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The simoniacs: Pope Nicholas III

Circle VIII, Bolgia III. The simoniacs are those who bought or sold Church offices or pardons. In the Inferno, their attachment to earthly possessions is punished by stuffing them upside down into the ground with a halo of fire burning their feet.

And he cried out: "Dost thou stand there already,
Dost thou stand there already, Boniface?
By many years the record lied to me.
Art thou so early satiate with that wealth,
For which thou didst not fear to take by fraud
The beautiful Lady, and then work her woe?"


Said to me; "Then what wantest thou of me?
If who I am thou carest so much to know,
That thou on that account hast crossed the bank,
Know that I vested was with the great mantle;
And truly was I son of the She-bear,
So eager to advance the cubs, that wealth
Above, and bere myself, I pocketed.
Beneath my head the othcrs are dragged down
Who bave preceded me in simony,
Flattened along the fissure of the rock.
Below there I shall likewise fall, whenever
That one shall come who I believed thou wast,
What time the sudden question I proposed.
But longer I my feet already toast.
And bere bave been in this way upside down,
Than he will planted stay with reddened feet;
For after bim shall come of fouler deed
From tow'rds the west a Pastor without law,
Such as befits to cover bim and me.

Inferno, XIX, 52-57; 66-84

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