Purgatory, as depicted at the end of Dante's Inferno.

Purgatory (also known as Purgatorio in Italian) was the second Kingdom of the Afterlife and was a major realm in Dante's Inferno.


In the original epic, the realm of Purgatory is envisioned as an island and mountain, situated in the Southern Hemisphere. The realm is categorized into three main sections: Ante-Purgatory, consisting of the island's shore and the mountain base; Purgatory itself, the main mountain; and the Earthly Paradise, or Eden, at the very summit.

Souls destined for Purgatory, similarly to those on the Shores of Acheron, gather at a river, the Tiber River in Italy, to await the ferry to the island, where they are picked up by an angelic helmsman, Charon's counterpart for Purgatory. Some of these souls can choose not to board the boat, if they feel they are not yet ready to make the journey on towards repentance, and they can remain behind until they feel up to the challenge.

In Purgatory itself, unlike Hell, while souls suffer it is due to personal choice and the desire to be forgiven of their sins. Here, with a minor amount of guidance, the souls are given the power to choose and discern for themselves what they must suffer and how long they have to do so. This is noted as being completely different from the suffering in Hell, which is a perpetual punishment without redemption, and which the damned are given no say in.

The prayers of people and loved ones still on Earth are stated to be able to help speed along the process of repentance, allowing the soul to advance more quickly through Purgatory.


The Roman statesman, Cato the Younger, was the host responsible for greeting repentant sinners, who arrive at the mountain via a ship captained by an angel. These souls arrive singing in praise of God (their contrition saved them from being condemned to Hell). Cato is cast in this role by Dante despite being a pagan, because of his fame as an orator and a virtuous man, symbolic of the love for Freedom.

Ante-Purgatory (the counterpart to Hell's Limbo and Shores of Acheron) is the location for the Late Repentants. While they were good people who sought God, they are placed here due to making Him wait because of worldly concerns, personal faults or circumstances. As such, they are forced in turn to wait a set amount of time before they can even begin to start on their penance; their circumstances determine the delay.

These sinners are housed in four subgroups: the Excommunicated, the Lazy or Indolent Repentants, those who died without Last Rites (Sudden Deaths) and the Deficient Rulers. The former two groups are given longer delays (since they had more opportunities to repent), while the latter two groups are given more leniency (due to not being in full control of their situation). The Excommunicated in particular must wait the amount of time from when they were excommunicated to their death, multiplied by 30, whereas the Indolent must wait the same amount of time that they delayed turning to God on Earth. The final group, the Deficient Rulers, are given their own particular residence, the Valley of Rulers, particularly because they gained their rulership by the Divine Right of Kings. While they must also wait, they are considered the highest among the Late Repentants due to having a duty to their people and country, which would distract them from their spiritual salvation. When night falls, the penitents are accosted by the Serpent of Eden, but the snake is always driven away from them by angels.

The souls of the Late Repentant, while not suffering any penalty, have their movements slowed down, to reflect how slow they were to turn towards God and to prevent them from attempting to climb the mountain before their wait time is up. While this can prove frustrating for the soul, they remain cheerful, as their place here means they are spared from Hell. It is further stated that the ascent up the mountain gets easier the further up you go; the bottom tiers are the toughest to climb, while the higher tiers are the least difficult.

Those ready to start their way up the mountain enter via the Gate of Purgatory, also called "Peter's Gate," which is guarded by a shining angel, bearing a sword.

The Terraces/Cornices[]

In a manner that was similar to Hell, Purgatory proper was divided into separate concentric areas. These areas, called Terraces (Cornices in some translations) went upward around the mountain. On each terrace, the penitent atone for a different deadly sin. In order from bottom to top, the sins addressed in these terraces are Pride, Envy, Anger, Sloth, Greed, Gluttony and Lust. The Deadly Sins expunged here are classified into three categories: Corrupted Love that caused harm (Pride, Envy, Anger), Deficient Love (Sloth) and Excessive Love of good things (Greed, Gluttony, Lust).

As in the Inferno, symbolic retribution was enforced. The countering virtues to each vice (for example, Humility countering Pride) are present on each terrace in at least two Biblical and two Classical examples. An appropriate Beatitude was associated with each terrace as well. At the very end of each was stationed an angel, who fully absolves the penitent and allows them passage further upward.

