"Through me the way into the suffering city, / through me the way to the eternal pain, / through me the way that runs among the lost. / Justice urged on my high artificer; / my maker was divine authority, / the highest wisdom, and the primal love. / Before me nothing but eternal things / were made, and I endure eternally. / Abandon every hope, who enter here" (Dante, Inferno, 3.1-9).
Dante Alighieri, poet, politician, and intellectual, was born in Florence under the sign of Gemini in 1265. While much of his early life remains a mystery, we know from Dante’s autobiographical Vita nuova (New Life) that he encountered Beatrice, his poetic muse, when he was only 9 years old. Her early death in 1290 had a profound impact on Dante, and would play a key role in the writing of the Divine Comedy.