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[Durante degli Alighieri]
Dante [6]
May/June c.1265 - September 14, 1321
Mediaeval Italian poet and prolific writer, Durante degli Alighieri—better known as Dante— has been styled the "Father of the Italian language". His 14,000 line allegory, Divina Commedia, is widely considered the central epic poem of Italian literature. Written in the first person, it tells of Dante's journey through the three realms of the dead, lasting from the night before Good Friday to the Wednesday after Easter in the spring of 1300.
It was not until the mid-nineteenth century that a group of writers—labeled the "Followers of the Veil"1 by Umberto Eco—began to promote the idea that Dante was a freemason.
"The writing on Dante by Gabriele Rossetti (the father of the better-known Victorian poet Dante Gabriel Rossette) did not produce a normal, proper interpretation and then go too far, interpret too much, or interpret excessively. On the contrary, it started from a premise radically different from normal, proper interpretation: that Dante was really a Freemason, Templar, and Rosicrucian, even though there is no evidence that Freemasonry existed in Dante's day."2
"Let us examine a concrete example in which Rossetti deals with one of the paramount obsessions of the Followers of the Veil. According to them, Dante in his text depicts a number of symbols and liturgical practices typical of the Masonic and Rosicrucian traditions." 3
"Rossetti sets out with the conviction that Dante was a Freemason, Templar, and a member of the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross." 4
"Rossetti regarded Dante as a member, both in politics and religion, of an occult society, having a close relation to what we now call Freemasonry ; and he opined that the Commedia and other writings of Dante . . . are of similar internal significance."5

1.L'idea deforme: Interpretazioni esoteriche di Dante, M. P. Pozzato (ed.). Milan : Bompiani, 1989. 2.The literary in theory, Jonathan D. Culler. Stanford University Press. p. 168.
3.Interpretation and overinterpretation, Umberto Eco, Stefan Collini, Richard Rorty, Jonathan D. Culler, Christine Brooke-Rose. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1992. pp. 54-55.
4.Eco. p. 55.
5.Gabriele Rossetti : A Versified Autobiography, W. M. Rossetti, pp. 65-66. Cited in "Britain's Tribute to Dante in Literature and Art; A Chronological Record of 540 Years (c. 1380--1920)", Paget Toynbee. 72 London : Oxford University Press. Source :archive.org, accessed 2009/07/05.
6.Detail of painting by Giotto Di Bondone (1267-1337).


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