Virgil and Dante approach the first ring of the Seventh Circle of Hell through a ravine of broken rock. At the end, the poets are threatened by the Minataur, a half-bull, half-human creature of Greek mythology born from a union between a woman and a bull. Virgil taunts the Minataur into a rage and while it is thrashing around randomly, the pair slip past unharmed.
Minotaur, Greek Minotauros (“Minos’s Bull”), in Greek mythology, a fabulous monster of Crete that had the body of a man and the head of a bull. It was the offspring of Pasiphae, the wife of Minos, and a snow-white bull sent to Minos by the god Poseidon for sacrifice. Minos, instead of sacrificing it, kept it alive; Poseidon as a punishment made Pasiphae fall in love with it. Her child by the bull was shut up in the Labyrinth created for Minos by Daedalus.
Extracted from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Minotaur
Virgil explains to Dante that the ravine was caused by a massive earthquake caused when Jesus entered the first circle of hell to rescue certain souls.
Virgil points to the River Phlegethon where those shades who committed violence against others are submerged in boiling blood to the degree that matches up to the amount of violence the shade committed in life. This seems just in terms of the eye for an eye mentality of the Old Testament, but is out of alignment with the doctrine of Christ; what do you think?
All along the banks of the River Phlegethon, Dante sees centaurs (half-man, half-horse creatures, armed with bows and arrows.
A centaur called Nessus stops them, wanting to know their punishments in Hell. Virgil rebukes him and point two other centaurs, Chiron and Pholus to Dante. The centaurs guard the banks of the river to prevent any souls from escaping their punishment.
Chiron notices that Dante is alive as he moves things like rocks when he walks. Virgil explains the two poets Heaven ordained journey through hell and asks for Chiron’s assistance in getting Dante across the river. Chiron says that Dante may ride on Nessus’ back.
While Nessus walks along the riverbank with Dante on his back, Dante looks at some of the souls submerged in the river. Nessus identifies some of the shades including Alexander the Great and Dante Guy de Montfort, who murdered Prince Henry of England. Nessus explains that the river gets deeper and deeper and at its deepest point completely submerges tyrants like Attila the Hun.
Extract from Canto 12
But turn thine eyes down yonder now; for lo,
the stream of blood is drawing near to us,
wherein boils who by violence harms others.”
O blind cupidity, O foolish wrath,
that so dost in our short life goad us on,
and after, in the eternal, steep us thus!
I saw a wide moat curving in an arc,
and such that it embraces all the plain,
according as my Escort had informed me;
and in a file, between it and the bank,
Centaurs were running by, with arrows armed,
as in the world it was their wont to hunt.