Lake Avernus

Quick Facts: Lake Avernus
Countries: Italy
Area: 2 km² (50.2 mi²)
Avg. Depth: 3.5 m (11 ft)
Max. Depth: 60 m (200 ft)
Surface elevation: 1 m (3 ft 3 in)
Type: Volcanic crater lake

Lake Avernus is a small, volcanic crater lake located about 10 miles (16 km) west of Naples, Italy. Its modern italian name is Lago d’Averno and its Roman name was Lacus Avernus.

In classical legend the lake was the entrance to Hades. Dense woods covered the surrounding land, and, according to legend, the air was charged with such foul, unhealthful vapors that birds flying over Avernus were asphyxiated and fell into its waters.

Ancient writers believed that the Cimmerians lived along the banks of the Avernus and that the legendary Cumaean sibyl had a cave nearby. Under the Roman Emperor Augustus, a canal was built connecting the lake to the sea, and the lake became the site of a naval headquarters known as Portus Julius.

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