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==Dante and humanism==
The issuance of the Divine Comedy is often seen as the beginning of the Renaissance and the end of the Late Medieval Period in Italy. This is despite the fact that the subject of the great epic is religion and salvation, which seems contrary to the spirit of the Renaissance which extolled the pleasures of this world and the individual. Dante did not believe that this world was an antechamber to the
net world but had its own value and merits. Unlike conventional Christian morality, he did not think that it was wrong to be happy and to enjoy this life. The great poet did not believe that eternal salvation and earthly happiness was incompatible. Dante also argued that it was necessary for a person to contribute to civic and political life and it was indeed virtuous. This idea proved to be very influential upon later humanists and they played a crucial role in the development of the Renaissance <ref>Fortin, Ernest L. Dissent and Philosophy in the Middle Ages: Dante and his precursors (Lexington, Lexington Books, 2002), p 14</ref>.
==Dante and religion==
The exiled Florentine was a great religious poet and theologian. His conception of the dual nature of man, one that was earthly and the other that was eternal was decisive in the development of his political doctrine. He argued in his main political work that there should be a separation of church and state. This was something that greatly contributed to Renaissance political thought. Major thinkers such as Machiavelli under the influence of the great Florentine believed that religion had no place in politics and that politics was a skill and should not be constrained by theological precepts. Dante while a deeply religious man by arguing that church and state should be separate did much to ensure that the humanists who succeeded him felt free to concentrate on the secular and did not feel that it was incompatible with their hopes of future salvation. The ideas of Dante not only influenced Renaissance thinkers but also some of the leaders of the Reformation. The exiled Florentine helped to change the discourse on the role of religion in Europe <ref>Fortin, p 119</ref>.