Dante Alighieri, the Italian poet whose masterpiece The Divine Comedy has exerted a profound influence on Western thought, was born in Florence in 1265. He entered public life in 1295, later becoming one of the six governing magistrates of Florence. He repeatedly opposed the machinations of Pope Boniface VIII, who was attempting to place all of Tuscany under Papal control, and in 1301 was banished from Florence on trumped-up charges. Dante would never enter his native city again, spending his remaining years with a series of patrons in various courts in Italy. He completed The Divine Comedy shortly before his death in 1321.
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