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Timeline

1265

Dante Born

Dante Alighieri is born in Florence under the "sign of Gemini," sometime between mid-May and mid-June. His parents are father Alighiero di Bellincione and mother Gabriella "Bella" degli Abati.

1272

Mother Dies

Dante's mother Bella dies. His father soon remarries a woman named Lapa di Chiarissimo Cialuffi, who bears Dante's half-brother Francesco and half-sister Gaetana.

May 1, 1274

Meets Beatrice

Florentine nobleman Folco Portinari throws a party for his neighbors. Nine-year-old Dante and his father attend. Dante spots Folco's daughter, eight-year-old Beatrice Portinari, and falls instantly in love.

1275

Begins Education

Dante enrolls at the convent schools of Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella, which are two churches in Florence.

Feb 9, 1277

Betrothed

Twelve-year-old Dante is promised in marriage to Gemma di Manetto Donati.

1282

Completes Education

Dante completes his formal studies.

1283

Father Dies; Marriage

Dante's father Alighiero di Bellincione dies. Soon after, Dante marries Gemma Donati. His beloved Beatrice also marries someone else. Dante and Gemma Donati have five children: sons Jacopo, Pietro, Giovanni and Gabrielle and daughter Antonia.

1287

Beatrice Marries

Dante's beloved, Beatrice—whom he has spoken to only a handful of times—marries Simone dei Bardi, a banker.

1289

Battle Between Guelphs and Ghibellinis

Dante fights on the side of the pro-Pope Guelph forces against the pro-Emperor Ghibellinis. The Guelphs win, and Dante boasts of his military prowess in a letter to a friend.

Jun 8, 1290

Beatrice Dies

Dante's love Beatrice dies at the age of 24. He is devastated and reincarnates her later in his work as a divine guide in the Commedia.

1292

Vita Nuova

Dante writes La Vita Nuova di Dante Alighieri, a long poem tracing his relationship with Beatrice from their first meeting to her death. Scholars now interpret the title to signify Dante's "new life" as a poet.

1294

Death of Brunetto Latini

Brunetto Latini, a Florentine politician and respected man of letters who had been an important mentor to Dante, dies. Though Brunetto was like a father figure to Dante, he appears in Dante's Inferno with those who commit sodomy. Scholars believe that Dante probably did this to "take down" his mentor, even though there is no evidence that Brunetto actually engaged in homosexual acts.

1295

Begins Political Career

Dante enrolls in the apothecary's guild, which accepts poets and philosophers. As a member of a guild, he is able to participate in Florentine politics. He is soon elected to the council of the Heads of the Arts, the organization that helps choose the Priors, the six supreme magistrates of Florence.

1300

Becomes a Prior

Dante is named a Prior, a position of extreme power in Florence.

Jun 9, 1301

Opposes Pope

In a public meeting, Dante opposes a request from Pope Boniface VIII to send 200 troops to acquire lands south of Siena. Word of Dante's opposition gets back to Boniface, who is not pleased.

Oct 1301

Goes to Rome

Boniface sends the warrior Charles de Valois to Florence to help secure the Pope's power there. Dante is part of a three-man Florentine delegation that travels to Rome to plead with the Pope to call off Charles de Valois.

Nov 1, 1301

Takeover of Florence

Charles de Valois enters Florence, setting off a campaign of looting and burning. A huge political shakeup follows, with all sitting Priors (Dante included) ousted and new priors elected.

Jan 27, 1302

Dante Charged

Dante learns that the new priors have charged him with barratry, the sale of political positions. As punishment, he is banished from Florence for two years and barred from public office for life. He is also ordered to pay a fine.

Mar 10, 1302

Dante Exiled

When he refuses to pay the fine, Dante - along with fourteen others- is sentenced to death in absentia. He never returns to Florence, the city of his birth, and spends the rest of his life exiled in Italy.

1302

Poetry Treatise

While lodging in Lucca, Dante begins composing an essay on vernacular poetry entitled De Vulgari Eloquentia. Though the essay itself is written in Latin, the language of the educated classes, it details the fractured state of the Italian language and emphasizes the need for a common vernacular language.

1303

Boniface Dies

Pope Boniface VIII dies.

1306

Convivio

Dante begins writing Convivio ("Banquet"), a long poem in Italian celebrating his poetry and asking for forgiveness from Florence's warring political parties. No forgiveness is offered.

1308

Begins Commedia

Dante begins the Commedia ("Divine" was added to the title 200 years after his death). It is a three-part poem -largely autobiographical - detailing the journey of Dante the pilgrim through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. He also writes De Monarchia , a treatise on the relationship between the monarchy and the state.

1312

Verona

Dante moves to Verona.

1314

Inferno

Inferno, the first segment of Dante's three-part Divine Comedy , is published.

Jun 13, 1315

Turns Down Florence's Invitation

The government of Florence offers Dante the chance to return to the city if he pleads guilty and makes a humiliating show of repentance. He refuses. Florence then issues a new order reiterating Dante's condemnation.

1318

Moves to Ravenna

Dante accepts an offer to stay with nobleman Guido II da Polenta in Ravenna. His wife and daughter join him there. He completes the Divine Comedy in Ravenna.

1320

Daughter Becomes a Nun

Dante's daughter Antonia enters a convent in Ravenna and takes the name of Beatrice.

Aug 1321

Illness

While traveling in Venice, Dante contracts a fever—possibly malaria—and returns to Ravenna.

Sep 1321

Death

Dante Alighieri dies of his illness in Ravenna. He is buried in San Pier Maggiore's Church in Ravenna, now known as St. Francesco's (St. Francis). Florence, which banished Dante, argues that they should have his remains back. Ravenna says "no way."

1865

Discovery of Dante's remains

While performing maintenance work on the church to prepare for the 600th anniversary of Dante's birth, a construction worker opens up a wall and finds a coffin containing Dante's skeleton. The skeleton had apparently been hidden there in order to prevent Florentines from stealing his bones. Several pieces of the poet's remains are stolen between the time of the body's discovery and its reburial.

1878

Bones Returned

A repentant Pasquale Miccoli, the former town clerk of Ravenna, returns a box of Dante's bones that he stole in 1865. Soon after, several more people returned pieces of Dante that they nabbed during that time. Gross.

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