Unlike Hell, the souls can move between terraces, but only under specific conditions. The souls can advance among the terraces during daylight hours only, and they obeyed a code of honor to rise to the next terrace once they truly felt that they atoned completely for a specific sin. The focus of Purgatory was not on the action of sin, like Hell, but on the motive which caused the sins to occur. Furthermore, if a soul was guilty of one sin, but not others, they could skip ahead of the other Terraces. For example, if a soul was guilty of only Pride and Lust, after repenting on the Terrace of Pride, they could skip all of the other Terraces and advance directly to the Terrace of Lust.

Terrace 1: Pride[]

Those guilty of the sin of Pride are loaded with weights so they will be perpetually bowing down, in opposition to their haughty nature in life. As they walked with these burdens, they behold beautiful carvings on the ground, depicting both Biblical and mythological examples of Pride and its opposing Virtue, Humility. The examples shown in the carvings of Humility are the Annunciation and King David (who danced before God in thanks without regard for his kingly status) for the Biblical choice, and a legend of the Emperor Trajan, who despite his rank once stopped to help a poor widow on the road. The carvings of Pride (thirteen in total) show the story of Satan's fall from Heaven, as well as the Tower of Babel, King Saul, King Nimrod and King Rehoboam among others. From mythology, the carvings are said to depict Queen Niobe and Arachne (both of whom had divine gifts, prodding them to insult the gods who gave them these gifts, with dire consequences), the Giants who stormed Olympus (previously seen in Treachery), the fall of Troy, and Alcmaeon (who, because of his mother's vain craving for a cursed necklace, lost his father and was oathbound to kill his mother). The prayer associated with this terrace is the Lord's Prayer (Our Father) and the Beatitude "Blessed are the poor in spirit."

Terrace 2: Envy[]

The Envious have their eyes sewn shut, similar to hawks being trained to hunt, as their eyes were the chief gateway of their sin: they saw what they could not have and became jealous. Voices on the air stated examples of Envy and its opposite, Kindness, as the sinners listened. The examples heard of Kindness are of the Virgin Mary at the Wedding in Cana (during which Jesus turns water into wine for the wedding guests) and the myth of Orestes's close friendship with Pylades. The examples of Envy speak of the Biblical story of Cain and Abel, as his jealousy led to the first murder, and the mythological story of Aglauros, who, envious of her sister Herse becoming the god Mercury's lover, dared to block him from getting into Herse's room. Enraged, Mercury turned Aglauros into a stone statue.

Terrace 3: Anger/Wrath[]

The ones who fell victim to their Wrath walked about this terrace in a cloud of thick, acrid smoke, which reflects the bitter and blinding nature of rage. The examples of Anger and its opposite, Patience, are given as visions to the souls since the smoke prohibits visual examples. These examples are: for Patience, the Biblical story of finding Jesus in the Temple and the stoning of Saint Stephen, and the legend of Peisistratos (an Athenian king who pardoned a young man his wife tried to have killed, simply for hugging his daughter in public). For Wrath, the canto gives us the examples of Haman from the Book of Esther, and from mythology the stories of Procne (who killed her son and fed the parts to her husband after he had raped her sister) and Queen Amata (the wife of Lavinius and mother of Lavinia; rather than allow the Trojan prince Aeneas the right to marry Lavinia, Amata started a war over it in favor of another suitor. When Aeneas won the war, Amata was so enraged she committed suicide). The prayer that was associated with this place is the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God), which the souls on this terrace all sing together as one, symbolizing their need to learn how to work together in union. The corresponding Beatitude is "Blessed are the Meek."

Terrace 4: Sloth[]

The Slothful here raced around the terrace without stopping, attempting to purge their sin by use of Diligence, the opposite Virtue to Sloth. As they ran, they yelled the examples of Sloth and Diligence out that they needed to learn from. Due to being so busy, they don't speak with Dante or Virgil, and only quickly shouted directions back to them as they ran by; only one soul identifies himself but does not stop to chat with the poets. The examples given here are also brief: the ones of zeal are the Biblical story of the Virgin Mary rushing to see her cousin Elizabeth when she learns she is pregnant, the myth of Aeneas and stories of Caesar's conquest of Ilerda in Spain (despite Caesar later being mocked for it). The examples of Sloth, also brief, are the Israelites in the desert who would not follow Moses, and those of Aeneas's entourage who chose to stay behind in Sicily, not continuing on to Latinum (the Italian mainland). The associated Beatitude is "Blessed are they who mourn."

