Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is sanctified and governed; mercifully hear our humble supplications for all degrees and orders therein; that, by the gift of Your grace, all in their several stations may faithfully serve You. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
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Dorothy L. Sayers writes that "the surrender to sin which began with mutual indulgence leads by an imperceptible degradation to solitary self-indulgence".  The gluttons grovel in the mud by themselves, sightless and heedless of their neighbors, symbolizing the cold, selfish, and empty sensuality of their lives.  Just as lust has revealed its true nature in the winds of the previous circle, here the slush reveals the true nature of sensuality – which includes not only overindulgence in food and drink, but also other kinds of addiction. 
In 1312 Henry assaulted Florence and defeated the Black Guelphs, but there is no evidence that Dante was involved. Some say he refused to participate in the assault on his city by a foreigner; others suggest that he had become unpopular with the White Guelphs, too, and that any trace of his passage had carefully been removed. Henry VII died (from a fever) in 1313, and with him any hope for Dante to see Florence again. He returned to Verona, where Cangrande I della Scala allowed him to live in certain security and, presumably, in a fair degree of prosperity. Cangrande was admitted to Dante's Paradise ( Paradiso , XVII, 76).
In this canto Dante addresses one of the great moral problems of Christianity, which was particularly pressing for Renaissance scholars who revered the Ancients. Baptism is necessary for salvation, but it seems essentially unfair that all the good people who lived before Christianity, or who never heard of it, should suffer for something over which they had no control. Dante solves this problem by keeping the good Pagans and infidels in Hell, but giving them a painless and honorable fate. Limbo is not a happy place, but it is contemplative and calm. Its inhabitants are not tormented and they can converse with one another among green fields and noble castles.