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Commedia di Dante

Commedia di Dante

Dante Alighieri, Commedia di Dante, Florence, Filippo Giunta, 1506

State Library of Victoria, RARES 851.15D, fols a(vi)v–b(i)r

Dante's visionary journey, accompanied by a spiritual guide, from the depths of hell up through the hierarchy of spheres and angels towards the Divine has been compared to the works of his Persian literary contemporaries. Their descriptions of mystical ascent used similar symbolism. Like much of the work of Persian poets, Dante’s spiritual pathway also begins with an earthly love that brings suffering and eventual transformation. Possible sources for Dante include 13th-century translations in Latin and old French of Arabic accounts of the Prophet Muhammad’s spiritual ascension and Islamic descriptions of heaven and hell.