BornFlorence, (Italy), May or June 1265
DiedRavenna, (Italy), 14 September 1321
Dante Alighieri, a poet rather than an astronomer, is nevertheless remarkable for the extent to which he wove the astronomical conceptions of his day – principally Ptolemaic and Aristotelian – into the fabric of one of the greatest literary and imaginative works of the Middle Ages, his Divina Commedia(Divine Comedy).
Dante was the son of Alighiero di Bellincione Alighieri and his first wife, Bella. From youth to middle age, Dante was involved in politics. However, at the turn of the century, the ruling party in Florence, the Guelphs, split into two factions, the “Blacks” and the “Whites,” and with the victory of the Blacks, Alighieri, who was a White, went into permanent exile from his beloved native city. Because of his exile, he was also permanently separated from his wife of some years, Gemma di Manetto Donati, with whom he had fathered four children, Jacopo, Pietro,...
- Cornish, Alison (2000). Reading Dante’s Stars. New Haven: Yale University Press. (The most complete recent guide to astronomy in the Divina Commedia.)Google Scholar
- Danielson, Dennis (ed.) (2000). The Book of the Cosmos: Imagining the Universe from Heraclitus to Hawking. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Perseus, esp. Chap. 15, “From This Point Hang the Heavens,” pp. 89–91.Google Scholar
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- Lovejoy, Arthur O. (1936). The Great Chain of Being. (Reprint, New York: Harper and Row, 1960.)Google Scholar
- Osserman, Robert (1995). Poetry of the Universe: A Mathematical Exploration of the Cosmos. New York: Doubleday, esp. pp. 89–91.Google Scholar