Dante was born in Florence, Italy, in 1265. Heir of a poor but noble family, he was one of the seven elected officials in charge of the government of Florence. Civil war was common in Florence at the time and the issues were further complicated by the question of Papal influence. In 1300, Dante along with his fellow magistrates confirmed anti-papal measures. When in 1302, the French prince acting under orders from the Pope captured power in Florence, Dante was sentenced on charges of corruption and opposition to the Church and exiled from Florence on pain of execution by burning if he ever returned. He spent the rest of his life in exile, pining for his native city. He withdrew from active politics to a large extent and concentrated on his literary creations.
We do not know exactly when Dante began work on The Divine Comedy. He had been moving about from court to court after his exile and 1n 1317 had settled at Ravenna, where he completed his great work. Extant correspondence shows that the first and second parts of The Divine Comedy, the "Inferno" and the "Purgatario" were generally known around 1319. The last part, the "Paradiso" was completed only in 1321. Dante died at Ravenna on 14 September 1321 and the last thirteen Cantos of the "Paradiso" were published posthumously.
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