On the City of Florence’s Struggle to Get Back Dante’s Body | Literary Hub

Giovanni Boccaccio’s call for Florence to retrieve Dante’s corpse appears in retrospect to have been primarily an elaborate literary conceit. The city’s abusive treatment and subsequent unworthiness of Dante enabled Boccaccio to fulfill the principal aim of his biography—notably titled a “treatise in praise of Dante”—by casting the poet and his work as “divine.” Later generations of Florentines took calls for repatriation more seriously by amplifying and periodically acting on them.

Dante’s bones, cherished no less than the remains of a saint, acquired the aura of holy relics for many of these worshipers.
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