Terrace 5: Avarice[]

The Avaricious Souls laid face down on the dusty ground, unable to see items that would trigger their greed. They yelled out the examples of Greed by night and the examples of the corresponding Virtue of Generosity/Poverty by day. The examples include the birth of Christ in a manger for Poverty and the gift-giving of St. Nicholas for Generosity. The examples for Avarice are King Achan, Ananias and Sapphira (all Biblical), the mythical King Midas and Polymestor (who killed his own brother-in-law for gold and was lured to his own death with money by his vengeful mother-in-law), Crassus, King Pygmalion of Tyre and Heliodorus (all three historical). The associated prayer is Psalm 119:25. This is stated by Dante to be the most crowded of the terraces, since greed and wastefulness are such common sins. It is so packed that he and Virgil have to carefully make their way around all of the souls lying on the ground. It is here that they meet Statius, a fellow poet who has fully achieved redemption, and who accompanies Dante and Virgil the rest of the way up Purgatory.

Terrace 6: Gluttony[]

In order to redeem their Gluttony, the souls on that terrace fasted in the presence of an enormous tree full of fruit, starving themselves to the point that their souls actually grew thinner as they reflected on their sin. The tree itself spoke to the penitents, denying them its fruits and giving the examples of Gluttony's opposite, Temperance. A second tree at the end of the terrace gives the actual examples of the sin itself. This second tree is stated as being related to the Tree of Knowledge (though the original Tree is located in Eden at the very top of the mountain). The Biblical examples of Temperance include the Wedding of Cana once again (Mary asking for Jesus to turn the water to wine for others and not herself), the prophet Daniel (who refused rich meat and wine) and the life of John the Baptist; historic examples include how the women of Rome traditionally refused wine, and instead humbly chose water instead to drink. The example of Gluttony is the story of the Centaurs (known for their drunken violence), and Eve's disobedience in order to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. The associated prayer is Psalm 51:15. Dante invents a new Beatitude for this terrace: "Blessed are they who are so illumined by grace that the love of food does not kindle their desires beyond what is fitting."

Terrace 7: Lust[]

Finally, the Lustful continually weaved in and out of a massive wall of flames to purify themselves of their guilt. As they went, they shouted out the examples of Lust as well as praises for its opposite, Chastity, in Biblical and mythical tales. Examples of Chastity include the Virgin Mary and the goddess Diana. The examples of Lust include the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as the myth of Queen Pasiphae of Crete (the wife of King Minos who, as a punishment on her husband, was driven by the gods to lust for a bull, thus producing the Minotaur). Surprisingly, some of the Sodomites are found here repenting as well, embracing one another and kissing chastely as they sped by. Once these souls felt that they fully repented their sin, they will pass completely through the flames to enter the Earthly Paradise (the Garden of Eden, which will lead on to Heaven itself). No matter what the sin, every soul in Purgatory must pass through this final wall of fire to progress to Heaven. The associated prayer is the hymn "Summae Deus Clementiae" (God of Supreme Clemency).

The Earthly Paradise/Garden of Eden[]

At the summit of Mount Purgatory was the Garden of Eden, where those who completed their time in Purgatory ascended to Heaven. This entry into Eden and continuance beyond was signified by an earthquake harmlessly shaking the mountain. Eden is depicted as unspoiled and having perfect beauty: what the world was meant to be before the Fall of Man. Due to the original sin of Adam and Eve, no mortal, living or dead, is permitted to reside in Eden again; the sin of humankind makes them unfit to stay there. Only the souls of those who successfully completed their penitence on Purgatory are pure enough to enter, but none remain, as they are meant to move on to be with God.

Before continuing on to Heaven, the redeemed souls must bathe in one river, Lethe (which purges all memory of past sins), and then drink from another river, Eunoe (which restores the memories of all good deeds they had done in life). After this, the soul literally becomes light enough to float upwards towards the Heavenly Spheres.

It was here that Virgil departed (being a pagan soul, he could not enter God's presence. Virgil also served as a symbol of Human Reason, which can only take a person so far in reaching God). Virgil and Dante have a heartfelt farewell before his guide disappears; Statius would also take his leave and move on towards Heaven. Soon after, Dante was reunited with Beatrice, who would be his guide in Heaven. After being scolded by Beatrice and confessing his wrongdoings, Dante himself is bathed in Lethe by a mysterious, ethereal woman named Mathilda. After drinking from Eunoe and seeing the Tree of Knowledge itself, Dante is finally ready to ascend to Heaven, the final realm of the Afterlife.

