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The Divine Comedy: Inferno 13 Treachery
After Dante and Virgil hear the story of an alchemist who claimed to be able to transform base metals into gold, Dante mentions examples of those who have fallen victim to sudden changes of fate, in Thebes and Troy. But none compares to two of the spirits who sink... Read more
The Divine Comedy: Inferno 12 The fraudulent
After talking with the notorious thief Vanni Fucci, who becomes pinned down by snakes, Dante and Virgil move on and meet a centaur, identified by Virgil as Cacus, who had been killed by Hercules. Dante’s classical reference here is a little odd in that he gives an account of... Read more
The Divine Comedy: Inferno 11 Barrators, hypocrites and thieves
When a group of devils armed with long hooks threatens Dante, Virgil hurries him on towards the next rottenpocket in Hell. They work their way around some of the damage wrought by Christ’s harrowing of Hell following his crucifixion. With those devils keeping company, they then reach a pit... Read more
The Divine Comedy: Inferno 9 Blasphemy, sodomy, usury
From their tragic encounter with tormented souls in the Suicide Wood, Virgil leads Dante onto a barren and sandy plain, where groups of spirits are in different postures, naked under steady showers of flakes of fire. These fall on their flesh, and set the sand afire underneath them. These... Read more
The Divine Comedy: Inferno 8 Murderers, bandits, suicides
Virgil leads Dante into a gorge which takes them from the heretics further into the depths of Hell. As they descend, Virgil advises that they take their time so they can become accustomed to the stench emanating from those depths. This affords him time to explain to Dante the... Read more
The Divine Comedy: Inferno 7 The Furies and Heresy
Dante and Virgil are ferried across the River Styx to land at the gate to the city of Dis, the lower depths of Hell (circles six to nine), but the gate is slammed shut on Virgil when he goes forward to secure their admission. Virgil reassures Dante that he... Read more
The Divine Comedy: Inferno 5 Gluttony
After hearing Francesca’s story in the Second Circle of Hell, Dante weeps for her and faints. When he comes to, he realises that he is now in the Third Circle, where it is pouring with rain, snow and huge hailstones, which fall down in sheets. This soaks the ground,... Read more
Tyger’s eye: William Blake’s role models and peers – Barry, Flaxman, Mortimer, Stothard
William Blake’s unique vision and genius still required inspiration, role models, and peers. This article gives a brief overview of some of the contemporary artists who are believed to have been of greatest influence over his work. By far the most obvious influence, both as a teacher and later... Read more
Pride and Petulance: How one woman almost spared Troy
Homer’s Iliad centres on events during the war against Troy, but is far from being a comprehensive account of the decade during which combined ancient Greek forces tried to crush the mighty fortress city – allegedly over the abduction of Helen, queen of Sparta, and her ‘face that launched... Read more