Dante

c. 1265 - 1321

Born in about 1265 in Florence, Dante is one of the greatest Italian (and European) writers of the middle ages. Influential on later poets of many nationalities, he also is a link to classical literature because of his reverence for Latin predecessors, especially Virgil, and by his selection of Virgil as the guide through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise of the narrator of his greatest work, the Divina Commedia: a natural choice echoing the journey of Aeneas through the underworld with the Cumaean Sibyl as his guide in Book 6, the heart of the Aeneid. He died in 1321: this portrait of him, by Botticelli, was painted at the end of the 15th century.

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