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Dante Alighieri – the Medieval father of Humanism

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The spirit of early Humanism

"Now you must cast aside your laziness,"
my master said, "for he who rests on down
or under covers cannot come to fame;
and he who spends his life without renown
leaves such a vestige of himself on earth
as smoke bequeaths to air or foam to water.
Therefore, get up; defeat your breathlessness
with spirit that can win all battles if
the body's heaviness does not deter it.
A longer ladder still is to be climbed;
it's not enough to have left them behind;
if you have understood, now profit from it."

― Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy


In 2021, we mark seven hundred years since the loss of one of the symbols of literature and Humanism, and arguably the greatest and most influential poet of the Western world - Dante Alighieri (c. 1265 -1321). This year's edition of our conference SWS Florence will present to you the Special Scientific Session: Dante Alighieri – the Medieval father of Humanism. We invite you to join us in our journey through the Magical World of the Italian Renaissance!


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Uffizi Gallery in Florence unveils barely known illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy

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Why is Dante Alighieri so famous and highly regarded?

In 2021, we mark seven hundred years since the loss of one of the symbols of literature and Humanism, and arguably the greatest and most influential poet of the Western world - Dante Alighieri (c. 1265 – 1321). It would be a difficult task for one to find an educated person that hasn't heard of that name and that's not a result made by an elaborated marketing strategy. In fact, Dante wasn't so popular among his contemporaries and the following epoch. His best-known work – Divine comedy – was considered too "medieval", tragical, and rough for the standards demanded by the rigorous and Classical Greece oriented criteria of the Renaissance. It was during the Romantic era, centuries later, that Dante was re-discovered and awed as one of the most important foundations for establishing the universe of Literature as we know it today. Along with Geoffrey Chaucer and Giovanni Boccaccio, Dante was one of the first poets who published in vernacular language instead of Latin, which was the common one among the scholars and intellectuals at that time. In 13th-14th century Europe that was regarded as a revolution and indeed, it was. For, it made it possible for ordinary people to read and learn in their mother tongue, and not long after that, it gave confidence to them to create and express themselves in their natural verbal patterns.


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