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The Divine Comedy: Inferno 15 Lucifer
Dante and Virgil move on towards a great contraption which looks from a distance a bit like a windmill. As they grow closer, they pass by shades of the dead frozen and stacked up. Joseph Anton Koch (1768-1839), Hell (study for Casa Massimo frescoes) (c 1825), watercolour and gouche,... Read more
The Divine Comedy: Inferno 14 From treachery to cannibalism
After meeting some political traitors, Dante and Virgil come across Count Ugolino, who is gnawing the back of the head of Archbishop Ruggieri as a dog chews a bone. Their story is one of the most horrific and famous in the whole of the Divine Comedy. Ugolino raises his... Read more
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 10 Pimps, soothsayers, the corrupt
In their descent into the depths of Hell, Virgil and Dante have just entered circle eight, which is for those who committed fraud in its broadest sense. This consists of what Dante refers to as malebolge, best translated as rottenpockets, a series of ten deep trenches each of which... 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 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