Dante Alighieri(1265–1321),the Greatest Italian Writer,has Mosques,Muhammad and Ali in Hell in the Divine Comedy

| December 2, 2011 | Comments (5)

Dante Alighieri

Who was Dante?

Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) was an Italian poet,the greatest Italian writer and one of the greatest writers in all history.The very greatest writers in all world literature are,by coincidence,Westerners:

1.Homer (lived around 850 BC),Greek,author of the Iliad and the Odyssey.

2.Dante (1265–1321),Italian, author of  The Divine Comedy.

3.Cervantes (1547-1616),Spaniard,author of Don Quixote.

4.Shakespeare (1564-1616),English

5.Goethe (1749-1832),German,author of Faust.

6.Tolstoi (1828-1910),Russian,author of War and Peace.

He is known for The Divine Comedy.He is also famous for his collection of poems called La Vita Nuova/The New Life,which is written in a new love style called the “dolce stile novo/sweet new style”,a term he himself invented.

He was born in Florence, Italy.Dante’s family were Guelphs, a political faction that supported the Papacy and which was in opposition to the Ghibellines, who were for the Holy Roman Emperor.

At 18 Dante met Guido Cavalcanti, Lapo Gianni, Cino da Pistoia and soon after Brunetto Latini; together they became the leaders of the Dolce Stil Novo. Brunetto later received a special mention in the Divine Comedy (Inferno, XV, 28), for what he had taught Dante.

Dante, like most Florentines of his day, was embroiled in the Guelph-Ghibelline conflict. He fought in the Battle of Campaldino (June 11, 1289), with the Guelphs against the Ghibellines.

Dante was condemned to exile for two years and ordered to pay a large fine.He did not pay the fine in part because he believed he was not guilty and in part because all his assets in Florence had been seized by the Black Guelphs. He was condemned to perpetual exile, and if he returned to Florence without paying the fine, he could be burned at the stake.

Dante sees Beatrice

About a woman called Beatrice

She was a Florentine girl called Beatrice Portinari who Dante:

1.Claims to have first met at age nine, and claims to have fallen in love “at first sight”, apparently without even speaking to her.He was a child also.

2.He saw her frequently after age 18, often exchanging greetings in the street, but he never knew her well.

That was it.He says he fell madly in love with her.Many think the claim by Dante of being in love was just literary pose and pretense.

His 2 greatest works are about her and for her

1.La Vita Nuova/The New Life is about his love for her.

2.She is the heroine of The Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy,the Greatest Work in Italian(written between 1308-1321)

The poem begins on the night before Good Friday in the year 1300, “halfway along our life’s path”.Dante is thirty-five years old and lost in a dark wood,understood as sin,assailed by beasts (a lion, a leopard, and a she-wolf) he cannot evade, and unable to find the “straight way”. Dante is at last rescued by Virgil, the Latin poet,and the two of them begin their journey to the underworld.

The summary of the poem is:

1.It describes Dante’s journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio), and Paradise (Paradiso).

2.He is guided by the Roman poet Virgil (70 BC-19 AD),the greatest writer of Latin literature,who wrote the Eneid,the adventures of Eneas,the Trojan who escaped from Troy when it was taken by the Greeks because of Helen and Paris,and who goes to Carthage and later to Italy.Virgil takes Dante on a visit through Hell and Purgatory,where he meets famous people.

3.Later Virgil leaves Dante and he is guided through heaven by Beatrice,where he meets Thomas Aquinas,the greatest philosopher and theologian of the Middle Ages,plus St. Bonaventure, Saint Peter, and St. John.In the end Dante has a vision of God.

4.In the poem he goes through the 9 circles of hell,which are underground,under Jerusalem, and then sees Lucifer at the bottom of hell.Then he climbs up the 9 rings of Mount Purgatory,which is on an island far away, followed by the Garden of Eden at its summit; and then the 9 celestial levels of heaven, followed by another place containing the very essence of God.

What did Dante think of Muhammad?

He thought little of him,in his book Muhammad is in hell suffering,he is not counted among the virtuous pagans who are in the First Circle of Hell or Limbo.

Here is what Dante said about Muhammad in his Inferno (canto XXVIII, 31-33).

He also included Ali,his son-in-law,married to his daughter Fatima,as being in hell:

” No barrel, even though it’s lost a hoop or end-piece:

1.Ever gapes as one who I saw(Note:Dante sees Muhammad)

2.Ripped right from his chin to where we fart:

3.His bowels hung between his legs, one saw his vitals and the miserable sack that makes of what we swallow excrement.

4.While I was all intent on watching him, he looked at me, and with his hands he spread his chest and said: “See how I split myself!

See now how maimed Mohammed is! And he who walks and weeps before me is Alì, whose face is opened wide from chin to forlock

Dante sees Mosques burning in Hell in his voyage with Latin writer Virgil

It is in the Inferno,canto VIII, lines 70-73.

Here Dante tells his literary idol Virigil that mosques are red-hot in hell.

“”I can already see distinctly,master, the mosques that gleam within the valley,as crimson as if they had just been drawn out of the fire.”

And he(Note:Virgil) to me: “The fire eternal that kindles them within makes them look red,as you behold in this lower Hell.”

To verify that all that is in the Divine Comedy here is Dante’s Inferno


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