Time.news – Were political sentences that, in 1302, condemned Dante Alighieri to exile? Was an instrumental use of justice made by chance to eliminate a political opponent? The question, apparently, spans the centuries and Dante’s case now, 700 years after his death, is reopened by a jurist, the lawyer Alessandro Traversi, criminal lawyer of the Florence Bar, promoter of a conference scheduled for May 21 at the Ss. Annunziata boarding school at Poggio Imperiale.
In his report, Traversi, who also teaches Criminal Procedural Law at the School of Specialization for the Legal Professions of the University of Florence, will present a series of elements to evaluate the possibility of a revision of Dante’s trial.
The jurist offers the Time.news some advances: “I say ideally that perhaps the institution of revision could be used to say that these sentences can be annulled. Criminal Code in hand, we know that, where it is found that some fundamental legal principles are violated, the sentence needs to be reviewed.
Articles 629, 630 and 632 of the Code of Criminal Procedure establish that any final judgment is open to revision if new evidence emerges that demonstrates that the offender must be acquitted and that the relative request can also be proposed (without time limits) by a heir of the condemned man himself “.
“From the reading of the charges – explains Traversi – we see that some are specific and others of an enormous generic nature. The podestà of the time, Cante de ‘Gabrielli di Gubbio, formulated particularly serious accusations against Dante.
Among these was that of baratteria which today would be among the common crimes, such as corruption, embezzlement, embezzlement, crimes against the public administration. And then there are accusations of a political nature, that is, having favored the white Guelphs to the detriment of the black Guelphs who ruled Florence at that time ”.
“Hence – affirms the jurist – the suspicion that these accusations and charges against Dante were instrumental, that is, used to eliminate him ”. As if to confirm the ‘accusation’ against the podestà, there is also the rule, in force at the time, according to which if the accused, called to respond in a criminal case, had not presented himself, this choice was equivalent to an admission of responsibility.
According to Professor Traversi, “Dante understood the bad parade and decided not to appear. The result was a first sentence of 5,000 florins, today – explains the professor – comparable to an important sum between 50 and 100,000 euros, to be paid within three days. According to the Florentine Statutes of the time, in the event of non-payment, the judge could at his own discretion adopt a more serious penalty, of a personal nature, and hence exile ”.
“In light of all this we therefore ask ourselves – comments Traversi – if those sentences are legitimate, if the trial was carried out according to the due rules and if, on the basis of the laws of then and today, these sentences, since the institute exists today of the review, may be subject to review “.
The sentences condemning Dante, contained in the Libro del Chiodo preserved in the State Archives of Florence, have never been revoked or annulled. “Basically – the lawyer Traversi explains and ironically – Dante would still be a criminal offender for the Municipality of Florence.
The Danteists say that Dante does not need to be rehabilitated, because he was a great one, but from a legal point of view the case is very interesting. It is a question of natural law and universal principles that are valid not only today “.
The eventual review of Dante’s trial could therefore be requested by the Attorney General or by an heir. Hence the idea of the lawyer Traversi to address the issue in a conference with jurists and others. “If he is not in attendance, for reasons of a health emergency, we will keep him online.
For the moment everything is confirmed – he explains -. The conference is entitled “700 years later: ‘revision’ of Dante’s trial” and is sponsored by the Municipality of Florence, the Council of the Bar Association, the Florence Lawyers Foundation, and organized by Aiga and Centro Fiorentino Studi Giuridici “.
Among the speakers there are “prestigious participations – explains Traversi -, such as Margherita Cassano, adjunct president of the Court of Cassation, or Professor Francesco Sabatini, honorary president of the Accademia della Crusca”.
“But the most unusual thing – says the organizer – is that we managed to track down an heir of Dante Alighieri and an heir of Cante de ‘Gabrielli da Gubbio, mayor of Florence in 1302, the one who issued the famous sentences of condemnation of Dante “. In short, was it true justice? Posterity will judge.