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Mon Aug 17 19:06:35 UTC 2009

O the nature of the glorified body; and then Dante, having looked upon
the countenance of Beatrice, and being by this means (as in every other
case) raised "to a higher salvation," finds by the ruddy light which
surrounds him that he has entered the sphere of Mars. A new feature
appears here. In each of the three planets exterior (according to the
astronomy of that age) to the Sun, we find some special image displayed.
In the case of Mars, it is a vast crucifix, composed of spirits, who are
darting in all directions within the figure, like motes in a sunbeam.
One of them glides from the arm to the foot of the cross, and makes
himself known to Dante as his great-great-grandfather, Cacciaguida,
probably (though this is not certain) of the family of the Elisei.[36]
He had been, like all the other spirits, as it would seem, of this
sphere, a soldier, and had died in battle as a Crusader. The latter half
of this, the fifteenth canto, together with the two following, form what
is probably the best-known and most frequently quoted portion of the
_Paradise_. First we have a beautiful picture of the simple and kindly
life of old Florence, before party-spirit and
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