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Dante Aligheiri


Author of The Divine Comedy, Italy's pre-eminent poet (one of the towering figures of Western literature)

He followed a normal course of studies, possibly attending university in Bologna, and when he was about twenty he married Gemma Donati by whom he had several children.

Being active in politics, he was involved in the the strife between the GUELFS and the GHILBELLINES; he became a prominent WHITE GUELF, however when the BLACK GUELFS came to power in 1302, Dante, during an absence from Florence, was condemned to exile on false charges, including embezzlement. When Dante failed to answer the charges he was threatened with being burnt at the stake upon re-entry of Florence. When he further refused to dishonor himself and admit the charges the death sentence was finally extended to his children as well. Dante never saw his beloved Florence again

Dante took refuge first in Verona, and after wandering from place to place traveling extensively within northern Italy he settled in Ravenna. While there he completed THE DIVINE COMEDY (a poem which describes the journey of Dante the Pilgrim as he is lead, firstly by VIRGIL through Hell and Purgatory and secondly by BEATRICE through to Heaven.), which he began in around 1308. Dante died in Ravenna in 1321.