Why Dante’s Anomaly?

Dante Alighieri – still a bit blurry in the overall picture. But we’ll focus on him… Image: Martin Bauch

The English geophysicist Neville Brown named in 2001 the period of climatic instability that frames the infamous Great Famine (1315-1321) “Dantean Anomaly” since it ended in the year of the famous Italian’s death. But this choice remains a difficult one, as everybody – including Brown – seems to agree that the Mediterranean in general and Italy in particular was not affe cted by the Great Famine.

One goal of this JRG is to demonstrate that Italy, or at least its Northern and Central part, were as affected by harsh meteorological conditions in the 1310s as other parts of Europe: Hence, we want to make Dante not just a popular name tag for our researched period, but it will be argued that he actually was an unsuspecting witness to this very particular period of rapid climate change in European climate history.