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Next Harned Forum blends history and literature

November 12, 2001

Dante and Ravenna. It sounds like a new boy-girl duet. But it's actually the title of the next Harned Forum, set for Wednesday, Nov. 4 in Harned Hall.

Dr. Albert Bekus, professor, languages and literature, will discuss Dante Alighieri's final years in Ravenna, Italy, and how certain mosaics in the church of San Vitale in that city may have influenced his writing in "Paradise," the third canticle of the "Divine Comedy."

Dr. Malcolm Muir, professor and chair of the history department, will speak of Ravenna, Italy, but from a different perspective. His part of the forum is titled "Ravenna: The Crossroads of Empire." Although the city today is quiet and little known, it was once the capitol of the late Roman Empire, then of Germanic invaders and, finally, a center of the Byzantine empire. "The church buildings there are some of the oldest Christian churches in existence," says Muir, "and the mosaics in them are treasures of the first order."