Flatterers by Dore
Flatterers by Dore
v.flattered, flattering, flatters
1. To compliment excessively and often insincerely, especially in order to win favor.
2. To please or gratify the vanity of: "What really flatters a man is that you think him worth flattering"(George Bernard Shaw).
3. To portray favorably, to show off becomingly or advantageously.

flatter vb
1. to praise insincerely, esp in order to win favour or reward
2. (tr) to make to appear more attractive, etc., than in reality
3. to play upon or gratify the vanity of (a person) it flatters her to be remembered
[probably from Old French flater to lick, fawn upon, of Frankish origin]
flatterable adj flatterer n flatteringly adv


Virgil and Dante leave the first bolgia and cross into the second pocket of the eighth circle, where a horrific stench fills the air around them. The two witness a heap of human excrement in which many desperate souls are submerging and sinking. From one of these souls, he learns that this pouch contains the Flatterers. In their lives, the flatterers demoralized other people, this time using language. As punishment, they are steeped in human excrement, which represents the words they produced. Alessio Interminei of Lucca and Thaïs are seen here. After a few seconds, Virgil says that they have seen enough of this foul sight and they advance toward the third bolgia.

Do not trust a flatterer. This was cleverly depicted in one of Aesop's Fables.

Don't fall for a Flatterer's pick-up lines!
Don't fall for a Flatterer's pick-up lines!


Alluding to many historical and current events of his time, Dante incorporates well known individuals into bolgia one of circle eight. The primary victims of Dante’s Hell are members of the Guelphs in Italy. Being a Ghibellines in opposition to the Guelphs and their political ideas, Dante creates Hell filled with a majority of Guelphs. In continuation with this pattern, Alessio Interminelli is present in the second bolgia. Alessio was a powerful member of the Lucchese family and documented as still alive at the time Inferno was written. He was affiliated politically with the Guelfs and Dante deems him an excessive flatterer. The other flatterer, Thaïs, was a famous Greek woman who accompanied Alexander the Great on his campaigns (Remember that the Italians and Greeks did not particularly like each other and that Dante, an Italian, wrote Inferno). She is most famous for instigating the burning of Persepolis. She was the lover of Ptolemy I Soter, one of Alexander's generals, and also may have been Alexander's lover. After Alexander's death Ptolemy married Thaïs, who bore him three children.

An artist's portrayal of the Flatterers
An artist's portrayal of the Flatterers