Manto into Mantua: Dante's Corrections of Vergil

Beek, A. Everett
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Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Manto in the Inferno is a locus classicus of authorial correction. As a prophetess and the eponym of Mantua, Dante’s Manto is drawn principally from Vergil’s Aeneid. Dante’s character Vergil, however, rewrites the Aeneid story by excising Manto from Mantua’s community. This transformation is prompted by Vergil’s complex reputation in medieval Europe. Throughout the middle ages, Vergil, like Manto, was associated with occult knowledge, which both advanced and hindered his role in the Commedia. Dante thus uses authorial correction to distance Vergil from Manto and her occult associations, and as a result, Dante’s Manto more closely resembles the Aeneid’s Circe: Dante’s Manto and Vergil’s Circe are both conceptualized as a looming threat that could destroy the hero’s endeavour.
Vergil , prophetess , Dante , source study
A. Everett Beek, 'Manto into Mantua', Southern African Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies 29 (2019): 25-50