Saturday, October 06, 2012

A nice set of stamps from Monaco issued in 1966


If you follow my blog regularly you have probably noticed that, recently, I haven’t updated it very frequently. I’m quite busy these last days, not to say these last weeks. Busy at work, with very few free time to allocate to philately. And this very little time I have decided to dedicate it to putting some order into my stamps collection.  Indeed my stamps collections are becoming a mess. I have for instance decided to scan all items of my collection of stamps issued in 1966 in order to display them on a dedicated website (I will communicate you the URL when it starts to be good enough). This exercise gives me the opportunity to go through some very nice stamps issued 46 years ago (Damned! I’m 46 already…), much nicer than a lot of stamps issued recently. There are some beauties that I would have loved to see on my incoming mails.

I would like to share with you the last set that I scanned. This is a set of five stamps issued by Monaco on the 1st of February 1966 to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the birth of Dante. I guess, I don’t need to say who was Dante degli Aligheri (often referred as Dante). He was the major Italian poet of the Middle Ages who write the Divine Comedy, a masterpiece of Italian literature. 
Dante’s exact date of birth is not really known but the best assumption is that he was born in 1265, so this set of stamps should normally have been issued in 1965. Moreover each stamp is inscribed 1965 but in fact the set was really issued only in 1966. I did not find any explanation of this delay so far. If a specialist of Monaco stamps has the information I would be happy to ear from him/her.

The stamps are rather large and recess printed. The first one pictures a portrait of Dante himself. 

On the left part I guess this is Beatrice, the woman he loved, even though he married another one and on right side this is the evocation of evil or Hell.

The other stamps picture various scenes of the Divine Comedy, the master work of Dante.  The Divine Comedy (“Divina comedia” originally simply called “Comedia”) describes Dante’s journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio) and Paradise (Paradiso). The Divine Comedy is a poem composed of 14233 lines divided into three canticas: Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. The poem is written in the first person. 

Inferno, is the first part. Hell is depicted as nine circles of suffering located within the Earth. If we add the introduction this gives a structure of 9+1 that can be found also in the two other parts of the poem.

At the beginning of his journey Dante enters a dark wood in front of a mountain and is assailed by three beast: a lion, a leopard and a she-wolf. The second stamp of the set pictures Dante in front of the leopard, symbolizing lust.

Right after, Dante is rescued by the poet Virgil who will guide him through Hell and Purgatory. The third stamp pictures Dante and Virgil boating across the muddy swanp of the 5th Circle. 

Purgatorio is the second part of the work. The structure 9+1 is again seen in the structure of this part. The fourth stamp pictures a scene taking place in the purgatory with Dante watching the arrogants.

Finally Paradisio closes the Divine Comedy and reusus the 9+1 structure with 9 spheres and one last part called the Empyrean. The last stamp of the set evokes Paradise. Dante is pictured on this stamp with Saint Bernard and Beatrice his first and only true love.

Nice set of stamps, don’t you think? 

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