Following Maddy's comment, in fairness to colleagues, I should perhaps be
more specific. The Welsh medieval texts - unsurprisingly - do avail
themselves of all the traditional imagery of the pains of hell and its fire;
they also include, however, what seems to be more classical allusions to
(among other things) ice and swampy regions [eg. *oerwern / ia*]. This is,
of course, hardly unique to Wales, and presumably classical allusions are
the ultimate source for these images. Can anyone remember who first employed
Vergil et al. in their eschatological images?
As an aside to this, Siôn Cent (c. 1370-1430), whose poems I am at present
editing, has an alarming array of images for the more unpleasant bits of the
afterlife, and one very interesting allusion to purgatory as *cwm y caith*
[lit. `the valley of the slaves']. This too may be known to others.
From: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
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Sent: 05 January 2001 10:47
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Subject: Re: The "Hell Mouth" in medieval art & architecture.
Paul's posting about medieval Welsh literary images of Hell as an icy marsh
is interesting - the visual depiction of Hell, on the other hand (as in the
Doom over the chancel arch at Wrexham) is of flames. Another example of the
disparity between visual and literary imagery ?