Virgil spoke to Geryon, the personification of Fraud, in order that the monster may transport them to the next circle. Meantime, Dante described the souls who have done violence against Art. Then they descended into the abyss of Malebolge, seated on Geryon’s back.
Dante tells us the condition and shape of Malebolge, that is the eighth circle of Hell, separated into ten “bolge” [=pouches] where are punished the fraudulent sinners. Meantime, the two poets were terrified by some demons of the first bolgia. They met the flatterers, who were immersed in pitch-darkness.
They came to the third bolgia of Hell, where are punished those who had practiced simony. The Simoniacs were condemned to have their heads into some apertures, while flames were burning their legs. Lastly Dante and Virgil descended to the bottom of the bolgia, where found Pope Nicholas V and other popes, who were fiercely blamed by Dante for their behaviors. Then the two poets visited the following bolgia.
The two poets saw the punishment of the souls who predicted future events. Their faces, according to the law of retaliation, were overturned to their limbs, so they can only look behind them. They had dared to look forward too, and now they should look behind their shoulders. Dante and Vergil met some famous old diviners such as Tiresias, Amphiaraus, and Manto. Virgil took occasion to speak about the origins of Mantua.
Leaving the old diviners , the two poets passed a bridge, so that they were arriving to the bolgia where the barrators were punished. These souls were immersed in a sea of boiling pitch. Then the two poets obtained the permission to continue their tough walk from the demons.
Dante continued his redemptive “infernal journey” , accompanied by the demons, and he met other sinners, such as Ciampolo, who, thanks to a “diabolical” trick, escaped from the demons, who tried unsuccessfully to seize him with their terrible hooks. Ciampolo both escaped from the demons and derided them.
The demons were enraged beyond measure against Ciampolo, and they flung themselves at Dante, who, however, was defended by Virgil. The two poets met the hypocrites, and, among them, Dante recognized Catalano and Loderingo, two “Joyous Friars” [=Italian “Frati Gaudenti”] of Bologna. They also saw Caiaphas, eternally fixed to a cross.