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In Greek mythology, Lethe was the river of forgetfulness, one of five rivers in Hades, the subterranean realm of the dead. Anyone who drank from Lethe lost their memory, and the shades of the dead were required to do so in order to forget their life on Earth.[1]

Unlike the other rivers in Hades, Lethe does not appear in Dante's Inferno. Instead, it flows through the Earthly Paradise, where souls that have passed through Purgatory must drink from it in order to forget their sins, as preparation for entering Heaven.[2]


  1. http://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/PotamosLethe.html
  2. Purgatorio, canto XXXIII