Being that Roman Mythogly tended to rung right along side that of the Greeks, after having given some of Homer’s views on the Underworld, I thought in comparrison, I would now, quote a bit of Virgil in relation to the underworld.
There was a deep rugged cave, stupendous, and yawning wide, protected by a lack of black water and the glooming forest. Over this lake not birds could wing straight course without harm, so posinous the breath which streamed up from the black jaws and rose to the vault of the sky; and that is why the Greeks named this place Aornos, the Birdless. Here the Priestess set in place four bullocks black of hide. That was her first act. Next the poured wine over thier forehead, clipped the bristles growing between thier horns, and laide them, as the first taste of offering, on the sacrificial fire; and as she did so she creid loud to Hecate, the mightly in Heaven and mightly in Hell. Others applied the knife to the victims thorats and caught warm blood in bowls. Aeneas took his sword and smoth a lamb with fleace black as soot in offering to Mother Eumenides and her Great Sister, and a barren cow for Proserpine herself. Now he began the noctornal altar-rite to the King of Styx. He laid whole carcasses of bulls on the flames and porued rich olive oil on the glowing entrails. And, behold, soon before the first gleam of the rising sun, the ground bellowed beneath thier feet, the slopes of the foreset-clad mountains began to move, and there appeared shapes like hounds howling and just visable through the shadows; the Goddess was coming and was very near. “Stand clear!” cried the Priestess, “all you who are unhallowed; stand clear! Be gone from all the Grove. But you Aeneas, whipe blade from scabbard and step forth on your way. It is now that you need courage and stout heart.” Saying no more she plunged frantically down into the opeend cavern and strode onwards. With dauntless pace Aeneas followed where she led.
They were walking in the darkness, with the shadows round them and night’s lonliness above them, through Pluto’s substanceless Empire, and past its homes where there is no life within; as men walk through a wood under a fitful moon’s ungernous light when Jupiter has hidden the sky in shade and black night has stolen the colour from the world. In front of the very Entrance Hall, in the very Jaws of Hades, Grief and Resentful Care have laid thier beds. Shapes terrible of aspect have their dwellings there, palled Diseases, Old Age forlorn, Fear, Hunger, and the Counsellor of Evil, ulgy Poverty, Death, and Pain. Next is the Sleep who is close kin to Death, and Joy of Sinning and, by the threshold in front, Death’s harbinger, War. And the iron chambers of the Furies are there and Strife the insane with a bloody ribbon binding her smoky hair.
On an intrtesting side note here, notice the similarites between these relams of hell to the biblical 4 Horsemen which are so named:
War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death
Immediately cires were heard. These were the loud wailing of Infant souls weeping at the very entrance-way, never had they had thier share of life’s sweetness, for the dark day had stolen them from thier mother’s barests and plunged them to a death before thier time. Next to them are those who had been condemmed to die on a false accusation. But their places are always justly assigned by a jury chosen by lot; for Minos, as president of the court, shakes the urn and convenes a gathering of the silent, and gives hearing to the accounts of lives lived and changes made. Beyound these souls, in the next places, dwell the sorrorful who, though without guilt, gained death for themselves by thier own hand, flinging thier lives away in utter loathing for the light. How willingly they would now endure poverty and every harsh tribulation, in the bright air above! But Divine Law bars thier way back, the unlovely marsh holds them bound behind its doelful waters, and the nince encricling coils of Styx confine them. Not far thence are displayed the Fields of Mourning, as they name them, and they streatch in every direction under the harsh cruleties of love. Even in death thier sorrows never leave them. In this region Aeneas could see Phaedra and Procris; and Eriphyle, greiving and shwoing wounds dealt by her brutal son, and Evadne and Pasophe and with them went Laodamia, and Caeneus who had in youth for a time been male but is now a woman having been destined again to revert to her origonal shape.
The influcne of Virgil and his work is seen clearly here on Dante, and we can see how Virgil was both a symbolic as well as a litteral guide for Dante in the Inferno, as it was very much after Virgil that he had construtcted his own famed Hell.