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Word Count: 718
Dante Alighieri was born in 1265 in Florence Italy to a family of moderate wealth that was involved in the complex Florentine political scene Around 1285 Dante married a woman chosen for him by his family Despite this he remained in love with another woman named Beatrice and continued to yearn for her even after her sudden death in 1290 Three years later he published Vita Nuova The New Life which describes his tragic love for Beatrice Around the time of Beatrices death Dante began a serious study of philosophy and intensified his political involvement in Florence He held a number of significant public offices at a time of great political unrest in Italy In 1302 he was exiled for life by the leaders of the Black Guelphs the political faction in power at the time All of Dantes work on The Comedy later called The Divine Comedy and consisting of three books Inferno Purgatorio and Paradiso was done after his exile He completed Inferno which depicts a symbolic journey through Hell Dante roamed from court to court in Italy writing and occasionally lecturing until his death from a sudden illness in 1321 Dantes personal life and the writing of The Comedy were greatly influenced by the politics of late-thirteenth-century Florence The struggle for power in Florence was a reflection of a crisis that affected all of Italy and in fact most of Europe from the twelfth century to the fourteenth century The crisis was the struggle between church and state for authority The main representative of the church was the pope while the main representative of the state was the Holy Roman Emperor In Florence these two loyalties were represented by the Guelph party which supported the papacy and the Ghibelline party which supported royal power The last truly powerful Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II died in 1250 and by Dantes time the Guelphs were in power in Florence By 1290 however the Guelphs
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