Inferno Canto XX

Inferno 20

‘See the wretched women who gave up needle,
spool, and spindle to take up fortune-telling,
casting spells with images and herbs.

vv. 121-123

Eighth Circle: fourth pit: Diviners, Soothsayers, and Magicians. – Amphiaraus. – Tiresias. – Aruns. – Manto. – Eurypylus. – Michael Scott. – Asolente.

In the next valley Dante saw sad processions of weeping spirits whose heads were set backwards on their bodies so that their tears ran down their backs. Dante wept to see the sad distorsion of humanity, but Virgil told him that pity was inappropriate where God had set the punishment. He told him to look up and see Amphiaraus, and Tiresias who had turned into a woman and back again, and Aruns, and the sorceress Manto. She had founded Virgil’s home-city, Mantua, Virgil said: after her father died and her city was enslaved, she wandered through many lands, finally settling in a land in a marsh with her slaves. After she died the city was called Mantua after her; this, Virgil said, was the only true story of the origins of Mantua.

Dante asked Virgil if any of the passing souls were worthy of notice, and accordingly Virgil pointed out Eurypylus, an augur of the time of the Trojan War, as well as Michael Scot, Guido Bonatti, and Asdente. There were also women who had left their spinning to become diviners.

Dante and Virgil continued on their way, because time was short.

Riassunto in inglese tratto da

Canto adopted by Avv. Giovanni Medri

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