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Dante Alighieri information

Dante Alighieri information

Detail from a portrait of Dante by Giotto (Dante Alighieri information)

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), perhaps the greatest poet of the Middle Ages, is known as the father of Italian literature. He was born in Florence, in northern Italy. His father and mother died while Dante was still a boy. He was educated in Italy and probably in France. His education was supervised by the statesman Brunetto Latini. Dante served in the Florentine army for a time.

When he was twenty-five, Dante wrote the first of his three main works, Vita Nuova (The New Life), in which he describes his first sight of Beatrice, whose beauty inspired his devotion and his best work. She was probably Beatrice Porti-nari, who married Simone de Bardi. In 1290 Dante mourned her death. Some time after this he married Gemma Donati, and joined the Bianchi, or Guelph, party, which opposed Pope Boniface.

Dante reached high office in Florence, but because of the Pope's hostility was sentenced to be fined and imprisoned. He fled from Florence in 1301, and we know little of his wandering life from this time forwards. He spent some time in Paris before his death at Ravenna in Italy. He wrote his second principal work, the Convivio (Feast) in about 1300, but he is mainly remembered for his greatest work, the Divina Commedia (Divine Comedy). In this allegorical poem, Dante describes his visit to Hell and Purgatory with the poet Virgil as his guide.

The last part of the poem of Dante Alighieri is about Paradise, where he meets Beatrice as an angel. Dante wrote in the Tuscan dialect, which has developed into the modern Italian language. Until his time, there was the possibility that one of the southern French dialects might spread down through Italy. But Dante Alighieri information in a poem helped to ensure that the Italian language would prevail.

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