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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index D > Dante Alighieri Quotes

Dante Alighieri
(1265 - 1321)

Italian poet, philosopher and political thinker , whose masterpiece, “The Divine Comedy” (1307-21), is regarded as the greatest poetic composition of the Christian Middle Ages.

Science Quotes by Dante Alighieri (8 quotes)

Considerate la vostra semenza:
Fatti non foste a viver come bruti,
Ma per seguir virtute e conoscenza
.
Consider your origins: you were not made to live as brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.
— Dante Alighieri
Divina Commedia 'Inferno', canto 26, l.118.
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Il maestro di color che sanno.
The master of those who know.
Of Aristotle.
— Dante Alighieri
InDivina Commedia 'Inferno' canto 4, line 80.
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Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch'entrate.
Abandon all hope ye who enter here.
— Dante Alighieri
From La Divina Commedia, in 'The Gate of Hell', Inferno (1308-1321), Canto III.
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As, pricked out with less and greater lights, between the poles of the universe, the Milky Way so gleameth white as to set very sages questioning.
— Dante Alighieri
In The Paradiso of Dante Alighieri (1899, 1904), 175.
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Man alone amongst the animals speaks and has gestures and expression which we call rational, because he alone has reason in him. And if anyone should say in contradiction that certain birds talk, as seems to be the case with some, especially the magpie and the parrot, and that certain beasts have expression or gestures, as the ape and some others seem to have, I answer that it is not true that they speak, nor that they have gestures, because they have no reason, from which these things need proceed; nor do they purpose to signify anything by them, but they merely reproduce what they see and hear.
— Dante Alighieri
In 'The Third Treatise', The Convivio of Dante Alighieri (1903), Chap. 7, 175. This footnoted: Compare De Vulgari Eloquentia, Book 1, Chap 2: 43-65.
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Only human beings were given the power of speech, because only to them was it necessary. It was not necessary that either angels or the lower animals should be able to speak; rather, this power would have been wasted on them, and nature, of course, hates to do anything superfluous. … As for the lower animals, since they are guided only by their natural instinct, it was not necessary for them to be given the power of speech. For all animals that belong to the same species are identical in respect of action and feeling; and thus they can know the actions and feelings of others by knowing their own. Between creatures of different species, on the other hand, not only was speech unnecessary, but it would have been injurious, since there could have been no friendly exchange between them.
— Dante Alighieri
In Dante Alighieri and Steven Botterill (trans.), De Vulgari Eloquentia (1305), Book 1, Chap 2. from the Latin original.
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The heavens call to you, and circle about you, displaying to you their eternal splendors and your eye gazes only to earth.
— Dante Alighieri
…...
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To have heard without retaining does not make knowledge.
— Dante Alighieri
In 'Paradise', The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri (1308-1320), translated by Charles Eliot Norton (1902), Vol. 3, Canto 5, line 41-2, 36.
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Quotes by others about Dante Alighieri (2)

In modern Europe, the Middle Ages were called the Dark Ages. Who dares to call them so now? … Their Dante and Alfred and Wickliffe and Abelard and Bacon; their Magna Charta, decimal numbers, mariner’s compass, gunpowder, glass, paper, and clocks; chemistry, algebra, astronomy; their Gothic architecture, their painting,—are the delight and tuition of ours. Six hundred years ago Roger Bacon explained the precession of the equinoxes, and the necessity of reform in the calendar; looking over how many horizons as far as into Liverpool and New York, he announced that machines can be constructed to drive ships more rapidly than a whole galley of rowers could do, nor would they need anything but a pilot to steer; carriages, to move with incredible speed, without aid of animals; and machines to fly into the air like birds.
In 'Progress of Culture', an address read to the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Cambridge, 18 July 1867. Collected in Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1883), 475.
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It would be as if you were appointed to be copy editor to Dante. If you were the assistant to Dante, and then Dante died, and then you had in your possession the whole of “The Divine Comedy,” what would you do?
On the challenge of taking over (from the late Edwin Hubble) and continuing the universe expansion research at the new 200-inch telescope on Palomar Mountain, California. It was just as the telescope was going into operation, and Sandage was a fresh Ph.D. at age 27. As quoted in Obituary, 'Allan Sandage, 84, Astronomer, Dies; Charted Cosmos’s Age and Expansion', New York Times (17 Nov 2010), B19.
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Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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- 100 -
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- 90 -
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- 80 -
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Bible
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- 70 -
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- 60 -
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- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
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- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
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Archimedes
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- 30 -
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- 20 -
Carl Sagan
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- 10 -
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