If I met a historical figure: Dante Alighieri [ Weekend Experience week 141]

With today's post I participate in topic 141 of the Weekend Experience, which can be seen on the community reference Weekend Experiences , with reference to the post Week 141 writing topics. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank @galenkp who carries out this initiative and looks after the community in an excellent manner.

Among the many prompts I had available to write an article, I decided to choose one that also represented my passions in some way. For this reason, being a History student and History major, I decided to write on the prompt that was closest to me.

Prompt: Historical Person

If it was possible to meet one single person from history (someone who lived over 100 years ago) who would it be, why do you choose that person and how would you explain today's society to them? Write a post of at least 300 words and use images you took yourself is possible.

quoted from the reference post Week 141 writing topics

Choice of historical character

There are many historical characters that fascinate me or have fascinated me a lot, some I have studied in depth, others have triggered a lot of curiosity in me. I really could have chosen any character: starting with Gaius Caesar and ending with Christopher Columbus, moving on from Napoleon to Alexander the Great, finishing by choosing some political figures such as Winston Churchill, Karl Marx, Alcide De Gasperi, Antonio Gramsci; I could have chosen a philosopher: Kant, Hegel, Plato, Aristotle, Feuerbach, Arendt.

Instead, I decided to choose a character that I think is brilliant and has to do with literature.

I chose Dante Alighieri.

Sandro Botticelli, Portrait of Dante, tempera on canvas, 1495, Geneva, private collection - source https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dante_Alighieri

Dante Alighieri

Dante Alighieri is an Italian linguist, writer, philosopher and political theorist who lived between the 13th and 14th centuries AD.

To summarise everything that Dante Alighieri produced in a single article would be impossible.

Dante is considered the father of the Italian language, although in fairness, it must be said that the Florentine school took much from the Sicilian school that had already proposed vulgar forms a few years earlier. Dante took those vulgar forms from the Sicilian school, made them his own, and wrote some of the best works in the world.

The most beautiful, and certainly the most famous, remains without doubt The Divine Comedy. To speak of the Divine Comedy would merit not one, not two, not a hundred, but a thousand separate articles. In my opinion one of the best works ever produced by man. If you have never read it, I highly recommend it, also because outside of Italy you should find it easier to read. Let me explain: in Italy, the original text has been retained, therefore in 13th century Vulgar Latin, with some adaptations of course. So we Italians need to paraphrase it before reading and understanding it. Outside Italy, the work has been translated and to make it easier to read, it has been translated into many editions with a novelistic script. So you will not need any paraphrase!

I imagined the meeting between Dante and myself in the present day: in 2023.

In order to do it better and to better realise who I was really talking to, and thus to really understand who I had in front of me, I decided to ask an artificial intelligence to show me Dante Alighieri in 2023. I asked it to represent Dante in the present day. The results are as follows.

all images were created by a completely free Artificial Intelligence: the link to the site is this https://hotpot.ai/

Once Dante has taken on the guise of a modern man, I can definitely get our encounter underway. I am imagining it in the form of a dialogue, this to make it easier to read and also to make it easier for me to describe it.

The encounter with Dante Alighieri

Ivan: "Hello, Dante! I am very excited to meet you. To be here today is really an incredible thing for me. Never did I think I would be able to see you up close. Never would I have thought I could talk to the one who invented the Dolce Stil Novo and wrote one of the most beautiful works in the world!"

Dante: "It is a pleasure for me too, I will get to know this new world. I hope you can help me, it will be an interesting chat!"

Ivan: " Please, before we start, can you recite to me the beginning of the Divine Comedy? That would be wonderful!"

Dante: " Certainly! I wrote those verses on the spur of the moment, they immediately came to mind!"

"Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself in a forest dark,
For the straight way was lost.

How hard it is to say what it was
This forest wild and rugged and strong
That in the thought rekindles fear! "

original italian version:
Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita.

Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura
esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte
che nel pensier rinova la paura!

Ivan: "Beautiful! My favourite! Although there are many other beautiful ones, such as the Canto of Paolo and Francesca!"

Dante: "Yes, I must admit that I wrote a very beautiful work!"

Ivan: " Sure! Then to do it back then, everything was much more complicated. Not like today when you could have used new technologies and taken less time and certainly less effort!"

Dante: " Ah, today's world seems to be light years away from my world. Please describe it to me!"

Ivan: " I will be happy to do so! Surely today's world is very different from yours. Some things have remained the same, war unfortunately still exists. But we have made great strides in everything. Italy, for example, is a unitary state! There are no more principalities and duchies. The world is a new world, other territories have been discovered: America has been discovered! We have become good at everything, from politics to art. I think you would enjoy writing today, but also theorising politics. We are tackling problems that you once didn't have, such as the overuse of plastic, the melting of glaciers, the ecological transition. We have been to the moon!"

Dante: "The moon? What are you talking about!"

Ivan: " Yes, you got that right. I told you, we have made unimaginable progress. Just think that to write your work today you could have taken a quarter of the time it took you, you could have stayed at home in your beautiful Florence!"

Dante: "A dream in short!"

Ivan: "Yes, just a dream. However, we have been through a lot, unfortunately millions of people have died from useless and completely senseless wars. We have faced dozens of different pandemics, most recently the Covid pandemic. Not like the plague, of course, but it has been difficult. We've been in lockdown"

Dante: " what would lockdown be?"

Ivan: " Good question, basically we were locked in the house without being able to go out, without being able to go to work, without being able to hug our loved ones. We had to keep the contagion to a minimum!"

Dante: " when pandemics broke out in my time it wasn't like that, you were definitely saved!"

Ivan: " Yeah, but then medicine took giant steps. There are no longer apothecaries, today there are doctors and medicines galore. Each problem corresponds to a different medicine!"

Dante: "It would seem the ideal world!"

Ivan: "It would seem so, but it is not. Unfortunately there are still too many things that are not right, too many injustices, too many wars, too many rich, too many poor. Too many tyrants, but they are not like those of your time. Maybe they are even worse"

Dante: "I mean, the world has changed but the problems remain the same, don't they?"

Ivan: "That's right, my dear Dante".

Ivan: "Come on, let's go. I'll take you for a tour of the buildings".

Dante: "What are buildings?"

Ivan: "You'll soon find out my dear!"


Welcome to this amazing community!

Nice chat you had with Dante, I chose Da Vinci... not Sal, Leo!!!

A hug!

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