[Milton-L] Do witches and devils held a "Concilio" or "Consiglio"?

John K Leonard jleonard at uwo.ca
Fri Jun 3 12:01:49 EDT 2016

Cp. also "a gloomy consistory" in PR. I have always loved that phrase, apparently a borrowing from Virgil, "concilium horrendum" (Aen 3.679), It seems likely that both Milton and Tasso were imitating Virgil--though "consistory" also has ecclesiastical significance that fortifies your case for a similar play in "council".

John Leonard

On 06/03/16, Dario Rivarossa ilTassista  <dario.rivarossa at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear friends and scholars, while carrying on the online translation of
> Torquato Tasso's 1593 long poem "Gerusalemme Conquistata" (the reboot
> version of his own better known "Gerusalemme Liberata," 1581) I came
> across a passage that may be of some interest here. It is set in a
> "dark forest," where. . .
> [16: 5]
> Ivi le maghe sono accolte, e 'l vago
> Con ciascuna di lor notturno viene,
> Vien sopra i nembi, e chi d'un fero drago
> E chi forma d'un capro infome tiene:
> Conciglio infame, che fallace imago
> Suole allettar di desïato bene
> A celebrar con pompe immonde e sozze
> I profani conviti e l'empie nozze.
> There the witches gather, and with each
> Of them her lover comes by night from
> Above the clouds, some having the shape
> Of a fierce dragon, some of an ugly goat:
> A foul Council(*) that a deceiving image
> Of a longed for good very often calls (**)
> To celebrate, with a filthy splendor,
> Profane banquets, ungodly weddings.
> (*) Interestingly enough, the manuscript reads Con_c_iglio (more
> exactly spelled Concilio), but in the final printed version the word
> was slightly modified into Con_s_iglio: Though coming from the same
> Latin root "concilium," in Italian the former means a Church assembly
> while the latter means a town council, or nowadays an administrative
> board. Maybe in the 'director's cut' of his main poem Tasso chose not
> to stress the parallelism -- though ironic, or precisely because of
> this -- with the Council of Trent, even if he himself had used the
> term "Concilio" in Gerusalemme Liberata. John Milton, who had read the
> Liberata, added to the irony by defining Pandemonium "a solemn
> council."
> (**) Another interesting detail. Both Dante and Ariosto had dealt with
> witches, but neither had proposed a sociological explanation of the
> phenomenon as Tasso does here.
> -- 
> ilTassista http://tassonomia.blogspot.it
> http://stornielle.blogspot.it
> http://iltassista.deviantart.com
> http://dariorivarossailtassista.tumblr.com
> co-artist with the Magic Trio http://tiziafra.wix.com/the-magic-trio
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