Dante's Inferno

Part 8 out of 8

Canto 18 The Poet describes the situation and form of the eighth
circle, divided into ten gulfs, which contain as many different
descriptions of fraudulent sinners; but in the present Canto he
treats only of two sorts; but in the present Canto he treats
only of two sorts: the first is of those who, either for their own
pleasure or for that of another, have seduced any woman from
her duty; and these are scourged of demons in the first gulf;
the other sort is of flatterers, who in the second gulf are condemned
to remain immersed in filth.

Canto 19 They come to the third gulf, wherein are punished
those who have been guilty of simony. These are fixed with
the head downward in certain apertures, so that no more of
them than the legs appears without, and on the soles of their
feet are seen furling flames. Dante is taken down by his guide
into the bottom of the gulf; and there finds Pope Nicholas the
fifth, whose evil deeds, together with those of the other pontiffs,
are bitterly reprehended. Virgil then carries him up against to the
arch, which affords them a passage over the following gulf.

Canto 20 The Poet relates the punishment of such as presumed,
while living, to predict future events. It is to have their faces
reversed and set contrary way on their limbs, so that, being
deprived of the power to see before them, they are constrained
ever to walk backward. Among these Virgil points out to him
Amphiaraus, Tiresias, Aruns, and Manto (from the mention of
whom he takes occasion to speak of the origin of Mantua), together
with several others, who had practiced the arts of divination and

Canto 21 Still in the eighth circle, which bears the name of
Malebolge, they look down from the bridge that passes over its
fifth gulf, upon the barterers or public peculators. These are
plunged in a lake of boiling pitch, and guarded by Demons,
to whom Virgil, leaving Dante apart, presents himself;
and license being obtained to pass onward, both pursue their way.

Canto 22 Virgil and Dante proceed, accompanied by the
Demons, to see other sinners of the same description in the
same gulf. The device of Ciampolo, one of these to escape
from the Demons, who had laid hold on him.

Canto 23 The enraged Demons pursue Dante, but he is preserved
from them by Virgil. On reaching the sixth gulf, he beholds
the punishment of the hypocrites; which is, to pace continually
round the gulf under the pressure of caps and bonds, that are gilt
on the outside, but leaden within. He is addressed by two of these,
Catalano and Loderingo, knights of Saint Mary, otherwise called
Joyous Friars of Bologna. Calaphas is seen fixed to a cross on the
ground and lies so stretched along the way, that all tread on him i
n passing.

Canto 24 Under the escort of his faithful master, Dante not
without difficulty makes his way out of the sixth gulf; and
in the seventh, see the robbers tormented by venomous and
pestilent serpents. The soul of Vanni Fucci, who had pillaged
the sacristy of Saint James in Pistola, predicts some calamities
that impended over that city, and over the Florentines.

Canto 25 The sacrilegious Fucci vents his fury in blasphemy, is
seized by serpents, and flying is pursued by Cacus in the form
of a Centaur, who is described with a swarm of serpents on his
haunch, and a dragon on his shoulders breathing forth fire.
Our Poet then meets with the spirits of three of his countrymen,
two of who undergo a marvelous transformation in his presence.

Canto 26 Remounting by the steps, down which they had
descended to the seventh gulf, they go forward to the arch
that stretches over the eighth, and from thence behold
numberless flames wherein are punished evil counsellors,
each flame containing a sinner, save one, in which were
Diomede and Ulysses, the latter relates the manner of his death.

Canto 27 The Poet, treating of the same punishment as in the
last Canto, relates that he turned toward a flame in which was
the Count Guido da Montefeltro, whose inquiries respecting
the state of Romagna he answers, and Guido is thereby
induced to declare who he is, and who condemned to that torment.

Canto 28 They arrive in the ninth gulf, where the sowers of
scandal, schismatics, and heretics, are seen with their limbs
miserable maimed or divided in different ways. Among these
the Poet finds Mahomet, Piero da Medicina, Curio, Mosca, and
Bertrand de Born.

Canto 29 Dante, at the desire of Virgil, proceeds onward to the
bridge that crosses the tenth gulf, from whence he hears the
cries of the alchemists and forgers, who are tormented therein;
but not being able to discern anything on account of the
darkness, they descend the rock, that bounds this the last of
the compartments in which the eighth circle is divided, and
then behold the spirits who are afflicted by divers plagues and
diseases. Two of them, namely, Grifolion of Arezzo and
Capocchio of Sienna, are introduced speaking.

Canto 30 In the same gulf, other kinds of impostures, as those
who have counterfeited the persona of others, or debased
the current coin, or deceived by speech under false pretenses,
are described as suffering various diseases. Sinon of Troy,
and Adamo of Brescia, mutually reproach each other with their
various impostures.

Canto 31 The poets, following the sound of a loud horn, are led
by it to the ninth circle, in which there are four rounds, one incised
within the other, and containing as many sorts of Traitors; but
the present Canto shows only that the circle is encompassed
with Giants, one of whom Antaeus, takes them both in his arms
and places them at the bottom of the circle.

Canto 32 This Canto treats of the first, and, in part, of the
second of those rounds, into which the ninth and last, or frozen
circle, is divided. In the former, called Caina, Date finds
Camiccione de' Pazzi, who gives him an account of the sinners
who are there punished; and in the next, named Antenora, he
hears in like manner from Bocca degi Abbati who his
fellow-sufferers are.

Canto 33 The Poet is told by Count Ugolino de' Cherardeschi of
the cruel manner in which he and his children were famished
in the tower at Pisa, by command of the Archbishop Ruggieri.
He next discourses of the third round, called Ptolomea, wherein
those are punished who have betrayed others under the semblance of
kindness; and among these he finds the Friar Alberigo de' Manfredi,
who tells him of one whose soul was already tormented in that
place, though his body appeared still to be alive upon the earth, being
yielded up to the governance of a fiend.

Canto 34 In the fourth and last round of the ninth circle, those
who have betrayed their benefactors are wholly covered with ice.
And in the midst is Lucifer, at whose back Dante and Virgil ascend,
till by a secret path they reach the surface of the other hemisphere
of the earth, and once more obtain sight of the stars.


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