Inferno, Canto 26
Dante, with bitter irony, reproaches Florence. The Poets climb up and along the rugged spur to the arch of the next bridge, from which they see the Counsellors of Fraud moving along the floor of the Eighth Bowge, each wrapped in a tall flame. Virgil stops the twin-fiame which contains the souls of Ulysses and Diomede, and compels Ulysses to tell the story of his last voyage.
The Prepatory Lecture
Questions for Reflection
Canto 26 © Jan Hearn
The Counsellors of Fraud. The sinners in Bowge VIII are not men who deceived those whom they counselled, but men who counselled others to practise fraud. The Thieves in the bowge above stole material goods; these are spiritual thieves, who rob other men of their integrity. This explains, I think, the name which Dante gives to their punishment.
The Thievish Fire. The fire which torments also conceals the Counsellors of Fraud, for theirs was a furtive sin (from the latin, furtivus, from fur, thief). And as they sinned with their tongues, so now speech has to pass through the tongue of the tormenting and thievish flame.
Mark Vernon's Lecture