Dante Alighieri

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Dante Alighieri AKA Durante degli Alighieri AKA Dante AKA il Sommo Poeta ("the Supreme Poet") or just il Poeta aka the Father of the Italian Language


Italy 1265–1321

Comments: First major poet to write in the vernacular, not Latin, and reach a wider audience; placed many in this Guide in various stations of Heaven or Hell, philosophers, Churchmen and politicians; Important to understand he had been politically powerful in Florence, but was then deposed and exiled. When he writes his masterpiece,it is from the standpoint of Pride Fallen and bitterness; His unrequited love and Muse,Beatrice, plays a central, almost Sophia /Shekenah / Babylon role for adoration once we approach Heaven, but Virgil is his original guide through Hell and much of Purgatory. Virgil was Dante's role model, but also the symbol of Roman Greatness, standing on Greek Classicism. Rome had been the last enlightened empire, but it was a celebration of Greece. Most Greek authors, including Homer, were not available to Thinkers of Dante's time. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola and Marsilio Ficino will be translating much of the "Moorish" knowledge of the Ancients of Greece in the late 1400s, long after Dante's demise;


Teachers:influenced by Aristotle; Proclus; Thomas Aquinas; Virgil; Albert the Great; Boethius; Vieri dei Cerchi; St. Augustine of Hippo; Hans Sebald Beham aka Sebald Beham, 1500-1550, engraver of The Seven Liberal Arts, 1539; Emmanuel ben Solomon, author of Eben Boham, 1270 -1330; Bernard Silvestris aka Bernardus Silvestris aka Bernard Silvester, author of Cosmographia & the Experimentarius of Bernardus Silvestris aka Sortes Regis Amalrici, @ 1085 – 1178


Students: Giovanni Boccaccio; Francesco Petrarch; Edmund Spenser; Geoffrey Chaucer; John Milton; Giovanni Villani; William Blake; Dorothy L. Sayers ; Thomas Merton; Dan Brown, modern writer; Honoré de Balzac; Jorge Luis Borges; T.S. Eliot; Marino Massimo De Caro, forger, theif & bookseller; Stephene Delsalle; Eric Auerbach, author of Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature; Immanuel of Rome, author of Mahabbarot ha-Hesheq; Shemaryah Ikriti; Yehudah Romano; Lee Morgan, 2016;


Friends: Guido Cavalcant; Lapo Gianni; Cino da Pistoia ; Brunetto Latini; Pope Boniface; Bartolomeo I della Scala of Verona; Prince Guido Novello da Polenta of Ravenna;

Enemies: Black Guelphs political party (Guelfi Neri), led by Corso Donati;

Organizations: Catholic Church member; dolce stil novo; the White Guelphs (Guelfi Bianchi) political party;Charles of Valois; Cante de' Gabrielli da Gubbio;

Author: La Vita Nuova aka The new life (love poems to Beatrice), 1295; Commedia, later named La divina commedia or The Divine Comedy (epic poem); The Convivio; The Monarchia (the One Kingdom, about Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII of Luxembourg); The Convivio;


Quotes: In middle of the journey of our days I found that I was in a darksome wood The right road lost and vanished in the maze. Ah me! how hard to make it understood How rough that wood was, wild, and terrible: By the mere thought my terror is renewed. More bitter scarce were death. But ere I tell At large of good which there by me was found, I will relate what other things befell. Scarce know I how I entered on that ground, So deeply, at the moment when I passed From the right way, was I in slumber drowned. But when beneath a hill arrived at last,


Critical Questions: When he awakes in the Dark wood, has he just died and is this whole Vision that of the Dead, or is he morally confused, finding himself as an adult not what he had planned when he started? The other Ghosts think he is alive (anima), but there are shades of M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense film. As the poem continues, he tries 3 times to overcome the wild beasts of his Nature to climb out of Darkness, but needs outside help (in this case Virgil, but in theological terms, Jesus or God)to find his way. The way out is the way in, only deeper. Every Sinner has a story, most have excuses, and we see the Catholic Middle Age theology well displayed in what and how people are punished in Hell. As Dante is in exile from Florence, he draws comfort from the Bible, particularly Exodus, and the Aeneid of Virgil depicting Trojan survivors in exile, founding Rome; His Satan consumes the Traitors against Rome's Emperor Julius Caesar on Earth and Judas as Traitor in Heaven;

Comparing Dante's Satan with John Milton's Lucifer, the Catholic Devil to the Protestant, will be developed in a separate essay, along with the initiated version of the Old Testament story of Job, the Wicca theories of Margaret Murray; The transition from Horned God to Evil Power to Nature Freed; The influence on "Bad Boys" of the 17 and 18 th centuries (looking at you, William Blake and Aleister Crowley); Modern interpretations such as the Ann Randian Selfishness of Anton LaVey to dangerous Cthulhuoid invocations culled from the fiction of H. P. Lovecraft.


Resources:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dante; http://dante.ilt.columbia.edu/ ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Vita_Nuova ; Dante's Divine Comedy lecture series by Prof. Ronald B. Herzman and Prof. William R. Cook; read him, in English or Italian if you can, see - http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/d#a507 or go directly to Divine Comedy in English here - http://www.gutenberg.org/files/41537/41537-h/41537-h.htm ; http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2013/05/27/130527crbo_books_acocella ; or listen here - http://librivox.org/librivox-5th-anniversary-collection-vol-1-by-various/ ; and listen to it here - http://librivox.org/the-divine-comedy-by-dante-alighieri/ ; http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/18/i-found-myself-in-a-dark-wood/ ; http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2013/12/09/131209crat_atlarge_krystal ;Great Minds of the Medieval World lectures by Dorsey Armstrong ;