The Battle of Bellicourt Tunnel and Dante’s Divine Comedy

Dante's tomb 2

Where Dante’s Bones are Buried

Our daughter’s first name is Ravenna. I knew that Ravenna, Italy was once the capitol of the Byzantine Empire. Beyond that, I knew that it has churches from that time group of that decorated inside with world-renown amazing mosaics. It was always our plan to someday visit Ravenna with our daughter. Last month we made that trip. Truly, the mosaics were astounding.

Dante Alighieri's tomb in Ravenna, Italy

Dante Alighieri’s tomb in Ravenna, Italy

A highlight of the visit to Ravenna for me was a visit to the tomb of Dante, the poet. Exiled, he spent the final years of his life there. This year is the 750th year since his birth. Over the years I read the three books that make up his Divine Comedy. I taught The Inferno a couple of times. The epic poem is one of the greatest literary creations of Western Civilization, for several reasons.

Part of my plan for The Battle of Bellicourt Tunnel is to use the structure of Dante’s Divine Comedy as a pattern. In literary terminology, this is called a trope. I was deeply moved, nearly to the point of tears and sobs (but I have that response at times, like at the military cemeteries at Mons, Belgium and Bony, France.)

I will incorporate the three levels of the afterlife that the Divine Comedy treats–Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven.

I know that at some time in the near future I will go back to Ravenna—first, to marvel at the mosaics we did not get a chance to see in the few days we were there, and second, to spend time with Dante and visit the Dante museum. We had “The Kid” along, my two-year-old grandson. His interest in churches, mosaics, and museums was naturally limited. He needed action.

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