Hades

Hades (/ˈheɪdiːz/; Greek: ᾍδης Hádēs; Ἅιδης Háidēs), in the ancient Greek religion and myth, is the god of the dead and the king of the underworld, with which his name became synonymous.[1] Hades was the eldest son of Cronus and Rhea, although the last son regurgitated by his father.[2] He and his brothers, Zeus and Poseidon, defeated their father's generation of gods, the Titans, and claimed rulership over the cosmos. Hades received the underworld, Zeus the sky, and Poseidon the sea, with the solid earth, long the province of Gaia, available to all three concurrently. Hades was often portrayed with his three-headed guard dog Cerberus.

The Etruscan god Aita and the Roman gods Dis Pater and Orcus were eventually taken as equivalent to Hades and merged into Pluto, a Latinization of Plouton (Greek: Πλούτων, Ploútōn),[3] itself a euphemistic title often given to Hades.

Hades
God of the underworld, the dead, and riches.
Heraklion Archaeological Museum
Hades/Serapis with Cerberus
Abodethe underworld
SymbolCerberus, cornucopia, sceptre, Cypress, Narcissus, keys, serpents
Personal information
ConsortPersephone
ChildrenZagreus, Macaria, and in some cases Melinoe, Plutus, and The Erinyes
ParentsCronus and Rhea
SiblingsPoseidon, Demeter, Hestia, Hera, Zeus, Chiron
Roman equivalentDis Pater, Orcus

Name

The origin of Hades' name is uncertain, but has generally been seen as meaning "the unseen one" since antiquity. An extensive section of Plato's dialogue Cratylus is devoted to the etymology of the god's name, in which Socrates is arguing for a folk etymology not from "unseen" but from "his knowledge (eidenai) of all noble things". Modern linguists have proposed the Proto-Greek form *Awides ("unseen").[4] The earliest attested form is Aḯdēs (Ἀΐδης), which lacks the proposed digamma. Martin Litchfield West argues instead for an original meaning of "the one who presides over meeting up" from the universality of death.[5]

Amphora Hades Louvre G209 n2
Amphora Hades Louvre G209 n2; Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons

In Homeric and Ionic Greek, he was known as Áïdēs.[6] Other poetic variations of the name include Aïdōneús (Ἀϊδωνεύς) and the inflected forms Áïdos (Ἄϊδος, gen.), Áïdi (Ἄϊδι, dat.), and Áïda (Ἄϊδα, acc.), whose reconstructed nominative case *Áïs (*Ἄϊς) is, however, not attested.[7] The name as it came to be known in classical times was Háidēs (Ἅιδης). Later the iota became silent, then a subscript marking (ᾍδης), and finally omitted entirely (Άδης).[8]

Perhaps from fear of pronouncing his name, around the 5th century BC, the Greeks started referring to Hades as Plouton (Πλούτων Ploútōn), with a root meaning "wealthy", considering that from the abode below (i.e., the soil) come riches (e.g., fertile crops, metals and so on).[9] Plouton became the Roman god who both rules the underworld and distributed riches from below. This deity was a mixture of the Greek god Hades and the Eleusinian icon Ploutos, and from this he also received a priestess, which was not previously practiced in Greece.[10] More elaborate names of the same genre were Ploutodótēs (Πλουτοδότης) or Ploutodotḗr (Πλουτοδοτήρ), meaning "giver of wealth".[11]

Epithets of Hades include Agesander (Ἀγήσανδρος) and Agesilaos (Ἀγεσίλαος),[12] both from ágō (ἄγω, "lead", "carry" or "fetch") and anḗr (ἀνήρ, "man") or laos (λαός, "men" or "people"), describing Hades as the god who carries away all.[13][14][15][16] Nicander uses the form Hegesilaus (Ἡγεσίλαος).[17]

He was also referred to as Zeus katachthonios (Ζεὺς καταχθόνιος),[18] meaning "the Zeus of the Underworld", by those avoiding his actual name, as he had complete control over the Underworld.[19]

