First came the seen, then thus the palpable
Elysium, though it were in the halls of hell...

Ezra Pound, Canto LXXXI

HELL-ON-LINE is developing as a comprehensive on-line collection of over 100 visions, tours and descriptions of the infernal otherworld from the cultures of the world: principally from the Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Zoroastrian, Islamic and Jewish traditions from 2000 BCE to the present. These texts reveal the development of hell and its relationship to ideas of judgment, reincarnation, salvation, the apocalypse, and cyclic time. Visionaries and voyagers describe the geography of the underworld. Much like any other travelers, they lay out locations and distances, compass points, and physical characteristics, especially the surface features: oceans, mountains, rivers, roads, bridges and ditches. They also describe the inhabitants — both human souls and evil spirits — and the relationships between them, as they fulfill their particular doom, engendered by sins committed in this life, according to the laws and norms of the next life.

THIS INTERACTIVE COMPILATION of texts and images describes the “place” that has preoccupied the imagination for four millennia. From hell’s origins, through its mature formulations across a variety of world cultures, to its questionable status in our own hands and minds, the selections include texts from across the world – including several works never before available in English – and images from historical cultures to the current press and cinema.

THIS ON-LINE RESOURCE is a work in progress and will serve as a searchable encyclopedia on the history, geography, population, motifs, and meaning of hell throughout its long history.

Introduction, timeline, bibliography, interactive index, and other electronic tools will be available free online. App. 100 full-text readings are being made be available for purchase as downloadable PDFs and now also as paperbacks available through

As of 4 October 2021, extensive materials on Ancient Near Eastern, Zoroastrian, Egyptian, Judeo-Christian, Buddhist and Hindu, Greek and Roman, and Islamic hell are now available online.

Comments or Questions?
co id rev. 10/04/2021