Dante Alighieri's Dante, full name Dante Alighieri, was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker who was born around May 21-June 20, 1265 in Florence [Italy] and died September 13/14, 1321 in Ravenna. He is often called "the greatest European poet after Homer".
Dante is regarded as one of the most important poets of the Middle English period thanks to his influential works La Divina Commedia (The Divine Comedy) and La Ghirlanda (The Garland). The former is an epic poem that consists of three parts describing the journey of Dante through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, while the latter is a collection of poems written in French and Italian.
Dante's influence on European poetry and music is immense. His work prefigured many aspects of modern culture: science, philosophy, politics. Indeed, he is considered the first modern man because of his interest in everything that had been ignored by the philosophers of his time: religion, ethics, even economics.
Dante is also regarded as one of the founders of universities because he was one of the first people to organize lectures on topics that are now studied at universities. In 1302, he founded the Academy of Florence which became one of the most prestigious institutions in Europe.
Dante (about 1265–1321) Dante Alighieri is one of the most famous and influential names in European literature, yet he did not begin writing his most ambitious works until after his exile from his native Florence at the age of 37 (1302). Il Convivio (circa c. 1308), a prose treatise on poetry written while he was still mourning Florentine losses in France, is considered the founding document of modern literary theory.
Dante's fame rests largely on his three major poetic works, Paradiso (completed about 1320), Purgatorio (finished about 1330), and Paradiso (again). These poems deal with the afterlife and purgatory and were intended as guideposts for the living. They are credited with creating modern concepts of heaven and hell and inspiring subsequent authors' ideas about paradise and hell.
Dante is also noted for his role in the collapse of feudalism in Italy. His vision of a just society, where knowledge is free to be shared by all and power is balanced between the nobility and the people, contributed to the development of liberal politics in Europe.
Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy and Petrarch's sonnets are the only works by an Italian that have survived into modern times. But he had many contemporaries who were also poets, prose writers, or scholars.
They include Giovanni Boccaccio, Bernardo Bianco, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Galileo Galilei. The last two were scientists who played important roles in the early development of physics and astronomy - theories which were first put forward by ancient Greeks but later proven correct by Europeans.
Boccaccio was a famous author during his time for his novels and poems. He is considered the father of the novel in Europe because of his work Decameron, which was written in Latin but translated into English as Tales from the Decameron. This collection of stories took place over a period of 10 days during the aftermath of a major plague that had devastated Florence. It includes tales by various authors each day over the course of a week in April 1353.
Bianco was a philosopher who lived in Florence during the same time as Boccaccio.
Giovanni Villani was a historian. Giovanni Villani (about 1270–1348), an Italian chronicler, published a history of Florence from its beginnings to the time of Dante. He also wrote a universal history that covered many countries and periods.
Giovanni was born in Florence around 1267. His father, Bonagiunta Villani, was a notary public whose office may have required him to travel throughout Tuscany, so likely they were not resident in one place for very long. Bonagiunta died when Giovanni was only eight years old. After this loss, his mother moved with her three children to live with their uncle, Matteo Villani, who had married a wealthy widow named Albiera di Buonaguida. She took on another husband, Piero di Niccolò de' Medici, but she remained close to both of her first husbands until her death in 1325 at the age of about 60. Her son Giovanni and his two brothers were taken care of by their relatives while they were growing up.
At the age of 21, Giovanni started work in the offices of the palace of the Podestà of Florence. The position involved writing reports on current events for the mayor and other members of the government.
Salieri, Antonio Antonio Salieri (August 18, 1750, Legnago, Republic of Venice [Italy]—May 7, 1825, Vienna, Austria), an Italian composer whose operas were lauded across Europe in the late 18th century. He is best remembered for his role as Kapellmeister to the Imperial Court of Vienna.
Born into a musical family, Salieri showed an early interest in music and at the age of 14 he was accepted into the Venetian Academy where he studied with several prominent composers of his time, including Domenico Cimarosa, Girolamo Frescobaldi, and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. In 1771, he became maestro di cappella at the Maria Theresia Church in Vienna and three years later was appointed court composer to the Emperor Joseph II. However, he was dismissed from this post in 1786 after a series of disputes with the emperor over stylistic matters and personal conflicts.
After this dismissal, Salieri struggled to find work as a composer but did write two more opera seria: L'arbore di Diana (1790) and Le nozze di Figaro (1810). These works were well received and gained him a new reputation as a serious composer. His other compositions include masses, oratorios, songs, and instrumental pieces.