Descending down into another valley, Dante and Virgil encounter a group of souls slowly walking as they weep. But something is not quite right. Their heads are completely twisted backwards, with the back of their hair facing forward. These are the diviners and soothsayers. As tears flow down their backs, they must twist their heads “forward” to see where they are going. As they spent their earthly lives looking into the future, now they can only look back.
One of the souls is the founder of Virgil’s home town of Mantua, and Virgil uses this time to tell Dante the story of his town’s birth. This is a somber canto, and ends with Virgil urging Dante to hurry on since their time is running short. Soon they see a ditch filled with boiling tar, and suddenly encounter a black devil.