Inferno Canto XVII

Inferno 17

It had the features of a righteous man,
benevolent in countenance,
but all the rest of it was serpent.

vv. 10-12

Third round of the Seventh Circle: those who have done violence to Art.- Geryon. – The Usurers. – Descent to the Eighth Circle.

The monster that had approached them, Geryon, symbolized fraud itself. His face was human, gracious and honest-looking, but his body was a combination of a bear and a serpent, and his tail had a scorpion’s sting. Virgil suggested that Dante go speak with some shades who sat on the sand nearby while he parleyed with Geryon.

Accordingly, Dante approached a group of despondent people who sat flicking off the flakes of fire which continually fell on them. Purses decorated with emblems hung from their necks: one had a yellow purse with an azure lion, one a bloodred purse bearing a white goose, and one was white with an azure pregnant sow. The last one asked Dante what he was doing there and told him that Vitaliano would be punished there too, and someone who had a green purse with three goats.

Then Dante went back to Virgil who had come to an agreement with Geryon by which he would let them ride on his shoulders and take them down to the next circle. Dante was touchingly frightened, and although he didn’t dare say it, wished he could ask Virgil to hold him tightly so he would not fall off. Then Geryon swam out into the air, descending in great sweeps through many torments, and finally set his passengers down on a rock, and disappeared.

Riassunto in inglese tratto da

Canto adopted by Lorenzo Zangheri

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