9 votes

Who are these crescent saints?

Although there is a real Saint Crescentius, and a real church of San Cresci in Valcava near Florence, Boccaccio is making a sexual pun. A crescent is so called because it is growing (crescere in both ...
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  • 91
7 votes

What does "the ass and the wall are quits" mean?

This was indeed an Italian proverb with meant that everyone gets what they deserve or that you will always receive an action similar to what you have done. This is what you can read about this ...
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  • 917
7 votes
Accepted

Is Evil Hole / Malpertugio a realistic name for a district in Naples?

Malpertugio is not only a realistic name but a real name. A footnote in Wayne A. Rebhorn's translation (W. W. Norton, 2016; page 58) explains that, Malpertugio (…) refers to a gap in the city's walls....
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  • 38.1k
6 votes
Accepted

Why are "Ser" and "San" left untranslated to "Sir" and "Saint"?

The introduction to Wayne A. Rebhorn's translation (W. W. Norton, 2016) contains an explanation about "Titles and Form of Address" on pages xlvi–xlvii of the introduction. This includes an ...
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  • 38.1k
5 votes
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What is meant by "traffic" in this list of men's activities?

firstly, what is the intended meaning here From the translation: (...) many things, may hawk, hunt, fish, ride, play or traffic. in the original: (...) molte cose, uccellare, cacciare, pescare, ...
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  • 196
5 votes

Who are these crescent saints?

Slightly to my surprise, there is a San Cresci in Valcava which features frescoes depicting the History of the martyrdom of San Cresci. The VillaCampestre website tells us in 'Local History' that: ...
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  • 15.1k
5 votes
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What is the provenance of Story 6 in Day 2 of the Decameron, set against a backdrop of 13th-century Sicily?

This is what Vittore Branca explains in the Einaudi version of the Decameron (Italian original) about the antecedents of this novella: Neppure di questa novella si possono indicare antecedenti ...
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  • 917
5 votes
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What "always was and is the occupation of the Agolanti"?

In the introduction ("introduzione") to the article "Gli Agolanti" by Enrica Guerra you can find that they were usurers ("usurai"): Boccaccio, [...], nel momento in cui ...
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  • 917
4 votes
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How much of the English history in this Decameron story has any basis in fact?

One of the notes to number 14 in BUR version of the Decameron (Italian original), edited by Amedeo Quondam, Maurizio Fiorilla and Giancarlo Alfano, explains that the first of your points refers to the ...
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  • 917
4 votes
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Was the Canterbury Tales directly inspired by the Decameron?

The short answer is yes. I found two resources worth investigating if this interests you, but I really don't have the background or the time to pursue them much deeper at the moment: First there is an ...
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4 votes

What is meant by "traffic" in this list of men's activities?

Here is the original text in Italian (bold mine): [...] il che degli innamorati uomini non avviene, sì come noi possiamo apertamente vedere. Essi, se alcuna malinconia o gravezza di pensieri gli ...
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  • 917
4 votes
Accepted

What do the names of the Decameron characters signify?

Yes, the names of the ten narrators of the novellas have been chosen by Boccaccio to tell us something about their personality. This is what is said in the note to the text you have emphasized in BUR ...
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  • 917
3 votes

Where did Boccaccio refer to Dante's Comedia or Commedia as the Divine Comedy?

Boccaccio used the title Divine Comedy for the first time in a work that has variously been called Vita di Dante ("Life of Dante") or Trattatello in laude di Dante ("Short Treatise in ...
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  • 38.1k
3 votes

Cappello, Cepparello, Ciapperello, Ciappelletto - what's it all about?

This is my interpretation: The protagonist is an Italian who works in France. He is a short man. His real name is Cepperello (obsolete dimunutive of Jacopo). Cepperello is a word very similar to what ...
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3 votes

Why is this chunk of the Decameron Day 3 Story 10 left untranslated?

It’s a case of censorship. Translators' handlings of the various stories ten has varied from leaving the work untranslated, bowdlerizing the stories or—my favorite—one early edition translated the ...
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  • 2,410
2 votes

What is the meaning of "Zima" in the Decameron, Day 3 Story 5?

According to the notes to the BUR edition (by Amedeo Quondam, Maurizio Fiorilla and Giancarlo Alfano) and those to the Einaudi edition (by Vittore Branca) of the Decameron (Italian original), the name ...
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  • 917
2 votes

What is the connection between the chicken banquet and the king's intentions towards the marchioness?

First of all, as explained in the BUR version of the Decameron (Italian original), edited by Amedeo Quondam, Maurizio Fiorilla and Giancarlo Alfano, i prodotti della caccia erano, e a lungo restarono,...
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  • 917
2 votes
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Cappello, Cepparello, Ciapperello, Ciappelletto - what's it all about?

Cepparello is the real name of this character, someone who, according to some documents found in Prato, seems to have really existed. See, for instance, the notes to the BUR version of the Decameron (...
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  • 917
2 votes

What was wrong with becchini?

There are two reasons why the becchini might have been looked upon negatively. Some professions benefited financially from the plague. Bergdolt mentions, among others, pharmacists and gravediggers ...
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  • 38.1k
2 votes

Is Evil Hole / Malpertugio a realistic name for a district in Naples?

This is what it's explained in a note to the BUR version of the Decameron (Italian original), edited by Amedeo Quondam, Maurizio Fiorilla and Giancarlo Alfano: Malpertugio: antico quartiere (contrada:...
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  • 917
2 votes
Accepted

What's the significance of Emilia's song at the end of Day 1 of the Decameron?

In 2015 there was an excellent series of radio broadcasts produced by RAI and directed by Adolfo Moriconi devoted to the integral reading of Boccaccio's Decameron by professional Italian actors. In ...
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  • 917
1 vote
Accepted

How are the daily themes decided in the Decameron?

Duh, I missed it: Filomena was appointed as the new queen at the end of Day 1, and she made her decree then: True it is that Pampinea, by reason of her late election to the sovereignty, neglected one ...
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  • 63.1k
1 vote

What's the significance of Emilia's song at the end of Day 1 of the Decameron?

A key phrase in the song is "which doth my mind content". In the Italian text, the relevant line is (quoted from Decameron on Wikisource) quel ben che fa contento lo ’ntelletto: Wayne A. ...
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  • 38.1k
1 vote

What is meant by "traffic" in this list of men's activities?

In the preface of the Decameron, Boccaccio indicates the ideal reader to whom the work is addressed. The audience is women who are forced to live segregated at home without the possibility of ...
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