Durante degli Alighieri, or better yet the man we all know as Dante, was an Italian poet, politician, essayist, and apothecary (yep, that is correct) active during the late 13th and early 14th centuries. Dante’s most notable work, The Divine Comedy, is considered to be the most important poem produced during the Middle Ages, as well as the greatest literary work in the Italian language. It went on to inspire generations of writers, including Geoffrey Chaucer, John Milton, Alfred Tennyson, and T.S. Eliot due to its unique and personal story on the journey from Hell, to Purgatory, and of course, then on to Heaven. However, the big question here remains – who was Dante Alighieri, and what motivated him to string together such an epic piece of poetry? Could it have been the loss of his great love, Beatrice, and having to marry another? Was it Dante’s struggle to try and bring Florence, his home city, on more stable political footing? Or was it his exile from the place he loved above any other for false charges from accusers of his political enemies? You’ll have to make that call yourself. Most of what is known about Dante’s life he has dictated himself in his writing, and with the assistance of various sources, a storyline has emerged of an extremely determined man, whose gift of poetry gave him a voice when others wanted to take that voice from him. In Italy today, Dante is often referred to as il Sommo Poeta (the supreme poet), and he, Petrach, and Boccaccio were long ago deemed “the three fountains” or “the three crowns” of Italy. Are we ready to dive into episode 19 of Legacy and learn all about Dante Alighieri? Let’s do this!

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