Inferno Canto XXVII

Inferno 27

‘Ravenna remains as it has been for years.
The eagle of Polenta broods over it
so that he covers Cervia with his wings.

vv. 40-42

Eighth Circle: eighth pit: Fraudulent Counsellors. – Guido da Montefeltro.

The Eighth Circle, Eighth Pouch: once Ulysses has stopped talking, another flame draws the two poets’ attention. Hearing Virgil speak Italian, the flame asks for news of his homeland, Romagna. Prompted by his Master, Dante outlines a picture of the political conditions of that region, ruled by tyrants always ready to fight, and then he asks the sinner who he is.

The sinner consents to tell him as he believes Dante will never leave Hell – indeed no one has so far – and thus he will be unable to spread word of his infamy back on Earth. It’s Guido da Montefeltro, a soldier who hoped to repair the damage he had done by becoming a Franciscan friar. It was Pope Boniface VIII who thrust him back into his old sins.

He declared a crusade against Christians themselves (the Colonnas, a Roman family) and he asked him for advice on how to conquer Palestrina. In order to convince him, the Pope absolved him from the sin he was going to commit by giving him advice. Therefore, he suggested he should promise his enemies a lot, and then not fulfil his promises. When he died, Saint Francis came to take his soul to Heaven, but a devil stopped him claiming that repentance cannot precede the sin. The flame leaves and the two pilgrims go on and get to the bridge overlooking the ninth pouch, where the Sowers of Discord reside.

Palazzo della Provincia

The Palace is associated with the tercet mentioning the eagle because of its symbol, which the coat of arms of the Polenta family displayed too. Eventually, when the Venetians took control of the city, every reference to the Polentanis was cancelled – as a kind of damnatio memoriae. However, the eagle has survived here. The Palace, erected on the 17th century Rasponi Palace, was built in 1926 by architect Giulio Arata. The garden and the crypt are the remains of the ancient building.

Traduzione a cura della classe 5aC A.S.20/21 del Liceo Scientifico A. Oriani di Ravenna

Aquila da Polenta stemma

Canto adopted by Stefano, Manuela, Irene and Matteo Falcinelli

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