Life of Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

Chronology from Sophia Smith


Dante Museum, Florence


writing the Divine Comedy

entrance to Dante's grave

Dante's resting place


1265 Dante is born, probably May 29, under the sign of Gemini

1274 First meets, and falls in love with Beatrice Portinari, according to the Vita nuova

1283 Dante's father dies. He is married shortly thereafter to Gemma Donati, with whom he has four children (Jacopo, Pietro, Giovanni and Antonia).

1289 Participates as a cavalryman in the battle of Campaldino. The Guelf League (Florence and Lucca) defeats the Ghibellines of Arezzo. Dante recalls this battle in Purgatorio.

1290 Death of Beatrice.

1292 Writes the Vita nuova.

1294 Dante meets Charles Martel, King of Hungary and heir to the kingdom of Naples and the country of Provence. Dante recounts their meeting in Paradiso VIII.

1295 Joins the guild of the apothecaries for the purpose of entering public life.

1300 Dante is prior for two months (15 June-15 August), one of the six highest magistrates in Florence. Boniface VIII proclaims the Jubilee Year. Fictional date (Eastertime) of the journey of the Divine Comedy

1301 Dante is sent to Rome as an envoy to Pope Boniface VIII, as Charles of Valois approaches Florence.

1302 The Black Guelfs seize power in Florence. Dante is banished from the city for two years and forever excluded from public office. Later in the same year his banishment is made perpetual, and he is condemned to be burned alive if taken in the territory of the Florentine Republic.

1304 Birth of Petrarch

1304 Dante writes De vulgari eloquentia, his path-breaking history and rhetoric of vernacular literature. Of four books planned, only the first and part of the second were written. During the same period he writes the Convivio. Only four of a projected fifteen books of the Convivio were completed.

1306 Probably the year in which Dante interrups the Convivio and begins the Comedy.

1310 Henry of Luxembourg, Holy Roman Emperor, decends into Italy and Dante addresses an Epistle to him. Possible date of Dante Monarchia (between 1310-1313).

1313 Death of Henry. Birth of Giovanni Boccaccio. 1314 Publication of Inferno.

1315 Dante moves to Verona as a guest of Cangrande della Scala. Works on Purgatorio and Paradiso, and composes the Questio de acque et terra.

1319 Dante moves to Ravenna, where he is the guest of Guido Novello da Polenta, lord of that city. Latin correspondence with the humanist Giovanni del Virgilio.

1321 Dante falls ill on return from Venice, where he had been sent as ambassador by Guido Da Polenta, and dies September 13 or 14.