Mythology

Early years

Pinax with Persephone and Hades Enthroned, 500-450 BC, Greek, Locri Epizephirii, Mannella district, Sanctuary of Persephone, terracotta - Cleveland Museum of Art - DSC08242
Pinax with Persephone and Hades Enthroned, 500-450 BC, Greek, Locri Epizephirii, Mannella district, Sanctuary of Persephone, terracotta - Cleveland Museum of Art

In Greek mythology, Hades, the god of the underworld, was the first-born son of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. He had three older sisters, Hestia, Demeter, and Hera, as well as a younger brother, Poseidon, all of whom had been swallowed whole by their father as soon as they were born. Zeus was the youngest child and through the machinations of their mother, Rhea, he was the only one that had escaped this fate. Upon reaching adulthood, Zeus managed to force his father to disgorge his siblings. After their release, the six younger gods, along with allies they managed to gather, challenged the elder gods for power in the Titanomachy, a divine war. The war lasted for ten years and ended with the victory of the younger gods. Following their victory, according to a single famous passage in the Iliad (Book XV, ln.187–93), Hades and his two brothers, Poseidon and Zeus, drew lots[20] for realms to rule. Zeus received the sky, Poseidon received the seas, and Hades received the underworld,[21] the unseen realm to which the souls of the dead go upon leaving the world as well as any and all things beneath the earth. Some myths suggest that Hades was dissatisfied with his turnout, but had no choice and moved to his new realm.[22]

Hades obtained his wife and queen, Persephone, through abduction at the behest of Zeus. This myth is the most important one Hades takes part in;[23] it also connected the Eleusinian Mysteries with the Olympian pantheon, particularly as represented in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, which is the oldest story of the abduction, most likely dating back to the beginning of the 6th century BC.[10] Helios told the grieving Demeter that Hades was not unworthy as a consort for Persephone:

Aidoneus, the Ruler of Many, is no unfitting husband among the deathless gods for your child, being your own brother and born of the same stock: also, for honor, he has that third share which he received when division was made at the first, and is appointed lord of those among whom he dwells.

— Homeric Hymn to Demeter[24]
Hades, Hierapolis
Hades, Hierapolis

God of underworld

Despite modern connotations of death as evil, Hades was actually more altruistically inclined in mythology. Hades was often portrayed as passive rather than evil; his role was often maintaining relative balance. That said, he was also depicted as cold and stern, and he held all of his subjects equally accountable to his laws.[25] Any other individual aspects of his personality are not given, as Greeks refrained from giving him much thought to avoid attracting his attention.[19]

Hades ruled the dead, assisted by others over whom he had complete authority. The House of Hades was described as full of "guests," though he rarely left the Underworld.[26] He cared little about what happened in the world above, as his primary attention was ensuring none of his subjects ever left.

Red figure volute krater with scene of the Underworld, follower of the Baltimore Painter, Hermitage
Red figure volute krater with scene of the Underworld, follower of the Baltimore Painter, Hermitage

He strictly forbade his subjects to leave his domain and would become quite enraged when anyone tried to leave, or if someone tried to steal the souls from his realm. His wrath was equally terrible for anyone who tried to cheat death or otherwise crossed him, as Sisyphus and Pirithous found out to their sorrow. While usually indifferent to his subjects, Hades was very focused on the punishment of these two people; particularly Pirithous, as he entered the underworld in an attempt to steal Persephone for himself, and consequently was forced onto the "Chair of Forgetfulness".[19] Another myth is about the Greek god Asclepius who was originally a demigod, son of Apollo and Coronis, a Thessalian princess. During his lifetime, he became a famous and talented physician, who eventually was able to bring the dead back to life. Feeling cheated, Plouton persuaded Zeus to kill him with a thunderbolt. After his death, he was brought to Olympus where he became a god.[27] Hades was only depicted outside of the Underworld once in myth, and even that is believed to have been an instance where he had just left the gates of the Underworld, which was when Heracles shot him with an arrow as Hades was attempting to defend the city of Plyos.[3] After he was shot, however, he traveled to Olympus to heal. Besides Heracles, the only other living people who ventured to the Underworld were also heroes: Odysseus, Aeneas (accompanied by the Sibyl), Orpheus, who Hades showed uncharacteristic mercy towards at Persephone's persuasion, who was moved by Orpheus' music,[28] Theseus with Pirithous, and, in a late romance, Psyche. None of them were pleased with what they witnessed in the realm of the dead. In particular, the Greek war hero Achilles, whom Odysseus conjured with a blood libation, said:

O shining Odysseus, never try to console me for dying.
I would rather follow the plow as thrall to another
man, one with no land allotted to him and not much to live on,
than be a king over all the perished dead.

