For my final project, I’ve decided to create Pandemonium, the city of demons, from Milton’s Paradise Lost, in Minecraft. I’ve also written a piece about how I see Pandemonium as an inverse of Heaven, which you can find here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iVsI0-ga5nDHRgxj3TgSTKgsnswjHfL0DFpqqSEdADU/edit?usp=sharing
Now, this build hasn’t been easy, and I’ve had to take a few creative liberties. My version of the room in which the demons meet may not be able to fit thousands, with “the Gates
And Porches wide” (761-762), but I’ve created something still based on the text, and I’ve done my best to create a sense of scale without wasting time on a large build I’d have no chance of finishing.
(Also, any citation not specifying a book is from book 1, where most of my quotes are pulled from.)
First of all, I chose to build this in the nether, which is as close to Hell as you can get in Minecraft, and spares me the pain of building a boiling lake of fire. This does mean that I was sticking to a hellish color scheme, with lots of reds, purples, and oranges. So while I considered creating the volcano out of stone, I decided to match the surrounding environment.
This volcano was a pain to make, honestly. Since I lack any WorldEdit tools, I used a /fill command to create stacked blocks of netherrack, and then used tnt to carefully explode the edges to round them out. I carved channels for the lava, adding magma blocks around the areas where it flowed. Placing campfires below the lava lets me get the smoke rising up, as we have the detail from the book about this location, saying, “There stood a Hill not far whose griesly top
Belch’d fire and rowling smoak;” (670-671)
In this volcano I dug a hole, just as the demons are said to have done:
“Soon had his crew
Op’nd into the Hill a spacious wound” (688-689)
I didn’t spend much effort on the interior, simply because I built the main area of the palace atop the volcano, and the inside of this build is far less important than the outside. It does contain stairs leading to an outside balcony, that wraps around side of the volcano to enter it again through another door on the side.
My selection of copper blocks for the doors was based on this quote:
“Th’ ascending pile
Stood fixt her stately highth, and strait the dores
Op’ning thir brazen foulds discover wide
Within, her ample spaces, o’re the smooth
And level pavement: from the arched roof” (722-726)
I built it more as doorframes than doors (at least for the 3 higher-up doors) mainly to converse space and not over-clutter the area.
That upper balcony is attached to an inner room with a view of the ‘center’ of the volcano, and stairs leading up to the castle at the top. (image below)
Above here is the entrance to the castle. I didn’t build it on the same grand scale of artistic depictions of Pandemonium, but that’s frankly a time constraint. I’m sure if I had the time and motivation, I could build a castle here, and only maybe go crazy in the process.
So, I made this instead, inspired mostly by the line describing the building as a temple.
“Built like a Temple, where Pilasters round
Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid
With Golden Architrave; nor did there want
Cornice or Freeze, with bossy Sculptures grav’n,
The Roof was fretted Gold.” (713-717)
So from this, I’ll acknowledge I used some lines and not others. I have a rounded temple shape, with pillars (though mine are, admittedly, more like beams in the wall), and a golden roof. I do not have an architrave, nor could these pillars be called Doric, though if you use your imagine to imagine them as something other than blocks, I suppose they could be whatever kind of pillar you wish.
I considered using quartz columns for the pillars, as it has the appearance of being a pillar already. But I chose bone blocks instead, as those are found in the nether, and I think it’s fitting since the demons built Pandemonium out of what they had with them in Hell. They may have tried to make a sort of Heaven of their own, but they would not be able to perfectly recreate it.
The small building in the back is mainly to give the illusion of size, because the single building standing alone did not look very impressive.
To make the walls, I played with a sort of gradient, going from more of those orange hellish tones at the bottom to gold at the top, which I felt was thematically fitting.
The railing on the side is an attempt to acknowledge the porches in the “Gates
And Porches wide” quote. (761-762)
And here we have the inside! Obviously, this hall cannot hold thousands of demons, but it’s got room for the important ones: Moloch, Belial, Mammon, and Beelzebub. And of course, the throne for Satan himself.
“High on a Throne of Royal State, which far
Outshon the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
Showrs on her Kings Barbaric Pearl and Gold,
Satan exalted sat, by merit rais’d.” (book 2, 1-5)
I wanted the throne to look as though it was raised from the very ground, so I used netherrack at the base and used honey blocks, nether gold ore, raw gold blocks, and gold blocks to get that transition of colors and give it an asymmetrical look.
The windows I chose to do a simple stained glass look with the thematic approach of a pane of blue to represent Heaven and the upward-reaching flame colors representing Hell.
The lanterns on the ceiling come from this quote:
“Pendant by suttle Magic many a row
Of Starry Lamps and blazing Cressets fed
With Naphtha and Asphaltus yeilded light
As from a sky.” (727-230)
And now to showcase some other details:
The lava falling below the arch that the castle is on is just meant to look nice. The building to the left is a sort of watch tower connected to a wall running along that ledge. Also, I have chains hanging from the ceiling to the lava lake, since the demons found themselves chained to the lake of fire when they first came to Hell.
And here’s another view from the other side:
Overall, this build was a challenge. The volcano was the most time-consuming part, aside from figuring out the walls of the castle. I used a website to help me build the golden domes, and actually got the hang of that decently quickly, so that wasn’t too difficult. I wish I could have made everything bigger, but with the time I had to do this, and the room I had available in the game (you can see where I exploded the roof over the castle to get more room for the dome) I think I did alright.
Also, this painting by John Martin (c. 1840) is the depiction of Pandemonium that I think most resembles my build:
And here are a few extra shots for the build with different shaders on:
Wow, they kind of just get increasingly red! Anyways, I thought I’d include those because they looks quite dramatic.