dante alighieri


  • [6] His Divine Comedy, originally called Comedìa (modern Italian: Commedia) and later christened Divina by Giovanni Boccaccio,[7] is widely considered one of the most important
    poems of the Middle Ages and the greatest literary work in the Italian language.

  • Some speculative sources claim he visited Paris between 1308 and 1310, and other sources even less trustworthy say he went to Oxford: these claims, first made in Boccaccio’s
    book on Dante several decades after his death, seem inspired by readers who were impressed with the poet’s wide learning and erudition.

  • Publishing in the vernacular language marked Dante as one of the first in Roman Catholic Western Europe (among others such as Geoffrey Chaucer and Giovanni Boccaccio) to break
    free from standards of publishing in only Latin (the language of liturgy, history and scholarship in general, but often also of lyric poetry).

  • Its first section, the Inferno, begins, “Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita” (“Midway upon the journey of our life”), implying that Dante was around 35 years old, since the
    average lifespan according to the Bible (Psalm 89:10, Vulgate) is 70 years; and since his imaginary travel to the netherworld took place in 1300, he was most probably born around 1265.

  • It is also noticeable that Beatrice has returned to his imagination with renewed force and with a wider meaning than in the Vita Nuova; in Convivio (written c. 1304–07) he
    had declared that the memory of this youthful romance belonged to the past.

  • [21] Dante’s interactions with Beatrice set an example of so-called courtly love, a phenomenon developed in French and Provençal poetry of prior centuries.

  • Brunetto later received special mention in the Divine Comedy (Inferno, XV, 28) for what he had taught Dante: Nor speaking less on that account I go With Ser Brunetto, and
    I ask who are his most known and most eminent companions.

  • His work set a precedent that important Italian writers such as Petrarch and Boccaccio would later follow.

  • [34]) It is known that the Inferno had been published by 1317; this is established by quoted lines interspersed in the margins of contemporary dated records from Bologna,
    but there is no certainty as to whether the three parts of the poem were each published in full or, rather, a few cantos at a time.

  • [64][65] In May 2021, a symbolic re-trial of Dante Alighieri was held virtually in Florence to posthumously clear his name.

  • Ironically, while he was widely honored in the centuries after his death, the Comedy slipped out of fashion among men of letters: too medieval, too rough and tragic, and not
    stylistically refined in the respects that the high and late Renaissance came to demand of literature.

  • Dante saw in him a new Charlemagne who would restore the office of the Holy Roman Emperor to its former glory and also retake Florence from the Black Guelphs.

  • [26] The poet was still in Rome in 1302, as the Pope, who had backed the Black Guelphs, had “suggested” that Dante stay there.

  • However, unlike Boccaccio, Milton or Ariosto, Dante did not really become an author read across Europe until the Romantic era.

  • It was in the name of this love that Dante left his imprint on the dolce stil novo (“sweet new style”, a term that Dante himself coined), and he would join other contemporary
    poets and writers in exploring never-before-emphasized aspects of love (Amore).

  • [15] Dante claimed to have seen Beatrice again frequently after he turned 18, exchanging greetings with her in the streets of Florence, though he never knew her well.

  • He still hoped late in life that he might be invited back to Florence on honorable terms.

  • To the Romantics, Dante, like Homer and Shakespeare, was a prime example of the “original genius” who set his own rules, created persons of overpowering stature and depth,
    and went far beyond any imitation of the patterns of earlier masters; and who, in turn, could not truly be imitated.

  • [33] The brief note gives no incontestable indication that Barberino had seen or read even the Inferno, or that this part had been published at the time, but it indicates
    composition was well underway and that the sketching of the poem might have begun some years before.

  • He next dedicated himself to philosophical studies at religious schools like the Dominican one in Santa Maria Novella.

  • (It has been suggested that a knowledge of Dante’s work also underlies some of the illuminations in Francesco da Barberino’s earlier Officiolum [c. 1305–08], a manuscript
    that came to light in 2003.

  • [69] Dante’s other works include Convivio (“The Banquet”),[70] a collection of his longest poems with an (unfinished) allegorical commentary; De Monarchia,[71] a summary treatise
    of political philosophy in Latin which was condemned and burned after Dante’s death[72][73] by the Papal Legate Bertrando del Poggetto, which argues for the necessity of a universal or global monarchy to establish universal peace in this life,
    and this monarchy’s relationship to the Roman Catholic Church as guide to eternal peace; and De vulgari eloquentia (“On the Eloquence in the Vernacular”),[74] on vernacular literature, partly inspired by the Razos de trobar of Raimon Vidal
    de Bezaudun.

