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Dante Alighieri one of the greatest poets of the Middle Ageswas born in Florence Italy on June 5 1265 He was born to amiddle-class Florentine family At an early age he began to write poetryand became fascinated with lyrics During his adolescence Dante fell inlove with a beautiful girl named Beatrice Portinari He saw her onlytwice but she provided much inspiration for his literary masterpieces Her death at a young age left him grief-stricken His first book LaVita Nuova was written about her Sometime before 1294 Dante marriedGemma Donati They had four children Dante was active in the political and military life of Florence He entered the army as a youth and held several important positions inthe Florence government during the 1290s During his life Florence wasdivided politically between Guelphs and Ghibellines The Guelphssupported the church and liked to keep things as they were unlike theGhibellines The Ghibellines were mostly supporters of the Germanemperor and at the time Dante was born were relieved of their power When this change took place the Guelphs for whom Dantes family wasassociated took power Although born into a Guelph family Dante becamemore neutral later in life realizing that the church was corruptbelieving it should only be involved in spiritual affairs At the turn of the century Dante rose from city councilman toambassador of Florence His career ended in 1301 when the Black Guelphand their French allies seized control of the city They took Dantespossessions and sentenced him to be permanently banished from Florencethreatening the death penalty upon him if he returned Dante spent most of his time in exile writing new pieces ofliterature It is believed that around 1307 he interrupts his unfinishedwork Convivio a reflection of his love poetry philosophy of the Romantradition to begin The Comedy later known as The Divine Comedy Hewrites a book called De Vulgari Eloquentia explaining his idea to combinea number of Italian dialects to create a new national language In 1310he writes
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