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Lilith came to embody lust, rebellion, and ungodliness, traits later linked to the Christian devil. As Christianity took root in the Roman world, early worshipers rejected pagan gods and believed them to be evil spirits. Pan, half goat and half man, was a lusty god of nature whose carnal appetites made him easy to associate with the forbidden.

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His goat horns and cloven hooves became synonymous with sin and would later be adopted by artists in their horrific images of the devil. See also: Krampus the Christmas devil is coming to more towns. So where's he from? Reproduced in pictures, from the great artists down to the humble village artisan, a reptilian, winged figure of damnation became the iconic devil figure. In them, a ravenous Satan is seated in the center of hell as he gleefully chomps on the souls of sinners. Dante describes the deepest regions of hell where Satan holds sway. Armed with spears and spikes, demons shepherd all the damned—bishops and peasants, men and women—into hell for eternity.

A closer look at hell

Most artists depict in great detail the punishments awaiting them: Stripped naked, their souls are tormented, whether bound by serpents, burned by fire, swallowing molten gold, or tearing each other apart. Common to many of these types of paintings is the central, monstrous figure of Satan who savagely devours the condemned. Theologically, the idea of the devil changed during this period as well.

Throughout the Middle Ages Satan evolved into an aggressive, malignant force set on tormenting as many human souls as possible.


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The Greek daimon—a spirit or minor divinity who engaged with humans—informed a key aspect of this new devil. From the third century A. They refer to good and evil stages of life respectively and can be lived now and here during our earthly existence. So many are being drowned in emotional attachment and doubt; they dwell in the most horrible hell.

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Ancient Taoism had no concept of Hell, as morality was seen to be a man-made distinction and there was no concept of an immaterial soul. In its home country China , where Taoism adopted tenets of other religions, popular belief endows Taoist Hell with many deities and spirits who punish sin in a variety of horrible ways. Diyu is the realm of the dead in Chinese mythology. It is very loosely based upon the Buddhist concept of Naraka combined with traditional Chinese afterlife beliefs and a variety of popular expansions and re-interpretations of these two traditions.

Ruled by Yanluo Wang , the King of Hell, Diyu is a maze of underground levels and chambers where souls are taken to atone for their earthly sins. Incorporating ideas from Taoism and Buddhism as well as traditional Chinese folk religion, Diyu is a kind of purgatory place which serves not only to punish but also to renew spirits ready for their next incarnation. There are many deities associated with the place, whose names and purposes are the subject of much conflicting information. The exact number of levels in Chinese Hell - and their associated deities - differs according to the Buddhist or Taoist perception.

Some speak of three to four 'Courts', other as many as ten. The ten judges are also known as the 10 Kings of Yama. Each Court deals with a different aspect of atonement. For example, murder is punished in one Court, adultery in another.

According to some Chinese legends, there are eighteen levels in Hell. Punishment also varies according to belief, but most legends speak of highly imaginative chambers where wrong-doers are sawn in half, beheaded, thrown into pits of filth or forced to climb trees adorned with sharp blades. However, most legends agree that once a soul usually referred to as a 'ghost' has atoned for their deeds and repented, he or she is given the Drink of Forgetfulness by Meng Po and sent back into the world to be reborn, possibly as an animal or a poor or sick person, for further punishment.

Zoroastrianism has historically suggested several possible fates for the wicked, including annihilation, purgation in molten metal, and eternal punishment, all of which have standing in Zoroaster's writings. Zoroastrian eschatology includes the belief that wicked souls will remain in hell until, following the arrival of three saviors at thousand-year intervals, Ahura Mazda reconciles the world, destroying evil and resurrecting tormented souls to perfection.

Those laws state that wiccan souls are privileged with reincarnation, but that the souls of wiccans who break the wiccan laws are sent by the goddess to the fiery christian hell.

