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Hell (also known as The Woeful Realm), is a realm of the afterlife where unrepentent mortals who committed sin are sent to be tortured as punishment for eternity. Composed of nine circles (or more or less nine levels), the Inferno is strictly Lucifer's domain. Each circle acts as a prison for souls who committed certain types of sins and are punished poetically in death.
The Shores of Acheron are the outer edges of Hell. The shades that lie on its shores lived life with neither fame or infamy. Denied Paradise, they are not required to enter The Woeful Realm.
The Nine CirclesEdit
In the first circle, Limbo, resides the unbaptized and the virtuous pagans, who, though not sinful in life, did not accept Christ. Limbo is on the outer boundary of Hell, just across the river Acheron. The guiltless damned are punished by living in a deficient form of heaven. Lacking a baptism they lacked the hope for something greater than themselves.
Below Limbo is the second circle, Lust. In this circle the carnal damned are punished in an endless tempest of fierce winds representing the power of lust to blow one about aimlessly and needlessly. Within it lies Cleopatra, who rules over the shades atop The Carnal Tower with her lover, Marc Anthony.
Below lust is the third circle, Gluttony, where gluttonous souls forever lie in vile slush produced by ceaseless foul and icy rains; symbolising the cold, empty sensuality of their lives. The circle is guarded by the three-headed guard dog, Cerberus. Beyond The Great Worm is the cold valley of rain and mud, and the Hall of Gluttons, where even the royalty and high status indulged food and drinks in life. They're constantly devoured and excreted by several gluttons for eternity
Below gluttony is the fourth circle, Greed. Those whose attitude toward material goods deviated from the appropriate mean are punished. Including avarice, who hoarded possessions, and the prodigal, who squandered them. Within the circle are occupants who are boiled alive in molten gold below, condemned for hoarding too closely or spending too freely with riches. Here Plutus, God of Wealth resides, along with Lady Fortune.
Below greed is the fifth circle, Anger. In the The River Styx, the wrathful fight each other on the surface, and the sullen lie gurgling beneath the water, withdrawn, "into a black sulkiness which can find no joy in God or man or the universe." Guarded by Phlegyas, he transports anyone across the poisonous river. Beyond the river lies a city of fire and brimstone, the Gates of Dis.
Below Anger is the sixth circle, Heresy. In this circle heretics, such as epicureans (who say "the soul dies with the body"), are trapped in flaming tombs. Those who have denied the existence of God and the soul after death or who worshipped false idols and devils. In this nether-hell, Pagans, the followers of Epicurus, and atheists are burned in sealed coffins for all eternity.
Below Heresy is the seventh circle, Violence. This circle is guarded by a minotaur and separated into three parts: Violence against others, Violence against ones self, and finally, Violence against God. Those who acted with violence against others are boiled in the river of blood (The Phlegethon). Those who committed suicide, or violence against themselves, are placed as part of the Wood of the Suicides condemned to writhe in eternal pain as gnarled trees. Having willingly given up their old bodies, they are denied a new one in death. Finally, those who showed violence against God are placed in the harsh region of the Abominable Sands.
Below Violence is the eighth circle, Fraud. Fraud is an extremely dark place that holds those guilty of deliberate, knowing evil, who used lies and deception for personal gain. This circle is divided into ten ditches, known collectively as the Malebolge and individually as Bolge, each holding a different type of liar and each with a different form of punishment. The ten ditches of Fraud are:
- Panderers and Seducers - forced to march in separate lines in opposite directions, whipped by demons.
- Flatters - submerged in human excrement.
- Simony - placed head-first in holes in the rock, with flames burning on the soles of their feet.
- Diviners - sorcerers,astrologers,and false prophets have their heads twisted around on their bodies backwards, so that they "found it necessary to walk backwards,/because they could not see ahead of them".
- Politicians - corrupt politicians are immersed in a lake of boiling pitch, which represents the sticky fingers and dark secrets of their corrupt deals.
- Hypocrites - hypocrites listlessly walking along wearing gilded lead cloaks, which represents the falsity behind the surface appearance of their actions falsity that weighs them down and makes spiritual progress impossible for them.
- Thieves - repeatedly pursued and bitten by snakes and lizards whose poison transforms their bodies into grotesque shapes.
- Evil Counselors - eternally set on fire, appearing as nothing more than pillars of fire.
- Sowers of Discord - a sword wielding demon hacks at the sowers of discord, dividing parts of their bodies as in life they divided others.As they make their rounds the wounds heal, only to have the demon tear apart their bodies again.
- Falsifiers - infected with various painful diseases and infections.
Below Fraud is the ninth circle, Treachery. The farthest place in all of creation from the light of God. This is the deepest and blackest of all the circles, where the traitors are distinguished from the "merely" fraudulent in that their acts involve betraying family, the community, guest, and even Christ. The final circle is literally Hell, "frozen over." Alongside the traitors, the giants of old are condemned here as well, including Ephialtes and Typhon. At the very bottom of Treachery lies Lucifer, trapped in the frozen Lake Cocytus from the waist downwards. The futile beating of his wings causes an icy wind, which combined with the tears he sheds only trap him in the ice even further.
Despite being a realm for evil souls, it doesn't apply only to humans. It also applies to beings such as monsters (Minotaur, Cerberus), demi-gods (Phlegyas, a son of the greek god Ares), and even deities (Plutus, God of Wealth).