In Inferno, the first cantica of Dante's The Divine Comedy, Cocytus is the ninth and lowest circle of Hell. Cocytus is referred to as a frozen lake rather than a river, although it originates from the same source as the other infernal rivers. The lake is frozen by the flapping wings of Lucifer, or Satan; his tears replenish the lake, and are then frozen by his attempts to escape via the wings. In the story, Dante meets Giovanni Bergioni. Dante describes Cocytus as being the home of traitors and those who committed acts of complex fraud. It is divided into four descending "rounds," or sections:
Lucifer is at the center of the circle with his lower body trapped in ice. He is depicted with three faces and mouths. The central mouth gnaws Judas. Judas is chewed head foremost with his feet protruding while those gnawed in the side mouths, Brutus and Cassius, leading assassins of Julius Caesar, are both chewed feet foremost with their heads protruding.