Dante Alighieri

Profile portrait in [[tempera]]<br>by [[Sandro Botticelli]], 1495 Durante degli Alighieri (), commonly known as Dante Alighieri or simply Dante (; , ; – 1321), was a major Italian poet of the Late Middle Ages. His ''Divine Comedy'', originally called '''' (modern Italian: ''Commedia'') and later christened '''' by Giovanni Boccaccio, is widely considered the most important poem of the Middle Ages and the greatest literary work in the Italian language.

In the late Middle Ages, most poetry was written in Latin, accessible only to the most educated readers. In ''De vulgari eloquentia'' (''On Eloquence in the Vernacular''), however, Dante defended use of the vernacular in literature. He would even write in the Tuscan dialect for works such as ''The New Life'' (1295) and the ''Divine Comedy''; this highly unorthodox choice set a precedent that important later Italian writers such as Petrarch and Boccaccio would follow.

Dante was instrumental in establishing the literature of Italy, and his depictions of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven provided inspiration for the larger body of Western art. He is cited as an influence on John Milton, Geoffrey Chaucer and Alfred Tennyson, among many others. In addition, the first use of the interlocking three-line rhyme scheme, or the ''terza rima'', is attributed to him. In Italy, he is often referred to as ' ("the Supreme Poet") and '; he, Petrarch, and Boccaccio are also called "the three fountains" or "the three crowns".
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