Dante Alighieri. Biography And Work Essay

1505 words - 6 pages

His Early Life:Dante Alighieri was born under the sign of Gemini, he was thought to beborn on May 29, but this is not certain. He was born in Florence, the son ofAlighiero II, his family was one of lower nobility. His mother died when he was achild and his father when he was eighteen. According to him, the most profoundevent in his youth was when in 1274 he met Beatrice, whom scholars believe tobe Beatrice Portinari, a noble woman. It really matter's not who she was, for hesaw her infrequently and never spoke to her. Nevertheless she became thefocus of his love, and after her death she became his muse. She is a focal pointin his works, including La vita nuova(The New Life) and La divina commedia(TheDivine Comedy). Dante's education remains an unknown, however his writingskill and knowledge make it evident that he was well schooled. It is thought thathe attended Florentine schools but also continued learning on his own. Heseemed to be influenced greatly by Brunetto Latini, who has a large part in TheDivine Comedy. His early writings attracted the attention of Guido Cavalcanti, apopular Italian poet of the day, as Dante's skill became more defined the twobecame friends. It is also thought that Dante studied at the university in Bolognaaround the year 1285.He became involved in some political altercations, he joined the Guelphs,as opposed to the Chibellines, and he was involved in a battle and emergedvictorious. It was around this time, 1290, that Beatrice died, after she died hebegan studying philosophy, he read the works of Boethius and Cicero. He soonafter married Gemma Donati, a member of a noble Florentine Guelph family. Heattempted to settle down and forget Beatrice, however he became more andmore engulfed in the party scene, he discovered the pleasure of banquets, andwas seen engaged in public rhyming contests. These contests were a sort ofpoetic insult contest that often decayed into vulgarity. Thankfully, this period didnot last long, in 1295, Dante suddenly became very interested in the politicalsituation in Florence.His Adult Life:In the year 1295 he held several local offices, he was then elected to beone of the six magistrates of Florence, however, he held this position only twomonths. Dante, from 1295 to 1297, was part of the Special Council of thePeople, he also took part in the campaign for the prior, and was a member of theCouncil of the One Hundred. The political situation in Florence at the time wasvery turbulent, the two feuding factions within the Guelph party in Florence, theCerchi and the Donati or the Whites and The Blacks were both vying for power.The Blacks, or Donati, were of noble birth and lineage but were not exceedinglyrich, and they saw the pope as an ally against imperial power. The Whites, orCerchi, were not of noble lineage, but had made a vast fortune trading andwished to become a part of the aristocracy, they wished to remain independent ofall control, papal or imperial. After a particularly violent skirmish the...

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