Did you know that 2021 marks the 700th anniversary of the death of Italian poet, Dante Alighieri? In celebration of this anniversary, the University of Oxford is delighted to launch the Dante700 Competition for primary and secondary school pupils.
Who was Dante Alighieri?
Dante Alighieri was born in 1265 in Florence and died in 1321 in Ravenna. He is most famous for his poetry but he also wrote about the Italian language, politics, and philosophy.
The Commedia (Comedy) is Dante’s most famous poem. It is a long, epic poem in medieval Italian in which Dante describes his three-part journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise accompanied by three guides. The poem is made up of 100 canti (songs) in total across the three sections.
Dante’s poetry (especially the Commedia) was extremely influential for European literature and art. Many famous writers and poets were inspired by his writing, from medieval writers like Geoffrey Chaucer and Giovanni Boccaccio, to modernist writers like T.S. Eliot and Samuel Beckett.
Many students in the UK may never have heard of Dante or The Comedy. The aim of this competition is to introduce Dante and his work to students of all ages in a fun and engaging way.
To enter, students can submit a written piece or an artistic response to any of the categories included in the resource packs. They can also submit an ‘open response’, but this must be clearly linked to Dante’s work. Winning entries will be included in an online anthology and will win book tokens.
Students and parents can browse the resources for themselves, and teachers can use the lesson resources available to introduce the Italian poet to their classes.