When the poem moves into the Celtic landscape, it leaves the classical world with allusions to the underworld rivers of the Cocytus
The crowd turned on her; she burned as if the fires of Cocytus
were inside her.
As Benvenuto da Imola noted, the changes in the name of the same river that Dante describes (from Acquaqueta to Montone) parallels the name changes of the infernal river, and anticipates the change in name that the river Phlegethon will undergo in becoming the Cocytus
when it reaches the bottom of Hell.
The waters of the Acheron, marking the boundary to Hell, the waters of the Styx, the Phlegethon, and Cocytus
, even the little fiumicello that gives safe passage across the desert of blasphemers, sodomites, and usurers, (27) are all associated with punishment.
When Virgil and the pilgrim approach the edge of Cocytus
, they see that it is surrounded by a ring of giants, whom Dante describes in classical terms:
Instead, the novice reader faces complicated explanations such as the following: "Moving down the well of giants, one arrives at the frozen lake of Cocytus
, the four-zoned ninth circle of traitors, in the extremely narrow center of which is huge Lucifer and the three men he eternally punishes" (x).
Buried in waves coming from Cocytus
, or in turbid and black water, thus he depicts the demon Geryon.