Dante's Inferno[]

The realm of Purgatory appeared briefly at the end of Dante's Inferno, when Dante finally escaped from Hell. When Dante slowly made his way out of a cave, naked and stripped of all of his equipment, he beheld a large mountain, with several waterfalls streaming out of it at several points. Stating, "I did not die and I did not live," Dante smiled and ripped the cross-shaped tapestry off his chest, tossing it aside. Dante began to walk toward the mountain. His long journey through the Inferno finally came to an end, but his journey through Purgatory only just began.

Known Residents[]

The following table included the characters who are known to be in Heaven. Unless otherwise noted, all who appear in this table are exclusive to the original book and are not found in the game. Note: Characters with technical matters or special circumstances would appear with a "*" next to their name.

Resident Location Cause(s) of Residency
Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis/Cato the Younger* Limbo (originally),

Shores of Purgatory

Host of Purgatory; symbol of Freedom

A former statesman of Rome, Cato the Younger was known for denouncing the rivalry between Caesar and Pompey. Siding with Pompey, Cato was ultimately defeated, but committed suicide rather than be captured, valuing his freedom above all else. Cato served as a symbol of Liberty to the Romans.

*Despite being a pagan and a suicide, he was ultimately forgiven by God and appointed to be the host and initial guide to those newly arrived in Purgatory. Cato's second wife, Marcia, remained in Limbo.

Casella Shores of Purgatory Repentant of Sin; former friend to Dante Alighieri

A musician whom Dante had known in life, Casella would often set Dante's works to music.

Manfred/Manfredi of Sicily Ante-Purgatory/ The Excommunicated Warred with the Catholic Church

The king of Sicily and legitimized son of Frederick II. While Manfred was often at war with the Papacy, the Church could not excommunicate him due to his power. Nevertheless, for his clashes with the Pope, after Manfred's death a vengeful Pope Clement IV had the Cardinal-Archbishop of Cosenza dig up Manfred's body and toss it outside of the borders of Naples. Manfred is sentenced to wait with the Excommunicated despite never being officially excommunicated.

Belacqua Ante-Purgatory/The Indolent Repented of sin while on his deathbed

Belacqua was revealed to be another friend to Dante and was dubbed among others as "the laziest man in Florence." A manufacturer of musical instrument parts, Belacqua was said to constantly put off doing good and seeking redemption until his literal dying day.

Jacopo del Cassero Ante-Purgatory/Sudden Death Murdered as an act of revenge

A magistrate of Bologna, Cassero unfortunately ran afoul of Count Azzo VIII of Este/Azzolino. In retaliation, Azzo had his men chase Cassero into a swamp and kill him as he was on his way to Milan. Had Jacopo lived, he might have been able to repent of his own sins.

Bonconte Ante-Purgatory/Sudden Death Killed in Battle

The son of Guido da Montefeltro, Bonconte was a member of the Ghibelline faction. During the battle of Campaldino (in which Dante may have fought as well), Bonconte was killed as the Ghibellines were soundly defeated. In Purgatory, he complains neither his wife nor friends pray for his soul, which would help him reach repentance more quickly.

Pia/Pia de' Tolomei of Siena Ante-Purgatory/Sudden Death Victim of Uxoricide

Pia identifies herself as a woman from the town of Siena. In her own words in the epic, Pia states that she was married, but killed by her husband in Maremma.

Benincasa di Laterino Ante-Purgatory/Sudden Death Murdered by beheading

Laterino was stated to have been a judge of the city of Arezzo. When he sentenced a man to death, the man's brother followed Laterino and sliced off his head in a fit of rage.

Guccio de'Tarlati/ Ciacco de'Tarlati Ante-Purgatory/Sudden Death Drowned during a battle

During either the battle of Montaperti or Campaldino, de'Tarlati fell into the river Arno and drowned.

Federico Novello Ante-Purgatory/Sudden Death Killed in a fight

The son of Guido Novello, Federico was reported to have died in a fight with a band of men from Arezzo.

Farinata of Pisa Ante-Purgatory/Sudden Death Murdered

The son of Marzucco degli Scornigiani, Farinata was killed in his native city. His father, in turn, openly forgave his son's murderer. In another version of the story, Count Ugolino tried to leave Farinata's body unburied, but Marzucco managed to impress the count with his courage, enough for Ugolino to hand over the body to Marzucco.

