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The women who appear in Dante's 'Divine Comedy' are finally getting their due, 700 years later

By Laura Ingallinella, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Italian Studies and English, Wellesley College
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When Dante Alighieri died 700 years ago, on Sept. 14, 1321, he had just put his final flourishes on the “Divine Comedy,” a monumental poem that would inspire readers for centuries.

The “Divine Comedy” follows the journey of a pilgrim across the three realms of the Christian afterlife – hell, purgatory and paradise. There, he encounters a variety of characters, many of whom are based on real people Dante had met or heard of during his life.

One of them is a woman named Sapia Salvani. Sapia…


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