— Achilles' soul to Odysseus. Homer, Odyssey 11.488-491 (Lattimore translation)

Persephone

Persephone Hades BM Vase E82
Persephone and Hades: tondo of an Attic red-figured kylix, ca. 440–430 BC

The consort of Hades was Persephone, daughter of Zeus and Demeter.[29]

Hates abduction
Oil painting of Hades abducting Persephone. 18th Century. Oil on wood with gilt background. Property of Missing Link Antiques.

Persephone did not submit to Hades willingly, but was abducted by him while picking flowers in the fields of Nysa (Her father, Zeus, had previously given Persephone to Hades, to be his wife, as is stated in the very first lines of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter). In protest of his act, Demeter cast a curse on the land and there was a great famine; though, one by one, the gods came to request she lift it, lest mankind perish and cause the gods to be deprived of their receiving gifts and sacrifices, Demeter asserted that the earth would remain barren until she saw her daughter again. Zeus then sends for his son, Hermes, and instructs him to go down to the Underworld in hopes that he may be able to convince Hades to allow Persephone to return to Earth, so that Demeter might see Persephone and cause the famine to stop. Hermes obeys and goes down to Hades' realm, wherein he finds Hades seated upon a couch, Persephone seated next to him. Hermes relays Zeus' message, and Hades complies, saying,

Go now, Persephone, to your dark-robed mother, go, and feel kindly in your heart towards me: be not so exceedingly cast down; for I shall be no unfitting husband for you among the deathless gods, that am own brother to father Zeus. And while you are here, you shall rule all that lives and moves and shall have the greatest rights among the deathless gods: those who defraud you and do not appease your power with offerings, reverently performing rites and paying fit gifts, shall be punished for evermore.

— Homeric Hymn to Demeter[30]

Afterwards, Hades readies his chariot, but not before he secretly gives Persephone a pomegranate seed to eat; Hermes takes the reins, and he and Persephone make their way to the Earth above, coming to a halt in front of Demeter's temple at Eleusis, where the goddess has been waiting. Demeter and Persephone run towards each other and embrace one another, happy that they are reunited. Demeter, however, suspects that Persephone may have eaten food while down in the Underworld, and so she questions Persephone, saying:

My child, tell me, surely you have not tasted any food while you were below? Speak out and hide nothing, but let us both know. For if you have not, you shall come back from loathly Hades and live with me and your father, the dark-clouded son of Cronos and be honored by all the deathless gods; but if you have tasted food, you must go back again beneath the secret places of the earth, there to dwell a third part of the seasons every year: yet for the two parts you shall be with me and the other deathless gods. But when the earth shall bloom with the fragrant flowers of spring in every kind, then from the realm of darkness and gloom thou shalt come up once more to be a wonder for gods and mortal men. And now tell me how he rapt you away to the realm of darkness and gloom, and by what trick did the strong Host of Many beguile you?

— Homeric Hymn to Demeter[31]
Hades abducting Persephone
Hades abducting Persephone, fresco in the small Macedonian royal tomb at Vergina, Macedonia, Greece, c. 340 BC

Persephone does admit that she ate the food of the dead, as she tells Demeter that Hades gave her a pomegranate seed and forced her to eat it. Persephone's eating the pomegranate seed binds her to Hades and the Underworld, much to the dismay of Demeter. Zeus, however, had previously proposed a compromise, to which all parties had agreed: of the year, Persephone would spend one third with her husband.[32]

It is during this time, when Persephone is down in the Underworld with her husband, that winter falls upon the earth, "an aspect of sadness and mourning."[33]

Theseus and Pirithous

Theseus and Pirithous pledged to kidnap and marry daughters of Zeus. Theseus chose Helen and together they kidnapped her and decided to hold onto her until she was old enough to marry. Pirithous chose Persephone. They left Helen with Theseus' mother, Aethra, and traveled to the Underworld. Hades knew of their plan to capture his wife, so he pretended to offer them hospitality and set a feast; as soon as the pair sat down, snakes coiled around their feet and held them there. Theseus was eventually rescued by Heracles but Pirithous remained trapped as punishment for daring to seek the wife of a god for his own.

