Meretmuhammedova Aysoltan Tachmuhammedovna
Turkmen State University named after Magtymguly

Nowadays Dante is considered to be the father of the Italian language. The official language of Italy is based on the Florentine dialect. Dante Alighieri made a huge contribution to the Florentine dialect of the official language.

Keywords: book, Italy, language, writer

Category: Literature

Article reference:
Meretmuhammedova A.T. The role of Dante Alighieri in Italian literature // Humanities scientific researches. 2022. № 11 [Electronic journal]. URL:

View this article in Russian

Dante Alighieri was born in Florence, Italy in 1265 in an aristocratic Florentine family and is known throughout the world as an Italian poet, writer, and politician.  According to the poet’s son Jacobo Alighieri, the name «Dante» is an abbreviation of the word «Durante». Though he was christened as Durante, Jacob says that his father was named as Dante in Alighieri’s family tree.  In addition to his great literary skills, Dante is considered to be the father of the Italian language.  The Alighieri family did not suffer financially.  According to Arnoldo d’Addario and his book «Encyclopedia of Dante», the Alighieri family was engaged in science and education for many generations.  Dante’s primary education was typical of that time.  Takes according to the system.  Of that timem, he mastered grammar, then theology, philosophy, physics, astronomy, rhetoric and dialectics.  Along with these lessons, Dante also learned Latin.  In addition to the lessons that children belonging to every aristocratic family must learn, the future poet learned about unseen cultures and civilizations from the merchants and politicians who come to Florence.  During the period of the his adolescence, the poet managed to meet Brunet Latini, a respected scientist and politician of France.  Latini had a great influence on Dante’s work, and he even dedicated a song of his comedy to Latini’s political ideas.  From the early ages, Dante was interested in the art of poetry and composition.

Nowadays Dante is considered to be the father of the Italian language. At the time of Dante, Italy was a city-state country including various small authorities. This diversity later encouraged the formation of numerous dialects.  The Italian peninsula was dominated by two main languages: Latin and Vulgar, the language of the underclass people.  Only aristocratic or wealthy families were able to learn Latin.  Vulgar, a second language, was the language of the people of the middle and lower classes.  Although, there were many dialects in Italy, they all belonged to the vulgar language. Because Latin was the language of God and the Bible, the holy book.  Each province, city-state had its own dialect and, after the unification of Italy They all wanted their own dialects to be an official language.  Today, the official language of Italy is based on the Florentine dialect.  Dante Alighieri made a huge contribution to the Florentine dialect of the official language. And this event has its own reasons.  Because the author was the first to use the Florentine dialect, which is now considered the literary language of Italy, when he wrote his works.  After that, all the writers and poets adopted this language as a literary language and did a lot of work for the Italian language to reach these levels.

Dante’s first scientific work was devoted to the Vulgar language.  He called his scientific work „About the Vulgar Language” („De Vulgari”) and called people to make the vulgar language, not as the language of the middle and lower classes, their primary language.  Originally, the work „About the Vulgar Language” was supposed to consist of four books, but Dante managed to write just two of the books.  The poet begins in the first part of his book „About Vulgar Language” with such words:

„Vulgar is the first language among languages, because it is the first language used by the common people, and therefore people find benefits from it (in spite of the differences in pronunciation and lexis,). Compared to the artificiality of other languages,  there is naturalness in this language.”

According to Dante, literature should be written in a language understandable to the middle class, the majority of the population.  Therefore, he wrote the majority of his works in the vulgar form of the Florentine dialect.  His writing style in the Vulgar language changed many writers’ and scholars’ ideas about the language.  Among them, there were also are the Italian writer Boccaccio and the famous physicist Galileo Galilei.  Of course, there were those who opposed Dante’s views on language.  Among those opponents there was is Petrarch, who could rival Dante in popularity.  In one of his treatises, Petrarch blamed Dante for treason against ancient Rome and emphasized that literary works had to be written in Latin, which was the language of God (the „Bible” was written in Latin).

