Citadel of Limbo
|Prev. Circle||The Gates of Hell|
“Here suffer those who did not sin, yet did not have the required portal of our faith. Their punishment is the denial of Paradise.” — Virgil
- The term derives from the Latin term "Limbus" which translates to "Edge" or "Boundary". It is believed to be the outermost region of Hell, to which the condemned souls who were not sinful, but lacked the proper faith to enter Paradise or those who never received baptism are placed. However, this concept of Limbo is not officially taught by the Catholic Church. Rather, it reflects Dante's belief of Hell and everyone that is supposed to dwell there.
- In The Divine Comedy, it is elaborated that due to these souls being otherwise innocent or righteous, the only punishment that they have to undergo is never being able to be in the presence of God. They are otherwise treated with honor and have their own version of a peaceful resting place: a magnificent palace of Wisdom and Virtue (inferior compared with Heaven). These souls forever hungered after the ultimate knowledge and meaning of life, but are doomed never to be satisfied. The children who died before they had a chance to be christened are also found here (though they are not demonized as they are in the game). By this reasoning, the sin of never having the chance to believe in God is considered the lightest of all sins in Dante's view and deserves the least of penalties. The souls who got the chance and accepted or believed that there is a God are spared this fate, and could go on to Purgatory and Heaven.
- This circle has many similarities to the Elysian Fields of Greco-Roman mythology. According to the myth, the souls of the good and pious are sent to this beautiful land where there is always peace, plenty and happiness, with neither a need for food or rest. There is eternal light and joy in the Elysian Fields and especially virtuous souls are given their own island to dwell upon: The Isle of the Blessed.
- In the original Divine Comedy, the host spirit of this circle, Pontius Pilate is not found in Limbo, but in the Vestibule of Hell for standing aside while Jesus Christ was crucified by the order of the Sanhedrin. Those in the Vestibule were punished for never choosing sides by manifestations of their own guilty conscience.
- In "Inferno", in this circle, Dante encountered the mythological figures of Orpheus, Electra, Hector, the Amazon queen named Penthesilea, Aeneas, Latinus, Camilla and Lavinia. He also meets the poets named Homer, Horace, Ovid and Lucan; the mathematician named Euclid; the astronomer named Ptolemy; the philosophers named Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, Democritus, Diogenes, Anaxagoras, Thales, Empedocles, Heraclitus, Dioscorides, Cicero, Linus, Seneca and the historic figures of Hippocrates, Avicenna, Galen, Julius Caesar, Lucius Junius Brutus, Lucretia, Julia, Marcia, Cornelia, Averroes and Saladin. Virgil himself pities his fellow shades trapped in Limbo since they could not rise above their current state without the awareness of God.
- Virgil mentions to Dante that the Biblical figures named Adam, Eve, Abel, Noah, Moses, David, Abraham, Jacob, Rachel "And many others" were also found in this circle until Jesus arrived in Limbo and brought them to Heaven (Referred to as the Harrowing of Hell.)
|Nine Circles of Hell|
|Limbo · Lust · Gluttony · Greed · Anger · Heresy · Violence · Fraud · Treachery|