Dante -born in 1265 -died in 1321 Domenico di Michelino -1465 Santa Maria del Fiore, Firenze
The Baptistery in Florence where Dante was baptized was the cathedral at that time.
The dome of the Baptistery is covered with mosaics, which depict devils, angels, and after death punishments.
Santa Maria del Fiore • built between 1296 and 1436
Dante was born in 1265 in Florence. • As a young man in 1289, he fought in the battle of Campaldino which marked the victory of Dante’s Guelph party. • In 1295 he began his political career. • He was exiled from Florence (Firenze) in 1302. • He started writing the Divine Comedy in 1306 when he was in exile. • He died in 1321 in Ravenna.
What Florence and New Orleans have in common: giglio – symbol of Florence
The year 1300 • Pope Boniface VIII proclaims the Jubilee Year. • Dante is 35 years old. • June 15-August 14: Dante is named a Prior, one of the six highest magistrates in Florence. • Easter time: Fictional date of the journey of the Divine Comedy • Beginning of the factional struggles between the Cerchi and the Donati (Bianchi and Neri)
The Guelphs supported the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Boniface VIII sent Charles of Valois to Florence in 1300 to end the feud between the Black and White Guelphs. In 1302 Dante was exiled. The statue of Boniface VIII is at The Museum of the Opera del Duomo in Florence.
The castle of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II is located in Prato, just north of Florence. It was built between 1237 and 1248. The Ghibellines supported the Holy Roman Empire.
Political Division in Tuscany • In Florence the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, which represented rival families, fought from 1215 to 1278 when Florence became the head of the Guelph league in Tuscany. • Siena was Ghibelline, because it sought the support of the emperor against the Florentines and against the rebellious nobles of its own territory. • Lucca was Guelph because it needed the protection of Florence. • Prato was Guelph • Pisa was Ghibelline • Arezzo was Ghibelline
The political parties in Florence and Tuscany • The Ghibellines supported the Holy Roman Empire. • The Guelphs supported the papal party. • The two parties fought between 1215 and 1278. • The Guelph party took over. • Dante was a Guelph (Guelfo). • Around 1300 the Guelphs split into Blacks (Neri) and Whites (Bianchi). • The Whites opposed the tyrannical power of the Pope and started siding with the Ghibellines. • Dante was a White. • The Whites ruled until 1302. • While Dante was sent as an ambassador to the Pope, the Blacks took control of the city. • He could not return to Florence.
Arezzo was Ghibelline. In Canto XXIX Dante meets Griffolino of Arezzo, who was punished for alchemy.
Prato, located close to Florence, was and still is an important industrial town for the manufacturing of textiles. The Cathedral of Prato
Pisa, a stronghold of the Ghibellines, was a powerful maritime republic at war with the Guelph league and with Genoa.
Lucca • Etruscan origin • Wealthy on silk and banking • Mantained its independence
Pistoia, a ghibelline town, was overtaken by Florence’s Guelph party in 1254. In cantos XXIV, 97 and XXV, 1Dante mentions Vanni Fucci, a black Guelph who stole holy objects from the Cathedral in Pistoia.
May 7 1300: Dante is sent as ambassador to San Gimignano to persuade its citizens to join the Guelph party.
Inferno XIII –” the wilds between Cecina and Corneto “ Once an undeveloped marshy area along the southern part of Tuscany, after a project of land reclamation, it is today one of the most beautiful unspoiled areas in Italy.
CANTO 1 Lost in a wood, Dante meets a leopard, a lion, and a wolf who block his path. The leopard is the symbol of lust or excessive passion, the lion of pride and violence, and the she-wolf of fraud and betrayal.
The First Circle or Limbo • Here the innocents will remain forever with no hope of ever seeing God. • Dante and Virgil join in conversation the great poets of the classical times: Homer, Horace, Ovid, and Lucan. • It is a rather pleasant landscape with light and green meadows, like the Elysian Fields described by Virgil in the Aeneid.
Charon ferrying the souls across the Acheron to the first circle Michelangelo Charon (detail from the Last Judgement, Sistine Chapel), 1536-41
Upper Hell and the Sins of Incontinence • Second Circle • Lust: Paolo and Francesca • Third Circle • Gluttony: Ciacco • Fourth Circle • Avarice and prodigality: Popes and cardinals • Fifth Circle • Wrath: Filippo Argenti
Sixth Circle: the Heretics • This is the first circle inside the City of Dis. • Farinata and Cavalcante are punished here by burning forever in open coffins. Illustration by William Blake
The Seventh Circle • Here the violent are punished in three rings. • 1) Violent Against their Neighbors (tyrants and murderers). These souls are plunged into a river of boiling blood: the river Phlegethon. They are watched over by the Centaurs. • 2) Violent against Themselves (suicides). It is an unnatural forest with leafless trees. These trees are the souls of the suicides. Dante talks to Pier delle Vigne, personal secretary of Frederick II. The trees have no leaves because the Harpies keep plucking them as they sprout. Among the trees Dante sees the souls of the squanderers, chased by bitches. • 3) Violent against God and Nature. These ring is divided into three zones: blasphemers, sodomites, and usurers. Virgil talks to Capaneus stricken by Zeus's bolt for his rebellion. Then Dante talks to his teacher Brunetto Latini, and later he sees three Florentines, at the edge of the circle. The usurers who have sinned against God’s laws of nature are also punished here.
Canto XIV, 79-80From the Phlegethon, small streams pour out, like the sulphurous waters of the Bulicame near Viterbo, north of Rome…
Inferno (xviii, 29) - Dante compares the sinners passing along one of the bridges of the Malebolge in opposite directions, to the crowds crossing the bridge of the Castel Sant' Angelo on their way to and from St. Peter's in Rome during the Holy year of Jubilee in 1300
Le Malebolge The eight circle of hell is divided into ten sections. Each “bolgia” is a depression in the ground similar to a ditch. The “bolge” are connected by bridges that span over the ditch and lower to the next level.
Canto 18 - Le malebolge There is a place in hell, called Malebolge, All of stone and iron of color, Like the circle that all around surrounds it. In the very middle of the evil field Appears a well, rather large and deep. Of whose location I will explain. That circle which remains, then, is round Between the well and the foot of the tall hard wall And the bottom is divided into ten valleys. Just as, where to protect the walls Many and more ditches surround castles, The part where they are, makes a figure, Same image here those were forming: And like in these forts from their ramparts Small bridges go to the outside shore, So from the rock juts are projected to connect the levees and the ditches, Until the well which cuts and connects them.