At the edge of the Seventh Circle of Hell, Virgil and Dante are greeted by a terrible stench. It is so overpowering, they must sit down and wait to adjust to it before moving forward. Dante sees a headstone with an inscription, “I guard Anastasius, once Pope, he whom Photinus led from the straight road.”
Virgil explains that the structure of hell and that there are other, smaller circles within the next three circles [7th, 8th, and 9th].
Seventh Circle, which is for violence, is divided into three smaller circles. These three small circles punish sins of violence against one’s neighbour and includes robbers, murderers, and plunderers, sins against one’s self which include suicide or recklessly gambling away one’s possessions or property, or sins against God which include sinners who curse, deny or defame God, as well as usurers and follows of Sodom [the city of Sodom represented unnatural vice].
It is interesting to me that Dante does not distinguish between a sinner who takes another life i.e. a murderer, and someone who damages property, i.e. a arsonist or robber. It also seems rather harsh that a person who charges interest on a loan is treated in the same manner as a murderer.
An extract from Canto 11:
“All the first circle holds the violent;
but since against three persons force is used,
its shape divides it into three great rings.
Both against God, one’s neighbor, and one ’s self
may force be used; against themselves, I mean,
and what is theirs, as clearly shown thou ’lt hear.
By force both death and painful wounds are given
one ’s neighbor, and thereby his property
is ruined, burned, and by extortions robbed;
the first ring, hence, torments in separate troops
all homicides and those that smite with malice,
spoilers of property and highway robbers.”
Welcome to my Magick Theatre has shared a wonderful post including some beautiful paintings of an artist, Pre-Raphaelite Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s, impression of Dante and Beatrice from Divine Comedy: https://carrieannebrownian.wordpress.com/2021/11/15/artwork-of-dante-and-beatrice/