Friday, January 7, 2011

fun facts

Ok, so this isn't exactly gospel truth, but it is a great story. Enjoy it anyway.


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From my weekend reading:

Dante was standing near the Ponte Vecchio, a bridge that crosses the Arno River in Florence. It was just before 1300... Dante saw Beatrice standing on the bridge. He was a young man, she even younger, and that vision contained the whole of eternity for him.

Dante did not speak to her. He saw her very little. And then Beatrice died, carried off by plague. Dante was stricken with the loss of his vision. She was the intermediary between his soul and Heaven itself.

Six hundred fifty years later, during World War II, the Americans were chasing the German army up the Italian "boot." The Germans were blowing up everything of aid to the progression of the American army, including the bridges across the Arno River. But no one wanted to blow up the Ponte Vecchio, because Beatrice had stood on it and Dante had written about her. So the German army made radio contact with the Americans and, in plain language, said they would leave the Ponte Vecchio intact if the Americans would promise not to use it. The promise was held. The bridge was not blown up, and not one American soldier or piece of equipment went across it. We're such hard bitten people that we need hard bitten proof of things, and this is the most hard bitten fact I know to present to you. The bridge was spared, in a modern, ruthless war, because Beatrice had stood upon it.

-- Robert Johnson
"The Figure of Beatrice in Dante's Divine Comedy"

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    Karena said...

    Toad adore reading books like this even if it is historical fiction!

    Art by Karena

    Lou said...

    I believe that is 100% true........ even if it isn't.

    Thank you.

    Martha said...

    The bridge is still there isn't it? I am amazed sometimes as the "gentlemanlyness" of war -- Rottenburg was not blown up because an American General thought it was a beautiful city, the story about this bridge and I'm sure there are others. The adage "all's fair in love and war" perhaps is not totally true!

    Great story!

    David said...

    I'm not sure if this is true or not, but apparently the order came directly from Hitler not to blow up the bridge. Being the occultist he was, it seems plausible.

    If that radio communication did indeed take place in one form or another, it would obviously serve to speak to our underlying humanity that transcends temporary states like war and conflict, even by those that are obviously extremist in nature. These things have definitely happened during the course of war, which surprises me because of their randomness. Of all the priceless artifacts destroyed by the ravages of war, certain select pieces always seem to avoid destruction at the hands of conflict.

    Toad said...

    There are a number of stories including one that says Hitler ordered the bridge destroyed, but the guy who had to wouldn't.

    What did happen was that every building near the access to the bridge,was destroyed, creating a huge pile of rubble making the bridge unaccessible. That's not as good a story though.

    Patsy said...

    True or not, that is one great story. It has death, war, romance, and undying love. Two thumbs up.

    longwing said...

    You mean it's not JUST a jewelry market?

    preppyplayer said...

    I need it to be true.