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Poet, writer, political thinker. Dante was a Medieval Italian poet and philosopher whose poetic trilogy, The Divine Comedy, made an indelible impression on both literature and theology.
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The created language would thus be one way to attempt to unify the divided Italian territories. The work was left unfinished, but it has been influential nonetheless.
In March 1306, Florentine exiles were expelled from Bologna, and by August, Dante ended up in Padua, but from this point Dante’s whereabouts are not know for sure for a few years. Reports place him in Paris at times between 1307 and 1309, but his visit to the city can’t be verified.
Henry of Luxembourg was elected emperor as Henry VII. Full of optimism about the changes this election could bring to Italy (in effect, Henry VII could at last restore peace from his imperial throne while at the same time subordinate his spirituality to religious authority), Dante wrote his famous work on the monarchy, "De Monarchia,” in three books, in which he claims that the authority of the emperor is not dependent on the pope but descends upon him directly from God. However, Henry’s popularity faded quickly, and his enemies had gathered strength, threatening his ascension to the throne. These enemies, as Dante saw it, were members of the Florentine government, so Dante wrote a diatribe against them and was promptly included on a list of those permanently banned from the city. Around this time, he began writing his most famous work, The Divine Comedy.
In the spring of 1312, Dante seems to have gone with the other exiles to meet up with the new emperor at Pisa (Henry’s rise was sustained, and he was named Holy Roman Emperor in 1312), but again, his exact whereabouts during this period are uncertain. By 1314, however, Dante had completed the Inferno, the segment of The Divine Comedy set in hell, and in 1317 he settled at Ravenna and there completed The Divine Comedy (soon before his death in 1321).
The Divine Comedy is an allegory of human life presented as a visionary trip through the Christian afterlife, written as a warning to a corrupt society to steer itself to the path of righteousness: "to remove those living in this life from the state of misery, and lead them to the state of felicity." The poem is written in the first person (from the poet’s perspective) and follows Dante's journey through the three Christian realms of the dead: hell, purgatory, and finally heaven. The Roman poet Virgil guides Dante through hell (Inferno) and purgatory (Purgatorio), while Beatrice guides him through heaven (Paradiso). The journey lasts from the night before Good Friday to the Wednesday after Easter in the spring of 1300 (placing it before Dante’s factual exile from Florence, which looms throughout the Inferno and serves as an undercurrent to the poet’s journey).
The structure of the three realms of the afterlife follows a common pattern of nine stages plus an additional, and paramount, tenth: nine circles of hell, followed by Lucifer’s level at the bottom; nine rings of purgatory, with the Garden of Eden at its peak; and the nine celestial bodies of heaven, followed by the empyrean (the highest stage of heaven, where God resides).
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