Dante’s Divine Comedy, Columbia and Queen Semiramis

In The Divine Comedy, Dante sees Semiramis among the souls of the lustful in the Second Circle of Hell:

And as the cranes go chanting forth their lays,
Making in air a long line of themselves,
So saw I coming, uttering lamentations,
Shadows borne onward by the aforesaid stress.

Whereupon said I: “Master, who are those People, whom the black air so castigates?”
“The first of those, of whom intelligence Thou fain wouldst have,” then said he unto me,
“The empress was of many languages. To sensual vices she was so abandoned,
That lustful she made licit in her law,

To remove the blame to which she had been led.
She is Semiramis. . .
She succeeded Ninus, and was his spouse;
She held the land which now the Sultan rules.

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