Throughout history a few special individuals have felt a spiritual longing so profound that nothing could satisfy their hunger. Facing uncharted territory, they mapped their own souls, seeking that mystical place where the self meets the divine. We call them Pioneers of the Spirit. Born in Florence, Italy, Dante first saw Beatrice in 1274 when he was nine years old, and she became the inspiration for his later poetic works. Her death in 1290 was a profound shock to Dante. He was a soldier for a while and entered politics where he sided with the enemies of Pope Boniface VIII. He was eventually banished from Florence. His best known work is the perennial classic, The Divine Comedy -- the poet's imaginary journey to hell and purgatory.moreless
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