  • At the same time (1 November, 1301), Charles of Valois entered Florence with the Black Guelphs, who in the next six days destroyed much of the city and killed many of their

  • [citation needed] Throughout the 19th century, Dante’s reputation grew and solidified; and by 1865, the 600th anniversary of his birth, he had become established as one of
    the greatest literary icons of the Western world.

  • His use of the Florentine dialect for works such as The New Life (1295) and Divine Comedy helped establish the modern-day standardized Italian language.

  • [67] It also contains, or constructs, the story of his love for Beatrice Portinari, who later served as the ultimate symbol of salvation in the Comedy, a function already
    indicated in the final pages of the Vita Nuova.

  • However, Dante’s commentary on his own work is also in the vernacular—both in the Vita Nuova and in the Convivio—instead of the Latin that was almost universally used.

  • [citation needed] Education and poetry[edit] Mural of Dante in the Uffizi, Florence, by Andrea del Castagno, c. 1450 Not much is known about Dante’s education; he presumably
    studied at home or in a chapter school attached to a church or monastery in Florence.

  • Some verses of the Paradiso section of the Divine Comedy also provide a possible clue that he was born under the sign of Gemini: “As I revolved with the eternal twins, I saw
    revealed, from hills to river outlets, the threshing-floor that makes us so ferocious” (XXII 151–154).

  • Dante’s in-depth knowledge (within the limits of his time) of Roman antiquity, and his evident admiration for some aspects of pagan Rome, also point forward to the 15th century.

  • [25] Dante was accused of corruption and financial wrongdoing by the Black Guelphs for the time that Dante was serving as city prior (Florence’s highest position) for two
    months in 1300.

  • Evidently, Dante’s command of philosophy and his literary interests deepened in exile and when he was no longer busy with the day-to-day business of Florentine domestic politics,
    and this is evidenced in his prose writings in this period.

  • By this meaning of the word, as Dante himself allegedly wrote in a letter to Cangrande I della Scala, the progression of the pilgrimage from Hell to Paradise is the paradigmatic
    expression of comedy, since the work begins with the pilgrim’s moral confusion and ends with the vision of God.

  • [47] Although several statements and episodes of it have been deemed unreliable on the basis of modern research, an earlier account of Dante’s life and works had been included
    in the Nuova Cronica of the Florentine chronicler Giovanni Villani.

  • In March 1302, Dante, a White Guelph by affiliation, along with the Gherardini family, was condemned to exile for two years and ordered to pay a large fine.

  • The work is much more assured and on a larger scale than anything he had written in Florence; it is likely he would have undertaken such a work only after he realized his
    political ambitions, which had been central to him up to his banishment, had been halted for some time, possibly forever.

  • The work contains many of Dante’s love poems in Tuscan, which was not unprecedented; the vernacular had been regularly used for lyric works before, during all the thirteenth

  • [citation needed] Death and burial[edit] Dante’s tomb exterior and interior in Ravenna, built in 1780 Dante’s final days were spent in Ravenna, where he had been invited to
    stay in the city in 1318 by its prince, Guido II da Polenta.

  • [15] She died when Dante was not yet ten years old.

  • Love for Beatrice (as Petrarch would express for Laura somewhat differently) would be his reason for writing poetry and for living, together with political passions.

  • Dante was more aware than most early Italian writers of the variety of Italian dialects and of the need to create a literature and a unified literary language beyond the limits
    of Latin writing at the time; in that sense, he is a forerunner of the Renaissance, with its effort to create vernacular literature in competition with earlier classical writers.

  • He is described as the “father” of the Italian language,[12] and in Italy he is often referred to as il Sommo Poeta (“the Supreme Poet”).

  • A substantial portion of minutes from such meetings in the years 1298–1300 was lost, however, so the true extent of Dante’s participation in the city’s councils is uncertain.

  • [32] An early indication that the poem was underway is a notice by Francesco da Barberino, tucked into his Documenti d’Amore (Lessons of Love), probably written in 1314 or
    early 1315.

  • [citation needed] New readers often wonder how such a serious work may be called a “comedy”.

  • He wrote to Henry and several Italian princes, demanding that they destroy the Black Guelphs.

  • [citation needed] Dante Alighieri, detail from Luca Signorelli’s fresco in the Chapel of San Brizio, Orvieto Cathedral He wrote the Comedy in a language he called “Italian”,
    in some sense an amalgamated literary language mostly based on the regional dialect of Tuscany, but with some elements of Latin and other regional dialects.

  • [15] Dante said he first met Beatrice Portinari, daughter of Folco Portinari, when he was nine (she was eight),[17] and he claimed to have fallen in love with her “at first
    sight”, apparently without even talking with her.

