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Monday, July 1, 2019

#Language and Life

#Language and Life


The Divine Comedy: Purgatory 4 Pride and Envy

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 04:30 AM PDT

Once Dante and Virgil pass through the entrance to Purgatory, the gatekeeper angel warns them not to look back, or they will be ejected and remain outside its wall. They climb along a trough of moving rock up through a gap to emerge on the first terrace of Purgatory, for the spirits of those who suffered from pride, the first of the Seven Deadly Sins.

There is a large marble frieze depicting the antithesis of pride, humility. This starts with the Anunciation to the Virgin Mary, and progresses through history.

dore10sculptures
Gustave Doré (1832–1883), The Sculptures, Purgatorio Canto 10 verses 82-84 (c 1857), engraving, dimensions and location not known. Wikimedia Commons.

The souls of those purging themselves of pride are bent double under the weight of huge boulders on their backs as they chant a modification of the Lord’s Prayer.

kochpurgatorypride
Joseph Anton Koch (1768-1839), Purgatory (detail) (1825-28), fresco, dimensions not known, Casa Massimo, Rome, Italy. Image by Sailko, via Wikimedia Commons.

Among these is Oderisi da Gubbio, a painter of miniatures who illuminated manuscripts for Pope Boniface VIII and was a colleague of Giotto.

dore12oderisi
Gustave Doré (1832–1883), The Prideful – Oderisi, Purgatorio Canto 12 verses 1-2 (c 1857), engraving, dimensions and location not known. Wikimedia Commons.

As Dante moves round the terrace, he sees further sculptures showing the famously proud, figures such as Lucifer himself, Niobe whose fourteen children were slain for her pride, and Arachne. She was so proud of her weaving that she challenged Pallas Athena (Minerva) herself to a contest. Although by her achievements Arachne should have won, her tapestries were scathingly critical of the gods, and Athena flew into a rage. Although Arachne’s life was spared, she was transformed into a spider and condemned to spin webs forever.

craneshechangedherintospider
Walter Crane (1845–1915), She changed her into a spider (c 1910), illustration in The story of Greece told to boys and girls by Mary Macgregor, other details not known. Wikimedia Commons.
dorearachne
Gustave Doré (1832-1883), Arachne (c 1867), engraving for Dante’s Purgatory, further details not known. Wikimedia Commons.

An angel then ushers them to move up to the next terrace. As he does so, Dante’s forehead is brushed by his wing, and he feels much lighter when that removes one of the Ps which were inscribed on his brow by the gatekeeper angel.

The second terrace of Purgatory contains those souls who have to cleanse themselves of envy, the second of the Seven Deadly Sins. Here, disembodied voices keep flying past to remind the penitents of the value of the opposite of envy, selfless love. The spirits here are like hunting birds under training in that their eyelids are sewn together with iron wire to make them blind.

Le Dante, conduit par Virgile, offre des consolations aux âmes des envieux - Inv. A 21
Hippolyte Flandrin (1809–1864), Dante Guided by Virgil Offers Consolation to the Spirits of the Envious (1835), oil on canvas, 295 x 245 cm, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon, France. Image by Alain Basset, via Wikimedia Commons.
dore13envious
Gustave Doré (1832–1883), The Envious, Purgatorio Canto 13 verses 58-60 (c 1857), engraving, dimensions and location not known. Wikimedia Commons.

Sapia, born into the Sienese Salvani family, explains to Dante that she had taken pleasure in the defeat of her fellow Ghibellines and the death of her nephew alongside them.

dore13sapia
Gustave Doré (1832–1883), Sapia, Purgatorio Canto 13 verses 106-107 (c 1857), engraving, dimensions and location not known. Wikimedia Commons.

Various spirits them lament the situation in Italy at the time, before Dante and Virgil are taken on by another angel to the third terrace of Purgatory.

The artists

Walter Crane (1845–1915) was an English artist known best for his many illustrations which graced the pages of books in late Victorian Britain. Although a student of John Ruskin and influenced by William Morris, he remained on the periphery of the Pre-Raphaelites. He also painted successfully, inevitably specialising in narrative works. His illustration of Arachne is one of few which explicitly refers to her future life as a spider.

Gustave Doré (1832–1883) was the leading French illustrator of the nineteenth century, whose paintings are still relatively unknown. Early in his career, he produced a complete set of seventy illustrations for translations of the Inferno, which were first published in 1857 and continue to be used. These were followed in 1867 by more illustrations for Purgatorio and Paradiso. This article looks at his paintings.

Hippolyte Flandrin (1809–1864) was born into an artistic family in Lyon, France, and trained along with his younger brother in the studios of Louis Hersent and JAD Ingres, who remained a close friend for life. He won the Prix de Rome in 1832, which helped establish his career as a history painter and a sought-after portraitist. He doesn’t appear to have had any particular interest in Dante’s Divine Comedy, though. and this painting appears to be a one-off. He died of smallpox when in Rome in 1864.

Joseph Anton Koch (1768-1839) was an Austrian landscape painter, who worked mainly in Neoclassical style. During his second stay in Rome, he was commissioned to paint frescos in the Villa Massimi on the walls of the Dante Room there, which remain one of the most florid visual accounts of Dante’s Inferno. He completed those between 1824-29. He also appears to have drawn a set of illustrations for Dante’s Inferno in about 1808.

