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            Dante Alighieri is most well known for his work, The Divine Comedy. It has been studied by scholars in terms of religion, politics, and symbolism. He is recognized by scholars as one of the greatest writers of all times. He was a man of thought and feeling. Dante also had become a master of theology, and had some experience with politics. He in all ways completes the "renaissance man". .
             Dante was born in Florence, Italy in 1265, at a time when Italy was going through their Renaissance. Italy was divided into a group of city states which had a balance of power within themselves but also wanted to expand. The Church was involved politically to seize control of the city states. Florence had become a major city with a growing middle class. But due to opposing forces in the military, middle class, and the Church, the chaos stopped Florence from having a peaceful community. .
             Dante was born into a Guelf family. He was well educated for his time. As a young man he was in two military wars, and then in 1300 became a member of the "Council of Six" which governed Florence. In 1302, the new government of Florence, condemned Dante to be missing and charged him with wrong crimes, and ordered him to stand trial. When Dante did not appear, his property was taken away and he was sentenced to exile. .
             Dante's dream was to return to Florence. He tried to return by taking part in a revolution with others who had been exiled, but the revolution failed and he was sentenced to death by fire. Dante was no longer a citizen of any place. He was a beggar, living off the charity of those who respected his skills and accomplishments. Dante lived in Verona for a while, but his last refuge was Ravenna where he spent his final years.
             Dante's epic masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, was written in 1307, and was completed shortly before his death. This work is an account of the poet's imaginary journey through hell, purgatory, and heaven.

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