Erebe (Erebus) was originally one of the Titans who was cast by Zeus into Tartarus. The word is thus used as a synonym for the lower world, especially those regions where evil deeds are expiated.
fatalite. See note on l. 245.
gehenne. Gehenna was the valley near Jerusalem where crimmals were executed. In the New Testament it is used as a synonym for hell.
Nimrod is again the embodiment of the spirit of war. Aaron typifies ecclesiastical resistance to progress.
Beccaria was an Italian publicist (1738-94) who worked for the reform of the penal law. His principal work was a small volume called Treatise on Crime and Punishment, which was translated into nearly every language in Europe. His opposition to the use of torture, to the infliction of the death penalty, and to arbitrary arrest no doubt appealed specially to Hugo.
Dracon, i.e. Draco, the Athenian legislator, the memory of the excessive severity of whose laws lingers in our adjective draconian.
Empedocle. Empedocles was a Greek philosopher who was born in Sicily about 450 B.C. He is best remembered from the tradition that he threw himself down Etna in despair at his incapacity to solve the problem of its action.
Promethee. Prometheus was the Titan who stole fire from heaven and gave it to men, for which Zeus chained him to a rock in the Caucasus. In legend and poetry he figures as the benefactor and civilizer of mankind.
pesanteur. See note on l. 305.
l’antique ideal, the ancient visions, as for instance those of Isaiah and Virgil, of a golden age.
farouche, i. e. that has never been realized.
L. 473. i. e. leaving the old humanity farther and farther behind.
buccin. See note on LA CONFIANCE.
blanchissant l’absolu, i.e. lighting up infinite space.
urne, used as the symbol of Destiny. See notes on PLEIN CIEL.
L. 117. i.e. entered the immeasurable and infinite.
gehennam, another form of gehenne, closer to the Hebrew geia Hinnom, the valley of Hinnom. See note on PLEIN CIEL.
avernes. Avernus was a lake in Campania, which the popular Roman belief held to be an entrance to the lower regions. Hence comes averne, used as a synonvm for hell.
L. 165. See note under PUISSANCE EGALE BONTE.
WORKS OF VICTOR HUGO.