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I never like this realm, it's too freaking cold. Like, the rest of the place is literally on fire 24/7, but for some reason, you can't find a single heater anywhere in this place. Like, hello, you demons literally have enough gold to plate several of your rings but don't have enough money to build a freaking furnace here?
Hecate.

Treachery, more commonly known as Cocytus, is the Ninth Circle of Hell where lies the souls of those who betrayed that which matters most. This is the circle that the Seven Princes of Hell call home, and it's where Pandemonium is located.

Overview

Treachery was a frozen landscape, ringed by the classical giants and the biblical devils who symbolized pride and other spiritual flaws lying behind acts of treachery. It is described as being the home of traitors and those who committed acts of complex fraud. Depending on the form of their treachery, victims are buried in ice to a varying degree, anywhere from neck-high to completely submerged in ice.

Treachery is a bitterly cold-dominant realm of solid ice mountains, titanic, unnaturally fast-moving glaciers which moves around depending on shifts in the ground, and nearly continuous snowfall that blankets most of it making this land makes it impossible for anyone backtrack their steps. Also the winters that appear there make by even Niflheim seem balmy by comparison.

Treachery is the deepest part of Hell that is the only connection to the Greek Underworld. It acts as a prison for powerful and dangerous figures such as Dis, Malebolgia, Samael and Kokabiel. It is also serves as a home to many rare and dangerous creatures such as the Pale Horse. It’s for those who committed the gravest sins or those who perpetrated betrayals were eternally bound in the cruelest depths of Hell.

Description

While Treachery is normally used to imprison souls of the treacherous damned it can also apply to demons and fallen angels that have also broken a specific oath they have taken under the laws of Hell. The demons would be frozen beneath the bodies of the humans who were damned in Treachery while also being chained to the riverbed. Many demons were tossed within Treachery as these fiends had once been secretly conspiring against their masters in order to usurp them of their power and take their office for their own.

Even high-ranking demonic nobles and fallen angels are not spared nor are they given any special treatment when breaking one of the laws of Hell or an oath they took under their conjurer or master. Among the more prominent nobles would Belial himself who was defeated by Sparda, a Knight of Hell, and tossed within Treachery until he was freed by Lucifer. Mulciber, the grand architect of Hell, almost was imprisoned within the realm when he allied himself with the demon Azazel into creating the Right Hand of Doom, which can release the Outer Gods, and bring about the end of existence.

At the center of the circle buried waist deep in ice is the demon lord Dis and Satan himself before the latter was freed. He is depicted as a massive terrifying beast with three faces and mouths along with six wings. The central mouth gnaws Judas, which many consider the most horrendous of fates. Judas is chewed head foremost with his feet protruding and Satan's claws tearing his back forevermore while those gnawed in the side mouths, Brutus and Cassius, leading assassins of Julius Caesar, are both chewed feet foremost with their heads protruding. Under each chin Satan flaps a pair of wings, which only serve to increase the cold winds in Treachery and further imprison him and other traitors.

Dante and his guide Virgil proceed then to climb down Satan's back and then upwards towards Purgatory, though Dante is at first confused at their turning round, but Virgil explains it is due to the change in forces as they pass through the center of the Earth.

Lake of Cocytus

Over the cliff and down, and when there is no more descending, they collect and form Lake Cocytus. There you shall see... I shall not describe it.
Virgil.

Lake Cocytus (not to be mistaken with the river Cocytus) was the frozen lake of the ninth circle where those who committed treachery against God are punished. The lake itself was formed from the tears of Dis or Satan himself and the flapping of his wings kept it frozen. It was here that Dante met Satan at the end of Dante journey in the Inferno. In the middle of Lake Cocytus, there was a reversed pentacle that could show images and could be taken apart.

Four Rounds of Treachery

There are four concentric zones, sections or "rounds", to Treachery, each in descending order of seriousness, from betrayal of family ties, to betrayal of community ties, betrayal of guests, and betrayal of liege lords.

Caina

The first round is known as Caina, or Caïna, and is meant for the traitors to kindred are here immersed in the ice up to their chins. They can be able to bend their necks, which provides them some protection against the cold winds. Mordred is among the Damned here before being freed by the Fae. It is named after Cain, who killed his brother Abel.

Antenora

The Second round is known as Antenora and is meant for traitors to political entities, such as parties, cities, or countries, are located here and imprisoned in the same way as the traitors in Caïna. The ice here reaches the base of the traitors' skulls, leaving them unable to bend their necks. Dante encounters Count Ugolino here, gnawing on the skull of the man who condemned him to die from starvation. It is named after Antenor of Troy, who according to medieval tradition, betrayed his city to the Greeks.

Ptolomaea

The Third Round is known as Ptolomaea and is meant for traitors to their guests are punished here, which are the people who came to their home for shelter, lying supine in the ice, which covers them except for their faces. They are punished more severely than the previous traitors, since the relationship to guests is an entirely voluntary one. In many cultures, such an action was considered an abomination and subject to divine retribution. When they cry, the tears freeze and seal up their eyes; even the comfort of tears is denied to them. At this ring, Dante meets Fra Alberigo who asks him to wipe off his icy tears but in vain. It is named after Ptolemy, son of Abubus, who invited Simon Maccabaeus and his sons to a banquet and then killed them.

Judecca

The Forth and Final Round is known as Judecca and is meant for the traitors to their lords and benefactors. All of the sinners punished within are completely encapsulated in ice, distorted in all conceivable positions. Due to having no one to talk to here, Dante and Virgil moved on to the center of the ninth circle of Hell. In the middle of Judecca is Dis frozen in ice, chewing on three of the worst human beings. It is named after Judas Iscariot, Biblical betrayer of Christ. According to the Gospel of St. Matthew, once Judas realized what he did, he hung himself (The Acts of the Apostles states that he died when his abdomen burst open while plowing a field).

Notable beings condemned to Treachery

Quotes

The lowest, blackest, and farthest from Heaven. Well do I know the way.
Virgil.
The ice held the king of the underworld and his legions of treacherous shades. The lake itself was formed from the tears of Satan himself and the flapping of his wings to keep it frozen.

Gallery

Trivia

  • While similar to the river, it is not the same as the Cocytus in the Greco-Roman Underworlds.
    • Cocytus was one of the four rivers of the underworld. It's name means "Lamentation". The explanation of it that was being formed by Satan's tears in the Inferno is a possible reference to this.
  • Although Dante may not have been aware about it, this circle bears a strong resemblance to the Norse underworld, Helheim which is depicted as a snowy and bleak wasteland bordering the frozen realm of Niflheim. The traitors in this underworld are imprisoned on an island of torment before being thrown into Niflheim to freeze for eternity.
  • According to Francesca da Polenta, her husband Giovanni Malatesta is damned to this region, specifically Caina for killing both her and his younger brother named Paolo.
  • Cassius and Brutus are given the worst of the punishments alongside Judas not only for being traitors, but because their treachery destroyed a rare chance at a united Italy under Caesar's reign. Dante Alighieri saw Caesar among those in Limbo due to his desire to unify the Roman Empire as a single nation and for his politically-motivated aid to the lower classes of Rome. In his view, Caesar would have prevented the fracture of Italy into city-states and the future factions which would lead to civil wars.
  • In the original epic, Dante learns that the Damned here did not have to be dead to have their souls sent to this particular circle. Once treachery is committed, the sinner's soul automatically descends to Cocytus while the body on Earth is taken over by a demon.
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