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
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