WELCOME to the EIGHTH CIRCLE of HELL…BOLGIA 3, THE SIMONIACS…
Dante with the Simoniacs
Dante with the Simoniacs

Summary:

Dante already knows that the third bolgia punishes Simoniacs, those who bought or sold church pardons or offices. He condemns the evil of these sinners before he and his guide, Virgil, even view the area. Within, they see the sinners stuck headfirst in pits with only their feet sticking out. These souls squirm in the pits, and flames encircle their feet.
Dante notices that one soul burning among flames is redder than any of the others, and he goes to talk to him. It is Pope Nicholas III, and he first mistakes Dante for Boniface. After Dante corrects him, the former pope tells Dante that he was guilty of simony and he mourns his doom. However, he notes that worse sinners than he still remain on Earth and await even worse fates. Nicholas tells Dante that he anticipates damnation (for simony) of Boniface VIII and Pope Clement V, other corrupt popes. Dante shows Nicholas no pity, saying that his sentence is suitable for his weighty sin. He then speaks out against all corrupt clergy, calling them idolaters and a burden on humankind. Virgil approves of Dante’s reaction and helps Dante up
over the ridge to the fourth bolgia.

An artists portrayal of the simoniacs
An artists portrayal of the simoniacs
simony
n.
1. The buying or selling of ecclesiastical pardons, offices, or emoluments.
[Middle English simonie, from Old French, from Late Latin simnia, after SimonMagus, a sorcerer who tried to buy spiritual powers from the Apostle Peter (Acts 8:9-24).]
2.(Christianity / Ecclesiastical Terms) Christianity the practice, now usually regarded as a sin, of buying or selling spiritual or Church benefits such as pardons, relics, etc., or preferments
3. the practice or defense of the selling of church relies, preferments, etc. — simoniac, simonist, n.
Fiona HALL, Inferno, canto XIX: The Simoniacs
Fiona HALL, Inferno, canto XIX: The Simoniacs

Simoniacs by Salvatore Dali
Simoniacs by Salvatore Dali