Toynbee "Cacciaguida"
the great-great-grandfather of D., of whose life nothing is known beyond what D. himself tells us; viz. that he was born in Florence ([Par. xv. 130-133]) in the Sesto di Porta san Piero ([Par. xvi. 40-42]) about the year 1090 ([Par. xvi. 34-39]); that he belonged (possibly) to the Elisei, one of the old Florentine families which boasted Roman descent ([Par. xv. 136]; [Par. xvi. 40]); that he was baptized in the baptistery of San Giovanni in Florence ([Par. xv. 134-135]); that he had two brothers, Moronto and Eliseo ([Par. xv. 136]); that his wife came from the valley of the Po, and that from her, through his son, D. got his surname of Alighieri ([Par. xv. 91-94], [Par. xv. 137-138]); that he followed the Emperor Conrad III on the Second Crusade, and was knighted by him ([Par. xv. 139-144]), and finally that he fell fighting against the infidel about the year 1147 ([Par. xv. 145-148]). His existence is attested by the mention of his name in a document (still preserved in Florence), dated Dec. 9, 1189, in which his two sons ('Preitenittus et Alaghieri fratres, filii olim Cacciaguide') bind themselves to remove a fig-tree which was growing against the wall of the church of San Martino. [See R. Piattoli, CDD, pp. 3-4.] [Table XXII.]

R. Davidsohn (GvF, i, p. 440, n. 2) cites a document dated April 28, 1131, in which there is mention of one Cacciaguida, son of Adam ('Cacciaguide filii Adami'), whom he identifies with Dante's great-great-grandfather. [See M. Barbi, BSDI, vi. (1899), 207; for the date of Cacciaguida's birth, see E. Moore, SiD, iii, pp.59-60, who argues for the year 1091, on the basis of [Par. xvi. 37] ff.]

D. places Cacciaguida in the Heaven of Mars among those who fought for the faith (Spiviti Militanti), [Par. xv. 135]; his spirit is spoken of as astro, [Par. xv. 20]; gemma, [Par. xv. 22]; lume, [Par. xv. 31, 52]; spirto, [Par. xv. 38]; luce, [Par. xvi. 30] [Par. xvii. 28, 121]; santa lampa, [Par. xvii. 5]; anima santa, [Par. xvii. 101]; specchio beato, [Par. xviii. 2]; fulgor santo, [Par. xviii. 25]; el, [Par. xviii. 28]; alma, [Par. xviii. 50]; he is addressed by D. as vivo topazio, [Par. xv. 85]; voi, [Par. xvi. 16], [Par. xvi. 17], [Par. xvi. 18]; padre mio, [Par. xvi. 16], [Par. xvii. 106]; cara mia primizia, [Par. xvi. 22]; cara piota mia, [Par. xvii. 13], and referred to by him as amor paterno, [Par. xvii. 35]; il mio tesoro, [Par. xvii. 121]; he addresses D. as sanguis meus, [Par. xv. 28]; figlio, [Par. xv. 52]; [Par. xvii. 94]; fronda mia, [Par. xv. 88], speaking of himself as la tua radice, [Par. xv. 89]; and refers to him as il mio seme, [Par. xv. 48].

Among the spirits in the Heaven of Mars one (that of Cacciaguida) makes itself known to D. as an ancestor of his ([Par. xv. 19-90]); after referring to his son Alighiero, through whom D. got his surname, and begging D.'s prayers for him ([Par. xv. 91-96]), C. pronounces a eulogy on the virtues of the old citizens of the Florence of his day ([Par. xv. 97-129]); he then gives details of his own life from his birth in Florence to his death in the Holy Land ([Par. xv. 130-148]) (see above); after a reference to the date of his birth and to the situation of the house in which he was born ([Par. xvi. 34-45]) (see below), he again discourses on the former state of Florence, mentioning the names of some forty families ([Par. xvi. 46-154]); then, in reply to D.'s questions as to his own future, he foretells his exile ([Par. xvii. 46-60]), his association at first with the exiled Bianchi and Ghibellines and his subsequent withdrawal from them ([Par. xvi. 61-69]), and refuge with one of the Scaligers ([Par. xvi. 70-99]); and lastly, having pointed out the souls of other warriors who are there with him, he leaves D. and returns to his station ([Par. xviii. 28-51]) [Alighieri: Currado_1: Lombardo_1: Marte, Cielo di].

There is considerable difference of opinion as to the precise date of Cacciaguida's birth, the indications given by D. ([Par. xvi. 34-39]) being variously interpreted. Cacciaguida says that from the Incarnation of Christ down to the day of his own birth the planet Mars had returned to the sign Leo 580 times (or 553 times, according as trenta or tre be read in [Par. xvi. 38]), i.e. had made that number of revolutions in its orbit. The questions involved are twofold -- (a) as to the reading, trenta or tre; (b) as to whether the period of the revolution of Mars: is to be estimated at about two years. as given by Brunetto Latini ({Lat. Trésors i. 110}) and implied by D. in the Convivio II. xiv. 16, or at the correct period, as given by Alfraganus, of 687 days approximately (actually, according to Witte, 686 days, 22 hrs., 24 min.). If we read trenta (with the majority) and take the period of Mars at the estimate of Alfraganus, we get (due regard being given to leap-years) the year 1091 as the date of Cacciaguida's birth. If, on the other hand, we read tre, and put the period of Mars at two years, we get the year 1106. In the former case Cacciaguida would have been 56, in the latter 41, at the time when he joined Conrad III on the Second Crusade (1147) and met his death ([Par. xv. 139-148]). Several of the old commentators (Anonimo Fiorentino, Buti, Landino, etc.), reading trenta and computing the period of Mars at two years, bring the date of Cacciaguida's birth to 1160, i.e. thirteen years after his death! while Benvenuto, who avoids this error, brings it to 1154, which on his own showing (since he gives 1154 as the date of the Crusade) would make Cacciaguida a Crusader at the age of 100!

Cacciaguida indicates ([Par. xvi. 40-42]) the situation of the house in which he and his ancestors lived in Florence, as being 'in the place where the last ward is reached by him who runs in your annual game', i.e. on the boundary of the district known later as the Sesto di Porta san Piero. The house of the Elisei ({Villani, iv. 11}) stood not far from the junction of the Mercato Vecchio and the Corso, apparently just at the angle formed on the N. side of the present Via de' Speziali by its intersection with the Via de' Calzaioli. The Sesto di Porta san Piero appears, as Bitte observes, to have been the last of the city divisions to be traversed by the competitors in the annual gioco, who entered the city probably at the Porta san Pancrazio, close to where the Palazzo Strozzi now stands, crossed the Mercato Vecchio, and finished in the Corso which was thence so called. [Cf. M. Barbi, BSDI, iv (1896), 2.] [Fiorenza.]

©Oxford University Press 1968. From A Dictionary of Proper Names and Notable Matters in the Works of Dante by Paget Toynbee (1968) by permission of Oxford University Press