Anselmian institute marks Dante achievement on his 700th anniversary


Courtesy/Jake Lamontagne

Dr. Royal speaking to an audience in the Event Space about “The Divine Comedy”

Brendan Fedrizzi, Crier Staff

Members of the Saint Anselm community gathered in the event space in the Student Center to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri, the famous poet who wrote the Divine Comedy. The event was part of the Fides et Ratio lecture series and featured a lecture by Dr. Robert Royal. During the Lecture, Dr. Royal spoke about his interest in Dante and gave some insight into why he is still relevant despite 700 years passing between his death and today. 

Royal provided a couple possible explanations as to why Dante still captures the modern thinker and student’s attention at the beginning of the lecture. “We read him because he is not us.” 

Expounding on this, Royal stated that, “perspective built on things not of this world is precisely what gets us interested. We read Dante because he can change your life.” 

Royal also shared that he got hooked on Dante when his brother gave him a copy of the book and told him to read it. During the lecture, a member of the community asked Royal what he thinks the best commentary for first time readers would be. Royal recommended the commentaries by Anthony Esolen and Dr. Hollander’s commentary. 

Dr. Montague Brown of the Philosophy department was the host of the lecture. After the lecture, he stated that Dante was “a good philosopher, a good theologian and a brilliant poet.” 

Brown also stressed the importance of the lecture on Dante. “The lecture is part of the Fides et Ratio series. Dante is a lot of both because he is imbued in faith and reason.”

When asked what he hopes students get out of the lecture, Brown replied, “An appreciation of Dante as a poet” 

Royal said that he enjoys “meeting people” the most when he gives lectures. “The older you get the more you know the world is bigger than you think.” 

Royal also said that “Dante wrote the poem to get people to heaven.”