Dante Alighieri, probably baptized Durante di Alighiero degli Alighieri and often referred to as Dante, was an Italian poet, writer and philosopher.
45 Facts About Dante
Dante is known for establishing the use of the vernacular in literature at a time when most poetry was written in Latin, which was accessible only to educated readers.
Dante's work set a precedent that important Italian writers such as Petrarch and Boccaccio would later follow.
Dante influenced English writers such as Geoffrey Chaucer, John Milton and Alfred Tennyson, among many others.
Dante is described as the "father" of the Italian language, and in Italy he is often referred to as.
Dante was born in Florence, Republic of Florence, in what is Italy.
Dante claimed that his family descended from the ancient Romans, but the earliest relative he could mention by name was Cacciaguida degli Elisei, born no earlier than about 1100.
Dante's family was loyal to the Guelphs, a political alliance that supported the Papacy and that was involved in complex opposition to the Ghibellines, who were backed by the Holy Roman Emperor.
Dante said he first met Beatrice Portinari, daughter of Folco Portinari, when he was nine, and he claimed to have fallen in love with her "at first sight", apparently without even talking with her.
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.
Dante refers to other Donati relations, notably Forese and Piccarda, in his Divine Comedy.
Dante fought with the Guelph cavalry at the Battle of Campaldino.
Dante discovered the Provencal poetry of the troubadours, such as Arnaut Daniel, and the Latin writers of classical antiquity, including Cicero, Ovid and especially Virgil.
When Beatrice died in 1290, Dante sought refuge in Latin literature.
Dante next dedicated himself to philosophical studies at religious schools like the Dominican one in Santa Maria Novella.
Dante took part in the disputes that the two principal mendicant orders publicly or indirectly held in Florence, the former explaining the doctrines of the mystics and of St Bonaventure, the latter expounding on the theories of St Thomas Aquinas.
At 18, Dante met Guido Cavalcanti, Lapo Gianni, Cino da Pistoia and, soon after, Brunetto Latini; together they became the leaders of the dolce stil novo.
Brunetto later received special mention in the Divine Comedy 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.
Some fifty poetical commentaries by Dante are known, others being included in the later Vita Nuova and Convivio.
Dante fought in the Battle of Campaldino, with the Florentine Guelphs against Arezzo Ghibellines; then in 1294 he was among the escorts of Charles Martel of Anjou while he was in Florence.
Dante did not intend to practice as one, but a law issued in 1295 required nobles aspiring to public office to be enrolled in one of the Corporazioni delle Arti e dei Mestieri, so Dante obtained admission to the Apothecaries' Guild.
Dante was accused of corruption and financial wrongdoing by the Black Guelphs for the time that Dante was serving as city prior for two months in 1300.
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.
Dante was condemned to perpetual exile; if he had returned to Florence without paying the fine, he could have been burned at the stake.
Dante took part in several attempts by the White Guelphs to regain power, but these failed due to treachery.
Dante went to Verona as a guest of Bartolomeo I della Scala, then moved to Sarzana in Liguria.
Dante saw in him a new Charlemagne who would restore the office of the Holy Roman Emperor to its former glory and retake Florence from the Black Guelphs.
Dante wrote to Henry and several Italian princes, demanding that they destroy the Black Guelphs.
Dante returned to Verona, where Cangrande I della Scala allowed him to live in certain security and, presumably, in a fair degree of prosperity.
Dante refused to go, and his death sentence was confirmed and extended to his sons.
Dante still hoped late in life that he might be invited back to Florence on honorable terms.
Dante was attended by his three children, and possibly by Gemma Donati, and by friends and admirers he had in the city.
Dante was buried in Ravenna at the Church of San Pier Maggiore.
That tomb has been empty ever since, with Dante's body remaining in Ravenna.
In 1945, the fascist government discussed bringing Dante's remains to the Valtellina Redoubt, the Alpine valley in which the regime intended to make its last stand against the Allies.
The first formal biography of Dante was the Vita di Dante, written after 1348 by Giovanni Boccaccio.
Some 16th-century English Protestants, such as John Bale and John Foxe, argued that Dante was a proto-Protestant because of his opposition to the pope.
Dante is the spokesman of the Middle Ages; the Thought they lived by stands here, in everlasting music.
In 2007, a reconstruction of Dante's face was undertaken in a collaborative project.
In May 2021, a symbolic re-trial of Dante Alighieri was held virtually in Florence to posthumously clear his name.
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.
Dante 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.
Dante deliberately aimed to reach a readership throughout Italy including laymen, clergymen and other poets.
However, unlike Boccaccio, Milton or Ariosto, Dante did not really become an author read across Europe until the Romantic era.
Dante is sometimes credited with writing Il Fiore, a series of sonnets summarizing Le Roman de la Rose, and Detto d'Amore, a short narrative poem based on Le Roman de la Rose.