Orso degli Alberti Ante-Purgatory/Sudden Death Murdered by a cousin

An Italian count and relative of Azzo VIII d'Este, Orso was the son of Napoleone degli Alberti. He was eventually killed by his own first cousin.

Pierre de la Brosse Ante-Purgatory/Sudden Death Executed, possibly on false pretenses

The personal doctor for King Louis IX and King Phillipe III of France. de la Brosse was later executed by Phillipe for unclear reasons, but it is implied that his death was caused by the machinations of Queen Marie of Brabant.

Sordello Ante-Purgatory/Sudden Death Unknown

A 13th century troubadour and politician, his manner of death is unknown. His work, the Complaint, was a criticism of rulers at the time. Upon meeting, Virgil recognizes Sordello as a fellow citizen of Mantua and the two poets embrace.

Rudolf I of Hapsburg Ante-Purgatory/Valley of Rulers King of Germany

The child of Count Albert IV of Habsburg and godson of Emperor Frederick II, Rudolf became the first King of Germany. Despite his establishment of the Hapsburgs as a powerful dynasty, Dante paints Rudolf and his son Albert (who is still alive on Earth) as neglectful, which resulted in Italy remaining a divided country for centuries. Ironically, he is comforted in Purgatory by his former rival, King Ottokar of Bohemia.

Ottokar II of Bohemia Ante-Purgatory/Valley of Rulers King of Bohemia

Nicknamed "the Iron and Gold King," Ottokar inherited the throne of Bohemia after the death of his father and brother. Ottokar was a great rival to Rudolf I of Germany, who defeated the Bohemian king and took several duchies from him. He was known as an effective ruler, though is mentioned to have been both respected and feared. In Purgatory, he now holds a friendship with his former opponent.

Phillip III of France Ante-Purgatory/Valley of Rulers King of France

Known as "the Bold," Phillip inherited the throne after his father's death while on crusade. Phillip was lauded for expanding the territory of the French throne, although at the insistence of his queen, he was responsible for the death of Pierre de la Brosse. Ultimately, while on another crusade Phillip was forced to retreat due to a dysentery epidemic; he fled to Perpignan, where he died. He was also the father of Phillip IV of France and Navarre, whom Dante despised as the most evil ruler of all.

Henry I of Navarre Ante-Purgatory/Valley of Rulers King of Navarre

Notorious for his extreme obesity, it is said that, while a peaceable king, Henry died by suffocating in his own body fat. It was believed that Henry repented with his last breath, allowing his presence in Purgatory. Dante calls him the father-in-law of the "Plague of France" (King Phillip IV of France and Navarre), as Henry's daughter, Joan, became Phillip's wife.

Pedro III of Aragon Ante-Purgatory/Valley of Rulers King of Aragon, Valencia and Sicily

The son of Jaime I of Aragon and husband of Constance II of Sicily, daughter of Manfred. Pedro engaged in several campaigns, brutally crushing territorial rebellions. At the invitation of a faction in Sicily, Pedro invaded and conquered the island kingdom, pressing the blood claim of his wife to the throne. In his campaign, he engaged in the Aragonese Crusade, in which he faced Phillip III of France, prior to the latter's withdrawal from battle. Pedro himself would die shortly after Phillip, but on his deathbed Pedro made a full confession of his acts of warfare and received absolution.

Charles I of Anjou Ante-Purgatory/Valley of Rulers King of Sicily and Albania

The youngest son of Louis VIII of France, Charles served as the Duke of Anjou and Maine before his ascension to the throne of Sicily, which, supported by the Pope, Charles achieved by ousting Manfred and his son. However, Charles was later challenged by Pedro III of Aragon, whose wife Constance had a claim to the Sicilian throne. Charles was ultimately deposed in the War of the Sicilian Vespers by Pedro. Attempting to continue the war with Aragon, Charles would ultimately sicken and die, leaving behind a grandson, Charles Martel, heir of Hungary. In Purgatory, Charles and Pedro are found singing hymns together.

Henry III of England Ante-Purgatory/Valley of Rulers King of England

A member of the Plantagenet family, nephew of King Richard and heir of King John I. Despite being known as a pious man, he led a string of disastrous foreign campaigns to regain French lands lost by his father and was notorious for his antisemitic policies and vengeful demeanor when crossed. In Purgatory, he sits alone and apart from the other mentioned kings.

