His life was a constant journey, an unfinished journey with his longing for the paradox of the city he loved and hated at the same time, Florence.
“In the middle of the journey of our life / I found myself in a dark forest, / for having strayed from the straight path”, thus begins the first song of The Divine Comedy, composed between 1301 and 1321 by the Florentine writer, with very connotations. marked within the context of medieval times that would give way to rebirth, not only from the religious context, seen as an allegory of a world that needed to be explained, but also in the political and social context, as well as cultural, since it is a work that It was written in Tuscan, the matrix of Italian, thus breaking with a millenary tradition against the use of Latin. In such a way that in Dante and in his main work there is a continuous, allegorical and concrete journey, where constant changes are experienced, without ignoring that the settlement is that religious feeling that was forged during the so-called obscurantism, was idealized in the Middle Ages and it took shape in the Renaissance in the cathedrals.
The trip corresponds to the Ptolemaic universe in which most of the inhabitants of medieval Europe believed, that is why it begins at a point on planet Earth, which was then considered the center of the universe. Through a cave and descending through the nine circles of hell, one arrives at the center of the earth, an icy place where Satan lives, the furthest place from where God is; subsequently to the place of the antipodes, where the mountain of purgatory rises, where it must ascend seven steps to finally reach paradise, made up of nine spheres, until it culminates in the center of it, where the Trinity sits.
It must be understood that in this trip the main element is the allegory, which explains in a certain way the understanding of the medieval world, hence numerology is so important, in total there are 99 different places that you visit, plus where you are finds, which is considered an introduction, since each of the three parts into which the work is divided has 33 songs, in this way it goes from the earthly plane, passing through Hell, to the Empyrean, which is where good lives.
It is not a trip that you undertake alone, different companions appear with different meanings in obedience to the Christian allegory, but it is highlighted here that in order to advance, or go back as the case may be, you need someone who is a kind of guide that will indicate you the particularities of each of these sites, in the manner of some experts found in the tourist guides of our complicated postmodern world. His first companion is the poet Virgilio, who accompanies and protects him during his journey through hell and purgatory, a symbolic presence of an author who knew how to unite Greek and Latin in his work, in addition to pointing out the founding myth of a culture. which is achieved thanks to the journey that is undertaken from Ithaca to western Europe. Virgilio is showing him the different punishments and the condemned in these spaces, it even serves as consolation when anguish seizes the Florentine, especially when they are further from God, and from there they reach the southernmost point of the earthly sphere, and from there there undertake the ascent of purgatory.
In Paradise he is led by Beatriz, who in this trip becomes a consolation in hell, a longing in purgatory and a reality in paradise. Beatrice de Folco Portinari, a myth or a real being, much is speculated about it, the truth is that in the XXI century many of us want to have the romantic vision of a poet who saw a girl and captivated him, saw her made a woman and fell in love with him. If Virgil is the last prophet, Beatrice becomes a human and spiritual guide, since the Latin poet, due to his condition as a pagan, cannot go beyond the limits of purgatory. There the guide is the perfection of the beauty and sanctity of the human, that is why it becomes his true salvation, since here he repents of his sins, those that appear as a metaphor from the beginning of the work. She is a guide who always acts with love, even when she must correct or sustain the weakness of those who have always loved her, but she is also a teacher who instructs them on the astronomy of the spheres, on those who are in each of them and on the very functioning of the theological Universe that they find here. It could be said that here they are on the joyous journey, where order reigns and each time they approach the perfect good, always in the allegorical context already mentioned, to the extent that it always allows us to understand the very meaning of the work that we briefly analyze here as a trip.
It has been the Virgin Mary herself who has entrusted Beatriz to accompany Dante, and she does so until the Empyrean in canto XXXI, where Saint Bernard, initiator of the Marian cult, receives the witness from the hands of the deified woman, to be led where there is the mother of God and finally to the place where three concentric circles occupy the same place, an allusion to the Trinity, the place where God dwells. Here the poet, who contemplates the most sacred within his Christian conception, wonders about the mystery of the divinity and humanity of Christ, a point where fantasy is exhausted and the journey, which here is a vision, ends.
If the Christian framework is described using allegory, in real life Dante had to face many vicissitudes due to his political position, perhaps the most painful being that of uprooting that led him to live in exile and permanent wandering. The powerful debated between recognizing the papal supremacy over the imperial one and vice versa, with the Guelphs and the Ghibellines as irreconcilable rivals, Florence being a partisan of the former; these, however, were also divided between those who supported popular sentiment, called white Guelphs, and those who were in favor of preserving noble privileges, called black Guelphs. Dante ended up supporting the former, which caused him serious problems, especially when he became Prior of the city. He is led to Rome and finally his political opponents take power, leaving him exiled from the city he loved so much, whose sentence stipulated that if he returned to it he would be executed at the stake.
So the pilgrimage goes through different Italian cities, always looking for support to be able to return to his city. Finally, it is pointed out that he can return, as long as he does so dressed as a penitent, that he apologizes publicly and that he pay a large sum of money, before which he flatly refused, because it hurt his own pride, being condemned by the Florentine power to be beheaded if he returned to the city. A hateful journey, like the one he must undertake to descend into hell and then ascend through purgatory, continuing with the similes of his main work. His pilgrimage continued, in Venice he acts as a diplomat, the city where he contracted malaria, to finally die in Ravenna, the city that had welcomed him and given him a temporary calm. There, of his own free will, lie the remains of the Sommo Poeta, 150 kilometers from the city that was his desire and that he never set foot on again.
But his remains have also had to face the pilgrimage, since when he died he was buried in the church of San Pier Maggiore, later called San Francisco de Asís. In 1483 the prior of Venice paid for a better tomb for the Florentine poet in the city where he died, in such a way that he was transferred within the same church to a larger mausoleum. In 1519 Pope Leo X, Florentine, authorized Dante to be transferred to Florence, however, the Franciscans hid him again in a minor tomb and delivered an empty chest, which the Florentines have kept since 1829 in an ostentatious mausoleum in the basilica de la Santa Cruz, where the foreground reads “Onorate al’altissimo poeta”. In 1810 the Franciscans of Ravenna had to leave the convent, due to Napoleonic laws, but not before hiding the remains of the poet, which accidentally appeared during reforms in 1865, to be transferred to a neoclassical mausoleum within it. basilica, which is known as Dante’s Tomb. And this year, on the occasion of the 700 years since his death, the mayors of Florence and Ravenna are reaching an agreement so that, at least during the celebrations, Dante’s body is in his hometown, and from there to undertake again trip to the city that was his last resting place.
His life was a constant journey, an unfinished journey with his longing placed on the paradox of the city he loved and hated at the same time, Florence. His work is an allegory that seeks to explain the Judeo-Christian mentality to the medieval world, through the interpretations of the sacred script that he himself postulates: literally, allegorically, morally and theologically. His own way of transmitting the message is a journey that goes from classical Latin to Tuscan, which would end up creating an Italian feeling from the language. Before his pilgrimage, we cannot but end this writing with the same sentiment with which he wrote his Comedy, known to all as the Divine Comedy: “Here my high invention was already powerless, / and what wheel that turns in beautiful turns, / the mine and his love also moved / the Love that moves the stars in the sun ”.