Dante Alighieri (1265–1321)
Dante Alighieri is best known as the author of the Divine Comedy , the epic poem that places him in the first rank of literary figures in Western history. By offering an account of how individuals can achieve salvation, the Divine Comedy may be considered of importance to the history of ethics; however, Dante's most significant contribution to political theory is Monarchy , a treatise on the form of government that best accords with human nature and a contribution to the debate about whether the papacy should have authority over temporal powers such as the Holy Roman Empire. In Monarchy , Dante draws on his training in Aristotelian philosophy and his knowledge of biblical scripture to advance the claim that only by ceding power to a world ruler who is separate from the church will humanity be able to achieve peace. Peace is itself taken to be essential for us ...