SS Botany Bay-library

A copy of The Inferno (top left) aboard the SS Botany Bay

Inferno or Dante's Inferno was the first part of Dante's epic Italian poem The Divine Comedy. This poem described Dante's journey through Hell. It was followed by Purgatorio and Paradiso.

A copy of Inferno, translated by John Ciardi, was among the small collection of books found aboard the SS Botany Bay in 2285. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

Captain Kathryn Janeway was given a copy of Dante's Inferno by her fiancé Mark Johnson as an engagement gift. She later lent the book to Chakotay, who once quoted its opening line to her:

"In the middle of the journey of our life
I found myself astray in a dark wood
where the straight road had been lost."

Chakotay agreed with Dante that if you always see the road ahead of you, it is not worth the trip. (VOY: "Shattered")

The particular quote above is from the translation by Seamus Heaney.
This poem, written in the 14th century, was about an allegorical journey through hell (or inferno), representing the Human journey of the soul toward the divine, according to the Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 1, p. 363).

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