Special Sub-Topic: Into the "Inferno"!
|Our epic journey starts as the hero, Dante, gets lost in a dark wood. Here, he is confronted by three beasts representing three sins. Two of them are the lion and the she-wolf. What is the third?|
The leopard. At the beginning of the epic poem, in A.D. 1300, Dante is thirty-five years old. The "Inferno" represents man's recognition and rejection of sin.
|Guided by the Roman poet, Virgil, Dante reaches the first circle of Hell where the souls of unbaptized and virtuous pagans, who, though innocent, did not accept Christ, reside. What is the name of this primary circle of the Inferno?|
Limbo. Limbo houses the wisest man of antiquity. Here, Dante meets Socrates, Aristotle, Homer, Horace, Ovid and other great poets and philosophers. Limbo includes a green field and a castle.
|Our heroes, after a long and tedious journey, reach the second stage of Hell. Here lie those whose reasons were swayed by their appetites. Their souls are whipped eternally by the furious storms. Which Circle have Dante and Virgil come to?|
Lust. The occupants of the Circle of Lust are the first ones to be truly punished in Hell. Dante beholds the faces of Helen, Achilles, Paris, Cleopatra and Mark Antony in this circle.
|The way is long, and the path perilous. Dante and Virgil reach the third stage. This is the stage of Gluttony. The victims lie helpless in dirty slush. They are guarded by the three-headed hound. By what name is this creature popularly known? |
Cerberus. Cerberus, in Greek mythology guarded the gates of the underworld. The twelfth and final labor of Herakles was to present the monstrous dog before Eurystheus.
|After ousting the guardian of the third circle, our heroes stand at the gates of circle four. They behold Plutus guarding groups of men, in whose lives nothing was more important than wealth. Where have they come to?|
Avarice. The fourth circle hosts the avaricious and miserly, including some clergymen, popes and cardinals. They have to keep on pushing great bags filled with gold.
|The fifth circle is that of wrath and sullenness. It is situated upon a famous river of Greek mythology. Our heroes are ferried across it by Phlegyas, son of Ares and Chryse. Which river am I talking about?|
Styx. The river Styx is famous for many reasons. The mother of Achilles, the nymph, Thetis, dipped him in the river in order to make him immortal. However, his heel did not come in contact with the water and it became his vulnerable point.
|The remaining circles are situated within the walls of the city of Dis. Dante and Virgil embark upon the sixth circle. Herein lie the Epicureans who say that the soul perishes within the body and other disbelievers in the Almighty. Where in all of Hell have our heroes come to? |
Heresy. The heretics in this circle are trapped eternally inside flaming tombs. Here, Dante meets Cavalcante de' Cavalcanti, the father of Dante's friend, Guido Cavalcanti.
|Deep in the city of Dis, Dante and Virgil have arrived at the gates of the seventh circle of Violence. It is defended by one of the popular monsters of Greek myth. Yes! This is the bull-monster who had been slayed by Theseus. What is the name of this guardian of the Inferno?|
Minotaur. The circle of violence is divided into three rings. The outer ring dips its occupants in a river of boiling blood. In the middle ring, the people are turned into thorny bushes and the blasphemers in the inner ring wander aimlessly in a desert of flaming sand.
|The penultimate circle of the "Inferno" houses the fraudulent. This circle can only be accessed by descending a precipitous cliff. Our heroes do so on the back of a three-headed, winged monster. The cattle owned by this monster formed part of the labors of Herakles. Which monster am I talking about?|
Geryon. Some of the deadliest methods of torture are inflicted upon the members of this circle. They include pimps, seducers, sorcerers, astrologers, false prophets, corrupt politicians and, surprisingly, Muhammad, founder of Islam.
|The destination is not far. Enclosed in a sheet of ice, lies the ninth circle of Betrayal, Coccytus. In it, is chained the Lord of sinners, Lucifer. Dante depicts him as a fearsome, winged beast with three heads, each chewing on a famed traitor. The mouths on Lucifer's sides chomp on Brutus and Cassius. Who is tortured in the central mouth?|
Judas Iscariot. According to Dante, Satan possessed three faces, one red, the other black and the third, yellow. Brutus and Cassius were tortured for destroying the unification of Italy by assassinating Julius Caesar. Judas, as we all know, betrayed Christ.
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