Saturday, September 6, 2008


Dante Alighieri'Divine Comedy, an allegorical poem written between 1306 and 1321 in vernacular Italian rather than Latin, bridged the end of the Medieval age with the Renaissance.
The Divine Comedy gives a complete description or drama of spiritual evolution, of after death conditions, of purification in purgatory, of sublimation in heaven, and of the soul's return to earth. [source]
Virgil is the guide who takes the reader through Dante's examination of the afterlife, traveling through the Inferno [Hell], the Purgatorio [Purgatory], and the Paradiso [Heaven].

"Abandon hope all ye who enter here" is the inscription at the entrance of Hell.

The last two of Dante's Nine Circles of Hell punish sins that involve conscious fraud or treachery.

Dante's Eighth Circle of Hell, Malebolge, is for the fraudulent—those guilty of deliberate, knowing evil—divided into ten bolgie; a few described here:
Bolgia 2: Flatterers are steeped in human excrement. This is because their flatteries on earth were nothing but "a load of excrement."
Bolgia 4: Sorcerers and false prophets have their heads twisted around on their bodies backward. In addition, they cry so many tears that they cannot see. This is symbolic because these people tried to see into the future by forbidden means [and possibly retribution for the delusions they concocted that probably led their followers to their own perils]; thus in Hell they can only see what is behind them and cannot see forward.
Bolgia 6: Hypocrites.
Bolgia 8: Fraudulent advisors are encased in individual flames.
The Ninth Circle of Hell is reserved for the worst:
Traitors, distinguished from the "merely" fraudulent in that their acts involve betraying one in a special relationship to the betrayer, are frozen in a lake of ice known as Cocytus.
The 9th circle is divided into four concentric zones; 1 and 3 here:
Round 1: Caïna, named for Cain, is home to traitors to their kindred. The souls here are immersed in the ice up to their necks.

Round 3: Ptolomæa is probably named for Ptolemy, the captain of Jericho, who invited Simon Maccabaeus and his sons to a banquet and then killed them. Traitors to their guests are punished here. The souls here are immersed so much that only half of their faces are visible. As they cry, their tears freeze and seal their eyes shut- they are denied even the comfort of tears.