A 12th-century French depiction of Hell.

Hell, in many religious and folkloric traditions, is a place of torment and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as eternal destinations while religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations. Typically these traditions locate hell in another dimension or under the Earth's surface and often include entrances to Hell from the land of the living. Other afterlife destinations include Heaven, Purgatory, Paradise, and Limbo.

Other traditions, which do not conceive of the afterlife as a place of punishment or reward, merely describe Hell as an abode of the dead, the grave, a neutral place located under the surface of Earth.

Literary comment[]

Numerous Harry Turtledove characters have made references to one or another Christian version of Hell. Such references are rarely significant to understanding the story.

Hell in The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump[]

Hell was ruled by Satan, who was served by a legion of infernal demons. The Pentagram, center of the Confederated Provinces' defenses, was working on a contingency plan in case Satan ever decided to invade the CPA. It would probably be a one-sided conflict in Hell's favor, but fortunately Satan did not seem to have any inclinations that way.

Hell in "Clash of Arms"[]

A secret entrance to Hell was located in a forest near Firenze. Satan dragged Master Stephen de Windesore there after defeating him in a wager based on knowledge of heraldry. The gates of Hell bore the inscription "Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate".[1]

Hell in The Gladiator[]

The Italian People's Republic was officially an atheist state which believed in no kind of afterlife. Nevertheless, much of Italy's population followed Catholicism, a religion with a long tradition of speculating on the precise dimensions and demographics of Hell. The communist school system took advantage of this by assigning students to study the template of Hell depicted in Dante's Inferno, and write lists of history's worst "capitalist" overlords, imagining which precise circles of Hell they were in.


  1. Departures, p. 102.