Other names: Durante
A prior of the Signoria of Florence, 1300 (representing the San Piero
Poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political
thinker, little is known of Dante's early life. At the age
of nine he first met Beatrice Portinari, who went on to marry Simone de'
Bardi. In 1283, Dante began to write the noble lyrics inspired by his
love for Beatrice, which he included in Vita Nuova. The death of
Beatrice in 1290 was followed by a period of bitter depression, and Dante
appears to have plunged into dissipation. A period of military
service ensued, and as a member of the Guelph party, he fought against
the Ghibellines as a cavalryman.
After his own marriage in 1298, he took an active part in the government
of Florence. He was a member of the Florentine guild of
physicians and apothecaries in 1295. In 1300, he was part of an embassy
sent to San Gimignano to strengthen the alliance of Tuscan cities against
the Pope. That year, he had also been appointed a prior of Florence.
In 1301, however, his party was overthrown by the nobles.
The following year, he was sentenced to death by the new Florentine government
formed by the Pope, the French and the Black Guelphs, but he was exiled
From 1302-10, Dante wandered over Italy, spending much time at Verona,
and commenced to write his Convivio (Banquet), and De
Vulgari Eloquentia. A fresh sentence of banishment in 1311 prevented
his return to Florence. His closing years were happily spent under the
patronage of Cangrande della Scala at Verona, and of Guido da Polenta
at Ravenna. During this period his Divina Commedia was written,
and other works continued. Apart from being a great poet, he was also
distinguished as a lyric writer, as is shown in his Canzoniere
and the Iyrical portions of his Vita Nuova.
Place of birth: Florence
Place of death and burial: Ravenna
Gunn. Nelson's Biographical Dictionary. London, etc.: Thomas
Nelson and Sons, 1936.
2. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica,
3. D. Herlihy, R. Burr Litchfield et al, eds. Florentine Renaissance
Resources: Online Tratte of Office Holders 1282-1532, 2002.