Publish date:
Updated on
Year
1302

Dante is exiled from Florence

On this day, poet and politician Dante Alighieri is exiled from Florence, where he served as one of six priors governing the city. Dante’s political activities, including the banishing of several rivals, led to his own banishment, and he wrote his masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, as a virtual wanderer, seeking protection for his family in town after town.

Dante was born to a family with noble ancestry that had fallen in fortunes. He began writing poetry in his teens and received encouragement from established poets, to whom he sent sonnets as a young man.

At age nine, Dante first caught a glimpse of Beatrice Portinari, also nine, who would symbolize for him perfect female beauty and spiritual goodness in the coming decades. Despite his fervent devotion to Portinari, who did not seem to return his feelings, Dante became engaged to Gemma Donati in 1277, but the two did not marry until eight years later. The couple had six sons and a daughter.

About 1293, Dante published a book of prose and poetry called The New Life, followed a few years later by another collection, The Banquet. It wasn’t until his banishment that he began work on his Divine Comedy. In the poem’s first book, the poet takes a tour through Hell with the poet Virgil as a guide. Virgil also guides the poet through Purgatory in the second book. The poet’s guide in Paradise, however, is named Beatrice. The work was written and published in sections between 1308 and 1321. Although Dante called the work simply Comedy, the work became enormously popular, and a deluxe version published in 1555 in Venice bore the title The Divine Comedy. Dante died of malaria in Ravenna in 1321.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Astronauts die in launch pad fire

A launch pad fire during Apollo program tests at Cape Canaveral, Florida, kills astronauts Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chafee. An investigation indicated that a faulty electrical wire inside the Apollo 1 command module was the probable cause of the ...read more

Shelby GT 350 debuts

On this day in 1965, the Shelby GT 350, a version of a Ford Mustang sports car developed by the American auto racer and car designer Carroll Shelby, is launched. The Shelby GT 350, which featured a 306 horsepower V-8 engine, remained in production through the end of the 1960s and ...read more

National Geographic Society founded

On January 27, 1888, the National Geographic Society is founded in Washington, D.C., for “the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge.” The 33 men who originally met and formed the National Geographic Society were a diverse group of geographers, explorers, teachers, ...read more

Siege of Leningrad is lifted

On this day, Soviet forces permanently break the Leningrad siege line, ending the almost 900-day German-enforced containment of the city, which cost hundreds of thousands of Russian lives. The siege began officially on September 8, 1941. The people of Leningrad began building ...read more

Paris Peace Accords signed

The United States, South Vietnam, Viet Cong, and North Vietnam formally sign “An Agreement Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam” in Paris. Due to South Vietnam’s unwillingness to recognize the Viet Cong’s Provisional Revolutionary Government, all references to it were ...read more

The so-called Dracula killer

On this day in 1978, Richard Chase, who becomes known as the “Dracula Killer,” murders Evelyn Miroth and Daniel Meredith, as well as Miroth’s 6-year-old son andanotherwoman,in Sacramento, California. Chase sexually assaulted Miroth with a knife before killing her and mutilating ...read more

Lincoln orders armies to advance

On this day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issues General War Order No. 1, ordering all land and sea forces to advance on February 22, 1862. This bold move sent a message to his commanders that the president was tired of excuses and delays in seizing the offensive against ...read more

Soviets liberate Auschwitz

On this day, Soviet troops enter Auschwitz, Poland, freeing the survivors of the network of concentration camps—and finally revealing to the world the depth of the horrors perpetrated there. Auschwitz was really a group of camps, designated I, II, and III. There were also 40 ...read more