In Dante’s masterpiece The Divine Comedy, the central figure is led to redemption by a character named Beatrice (his earlier guide through hell and purgatory was the great Roman poet Virgil). Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) was born in Florence, Italy, where he also spent much of his life. In 1274, at the age of nine, he was introduced to Beatrice Portinari; they met again nine years later, and Dante was profoundly affected by her beauty and grace. When she died in 1290, Dante was inspired to commemorate her in several works, most notably The Divine Comedy (c. 1308–1321). Beatrice is also depicted in Dante’s The New Life (c. 1293), a collection of 31 love poems. He wrote The Banquet (c. 1304–1307), another collection of lyrical poems, to commemorate Beatrice’s death.