The descendants of Dante Alighieri, author of the highly regarded Divine Comedy, are taking part in a retrial of the poet’s 1302 conviction.
It has been over 700 years since Dante was accused of corruption and sentenced to be burned to death.
Astrophysicist Sperello di Serego Alighieri, along with law professor Alessandro Traversi, are figuring out if Dante’s accusation of corruption in political office would stand nowadays.
In the 14th century, Florence was divided between two factions- the Blacks and the Whites. Dante was a member of the White party, and was accused of corruption after the Blacks were in power in 1301. His initial sentence was a fine of 5,000 florins and banishment for two years, along with being permanently banned from running for public office. However, Dante never turned up to his court hearing in March 1302, and he was then condemned to death.
Traversi told the Italian newspaper: “There were two sentences inflicted on Dante. The first was exile, the second was death and it will be interesting to understand whether in the light of the Florentine statutes of the time and the current legal principles the two judgments could be subject to revision.”
The conference to discuss Dante’s conviction will be held in May, and will include involvement with historians, linguists, lawyers along with Antoine de Gabrielli, the descendant of the official who convicted Dante- Cante de Gabrielli da Gubbio.
The investigation will determine if Dante’s sentence would hold up today, said Traversi, or if it was actually “the poisoned fruit of politics that used justice to attack an opponent”.