William VII of Monferrato Ante-Purgatory/Valley of Rulers Marquis of Monferrato/Montferrat, titular King of Thessalonica

An ally of Charles I of Anjou, William would later switch sides against Charles and join with Alfonso X of Castile, a claimant of the former King of Sicily, Manfred. William's battles in Sicily and later with the city of Alessandria tore his lands apart, bringing his people great suffering. He was eventually captured by the Alessandrians and locked in a cage until the Marquis starved to death.

Ugolino “Nino” de' Visconti Ante-Purgatory/Valley of Rulers Judge of Gallura and lord of Sardinia

The grandson of Count Ugolino, Visconti was appointed as the justice of the city of Gallura, noted for his sense of justice and humility. After a quarrel with his grandfather over control of the city of Pisa, both were overthrown by Archbishop Ruggieri. In retaliation, Visconti led an army to attack the city, but eventually peace was restored before Visconti’s death. Dante was once acquainted with him.

Currado Malaspina/Conrad Malaspina “the Younger” Ante-Purgatory/Valley of     Rulers Nobleman of the Malaspina family

Illegitimate son of the Marquess of Villefranca in Lunigiana and Virgoletta, Currado was raised by the head of the clan: his grandfather Currado Malaspina the Elder. His dealings with his clan relations make him remembered in writings as a champion of tradition, virtue and the good reputation of family. The Malaspina family would later give Dante asylum during his exile.

Omberto Aldobrandeschi Terrace of Pride Pride in heritage

An Italian nobleman and Count of Santafiore, a member of the prominent Aldobrandeschi family. Due to political connections, Omberto was killed in a war against the city of Siena.

Oderisi d’Aggobio Terrace of Pride Pride in artistic talents

An Italian painter, Oderisi was called by Pope Boniface VIII to illuminate manuscripts for the Pope’s personal library, including two Bibles. Among the souls present, he shows an instance of humbleness when he praises his student as being better than him.

Provenzano Salvani Terrace of Pride Tyrannical misuse of power, pride of rank

The leader of the Ghibellines of Siena. Salvani was noted for being involved in the Battle of Montaperti and was the one who demanded the destruction of Florence after its defeat by the Ghibellines (this was fiercely and successfully resisted by Farinata). Salvani was ultimately captured and executed by the vengeful Florentines. Dante states that Salvani was spared Hell due to a single act of humility, when he begged in the streets for money to save a captured friend.

Sapia Salvani Terrace of Envy Celebrating the defeat of the Sienese due of jealousy

Aunt of Provenzano Salvi. Despite their relation, it is said that she prayed for the defeat of the Ghibellines at the hands of the Florentine army and was delighted when her wish came true, especially when Provenzano was killed. Presumably, she was jealous that her nephew had gotten such a high position of power in Siena, not her husband. Her soul was interceded for by a well-known Franciscan friar and comb-maker, allowing her advancement in Purgatory to the Terrace of Envy; it is stated that she would have been still waiting in Ante-Purgatory if not for those prayers.

Guido del Duca Terrace of Envy Jealousy of others’ happiness

A Ghibelline and member of the Onesti family of Ravenna. In life, Guido admits to Dante, he often became bitterly envious and angry at anyone’s good fortune.

Rinieri da Calboli Terrace of Envy Unknown (possibly envious of lost lordship of Faenza)

Rineri da Calboli was a Guelph and former lord of the city of Faenza. However, he was later ousted from his city by the Ghibellines, after which he recaptured Faenza. However, the Ghibellines later returned and killed da Calboli in battle.

Marco Lombardo Terrace of Anger Short-tempered

A famous courtier, Marco possibly served Count Ugolino. The name Marco Lombardo is a pseudonym, as the real name of his historical figure is unknown. While renown as a noble person, he was also notorious for his aggressiveness.

Gherardo II of San Zeno Terrace of Sloth Unknown (possibly spiritual sloth)

The abbot of San Zeno during the reign of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. His identity is not certain, but based on the dates, Gherardo II appears to be the most likely identity of this man.

Adrian V Terrace of Greed Desire for worldly goods and/or reluctance to renounce them

Born Ottobuono de’Fieschi, he served as a Papal legate of Pope Clement IV. Upon the Pope’s death, Ottobuono was elected as his successor, taking the name Adrian V. However, Adrian would remain Pope for only 38 days before his death by illness; he was also never formally ordained. His sin of avarice stems from one of three theories: either he was too desirous of the prestige as a Pope, he did not want to give up worldly possessions as members of the clergy must do upon ordination or Dante confused him with Adrian IV, who was rumored to have been avaricious.