  • In the following years, his name is occasionally recorded as speaking or voting in the various councils of the republic.

  • [citation needed] Exile from Florence[edit] Pope Boniface quickly dismissed the other delegates and asked Dante alone to remain in Rome.

  • [30] Mixing religion and private concerns in his writings, he invoked the worst anger of God against his city and suggested several particular targets, who were also his personal

  • This oldest picture of Dante was painted just prior to his exile and has since been extensively restored.

  • Although the split was along family lines at first, ideological differences arose based on opposing views of the papal role in Florentine affairs.

  • [27] Dante did not pay the fine, in part because he believed he was not guilty and in part because all his assets in Florence had been seized by the Black Guelphs.

  • (In June 2008, nearly seven centuries after his death, the city council of Florence passed a motion rescinding Dante’s sentence.

  • [29] Dante in Verona, by Antonio Cotti Dante took part in several attempts by the White Guelphs to regain power, but these failed due to treachery.

  • [44] Recreated death mask of Dante Alighieri in Palazzo Vecchio, Florence A copy of Dante’s so-called death mask has been displayed since 1911 in the Palazzo Vecchio; scholars
    today believe it is not a true death mask and was probably carved in 1483, perhaps by Pietro and Tullio Lombardo.

  • Of the books, Purgatorio is arguably the most lyrical of the three, referring to more contemporary poets and artists than Inferno; Paradiso is the most heavily theological,
    and the one in which, many scholars have argued, the Divine Comedy’s most beautiful and mystic passages appear.

  • [38] In 1315, Florence was forced by Uguccione della Faggiuola (the military officer controlling the town) to grant an amnesty to those in exile, including Dante.

  • To take part in public life, one had to enroll in one of the city’s many commercial or artisan guilds, so Dante entered the Physicians’ and Apothecaries’ Guild.

  • [54] In that year, the pope also donated a golden iron Greek Cross to Dante’s burial site in Ravenna, in occasion of the 700th anniversary of his birth.

  • In the classical sense the word comedy refers to works that reflect belief in an ordered universe, in which events tend toward not only a happy or amusing ending but one influenced
    by a Providential will that orders all things to an ultimate good.

  • The case was made that “the greatest symbol of Italianness” should be present at fascism’s “heroic” end.


Works Cited

[‘ The name ‘Dante’ is understood to be a hypocorism of the name ‘Durante’, though no document known to survive from Dante’s lifetime refers to him as such (including his own writings). A document prepared for Dante’s son Jacopo refers to “Durante,
often called Dante”. He may have been named for his maternal grandfather Durante degli Abati.[1]
1. ^ Though the modern Republic of Italy had yet to be established, the Latin equivalent of the term Italian had been in use for natives of the region
since antiquity.[5]
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7. ^ Wetherbee, Winthrop;
Aleksander, Jason (30 April 2018). Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University – via Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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Haller, Elizabeth K. (2012). “Dante Alighieri”. In Matheson, Lister M. (ed.). Icons of the Middle Ages: Rulers, Writers, Rebels, and Saints. Vol. 1. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood. p. 244. ISBN 978-0-313-34080-2.
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‘Commedia’. Cambridge University Press. p. 108. ISBN 9781108421294.
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15. ^ His birth date is listed
as “probably in the end of May” by Robert Hollander in “Dante” in Dictionary of the Middle Ages, volume 4. According to Giovanni Boccaccio, the poet said he was born in May. See “Alighieri, Dante” in the Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani.
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Jump up to:a b c d e f Chimenz, S.A (2014). Alighieri, Dante. Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (in Italian). Enciclopedia Italiana. Bibcode:2014bea..book…56. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
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18. ^ florence Inferno
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Alighieri (1904). Philip Henry Wicksteed, Herman Oelsner (ed.). The Paradiso of Dante Alighieri (fifth ed.). J.M. Dent and Company. p. 129.
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29. ^
Malcolm Moore “Dante’s infernal crimes forgiven”, The Daily Telegraph, 17 June 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2008.
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Mifflin. pp. 269–282.
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and co. p. 5. And in that I spoke before entrance on the prime of manhood, and in this when I had already passed the same.
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erat in Urbe, viterbiensis et florentinus in studio generali legens ibidem annis tribus (Cr Pg 37v). Cuius sollicita procuratione conventus perusinus meruit habere gratiam a summo pontifice papa Benedicto XI ecclesiam scilicet et parrochiam Sancti
Stephani tempore quo [maggio 13041 ipse prior actu in Perusio erat (Cr Pg 38r)”. E-theca.net. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
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Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/32020964@N08/5060536705/’]