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Middle to Dark Ages: The Words of Dante and Henry II

To further explore famous quotes of the Dark to Middle Ages, as well as a bit of background regarding the speakers of such unforgettable words , scan this article which sheds light on Henry II (1133-1189) and Dante Alighieri (1265 ,1321), who is better known by his infamous shortened name.

Henry II (1133-1189)

Henry II of England (also known as “Curtmantle”) ruled as the King of England from 1154 to 1189. He also held many other offices, including the Duke of Gascony, Count of Nantes, Duke of Normandy, Count of Anjou, Duke of Aquitaine, and the Lord of Ireland. At some points in time, he was also known to rule over Wales, Scotland, and the western part of France. Henry was also the first of the House of Plantagenet to rule over England.

In history, Henry II has been tied to Thomas Becket, where on December 29th, 1170 , Becket was uncovered close to the stairs to the crypt within the Canterbury Cathedral. The Archbishop was beaten , only taking a couple of blows to meet his death. The next 20 years of his rule, he often started how much he personally regretted the death of Becket. This prompted Henry to say these memorable words in regards to Thomas Becket:

“Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”

Dante Alighieri (1265 ,1321)

Don’t let the name fool you , this is the one and only Dante , the Italian poet hailing from Florence who created the infamous Divine Comedy. When it comes to the Italian language, it is this great literary piece that is considered one of the best ever. Across the world, the Divine Comedy has sparked an interest in a variety of literary circles and is still taught near and far.

In Italy, Dante has gained the title of “Supreme Poet” and joins two other greats (Petrarca and Boccaccio) in becoming the “three fountains” or the “three crowns.” Another distinction associated with Dante is that he is often referred to as the “Father of the Italian Language.” While there are plenty of quotes to consider, such as his interpretation of the inscription at the entrance to Hell (“Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch’entrate!” , Abandon all hope, you who enter!), a suitable range of selections are listed below:

Taken from the Divine Comedy (“Paradiso”)

1) “E’n la sua volontade e nostra pace.”

(In His will is our peace.)

2) “Tu proverai si come sa di sale
Lo pane altrui, e com’e duro calle
Lo scendere e’l salir per l’altrui scale.”

(You shall find out how salt is the taste of another man’s bread, and how hard is the way up and down another man’s stairs.)

3) “L’amor che muove il sole e I’altre stelle.”

(The love that moves the sun and the other stars.)

Taken from the Divine Comedy (“Inferno”)

4) ” … Nessun maggior dolore Che ricordarsi del tempo felice Nella miseria.”

(There is no greater pain than to remember a happy time when one is in misery.)

5) “Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita”

(Midway along the path of our life)

6) “Non ragioniam di lor, ma guarda, e passa.”

 (Let us not speak of them, but look, and pass on.)