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Dante Alighieri

head-and-chest side portrait of Dante in red and white coat and cowl
Profile portrait in tempera by Sandro Botticelli, 1495


c.  1265Florence, Republic of Florence


September 13/14, 1321Ravenna, Papal States


Statesman, poet, language theorist, political theorist






Late Middle Ages

Literary movement

Dolce Stil Novo

Notable works

Divine Comedy

Durante di Alighiero degli Alighieri , commonly known by his name of art Dante Alighieri or simply as Dante , was an Italian poet during the Late Middle Ages. His Divine Comedy, originally called Comedìa and later christened Divina by Giovanni Boccaccio, is widely considered the most important poem of the Middle Ages and the greatest literary work in the Italian language.

In the late Middle Ages, most poetry was written in Latin, making it accessible only to the most educated readers. In De vulgari eloquentia , however, Dante defended the use of the vernacular in literature. He would even write in the Tuscan dialect for works such as The New Life and the Divine Comedy; this highly unorthodox choice set a precedent that important later Italian writers such as Petrarch and Boccaccio would follow.

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