Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Immediately after his banishment, Dante joined hundreds of other Florentine exiles at a castle near Arezzo. They allied themselves with Bianchi forces and tried several times, unsuccessfully, to force an entry into Florence. Dante's pleas for pardon were all refused. For the rest of his life, Dante roamed through Italy. In his wanderings, he described himself as "a bark without sail and without rudder, borne to diverse ports and bays and shores by that dry wind which grievous poverty breathes forth."

The Banquet, written sometime after his banishment, perhaps 1303, was intended as a handbook of universal knowledge; the Vita Nuova, a poem of his youth, is a lyric eulogy of Beatrice, a leading character in the Comedy, whose identity is still subject to controversy.

Dante's minor works include De Monarchia, De vulgari Eloquenta, Questis de Aqua et Terra, and Eclogues. A few of his letters have also been preserved.

It is probable that he spent his last years at Ravenna, under the protection of Guido da Polenta, a philosopher poet and lord of the city. He died there in July or September, 1321, not long after the completion of his immortal Divine Comedy.

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