Heracles

Heracles' final labour was to capture Cerberus. First, Heracles went to Eleusis to be initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries. He did this to absolve himself of guilt for killing the centaurs and to learn how to enter and exit the underworld alive. He found the entrance to the underworld at Taenarum. Athena and Hermes helped him through and back from Hades. Heracles asked Hades for permission to take Cerberus. Hades agreed as long as Heracles didn't harm Cerberus. When Heracles dragged the dog out of Hades, he passed through the cavern Acherusia.

Minthe

The nymph Minthe, associated with the river Cocytus, loved by Hades, was turned into the mint plant, by a jealous Persephone.[34]

Cult and epithets

Hades, as the god of the dead, was a fearsome figure to those still living; in no hurry to meet him, they were reluctant to swear oaths in his name, and averted their faces when sacrificing to him. Since to many, simply to say the word "Hades" was frightening, euphemisms were pressed into use. Since precious minerals come from under the earth (i.e., the "underworld" ruled by Hades), he was considered to have control of these as well, and as such the Greeks referred to him as Πλούτων (Greek Plouton; Latin PLVTO, Pluto, "the rich one"). This title is derived from the word Πλοῦτος (Greek Ploutos, literally "wealth, riches"). Sophocles explained the notion of referring to Hades as Plouton with these words: "the gloomy Hades enriches himself with our sighs and our tears." In addition, he was called Clymenus ("notorious"), Polydegmon ("who receives many"), and perhaps Eubuleus ("good counsel" or "well-intentioned"),[35] all of them euphemisms for a name that was unsafe to pronounce, which evolved into epithets.

He spent most of the time in his dark realm. Formidable in battle, he proved his ferocity in the famous Titanomachy, the battle of the Olympians versus the Titans, which established the rule of Zeus.

Feared and loathed, Hades embodied the inexorable finality of death: "Why do we loathe Hades more than any god, if not because he is so adamantine and unyielding?" The rhetorical question is Agamemnon's.[36] Hades was not, however, an evil god, for although he was stern, cruel, and unpitying, he was still just. Hades ruled the Underworld and was therefore most often associated with death and feared by men, but he was not Death itself — it is Thanatos, son of Nyx and Erebus, who is the actual personification of death, although Euripides' play "Alkestis" states fairly clearly that Thanatos and Hades were one and the same deity, and gives an interesting description of Hades as being dark-cloaked and winged;[37] moreover, Hades was also referred to as Hesperos Theos ("god of death & darkness").[38]

When the Greeks propitiated Hades, they banged their hands on the ground to be sure he would hear them.[39] Black animals, such as sheep, were sacrificed to him, and the very vehemence of the rejection of human sacrifice expressed in myth suggests an unspoken memory of some distant past. The blood from all chthonic sacrifices including those to propitiate Hades dripped into a pit or cleft in the ground. The person who offered the sacrifice had to avert his face.[40]

One ancient source says that he possessed the Cap of invisibility. His chariot, drawn by four black horses, made for a fearsome and impressive sight. These beasts were variously named as, according to Claudian: Orphnaeus, Aethon, Nycteus and Alastor while other authors listed also: Nonius, Ametheus, Abastor, Abetor and Metheus. His other ordinary attributes were the narcissus and cypress plants, the Key of Hades and Cerberus, the three-headed dog.[41] In certain portraits, snakes also appeared to be attributed to Hades[42] as he was occasionally portrayed to be either holding them or accompanied by them. This is believed to hold significance as in certain classical sources Hades ravished Kore in the guise of a snake, who went on to give birth to Zagreus-Dionysus.[43] While bearing the name 'Zeus', Zeus Olympios, the great king of the gods, noticeably differs from the Zeus Meilichios, a decidedly chthonian character, often portrayed as a snake,[44] and as seen beforehand, they cannot be different manifestations of the same god,[45] in fact whenever 'another Zeus' is mentioned, this always refers to Hades.[46] Zeus Meilichios and Zeus Eubouleus are often referred to as being alternate names for Hades.[47]

