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Whenever Dante's minor works are cited, the references are to the Oxford Dante, Tutte le opere di Dante Alighieri, edited by Dr. E. Moore,

3d ed., 1904.

References to the Bible are printed in lower case Roman type.

Acts: The Acts of the Apostles.
En.: Virgil's Æneid.
ARIST.: Aristotle.

Bull.: Bullettino della Società
Dantesca Italiana, publ. in
Florence, Nuova Serie.
CASINI: La Divina Commedia,
ed. by T. Casini, 4th ed., 1899.
Cons.: Boethius's De Consola-
tione Philosophia.
Conv.: Dante's Convivio.
Cor.: The Epistles of Paul the
Apostle to the Corinthians.
De Cons. Phil.: see Cons.
Deut.: Deuteronomy.
D'OVIDIO: F. D' Ovidio, Studii

sulla Divina Commedia, 1901. D' OVIDIO2: F. D' Ovidio, Il Purgatorio e il suo preludio, 1906.

D' OVIDIO 3: F. D' Ovidio,
Nuovi Studii danteschi, 1907.
Eccles. Ecclesiastes.
Ecclus. Ecclesiasticus.
Exod.: Exodus.

FLAM. F. Flamini, I significati
reconditi della Divina Com-
media e il suo fine supremo, 3
vols., 1903-

Gen.: Genesis.
Giorn. dant.: Giornale dantesco,
publ. in Florence.

Giorn. stor.: Giornale storico
della Letteratura italiana, publ.
quarterly in Turin.
Inf.: Dante's Inferno.
Jer.: Jeremiah.
Levit.: Leviticus.

Macc.: Maccabees.

Mat.: The Gospel according to
St. Matthew.

Met.: Ovid's Metamorphoses.
Mon.: Dante's De Monarchia.
MOORE: E. Moore, Studies in
Dante, 3 vols., 1896-1903.
NOVATI: F. Novati, Freschi e
Minii del Dugento, 1908.
Par.: Dante's Paradiso.
Phars.: Lucan's Pharsalia.
Phil. The Epistle of Paul the
Apostle to the Philippians.
Pr.: Proverbs.

Ps.: Psalms.

Purg.: Dante's Purgatorio.
Rev.: The Revelation of St.
John the Divine.

Rom.: Romania, publ. quarterly
in Paris.

SCART.: La Divina Commedia,
ed. by G. A. Scartazzini, 5th
ed., rev. by G. Vandelli, 1907.
Theb.: Statius's Thebaid.
TOR. or TORRACA: La Divina
Commedia, ed. by F. Tor-
raca, 1905.
TOYNBEE: P. Toynbee, Dante
Studies and Researches, 1902.
V. N.: Dante's Via Nuova.
Vulg.: the Vulgate.

Vulg. El.: Dante's De Vulgari

Wisdom: the Wisdom of Solo


ZINGARELLI: La Vita di Dante in compendio con un'analisi della Divina Commedia, 1905.


THE Florence in which Dante lived was virtually an independent municipality controlled by trades' unions. Intense local pride, multifarious energy and enterprise, zest for politics, and partisan rivalry kept the blood of her citizens hot. The town was rapidly coming to the front rank among European cities; in manufactures and commerce she was a leader; inrushing wealth and increasing magnificence made her a pleasant abode. And all these interests self-government, business, luxurious living had the charm of novelty. So it was with painting, which was undergoing transformation at the hands of Giotto, the successor of Cimabue; so with sculpture and architecture; so with literature in the vulgar tongue, first introduced into Tuscany in the generation preceding Dante. Yet all these innovations were developing, not in a traditionless new settlement, but in a very ancient community, the home of countless generations of civilization. This, no doubt, is the reason why all her creative activities, material and intellectual, naturally assumed an artistic form in which delicacy and sobriety are allied to a dominant sense of harmony. It was a fit place for the breeding of genius: the swiftly growing town was big enough to afford a field for all kinds of talent, and yet so little that all were neighbors and merit could scarcely go unrecognized. The public offices, too, were numerous and the terms of service short, so that many citizens had a direct share in the management of affairs. On the other hand, the community was rent by party strife. The middle class, with its accumulating wealth and strength, was hated by the old military aristocracy, largely of Germanic origin, which lurked entrenched in castles within and without the city, surrounded by armed retainers, ready to seize upon any pretext to make trouble; and the burghers were bent on reducing the feudal lords to political impotence. The old quarrel between Guelfs and Ghibellines had