Hugh I Capet Terrace of Greed Founder of the French Capetian dynasty, held responsible for the sins of the family

The King of the Franks and progenitor of the royal House of Capet. Hugh greatly laments the greed and degeneracy of his descendants, who would ultimately cause the removal of the Holy See to Avignon and the corruption of the Papacy. Dante holds Hugh personally responsible for this, especially because of his exile.

Publius Papinius Statius* Terrace of Greed (originally), Heaven Excessive Spending (redeemed)

A Roman poet, Statius followed in the footsteps of his father, who was also an acclaimed composer of verses. Statius himself was often welcomed at the court of Emperor Domitian, and composed the Thebaid, a collection of poems in imitation of Virgil. According to Dante, Statius had secretly been converted to Christianity during his lifetime and was placed in Purgatory due to his prodigal habits. As Dante and Virgil advance in Purgatory, Statius is fully redeemed of his sins and follows the pair up the mountain. Statius ultimately enters Heaven as Dante is reunited with Beatrice.

*As Virgil is a symbol of Human Reason, Statius serves as a symbol of Repentance and Salvation

Forese Donati Terrace of Gluttony Immoderate indulgence in food, spending and vulgar behavior

Childhood friend of Dante, kinsman of Dante’s real-life wife, Gemma Donati, and the brother of Corso and Piccarda Donati. Forese was able to advance rapidly in Purgatory thanks to the prayers of his faithful wife, Nella. He informs Dante that his sister Piccarda can be found in Heaven, while Corso is destined for Hell.

Bonagiunta Orbicciani Terrace of Gluttony Overindulgence in food and drink

A former judge and notary from Lucca, Bonagiunta recognizes Dante from his work, La Vita Nuova. He claims to finally understand Dante’s “sweet new style” of poetry and praises his work. Orbicciani was known for his extravagance when it came to food.

Martin IV Terrace of Gluttony Overindulgence in feasting

Born Simon de Brie of Tours, while Martin was generally considered a good Pope, he was also notorious for his gluttony. His excess was so great that he was said to have died from such immense indulgence on delicacies.

Ubaldino della Pila Terrace of Gluttony Overindulgence in feasting and partying

The father of Archbishop Ruggieri, Ubaldino was a former knight. He was infamous for hosting the Pope and his entourage with a great feast, lasting several months on end.

Boniface of Ravenna Terrace of Gluttony Emphasized worldly satisfaction over spiritual needs

An Archbishop of Ravenna, Dante claims that Boniface was more focused on providing lavish meals for his clergy and parish, as opposed to helping them spiritually.

Messer of Forli Terrace of Gluttony Overindulgence in drink

The marchese of Forli, whom Dante states was always only concerned with drinking.

Guido Guinizelli Terrace of Lust Extreme desires, possibly inspired others to lust

A poet from Bologna, Guido was known for his love poetry and as a pioneer of Dante’s beloved “sweet new style.” He immediately went to the Terrace of Lust after death due to being fully repentant of his sins.

Arnaut Daniel Terrace of Lust Unknown

A 12th century French troubadour, jester and inventor of the sestina poem form. He was famous for his compositions of love and romance. Dante was a great admirer of his works, and imitated Daniel’s style in the canto.

Matilda The Earthly Paradise Cleanses newly redeemed souls in Lethe and Eunoe

A maiden first found picking flowers, she greets Dante, Virgil and Statius. She also explains that they are in Eden, as well as the function of the rivers Lethe and Eunoe. She later bathes Dante in Lethe, and with Beatrice brings Dante and Statius to Eunoe to drink.


