The horrific hole in the ground is about to consume Rome's sacred geography--Styx was a stable boundary that separated distinct domains, but here Cocytus
is an all-engulfing hellmouth that swallows spatial distinctions.
In Greek mythology five rivers of the underworld are mentioned: Acheron, Cocytus
, Lethe, Phlegethon (or Pyriphlegethon) and which other?
Now on the banks of Cocytus
and sorrowful Acheron will I soon sing my prophecies.
In fact, Picone holds that Ovid's description of the winter landscape along the Danube led to Dante's invention of Cocytus
, the frozen pit in hell, which is the point in the universe farthest from God.
In Dante's pit of Hell, whose floor is the frozen Lake Cocytus
, and where the inhabitants are plunged up to their necks in ice, one hears a similar rage.
Picone suggests a connection between Ovid's frozen sea and Dante's frozen Cocytus
in the Inferno (16-19).
They steeped me thrice in Cocytus
from Hades's shore,
A note to the passage by Wilson associates the infernal rivers, Acheron, Cocytus
, and Lethe with the canals leading to the pyramids.
The references to Cocytus
and Acheron are the last to the classical world.