Dante's 700-year-old criminal record to be scrubbed clean

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London, June 18 : Italy's most famous poet, Dante Alighieri's 700-year-old criminal record will soon be wiped clean.

Florence's city council has approved a motion that called for the city's mayor to organize "a public rehabilitation" for Dante, who was sentenced in 1302 to exile from Florence under threat of death.

The sentence forced Dante into exile and he spent the last 20 years of his life wandering through Italy, finally ending his days in Ravenna in 1321.

It was during his exile that he composed his greatest work, 'The Divine Comedy', a three-part journey through the Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise. Dante was born into a noble Florentine family in 1265 and found himself embroiled in a struggle between the Holy Roman Empire and the papacy for control of the city.

He is likely to have fought in decisive battles for the city's independence and became a Prior, one of six city leaders, in 1300.

His stint in power came to a bad end, however, when forces loyal to the pope seized power and put him on trial. When he did not appear, he was banished for two years and given a 5,000-florin fine. When he did not pay, he was condemned to death by burning.

The motion to rehabilitate Dante was passed by 19 votes to 5 at the city council earlier this week.

The mayor of Florence, Leonardo Domenici, will now award the poet the city's highest honour and revoke the sentence.

"It is a decisive step forward to his rehabilitation," the Telegraph quoted the council, as stating.

However, opponents labelled it a "stunt" and said that Dante's poetry would never have existed were it not for his suffering in exile.

ANI

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