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Dante Alighieri one of the greatest poets of the Middle Ages was born in Florence Italy on June 5 1265 He was born to a middle-class Florentine family At an early age he began to write poetry and became fascinated with lyrics During his adolescence Dante fell in love with a beautiful girl named Beatrice Portinari He saw her only twice but she provided much inspiration for his literary masterpieces Her death at a young age left him grief-stricken His first book La Vita Nuova was written about her Sometime before 1294 Dante married Gemma 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 in the Florence government during the 1290s During his life Florence was divided politically between Guelphs and Ghibellines The Guelphs supported the church and liked to keep things as they were unlike the Ghibellines The Ghibellines were mostly supporters of the German emperor and at the time Dante was born were relieved of their power When this change took place the Guelphs for whom Dantes family was associated took power Although born into a Guelph family Dante became more neutral later in life realizing that the church was corrupt believing it should only be involved in spiritual affairs At the turn of the century Dante rose from city councilman to ambassador of Florence His career ended in 1301 when the Black Guelph and their French allies seized control of the city They took Dantes possessions and sentenced him to be permanently banished from Florence threatening the death penalty upon him if he returned Dante spent most of his time in exile writing new pieces of literature It is believed that around 1307 he interrupts his unfinished work Convivio a reflection of his love poetry philosophy of the Roman tradition to begin The Comedy later known as The Divine Comedy He writes a
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