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The influential wiccan author Raymond Buckland wrote that the wiccan laws are unimportant. Solitary neo-wiccans, who originated in the s, do not include the wiccan laws in their doctrine. In his Divina commedia Divine Comedy , set in the year , Dante Alighieri employed the concept of taking Virgil as his guide through Inferno and then, in the second canticle, up the mountain of Purgatorio. Virgil himself is not condemned to Hell proper in Dante's poem but is rather, as a virtuous pagan, confined to Limbo just at the edge of Hell. The geography of Hell is very elaborately laid out in this work, with nine concentric rings leading deeper into Earth, and deeper into the various punishments of Hell, until, at the center of the world, Dante finds Satan himself trapped in the frozen lake of Cocytus.

A small tunnel leads past Satan and out to the other side of the world, at the base of the Mount of Purgatory. John Milton 's Paradise Lost opens with the fallen angels , including their leader Satan , waking up in Hell after having been defeated in the war in heaven and the action returns there at several points throughout the poem. Milton portrays Hell as the abode of the demons, and the passive prison from which they plot their revenge upon Heaven through the corruption of the human race. Rimbaud's poetry portrays his own suffering in a poetic form as well as other themes.

Many of the great epics of European literature include episodes that occur in Hell. In the Roman poet Virgil 's Latin epic, the Aeneid , Aeneas descends into Dis the underworld to visit his father's spirit. The underworld is only vaguely described, with one unexplored path leading to the punishments of Tartarus, while the other leads through Erebus and the Elysian Fields. The idea of Hell was highly influential to writers such as Jean-Paul Sartre who authored the play No Exit about the idea that "Hell is other people".

Although not a religious man, Sartre was fascinated by his interpretation of a Hellish state of suffering. Hell is portrayed here as an endless, desolate twilight city upon which night is imperceptibly sinking. The night is actually the Apocalypse , and it heralds the arrival of the demons after their judgment. Before the night comes, anyone can escape Hell if they leave behind their former selves and accept Heaven's offer, and a journey to Heaven reveals that Hell is infinitely small; it is nothing more or less than what happens to a soul that turns away from God and into itself.

Damnation Day 1 - Hell's Angel

Robert A. Heinlein offers a yin-yang version of Hell where there is still some good within; most evident in his book Job: A Comedy of Justice. Michael Moorcock is one of many who offer Chaos-Evil- Hell and Uniformity-Good- Heaven as equally unacceptable extremes which must be held in balance; in particular in the Elric and Eternal Champion series. Fredric Brown wrote a number of fantasy short stories about Satan 's activities in Hell.

Cartoonist Jimmy Hatlo created a series of cartoons about life in Hell called The Hatlo Inferno , which ran from to From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Afterlife location in which souls are subjected to punitive suffering, often torture. This article is about the abode of the dead in various cultures and religious traditions around the world. For other uses, see Hell disambiguation. Main article: Ancient Mesopotamian underworld. Main article: Tartarus. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources.

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. October Learn how and when to remove this template message. See also: Gehenna and Sheol. Main articles: Christian views on hell and Christian views on Hades. Main article: Jahannam. Main article: Naraka Buddhism.

Main article: Naraka Hinduism.

Main article: Naraka Jainism. Main article: Diyu. Main article: Zoroastrian eschatology. Main article: Hell in popular culture. Accessed 7 February John Ciardi 2 ed. New York : Penguin. The British Museum Press. Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions. Archived from the original on 26 September Retrieved 18 August Griffith to The Independent , 32 [ clarification needed ] December "Archived copy".

Archived from the original on 1 September Retrieved 28 October Archived from the original on 5 November Simon and Schuster. Retrieved 5 August Boustan, Ra'anan S. Reed, Annette Yoshiko. Cambridge University Press, Studies on Biblical Studies, No. Clarence Larkin. The Spirit World.

Philadelphia, PA. Edinburgh, Scotland. Clark; pg. Edward Bouverie Pusey. Traditional Aspects of Hell: Ancient and Modern.