Across the Tipitaka one finds a number of discourses in which the Buddha provides us a colorful picture of how life is like in the lower realms of niraya, or hells. The links below present some background and interesting links and images:
In many suttas the Buddha very clearly says that hell is a destination for those individuals who engage in things like: taking life, theft, living carnally/lust, falsehood, evil desires, wrong views, intoxicants, etc, especially while wearing the robes ( http://suttacentral.net/en/it48 ).
I risk saying that Buddhism seems to be the first religion to present a detailed description of Hell/Hells, and that influenced very strongly other religious traditions in both East and West. For example, Dante Alighieri’s colorful description of purgatories and hells in his Divine Comedy ( http://www.worldofdante.org/inferno_detail.html ) goes well beyond the traditional Abrahamic less diversified purgatory / hell concepts.
The idea of this topic is then to present the question:
How much of these accounts of hell can be said to predate the Buddha and how much was actually introduced by Him through his lokavidu faculty?