reading italian

Celebrating Dante Day

This is the first year in Italy that the country has announced a National Day in honor of the famed poet. March 25 from this year forward will be known as Dante Day or #DanteDi!

Who was Dante?

Dante Alighieri is a famed poet and writer from the 1300s, he is said to be the father of modern Italian Language. Though if you read his works in Italian the language might seem a bit off, this is because it was written in an early Tuscan form, leading to slightly different spellings and terms.

dantes inferno dante day with breakfast

Dante is most famous for his work The Divine Comedy, a 3 part narrative poem that follows Dante’s journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven (Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso). This journey symbolizes the souls’ journey towards God and divinity.

The most famous of these works is Inferno, in which Dante, accompanied by Virgil take a journey through the various circles of hell. These circles symbolize different sins. Along the way, he meets famous historical figures in different circles, and they share their story for how they came to be there. It is a truly interesting read to see who Dante has placed where and why he did so. Many of his own personal beliefs are reflected in the writing. For example at the final circle, with Satan, Dante places Judas, Brutus, and Cassius. While only one of these was a traitor to God, two were traitors to State (being the Roman Emperor). It has been presented that given this (and other examples throughout the epic) that Dante believed betrayal of State and government was just as wrong as a betrayal against Church and God.

Truth is, one blog post could not begin to sum up Dante’s meaning behind his works. Inferno alone is the subject of many university courses, research studies, and language and philosophy debates.

Why March 25?

According to Scholars, this is the day that Dante must have begun his journey in his epic poem. As it was known that Dante parted into Hell, Easter week of 1300.

I first learned about Dante in my high school, and studying Inferno was one of my inspirations for learning Italian and moving to Italy. At university, I again had the chance to study Inferno diving deeper into hidden political philosophies of the story. Unfortunately, I have still not had the chance to finish the epic journey and read Purgatory and Paradiso, but as the Lockdown Life continues in Italy, I believe it is the perfect time to catch up!

 

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