology were perfectly orthodox; but Urban made more than that. Since he was furious about having become the villain of star wars, in 1631 he issued a Papal bull, titled Inscrutabilis, which banned all kind of books on horoscopes, divination, palmistry, etc. It was forbidden to read and even to own one, and punishments would be tougher than against the heretics. So, poor Campanella -- who fled to France -- had to write one more essay, the Disputatio an bullae. . ., to demonstrate that official Church documents did not prevent Catholic scholars from dealing with astrology, at least in order to challenge it.

The only type of astrology that remained legitimate was what we would simply call weather forecast, to help agriculture, health care, and travels. This position is well mirrored in Torquato Tasso's long poem Il Mondo Creato (1592-4), which reworks and updates St. Basil's sermons on the Hexaemeron (the six days of Creation), which in their turn are sometimes quoted in Campanella's works.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Trees are tough (4)

[16: 22]

Questi, appressando ove il lor seggio han posto
Gli empi demoni in quel selvaggio horrore,
Non rimirâr le nere ombre sì tosto
Che lor si scosse e tornò ghiaccio il core.
Pur oltre ancor se 'n gìan, tenendo ascosto
Sotto audaci sembianti il vil timore,
E tanto s'avanzâr che lunge poco
Erano homai da l'incantato loco.

These, (*) approaching the place where the ungodly
Devils set their own seats in that wild horror, (**)
No sooner had a look at the black shadows
That their hearts shook and turned(***) into ice.
Yet, they marched on keeping their cowardly
Fear hidden under bold countenances,
And advanced so much as to being not far
From the very enchanted forest now.

(*) The knights escorting the carpenters.
(**) Tasso often employs the word "horror" hinting at its original meaning, from the Latin verb horresco, "to be bristling" with branches, thorns, etc.
(***) Here the Italian verb tornare, usually meaning "to come back," is used in the same sense as "to turn into."

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A mystery during the Carnival -- or Lent

click to enlarge further

In Bruegel's Fight between Carnival and Lent (1559) there appears an unusually puzzling detail among the 'usual' bizarre things: An old woman pulling a cart in which. . . a dead man lies. The concealment of a murder? Or maybe the victim of a plague, to be carried away from the town?
On closer inspection, it may even look like a "portable" reproduction of the Holy Shroud -- the one now in Turin -- whose devotion in fact was widespread during the Renaissance (in the Netherlands, too?), but then, the cart also contains a trivial wicker basket. So. . .
What is that?
Agnes Karpinski, a graduate student at Saarland University (see her G+ profile), kindly commented, “I think the dead person stands for the future of all human beings, their death. The depicted ‘theme' can be found further on this picture. The pig, for example, is placed very close to the roasted pig. How the dead person died is left to speculation. In all meanings, death and misery seems to be a consequence of the very nature of mankind. A disturbing painting, however beautiful."