The critic Jafranco Contini, who paid special attention to Dante’s language skills, had the greatest respect for the poet’s use of metaphors and catchphrases in his masterpieces.

Dante’s literary heritage can be conditionally divided into three groups.  His first published book „The New Life” (1291) consisting of 30 stories that are connected to each other, Among the verses, there is a story written in the form of poem.  In this book, the poet describes his love for Beatrice, his dreams and his heart grief over the death of that woman.

Dante’s love for Beatrice gave the meaning to his life and he expresses his love for the woman in all his works.  The poet begins his creative path in the 1280s.  In 1292, he finished to write his book „The New Life”.  In this book he depicts his first love and makes his praise more effective with the help of songs, sonnets and commentaries.  This autobiography is written in the form of a prose composition and is considered the first psychological work in Europe. The work written in the Tuscan dialect after the death of Dante’s muse, Beatrice.  The book „The New Life” contains 42 composed, short chapters, 25 sonnets, 3 songs, 1 ballad, and 2 poem fragments.

Dante’s second collection of works called „The Wedding” (1307-1308 AD) describes scientific and philosophical themes.  According to its structure, this work, like the book „New Life”, was written in combination with sonnets and stories.  After Beatrice’s death, Dante tries to find solace by writing scientific and philosophical works.  Dante wrote these works in Italian and laid the foundations of the literary language of Italy.  Before the mostly, books were written in Latin.

Dante’s famous collection „The Banquet” consists of three songs: „If you want to understand me, move to the third heaven”, „Love is the reason of my thoughts” and „My sweet lines about love”.  This collection addresses the issues of language, philosophy, and ethics.  In the first chapter, the poet shows the importance of vulgar language.

It is important to note here that the collection should not be equated with the treatise De Vulgari.  Because if in the treatise „De Vulgari” only the issue of language is raised, in the collection „ The Banquet” just one part of masterpiece consists the ideas about language.  In the second part of the collection, some ideas about the philosophy of antiquity (Roman philosophy) are discussed and at the same time it answers the question „What should be the nobility of the Aristocrats?”  The third part is about modern (renaissance) philosophy, and the fourth book is about thinking about the relationship between nobility and character passing from generation to generation.

„On Monarchy” is a treatise written by Dante in 1312-1313.  This treatise consists of three parts and the work was written in Latin.  In the treatise, Dante tries to explain the emperor his power and right to rule was given by God, not by the Pope.  If in the „Divine Comedy” Dante expressed his political views through the allegory, then in the treatise the poet’s opposition to the Pope is clearly visible.

“A Question of the Water and of the Land” (Quaestio aqua et terra) is a scientific work written in 1320, which is now preserved in the Historical Museum of Milan. Though Dante wrote many scientific works during his lifetime, it is “A Question of the Water and of the Land”  that has been brought to this day. In this book, Dante gives the information about the rise of water, which made people worry at that time. He says that the water will not rise above sea level for a long time, and people should not panic. The collection „Letters” contains letters written by Dante to famous people. He quantity of the letters is 14 and they contain the letters written to the King Henry the VII, Kan Grandi and the Rome Pope, all the letters were written in latin.

  1. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. Education – happiness, prosperity, success. Ashgabat, 2014.
  2. J. Allakov. Introduction to science of literature. Ashgabat, 1992.
  3. R. Mustakow. The world literature textbook. Ashgabat, 2011.
  4. History of literature of Italian language in the IX – XX centuries. Moscow, 1990.
  5. Dante and  worldwide literature. Moscow,1967.

All articles of author «Автор»

© If you have found a violation of copyrights please notify us immediately by e-mail or feedback form.

Contact author (comments/reviews)

Write comment

You must authorise to write a comment.

Если Вы еще не зарегистрированы на сайте, то Вам необходимо зарегистрироваться: