Dante Alighieri
(1265–1321)
Italian poet and philosopher. Born in Florence, Dante sought the consolations of philosophy after the death in 1290 of his beloved Beatrice Portinari, who was the wife of the painter Simone de Bardi. Active in the political life of Florence, Dante was sent to Rome as an envoy to the papal court in 1301, and while absent was condemned to exile. He never returned to Florence, but died an honoured guest of Guido da Polenta, the ruler of Ravenna.
Dante's principal conventional philosophical work is the Convivio, or Banquet (1304–8), intended as a series of fourteen treatises of which only four are complete. De Monarchia (c. 1313) contains Dante's political theory. But it is his masterpiece, the Divina Commedia, begun possibly as early as 1307, and finished just before his death, that is universally acknowledged as the literary embodiment of the moral, religious, and philosophical ideals of the late 13th and early 14th centuries. The poem divides into three parts. In the first, the Inferno, Dante visits the circles of Hell, with their increasingly wicked moral transgressors (the scale goes from apathy, which is scarcely damned at all, to the basest treachery). The punishments do not increase in severity in step with the faults, but represent the kind of retribution or loss that a particular vice brings—for example, the lovers Paolo and Francesca are ceaselessly whirled in a storm. In the Purgatorio the poet encounters the repentant sinners who await redemption, and in the last circle of this, the earthly paradise, he is reunited with the dead Beatrice, who in the Paradiso introduces him to the ascending circles of beauty and light, culminating in the vision of God. In the heaven of the sun (light) Dante encounters the souls of twelve wise men, who are Albert the Great, Aquinas, the Venerable Bede, Boethius, Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite, Gratian, Isidore of Sevile, Peter Lombard, Paul Orose, Richard of Saint-Victor, Siger of Brabant, and Solomon. Perhaps surprisingly, given that it is Augustine's equation of light with spiritual excellence that infuses the whole poem, it is Aquinas, who thought that light could only be predicated metaphorically of spiritual substances, who guides him at this point. In accordance with Dante's Christianized Neoplatonism, the heaven of the sun is above the heaven of the moon, where live those who could not quite keep their vows of chastity, above the heaven of Mercury, where there are those who tried to acquire glory by good deeds, and of Venus, where dwell those who loved intensely in their lives. But it is below the heaven of Mars (reserved for martyrs), of Jupiter (just and wise princes), Saturn (contemplatives and mystics), of the fixed stars (saints, Apostles, and the blessed), and well below the Crystalline heaven, or primum mobile , where Dante encounters the angelic hierarchies, and finally the Empyrean, where, losing Beatrice, he is able with the help of the Virgin Mary and St Bernard to direct his gaze at the point source of light, the love which moves the sun and the stars, God himself.
The structure of the poem is that of a moral allegory of fall and redemption. If Dante's immediate philosophical ancestors are Aquinas and Augustine, it is also clear that the poem fuses themes from Plato, Neoplatonism, and the Islamic tradition, especially that of Avicenna . See also beauty, love.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dante Alighieri — Dante redige aquí. Para otros usos, véase Dante (desambiguación) Dante Alighieri Retrato de Dante Alighieri por Sandro Botticelli Nombre completo Dante …   Wikipedia Español

  • Dante Alighieri — Dante redirects here. For other uses, see Dante (disambiguation). For the ship, see Italian battleship Dante Alighieri. Dante Alighieri Dante Alighieri, attributed to Giotto, in the chapel of the Bargello palace in Florence. This oldest picture… …   Wikipedia

  • Dante Alighieri — [ˈdante aliˈɡi̯eːri][1] (italienisch [ˈdante aliˈɡi̯ɛːri][1]; * Mai oder Juni 1265 in Florenz; † 14. September 1321 in Ravenna) war ein Dichter und Philosoph italienischer Sprache. Er überwand mit der Göttlichen Komödie das bis dahin dominierende …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Dante Alighieri — • An annotated (in linked hypertext) biography of the poet Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Dante Alighieri     Dante Alighieri      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Dante Alighieri — (spr. alighjēri), der größte Dichter Italiens und einer der tiefsinnigsten Dichter aller Zeiten und Völker, wurde 1265, wahrscheinlich 30. Mai, in Florenz geboren und starb 14. Sept. 1321 in Ravenna. Er erhielt den Namen Durante, der in Dante… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • DANTE ALIGHIERI — Le septième centenaire de la naissance de Dante a donné en 1965 la mesure de la diffusion de son œuvre dans le monde. En France seulement, trente sept traductions totales ou partielles de La Divine Comédie ont été éditées ou rééditées depuis 1921 …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • DANTE ALIGHIERI° — (1265–1321), Italy s greatest poet. Dante s Divina Commedia (c. 1307–21), generally regarded as the outstanding literary work of the Middle Ages, is in three parts: the Inferno, the Purgatorio, and the Paradiso. From biographical or… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Dante Alighieri —   [ ali gi̯ɛːri], italienischer Dichter, * Florenz Mai 1265, ✝ Ravenna 14. 9. 1321. Von Dantes Kindheit und Jugend ist wenig bekannt; er erwarb sich schon in jungen Jahren, verständnisvoll gefördert von seinem Lehrer B. Latini, eine gelehrte… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Dante, Alighieri — Dante, Alighieri, eigentlich Durante, Alighieri, der Schöpfer der neuern italienischen Poesie, ein leuchtender Stern aus einer Zeit, die, noch reich an barbarischen Ueberresten, von politischen Factionen zerrissen, nur sparsam die zarte Blume der …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • Dante (Alighieri) — [dän′tā, dan′tē] (born Durante Alighieri) 1265 1321; It. poet: wrote The Divine Comedy Dantean adj., n. Dantesque [dän′tesk′, dan′tesk′] adj. * * * born с May 21–June 20, 1265, Florence died Sept. 13/14, 1321, Ravenna Italian poet. Dante was of… …   Universalium

  • Dante (Alighieri) — [dän′tā, dan′tē] (born Durante Alighieri) 1265 1321; It. poet: wrote The Divine Comedy Dantean adj., n. Dantesque [dän′tesk′, dan′tesk′] adj …   English World dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”