MARIA PLATT-EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARIA PLATT-EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Durante degli Alighieri, simply called Dante (c.1265-1321), Italian poet. Dante was born in Florence and became involved in the struggle between the Florentine Guelphs (supporters of the Papacy) and the Ghibellines (supporters of the Holy Roman Emperor), including fighting at the Battle of Campaldino. His political life ended in exile, from where he was able to write more freely in Tuscan dialect instead of Latin. His most famous work, the Divine Commedy, is considered a masterpiece of world literature and the greatest literary work composed in Italian. In three books or canticas, each of 33 cantos, he describes a journey through Hell ('Inferno'), Purgatory and Paradise as an allegory for the journey of the soul towards God in the Western Christian tradition. He used the 'terza rima' rhyme scheme, with tercets following the scheme aba, bcb, cdc,.
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