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Friday, August 19, 2022
Dante Alighieri - Courtesy of www.soc-dante-alighieri.de

Dante Alighieri was born into a Florentine family of noble ancestry in 1265. Dante received a thorough education in both classical and Christian literature. At the age of 12 he was promised to his future wife, Gemma Donati. Dante had already fallen in love with another girl whom he called Beatrice. The work, LA VITA NUOVA (1292), celebrated Dante's love for Beatrice. Dante married Gemma Donati in 1285, but his ideal lady and inspiration for his poetry was Beatrice Portinari.

He entered politics and joined the White (Bianchi) Guelphs, one of the rival factions within the Guelph party. Dante served the commune in various councils and was ambassador to San Gimignano in 1300 and then to Rome. When the Black (Neri) Guelphs, who had the pope's support, ascended to power, Dante was exiled. After 1302, Dante never saw his home town again, but found shelter in various Italian cities. Dante lived his remaining years in the courts of the northern Italy princes. During his exile while under the patronage of the Ghibelline leaders, he started to write his Commedia, a long story-poem through the three worlds of the afterlife, .

Dante's years of exile 1301- 1321 were productive. He wrote DE VULGARI ELOQUENTIA (1304-07). IL CONVIVIO was a collection of verse written between 1306 and 1308, QUAESTIO DE AQUA ET TERRA was a scholastic treatise on physics. Thirteen Latin EPISTLES included both personal and political letters. La Divina Commedia began in 1307 and was completed just before the poet's death. This poetic masterpiece is divided in three cantiche: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. It is an allegoric account of his earthly journey. It relates the sufferings of his experiences, his passions which lead to sin, eternal damnation, and the journey of redemption toward God. The Purgatorio was written in Verona, from late 1312 to mid-1318. In Ravenna he wrote the final phases of the Paradiso. Dante's idea was to make the world of his poem a mirror of the world of the Christian God of his era. La Divina Commedia is a narrative poem in terza rima containing 14 233 lines organized into 100 cantos, approximately 142 lines each. Written in the first person, it tells of the poet's journey through the realm of the afterlife: Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. The Roman poet Virgil (Virgilio) is the guide through the Inferno and Purgatorio. Beatrice, the personification of pure love, has been sent to rescue Dante. She finally leads Dante to Paradiso. He ends his pilgrimage into vision of "'the Love which moves the sun and the other stars." He died in Ravenna, the night od September 13-14, 1321
(Courtesy of www.kirjasto.sci.fi/dante.htm)

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