Tartarus comes from the Greek word Tartaroo which is used only once in the New Testament in 2 Peter 2:4.

"For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell (Lit. Tartarus) and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; . . ." (2 Peter 2:4, ESV). Most English versions, such as the KJV, NASB, NIV, and ESV, translate the word as Hell. According to Thayer’s Greek Definitions, Tartaroo is "the name of the subterranean region, doleful and dark, regarded by the ancient Greeks as the abode of the wicked dead, where they suffer punishment for their evil deeds; it answers to Gehenna of the Jews." John F. Walvoord writes that the term "is frequently found in Jewish apocalyptic literature, where it refers to a place even lower than hell where the wicked are punished."^[1]^

In Greek mythology, Tartarus is a place in the underworld — even lower than Hades. In Roman mythology, Tartarus is the place where enemies of the gods are sent. Virgil describes it in the Aeneid as a gigantic place, the deepest part of the underworld, surrounded by the flaming river Phlegethon and triple walls to prevent its tormented captives from escaping. ^[2]^


  1. John F. Walvoord in Four Views on Hell, p. 22
  2. Virgil, The Aeneid, Bk VI:535-627 The Sibyl Describes Tartarus.

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