When topic I’d like to tell you about

When  I  read   The  Inferno  without  any  prior  cognition  of  the  relationship  between  the  Greek  and  Roman  cultures  I  was  confused  by  Dante’s  design  of  Hell.  Dante  has  placed  the  characters  whose  sins  included  lust,  wrath,  and  violence  in  the  upper  circles  of  Hell;  in  the  lower,  more  evil  circles  are  sinners  who  lied,  deceived,  and  committed  treason. To  readers  of our days,  such  classification  of  evils  may  seem backwards, but Dante’s Hell is consistent with Roman thought..

The  Inferno  as  I  said  earlier  has  a  lot  of  references  to  Greek  culture  ( Greek Mythology ),  and in that topic I’d like to tell you about characters whose  made  me  think.  At  the  first  sight,  names  of  protectors   of  each  circle  were  not  so  interesting  for me. In my  opinion,  the  main  reason  is  explanation of  their  functions  in  hell:   

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                                      Canto 3

“All  those  who  perish  in  the  wrath  of  God

 Here  meet  together  out  of  every  land;

 And  ready  are  they  to  pass  o’er  the  river,

 Because  celestial  Justice  spurs  them  on,

So  that  their  fear  is  turned  into  desire.

This  way  there  never  passes  a  good  soul;

 And  hence  if  Charon  doth  complain  of  thee,

 Well  mayst  thou  know  now  what  his  speech  imports.”

In  that  part of  poem  we recognized  that  Charon  resolves  problem  of  transportation. In mythology Charon  carries  souls  of  the  newly  deceased  across the rivers  Styx  and Acheron that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. A coin to pay  Charon for passage, usually an obolus or  danake,   was  sometimes placed in or on the mouth of a dead person.

 

                                  Canto 5

 There  standeth  Minos  horribly,  and  snarls;

 Examines  the  transgressions  at  the  entrance;

 Judges,  and  sends  according  as  he  girds  him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In  circle  two,  Minos  judges  the  sinners  and  decides  how  they  will  serve  one’s sentence.  Minos  as  I  know  is  a   son of   Zeus and  Europe  whom  we  know from  Greek  Mythology.  Also  in   Homer’s  Odyssey  our  character  plays  the  same  role  of  judge  in  another  world:

 “Minos, glorious son of Zeus… holding a golden sceptre, and passing judgments on the dead, who stood and sat around the king, seeking justice, throughout the spacious gates of Hades’ home” (Homer, 11.733-37)

 According  to  the  Odyssey  he  spoke  with  Zeus every  nine  years  or  fo r nine  years.  He  got  his laws  straight  from  Zeus  himself.  When  Minos’  son  Androgeos  had  won  the  Panathenaic Games  the king,  Aegeus,  sent  him  to  Marathon  to fight  a  bull,  resulting  in  the  death  of  Androgeos. Outraged,  Minos  went  to  Athens  to  avenge  his  son,  and  on  the  way  he  camped  at  Megara  where  Nisos  lived. 

Learning  that  Nisos’  strength  came  from  his  hair,  Minos  gained  the  love  of  Scylla  and  her  aid  in  cutting  off  her  father’s  hair  so  that  he  could  conquer  the  city.

However,  After  the   victory,   he punished  Scylla  for  her  treachery  against  her  father  by  tying  her  to  a  boat  and  dragging  her  until  she  drowned.  I cannot  explain his decision,  but  he  was  just  or  cruel. Perhaps,   it  was  one  of  the  reasons  why  Dante  used  this  character  to  judging  sinners.

 

 

                               Canto 6

Cerberus, monster cruel and uncouth,

With his three gullets like a dog is barking

Over the people that are there submerged.

Red eyes he has, and unctuous beard and black,

 And belly large, and armed with claws his hands;

He rends the spirits, flays, and quarters them.