The philosopher Heraclitus, unifying opposites, declared that Hades and Dionysus, the very essence of indestructible life (zoë), are the same god.[48] Among other evidence, Karl Kerényi notes in his book[49] that the Homeric Hymn To Demeter,[50] votive marble images[51] and epithets[52] all link Hades to being Dionysus. He also notes that the grieving goddess Demeter refused to drink wine, as she states that it would be against themis for her to drink wine, which is the gift of Dionysus, after Persephone's abduction, because of this association; indicating that Hades may in fact have been a "cover name" for the underworld Dionysus.[53] He suggests that this dual identity may have been familiar to those who came into contact with the Mysteries.[54] Dionysus also shared several epithets with Hades such as Chthonios ("the subterranean"),[55][56] Eubouleus ("Good Counselor"), and Euclius ("glorious" or "renowned") .

Evidence for a cult connection is quite extensive, particularly in southern Italy, especially when considering the death symbolism included in Dionysian worship;[57][58] statues of Dionysus[59][60] found in the Ploutonion at Eleusis gives further evidence as the statue bears a striking resemblance to the statue of Eubouleus[61] also known as the youthful depiction of the Lord of the Underworld. The statue of Eubouleus is described as being radiant but disclosing a strange inner darkness.[49] Ancient portrayals show Dionysus holding in his hand a kantharos, a wine-jar with large handles, and occupying the place where one would expect to see Hades. Archaic artist Xenocles portrayed on one side of a vase, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, each with his emblems of power; with Hades' head turned back to front and, on the other side, Dionysus striding forward to meet his bride Persephone, with a kantharos in his hand, against a background of grapes.[62]

Both Hades and Dionysus were associated with a divine tripartite deity with Zeus.[63] The Orphics in particular believed that Zeus and Hades were the same deity and portrayed them as such.[64][65] Zeus was portrayed as having an incarnation in the underworld identifying him as literally being Hades and leading to Zeus and Hades essentially being two representations and different facets of the same god and extended divine power.[66][67] This nature and aspect of Hades and Zeus displayed in the Orphic stories is the explanation for why both Hades and Zeus are considered to be the father of Melinoë and Zagreus.[68][69] The role of unifying Hades, Zeus and Dionysus as a single tripartite god was used to represent the birth, death and resurrection of a deity and to unify the 'shining' realm of Zeus and the dark realm of Hades that lay beneath the Earth.[63][70]

Among the other appellations under which Hades or Pluto is generally known, are the following:[71][72]

In Greek:

  • Adesius, his name in Latium. It is expressive of the grace.
  • Agelastus, from his melancholy countenance.
  • Agesilaus, expressive of his attracting all people to his empire.
  • Agetes or Hegetes, a name assigned to him by Pindar, as to one who conducts.
  • Aidoneos, this name is probably derived from Hades' having been sometimes confounded with a king of this name among the Molossi, whose daughter Persephone, Theseus and Pirithous attempted to carry off.
  • Axiocersus, or the shorn god, a name of Pluto in the mysteries of the Cabiri: he was there represented as without hair.
  • Iao, his name at Clares, a town of Ionia.
  • Moiragetes, his name as guide of the Fates.
  • Ophieus, his name as the blind god among the Messenians: it was derived from their dedicating certain Augurs to him, whom they deprived of eight at the moment of their birth.

