Dante Alighieri Timeline
How It All Went Down
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.
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.
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.
Twelve-year-old Dante is promised in marriage to Gemma di Manetto Donati.
Dante completes his formal studies.
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.
Dante's beloved, Beatrice—whom he has spoken to only a handful of times—marries Simone dei Bardi, a banker.
Battle Between Guelphs and Ghibellinis
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.
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.
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.
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.
Becomes a Prior
Dante is named a Prior, a position of extreme power in Florence.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pope Boniface VIII dies.
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.
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.
Dante moves to Verona.
Inferno, the first segment of Dante's three-part Divine Comedy , is published.
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.
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.
Daughter Becomes a Nun
Dante's daughter Antonia enters a convent in Ravenna and takes the name of Beatrice.
While traveling in Venice, Dante contracts a fever—possibly malaria—and returns to Ravenna.
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."
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.
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.