 

Cerberus looked like a three-headed dog with a snake’s tail, on the back of a snake’s head, as eerie as his mother. According to other descriptions, he has 50 heads or 100 heads, and in another mythology, he is depicted with a human powerful body and hands and one head of a mad dog. In one of the hands was a severed head of a bull that killed with its breath and on the other hand the head of a goat, which with its eyes hit the victims. In the works of vase painting sometimes depicted biceps.When  I  read   The  Inferno  without  any  prior  cognition  of  the  relationship  between  the  Greek  and  Roman  cultures  I  was  confused  by  Dante’s  design  of  Hell.  Dante  has  placed  the  characters  whose  sins  included  lust,  wrath,  and  violence  in  the  upper  circles  of  Hell;  in  the  lower,  more  evil  circles  are  sinners  who  lied,  deceived,  and  committed  treason. To  readers  of our days,  such  classification  of  evils  may  seem backwards, but Dante’s Hell is consistent with Roman thought..

The  Inferno  as  I  said  earlier  has  a  lot  of  references  to  Greek  culture  ( Greek Mythology ),  and in that topic I’d like to tell you about characters whose  made  me  think.  At  the  first  sight,  names  of  protectors   of  each  circle  were  not  so  interesting  for me. In my  opinion,  the  main  reason  is  explanation of  their  functions  in  hell:   

                                      Canto 3

“All  those  who  perish  in  the  wrath  of  God

 Here  meet  together  out  of  every  land;

 And  ready  are  they  to  pass  o’er  the  river,

 Because  celestial  Justice  spurs  them  on,

So  that  their  fear  is  turned  into  desire.

This  way  there  never  passes  a  good  soul;

 And  hence  if  Charon  doth  complain  of  thee,

 Well  mayst  thou  know  now  what  his  speech  imports.”

In  that  part of  poem  we recognized  that  Charon  resolves  problem  of  transportation. In mythology Charon  carries  souls  of  the  newly  deceased  across the rivers  Styx  and Acheron that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. A coin to pay  Charon for passage, usually an obolus or  danake,   was  sometimes placed in or on the mouth of a dead person.

 

                                  Canto 5

 There  standeth  Minos  horribly,  and  snarls;

 Examines  the  transgressions  at  the  entrance;

 Judges,  and  sends  according  as  he  girds  him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In  circle  two,  Minos  judges  the  sinners  and  decides  how  they  will  serve  one’s sentence.  Minos  as  I  know  is  a   son of   Zeus and  Europe  whom  we  know from  Greek  Mythology.  Also  in   Homer’s  Odyssey  our  character  plays  the  same  role  of  judge  in  another  world:

 “Minos, glorious son of Zeus… holding a golden sceptre, and passing judgments on the dead, who stood and sat around the king, seeking justice, throughout the spacious gates of Hades’ home” (Homer, 11.733-37)

 According  to  the  Odyssey  he  spoke  with  Zeus every  nine  years  or  fo r nine  years.  He  got  his laws  straight  from  Zeus  himself.  When  Minos’  son  Androgeos  had  won  the  Panathenaic Games  the king,  Aegeus,  sent  him  to  Marathon  to fight  a  bull,  resulting  in  the  death  of  Androgeos. Outraged,  Minos  went  to  Athens  to  avenge  his  son,  and  on  the  way  he  camped  at  Megara  where  Nisos  lived. 

Learning  that  Nisos’  strength  came  from  his  hair,  Minos  gained  the  love  of  Scylla  and  her  aid  in  cutting  off  her  father’s  hair  so  that  he  could  conquer  the  city.

However,  After  the   victory,   he punished  Scylla  for  her  treachery  against  her  father  by  tying  her  to  a  boat  and  dragging  her  until  she  drowned.  I cannot  explain his decision,  but  he  was  just  or  cruel. Perhaps,   it  was  one  of  the  reasons  why  Dante  used  this  character  to  judging  sinners.

 

 

                               Canto 6

Cerberus, monster cruel and uncouth,

With his three gullets like a dog is barking

Over the people that are there submerged.

Red eyes he has, and unctuous beard and black,

 And belly large, and armed with claws his hands;

He rends the spirits, flays, and quarters them.

 

Cerberus looked like a three-headed dog with a snake’s tail, on the back of a snake’s head, as eerie as his mother. According to other descriptions, he has 50 heads or 100 heads, and in another mythology, he is depicted with a human powerful body and hands and one head of a mad dog. In one of the hands was a severed head of a bull that killed with its breath and on the other hand the head of a goat, which with its eyes hit the victims. In the works of vase painting sometimes depicted biceps.