ceased with the defeat of the latter party at Benevento in 1266; but new factions, as irreconcilable as the old, carried on the internal war. The Whites, under the leadership of the Cerchi family, represented the new power of industry and money; the Donati, with their Blacks, stood for the old nobility, with which the unaffiliated lowest class was inclined to side. In 1300 the most active leaders of both parties were sentenced to banishment. The Blacks, unsuccessful at home, sought aid abroad. Pope Boniface VIII, who had an old claim on Tuscany, sent to the city that royal adventurer, Charles of Valois, ostensibly as a peacemaker. He entered Florence with an army, and straightway turned it over to the Blacks. The Whites were driven out, among them Dante, who never returned. This was in 1302.1

In such a community Dante was born in 1265, probably in the last days of May. We know little of his career. His works afford some bits of information, and there are a few scraps of documentary evidence; his neighbor, Giovanni Villani, inserted a brief sketch of him in his Chronicle; Boccaccio prepared a short, eulogistic account of him after his death, and his life was written in the next century by Leonardo Bruni. These are our principal sources. The mass of legend that has grown up about him makes the truth all the more difficult to ascertain. He came of a family ennobled several generations back, but neither rich nor particularly conspicuous. Their name was originally Alagherius, or Alaghieri. His own name, Dante, is a shortened form of Durante. His mother died during his childhood, and his father, after marrying again, died in 1283. A half-brother, Francesco, and a half-sister, Tana, were the fruit of this new marriage. Concerning another sister we do not know whether she was the child of the first wife or the second. As far as we can judge from the Commedia, the lad's early impressions of family life were happy. He doubtless received a careful

1 See R. W. Church, Dante: an Essay, 1878; E. G. Gardner, The Story of Florence, 1900; A. J. Butler, Dante, his Times and his Work, 2d ed., 1901; P. Villari, I primi due secoli della storia di Firenze: Ricerche, 1893-4 (English translation by L. Villari in 1894-5); R. Davidsohn, Geschichte von Florenz, II, 1908; I. Del Lungo, Da Bonifazio VIII a Arrigo VII, 1899.

education; it is likely enough that, after learning the rudiments from the Dominicans, he attended the Franciscan school of Santa Croce. Close familiarity with country as well as city life is shown in his writings. His imagination was cultivated by much reading of Provençal and French poets, from whom he learned unaided the science of metrics. He was deeply influenced, too, by contemporary art, and himself practised drawing. Early he distinguished himself as a poet, in a town where poetry and music were just acquiring an unprecedented vogue; and through his verse he made valuable acquaintances. His 'first friend' was the famous poet Guido, considerably his senior and his literary adviser, of the rich Cavalcanti family. Brunetto Latini, a great scholar, secretary of the Republic, aided him with counsel. Other poets, the notary Lapo Gianni and later the youthful Cino da Pistoia, and also the musician Casella, were his associates. A comrade of less desirable character was Forese Donati, brother of Corso, the leader of the Blacks; Forese, a high liver of shady reputation, exchanged with Dante a series of scurrilous sonnets. Dante mingled in the pastimes of his city and did not hold aloof from more serious civic matters: in 1289 he took part in an important military campaign, probably not his first. He may have been in Bologna in 1287 or thereabouts; he must have visited Lombardy before 1300. Between 1293 and 1300 he got deeply into debt. At some time before 1297 he married Gemma Donati, a distant relative of Corso and Forese, to whom he had probably been affianced since boyhood; she bore him two sons, Pietro and Jacopo, and, in all likelihood, two daughters. The family did not follow him in his exile, although three of the children later joined him in Ravenna. Gemma remained in Florence, where she was still alive in 1332. In 1295 Dante entered public life, and a few years later became an important figure in local politics. He strove for the independence of Florence, and repeatedly opposed the projects of the Pope. After going on an embassy to Gan Gemignano, he was for two months, in the summer of 1300, one of the six Priors of Florence. In 1301 he was commissioned to supervise the widening and improvement of a street. At the critical moment of the advent

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