  • As Dante leaves Hell and rips the cross from his chest, the cross morphs into an ashen serpent and Lucifer's laughter can be heard. This may indicate that Dante is not quite free from Lucifer's machinations yet.
  • In "The Inferno," to leave Hell, Dante hangs onto Virgil's back and they proceeded to slowly make their way down Lucifer's body (which is said to span the entire diameter of Earth). They arrived in the Southern Hemisphere. Once there, Dante and Virgil finally reached the surface and proceeded to observe the stars in Heaven before beginning the journey to Purgatory.
  • It can be assumed from the text that Purgatory, if it were to be on Earth, is in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. However, some text infers Dante originally intended for Purgatory to be close to Jerusalem.
  • While journeying through the circle of Fraud in Hell, Dante encounters the soul of the Greek hero Odysseus (Ulysses), who describes his final voyage. During this trip, Odysseus actually spotted Purgatory at a distance. However, when he attempted to get nearer to the mountain, his ship was capsized by a massive wave as no living human was meant to go there against God's will. The king of Ithaca drowned as a result of the ship sinking.
    • This version of Odysseus's death is an invention by Dante, as it is speculated that Dante had no access to the entirety of Homer's Odyssey and had to rely on other sources. According to Dante, Odysseus died five months after leaving Aeaea, the island home of his lover Circe, but the original Odyssey clearly contradicted this, with Odysseus eventually returning home safely to Ithaca about six years after leaving Circe.
  • The Terraces of Purgatory are in the reverse order of the Circles of Hell (The Circle of Lust is technically first in Hell after Limbo, while in Purgatory the Terrace of Lust is the last tier).
  • Interestingly, one of the Late Repentant souls points out that God has the final say in whether a soul is worthy of a chance at redemption or not, specifically saying that no worldly authority (the Clergy or Pope) can deny this to any soul that has proved its devotion to God.
  • Saint Lucia has a brief appearance in this segment, carrying Dante as he sleeps from the Valley of Rulers to the Gate of Purgatory. Dante learns of this from Virgil the following morning.
  • Despite popular culture and perpetuation, the actual sin of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah is unclear. Many presume they are guilty of homosexual activity and unnatural sexual behaviors, but this is never explicitly stated in the Bible. The Book of Ezekiel states that Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty of such excessive pride, they refused to help those in more difficult circumstances. This was termed as an "abomination," for which God destroyed the cities (lack of hospitality was universally condemned across cultures and religions, even subject to divine wrath). It is likely that the association with homosexuality came from two things: the Sodomites' desire for the disguised angels in order to rape them, and the term "abomination" being used in the Book of Leviticus to describe homosexual behavior. Dante continues this tradition by having the Sodomites acting as symbols of homosexual lust (as Pasiphae acts as the example of extreme heterosexual lust).
  • The identity of Mathilda in the final segment of Purgatorio has never been concretely identified. It has been debated whether she was a real person or is simply a complex symbol with theological meanings. If she is the latter, it has been speculated by translator John Ciardi that Matilda is symbolic of Dante's innocence or "the Active Life of the Soul."
  • Lethe was one of the lesser-known rivers of the Underworld in Greek mythology, although some tales identify it as a pool rather than a river. Meaning "Forgetfulness" or "Oblivious," souls entering the Afterlife were required to drink from Lethe in order to lose all memory of their former lives on Earth, though its location was not clear. The river was stated to be located anywhere from outside the palace of Hades, god of the Underworld, to a cave inhabited by Hypnos, god of sleep. According to Virgil, souls of the Elysian Fields (the Greco-Roman equivalent of Heaven for mortal souls) had the option of being reborn but had to drink from Lethe before doing so, to avoid any confusion or problems between their old life and the new (those born with memories of past lives were explained as having somehow avoided drinking from Lethe).
    • Lethe had a counterpart river/pool called Mnemosyne, which could restore memories to the drinker. Mnemosyne was also the name of a Titaness in Greek mythology, the mother of the Nine Muses. The river Eunoe in Dante's work appears to be based on Mnemosyne, but the name (meaning "Good Mind" in Greek) is an invention by Dante. The effect of Eunoe is also slightly different, in that it only restores/reinforces the memories of noble deeds, whereas Mnemosyne restores/preserves all memories, good and bad.
    • The sins of the redeemed destined for Heaven, carried on Lethe's water, are poured down to Hell, where they land in Lake Cocytus and freeze alongside the Treacherous.
  • It is explained that, as gravity anchors bodies to the world, Sin is what keep souls tethered to the "ground" of the Afterlife. Upon being purged of sins both from the ordeals of Purgatory and the ablutions from the rivers of the Earthly Paradise, a spirit can then actually float and fly upwards. This becomes more noticeable in retrospect of the previous parts of the book; all the mortal souls walk (or suddenly appear out of nowhere if traveling between realms, such as Virgil's appearance in the Dark Forest and his departure at the summit of Purgatory).
  • Although the Roman poet Statius had achieved full redemption and followed Dante into Eden, it is unknown what sphere of Heaven he had ascended to, as he quickly disappears when Dante meets with Beatrice, and Statius is not encountered again in the third segment of the epic.