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Archaeology & History

The face of Dante, the man behind the nine circles of Hell, is revealed

By T.K. Randall
March 1, 2024 · Comment icon 4 comments
Facial reconstruction of Dante.
The reconstructed face of Dante. Image Credit: Cicero Moraes
A new facial reconstruction has revealed, for the first time, the true face of the writer, poet and philosopher Dante Alighieri.
Born in 1265, Dante is best known for writing The Divine Comedy which is widely considered to be one of the most important works of Western literature ever put to paper.

Written over the course of 13 years and completed shortly before Dante's own death, it discusses "the state of the soul after death and presents an image of divine justice meted out as due punishment or reward."

The poem's descriptions of the nine circles of Hell - which become increasingly horrific as one descends down through them - are particularly memorable.

Now, more than 700 years from Dante's death, Brazilian graphics expert Cicero Moraes has painstakingly recreated his face using modern reconstruction techniques.

To do this, he and his team used a 1921 analysis of the poet's bones, as well as modern descriptions of his appearance, to create an accurate likeness.
"Most [historical descriptions] are based on the information contained in the biography of Dante composed by the writer Boccaccio," said Moraes.

"Namely, that he was an individual of medium height, somewhat stooped, with a long face, an aquiline nose and eyes that were more large than small."

"However, Boccaccio did not know Dante personally and collected reports from people close to the poet and who lived with him."

Of particular note is the fact that Dante had a larger than average skull.

"There is a great debate about a larger brain being endowed with greater intelligence," said Moraes.

"Even if we ignore this approach, it is a fact that Dante's work was that of a genius individual."

Source: Mail Online | Comments (4)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by sanchez710 1 month ago
I've never read Dante but it seems very interesting. I had my own close shave with death a few years ago. Whilst working in a bakery I did something forbidden and ate some melted cheese from a baguette. I was bending over at the time and a colleague made me laugh with a joke. The cheese went straight into my windpipe and immediately I couldn't breathe. I honestly thought I was going to die but luckily my colleague knew the Heimlich manoeuvre and ejected the blockage from my windpipe before I passed out. I had all sorts of thoughts while I was choking such as 'Is this it, is that how I'm going ... [More]
Comment icon #2 Posted by Abramelin 1 month ago
Quote: " he was an individual of medium height, somewhat stooped, with a long face, an aquiline nose and eyes that were more large than small." Must be me, but he didn't have an aquiline nose (a 'hook'), and his eyes wère small.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Cho Jinn 1 month ago
Abandon all hope, ye who propose that the absence of evidence is, itself, evidence of absence!
Comment icon #4 Posted by Chaldon 1 month ago
Hmmm... As far as I remember Sherlock Holmes was described in a similar way in 'A Study in Scarlet' ?


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