Evil Councellors

Circle 8 Bolgia 8: Canti 26-27

Look into my eyes...
Look into my eyes...

Canto 26:

Dante continues past the theives' bolgia into the next. On the way he laments the future state of Florence and the effect the sinners beloning to the previous bolgia, the thieves, will have on the city. At the same time he worries for what the eighth bolgia's evil counsellors may cause in Florence as well.

He then continues walking until he see flames that continually burn and isolate a single sinner within. These are the evil counsellors who are eternally tormented by fire shaped like tongues, tongues that resemble the tongues they used to facilitate their treachery. They are each within their own individual flame, separated from even the rest of the evil councellors, just as they separated all of their victims.

There were many flames within the bolgia, but eventually Dante stumbles on a larger flame with two tips to the flame; a pair of sinners resides within. This is the exception to the policy of isolation: Ulysses(Odysseus) and Diomede were put within the same flame, and are punished for tricking the Trojans with their famous Trojan Horse. Ulysses was also responsible for the death of Achilles' lover and, through thievery, the fall of Troy. As the result of these actions Ulysses is the lead sinner in this Bolgia.

Canto 27:

As Virgil continues to guide Dante through Hell, his word extinguishes the double flame of Ulysses and Diomede and reveals a different blaze that confines and tortures the soul of Count Guido da Montefeltro. He was once a great Lord of Romagna and a Ghibelline leader who persuaded Pope Boniface VIII to use treachery to gain the fortress of Palestrina.

Recognizing Virgil's tongue, Count Guido da Montefeltro is eager to hear the news of his country's current enmity. Dante solemnly replies, "O hidden soul,/ your sad Romagna is not and never was/ without war in her tyrant's raging blood (35- 37)." Dante condenses the countless conflicts and recounts them in his discussion with the Count.