Writing title: Dante’s Inferno
Canto: Canto 11; CIRCLE SIX; The Heretics
Artwork: Salvador Dali; On the Edge of the Seventh Circle
Canto 10 summary:
The Poets reach the inner edge of the SIXTH CIRCLE and find a great jumble of rocks that had once been a cliff, but which has fallen into rubble as the result of the great earthquake that shook Hell when Christ died. Below them lies the SEVENTH CIRCLE, and so fetid is the air that arises from it that the Poets cower for shelter behind a great tomb until their breaths can grow accustomed to the stench. Dante finds an inscription on the lid of the tomb labeling it as the place in Hell of POPE ANASTASIUS. Virgil takes advantage of the delay to outline in detail THE DIVISION OF THE LOWER HELL, a theological discourse based on The Ethics and The Physics of Aristotle with subsequent medieval interpretations. Virgil explains also why it is that the Incontinent are not punished within the walls of Dis, and rather ingeniously sets forth the reasons why Usury is an act of Violence against Art, which is the child of Nature and hence the Grandchild of God. (By “Art,”Dante means the arts and crafts by which man draws from nature, i.e., Industry.) As he concludes he rises and urges Dante on. By means known only to Virgil, he is aware of the motion of the stars and from them he sees that it is about two hours before Sunrise of Holy Saturday.