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Dante Alighieri (1265–1321)

  1. Amanda D. Quantz

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0390

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Quantz, A. D. 2011. Dante Alighieri (1265–1321). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


A native son of the powerful Florentine city-state, Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) has long been celebrated as a politician, linguist, poet, and visionary. In canto 15 of Paradiso of the Divine Comedy Dante traces his heritage to the crusading knight Cacciaguida (c.1091–1147). He also asserts that he was educated by the notary Brunetto Latini (Inferno, 15) and by the friars (Convivio, 2.12.7). In medieval Florence these were probably either the Franciscans at Santa Croce or the Dominicans at Santa Maria Novella. In the context of the Florentine Renaissance, Dante's writings were strongly influenced by authors who had recently been rediscovered, including Horace, Ovid, and Virgil. The only lifelike portrait of Dante is a fresco in the Bargello in Florence, which was painted by his friend, the renowned artist Giotto di Bondone (1267–1337).


  • politician, linguist, poet, and visionary;
  • only lifelike portrait of Dante, fresco in the bargello in Florence;
  • theological wisdom in the divine comedy;
  • La vita nuova (new life) and the convivio (the banquet);
  • beatrice portinari, leaving an indelible mark on Dante's soul;
  • beatrice, one of Dante's three guides, in the divine comedy