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In Dante Alighieri's Inferno, part of the Divine Comedy, Malebolge is the eighth circle of Hell. Roughly translated from Italian, Malebolge means "evil ditches". Malebolge is a large, funnel-shaped cavern, itself divided into ten concentric circular trenches or ditches. Each trench is called a bolgia. Long causeway bridges run from the outer circumference of Malebolge to its center, pictured as spokes on a wheel. At the center of Malebolge is the ninth and final circle of hell. In Dante’s version of hell, categories of sin are punished in different circles, with the depth of the circle symbolic of the amount of punishment to be inflicted. Sinners placed in the upper circles of hell are given relatively minor punishments, while sinners in the depths of hell endure far greater torments. As the eighth of nine circles, Malebolge is one of the worst places in hell to be. In it, sinners guilty of "simple" fraud are punished. Sinners of this category include counterfeiters, hypocrites, grafters, seducers, sorcerers and simonists.
The Nuttall Encyclopedia
the name given to the eighth circle in Dante's "Inferno," as consisting of "evil pits," which the name means, 10 in number, for those guilty of frauds: contains (1) seducers, (2) flatterers, (3) simonists, (4) soothsayers, (5) bribers and receivers of bribes, (6) hypocrites, (7) robbers, (8) evil advisers, (9) slanderers, (10) forgers.
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