The Mystery of Beatrice’s Prophecy

Beatrice ascends to the Heavens, in Purgatory 30. By Doré. 

Towards the end of the Garden of Eden there is a Prophecy given from Beatrice, which until this day still is an unsolved mystery as to what it means, 700 years later.

Beatrice is prophesying in verses 40-51 that “God’s Emissary” eventually shall come and it will be as “five hundred, ten and five”, or the number 515. Some scholarly guesses have been that 515 could be the Roman numbers DXV, which could give us DVX or “Dux”, a “leader” in Latin. And thus pointing to f.ex. the historical leader of Emperor Henry VII.

But we’d like to propose another directional hypothesis for this number in this article.

Given that the Garden of Eden is paralleling the Revelation of St. John is so many aspects, one could first look at the meaning of “666” in the newer Biblical Stories. In Hebrew the letter “vav” ו , is the number 6 which means “human”. Humans were created on the sixth day. And in Hebrew language the tripling of a word gives it the superlative form, like “big big big” would mean the biggest. Thus we can see that Hebrew numerology symbolism is the key to interpreting the Revelation of St. John.

If we try to do something similar with Dante’s Prophecy through Beatrice, we can see that the number 1 in Hebrew, the letter א , means Unity, and God. The number 5, which is the letter “Hay” ה , means Divine Grace. If we consider how Dante consistently uses the idea of seeing the middle as the center, like how the heart of the Comedy in canto 50 is about Love, one might interpret the number as something like God or Unity in the Heart of Grace, or surrounded by Divine Grace. And that this will be a symbolic image for what will eventually give Redemption and Deliverance, and “kill the giant and the usurping whore with whom he sins”. The image of the French King and the Pope as Giant and whore could be a symbol in itself, of deeper spiritual forces of evil and Pride, f.ex.

At least this is a working hypothesis, for now! Let us know your thoughts below.

4 thoughts on “The Mystery of Beatrice’s Prophecy

    1. Thank you! That is the crucial question I think. We know that Dante was very attentive to and almost obsessed with numerlogy in general – the use of 3,7,9 (3×3) and 10 especially. And that he knew the Revelation well, and also the Psalms well. For the theory suggested above it partly boils down to whether he knew the Hebrew symbolism of 5 or not. But he uses numbers on purpose – so it has to based on something! But we’ll do some more resarch.

      Thanks again for stopping by!

    1. Yes, that is the assumption for the symbolic numerological interpretation of “515”, derived from the idea about “666” as Man, or in many ways Pride.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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