You will be examined orally in teams of three on the following question. I expect you to respond to focused questions with as much detail as you can manage in the time allowed. You may bring in this sheet with notes to the exam.
Dante's Divine Comedy is both a theological exploration of human sin and its consequences and a political commentary on the events of his time. One issue that particularly engaged him was the clash between the papacy and the Hohenstaufen emperors. How does he represent some of the major figures involved in this struggle? What do his representations tell us about his views of the empire and the papacy, in the larger context of God's plan for humankind? Draw upon Runciman's account of the conflict in The Sicilian Vespers, as well as your knowledge of Dante's experience in Florence. Finally, how do Dante's views compare to those of Marsilius of Padua?
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Most recent update: April 24, 2012