References

Wikipedia
Danteworlds

Robin Kirkpatrick (trans) (2012) Dante, The Divine Comedy, Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso, Penguin Classics. ISBN 978 0 141 19749 4.
Richard Lansing (ed) (2000) The Dante Encyclopedia, Routledge. ISBN 978 0 415 87611 7.
Guy P Raffa (2009) The Complete Danteworlds, A Reader’s Guide to the Divine Comedy, Chicago UP. ISBN 978 0 2267 0270 4.
Prue Shaw (2014) Reading Dante, From Here to Eternity, Liveright. ISBN 978 1 63149 006 4.

Solutions to Saturday Mac riddles 1

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 12:00 AM PDT

I hope that you enjoyed Saturday’s riddles. Here are my solutions to them.

1:
A RAID system.
I’m supposedly cheap (Inexpensive), but invariably more costly (as RAID systems are).
I’m one (a single system), and I’m several (multiple disks).
And after that I do for you, you tell me I’m not required after all (Redundant).

2:
The studentd daemon in macOS.
I came unexpectedly one day (in the 10.14.4 update), intended for the scholars among you (supporting Apple’s Classroom).
Those who found me saw me among their most secret things (a new certificate in their keychain).
I may have gone now (vanished after restarting), but you can be sure that one day I’ll be back (thought likely to return in the future), particularly if you join my class (Apple Classroom).

3:
4 and 5 are ‘half’ of each other, as
The Roman numeral for 4, IV, is half of the word FIVE
The Roman numeral for 5, V, is half of the Roman numeral for 4, IV.

You’re most welcome to put alternative cases, of course.

Does replacing internal storage cause EFI updating problems?

Posted: 30 Jun 2019 11:30 PM PDT

Recent versions of macOS – High Sierra and Mojave – have continued to support many older models, which is good. But as those models have aged, they have increasingly been fitted with replacement internal storage. Users with Macs which no longer have their original Apple-supplied internal drives are reporting an unfortunate problem: although they can upgrade to those newer versions of macOS, concomitant EFI firmware updates often fail.

Several of you have reported these problems, commonly in response to my listing of EFI firmware versions. One, DaFoxE1, has suffered this repeatedly on his MacPro6,1, and there are other examples there on iMacs and MacBook Pros.

Inevitably, Apple seems silent on such issues, simply stating that EFI firmware updates are now part of macOS System Updates, and not provided separately. So you’d expect installing the latest Combo updater would be guaranteed to bring the EFI firmware fully up to date. But it not infrequently fails to.

What’s even more odd about this is that Apple has recently invested a lot of engineering effort into bringing EFI firmware more consistently up to date. This was after recognising that firmware versions had fallen into disarray, with many Macs running long-obsolete firmware, as publicly demonstrated in a pioneering study by Duo Labs. Apple attempted to address this in High Sierra, when it included the tool eficheck, which runs automatically every week and checks whether your current EFI firmware is the latest. Unfortunately, even though System Information reports EFI firmware version, as Apple has never provided an official list of current versions for each model, users don’t know whether their firmware is up to date or not.

The plot thickened with the release of the first Macs containing T2 chips, which were and remain embarrassingly incompatible with eficheck. This grew more opaque in October last year, when macOS 10.14.1 brought a firmware update which changed the version numbering system completely. With this, Apple had finally managed to subvert its own efforts to clean up the firmware in Macs, and get them all running the current version.

At present, then, Apple has no accessible list of official EFI firmware versions, system updaters which sometimes don’t perform expected firmware updates, an EFI checker which only works on models which don’t have a T2 chip, and no user tools for forcing a Mac to be updated to the current firmware version. So what can you do if your Mac’s firmware appears to be out of date?

First, you should check that your boot disk has the correct volumes available. This isn’t particularly obvious in Disk Utility, which pretends that they don’t really exist, because they’re not mounted and users shouldn’t be tempted to fiddle with them. This disguises potentially dysfunctional startup disks, so the best solution is to open Terminal and type
diskutil list internal

You should then see something like
volumelayout

This demonstrates that the internal disk has four APFS volumes named Macintosh HD, Preboot, Recovery, and VM. In Catalina, there should be five volumes, with the additional one being Macintosh HD-Data according to the new scheme with its read-only system volume. If your internal storage lacks those, then you’ll need to back it up thoroughly and re-format it, preferably using a bootable USB installer.

If your Mac has those, consider installing the firmware update which first used the new version numbering system, macOS 10.14.1, then the current Combo updater after that.

If your problem persists and your Mac is still using an out of date EFI firmware version, it needs to be assessed at your nearest Genius Bar, where someone might be able to do what we’re no longer trusted to do on our own.

Your Mac’s current EFI firmware version is shown in the Hardware item of System Information, and in LockRattler. I maintain an unofficial list of current versions for all reasonably recent models, secrets which Apple doesn’t feel it can share with us. Expect these to change with EFI firmware updates in the next week or so.

I’d really love to hear from anyone who has suffered this problem and found a solution other than getting it fixed in a Genius Bar, please.