“It’s difficult to imagine any sort of connection between the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, and something that occurred in an unremarkable bedroom in Italy almost exactly 700 years prior. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the deep historical connections between Russia and Ukraine, at many times one and the same state, during the preceding seven centuries. But last autumn marked the 700th anniversary of the death of the great Italian poet Dante Alighieri, from malaria, in Ravenna, on September 14, 1321. His bones lie there still.
And though it’s almost wholly unknown today, Dante was arguably the first great political philosopher to make a systematic case that all wars between nations might someday be eliminated entirely, and that it is within the power of human ingenuity to cast war forever onto the rubble heap of history. Dante showed us the pathway out of the Ukraine war. Dante anticipated both federalism and democracy.
And Dante showed us how someday humanity might abolish war.” —Tad Daley, “Seven Long Centuries Ago, Dante Imagined the End of War and the Unity of Humankind,” Jewish Journal, August 8, 2022 (retrieved February 6, 2024)