In Greek mythology
(meaning river of wailing) was the river in the underworld
on the banks of which the dead who could not pay Charon
wandered. It flowed into the river Acheron
, across which lay in Hades, the greek Hell.
In the Divine Comedy, Cocytus is frozen by the breath of Lucifer. Dante described it as being the home of traitors and those who committed acts of complex fraud. It was divided into four circles:
- Caina, after the Biblical Cain; traitors to blood relatives.
- Antenora, after Antenor from the Iliad; traitors to country.
- Ptolomea, after Ptolemy, governor of Jericho, who murdered his guests (1 Maccabees); traitors to guests.
- Judecca, after Judas Iscariot; traitors to masters and benefactors.
Lucifer, who betrayed God, was at the center of the circle, gnawing on the heads of Brutus
, and Judas.