In Latin or Etruscan

  • Altor, from alo, to nourish.
  • Februus, from Februa, signifying the sacrifices and purifications adopted in funeral rites.
  • Feralis Deus, the dismal or cruel god.
  • Lactum, his name among the Sarmatians.
  • Larthy Tytiral, sovereign of Tartarus, his name in Etruria.
  • Mantus or Manus, the diminutive of Summanus, an Etruscan epithet.
  • Niger Deus, black god, his epithet as god of the Infernal Regions.
  • Opertus, the concealed.
  • Postulio, a name assigned to him by Varro, under which he was worshipped on the shores of the lake Curtius, from the circumstance of the earth's having opened at that spot, and of the Aruspices having presumed that the King of Death thus asked for (postula, I ask,) sacrifices.
  • Profundus Jupiter, deep or lower Jove, from his being sovereign of the deep, or infernal regions.
  • Quietalis, from quies, rest.
  • Rusor, because all things return eventually to the earth.
  • Salutaris Divus, a name assigned to him when he restored the dead to life. Whenever the gods wished to re-animate a body, Pluto let fail some drops of nectar from his urn upon the favoured person: this may account for bis being sometimes represented with an inverted vase.
  • Saturnius, from his father Saturn.
  • Soranus, his name among the Sabines, in the temple dedicated to him on Mount Soracte.
  • Stygius, from the river Styx.
  • Summanus, from summus manium, prince of the dead.
  • Tellumo, a name derived from those treasures which Pluto possesses in the recesses of the earth. Tellumo denotes (according to Varro) the creative power of the earth, in opposition to Tellus the productive.
  • Uragus, expressive of bis power over fire.
  • Urgus, from urgeo, to impel.

In Egypt:

  • Amenthes, a name of Pluto among the Egyptians. Plutarch informs us, that the word Amenthes has a reference to the doctrines of the metempsychosis, and signifies the place which gives and receives; on the belief that some vast gulf was assigned as a receptacle to the souls, which were about to animate new bodies.
    Getty Villa - Collection (5305218066)
    Getty Villa - Collection (5305218066) by Dave & Margie Hill, originally found on Flickr
Getty Villa - Collection (5305218066)
Getty Villa - Collection (5305218066) by Dave & Margie Hill, originally found on Flickr

Artistic representations

Hades was depicted so infrequently in artwork, as well as mythology, because the Greeks were so afraid of him.[19] His artistic representations, which are generally found in Archaic pottery, are not even concretely thought of as the deity; however at this point in time it is heavily believed that the figures illustrated are indeed Hades.[10] He was later presented in the classical arts in the depictions of the Rape of Persephone.[73] Within these illustrations, Hades was often young, yet he was also shown as varying ages in other works.[10] Due to this lack of depictions, there weren't very strict guidelines when representing the deity.[10] On pottery, he has a dark beard and is presented as a stately figure on an "ebony throne."[22] His attributes in art include a scepter, cornucopia, rooster,[74] and a key, which both represented his control over the underworld and acted as a reminder that the gates of the Underworld were always locked so that souls could not leave.[75] Even if the doors were open, Cerberus, the three-headed guard dog of the Underworld, ensured that while all souls were allowed to enter into The Underworld freely, none could ever escape.[76] The dog is often portrayed next to the god as a means of easy identification, since no other deity relates to it so directly. Sometimes, artists painted Hades as looking away from the other gods, as he was disliked by them as well as humans.[10]

As Plouton, he was regarded in a more positive light. He holds a cornucopia, representing the gifts he bestows upon people as well as fertility, which he becomes connected to.[10]

Realm of Hades

In older Greek myths, the realm of Hades is the misty and gloomy[77] abode of the dead (also called Erebus[77]) where all mortals go when they die. Very few mortals could leave Hades once they entered. The exceptions, Heracles and Theseus, are heroic. Even Odysseus in his Nekyia (Odyssey, xi) calls up the spirits of the departed, rather than descend to them. Later Greek philosophy introduced the idea that all mortals are judged after death and are either rewarded or cursed.

There were several sections of the realm of Hades, including Elysium, the Asphodel Meadows, and Tartarus. Greek mythographers were not perfectly consistent about the geography of the afterlife. A contrasting myth of the afterlife concerns the Garden of the Hesperides, often identified with the Isles of the Blessed, where the blessed heroes may dwell.

Cumae
Aeneas's journey to Hades through the entrance at Cumae mapped by Andrea de Jorio, 1825

In Roman mythology, the entrance to the Underworld located at Avernus, a crater near Cumae, was the route Aeneas used to descend to the realm of the dead.[78] By synecdoche, "Avernus" could be substituted for the underworld as a whole. The di inferi were a collective of underworld divinities.

For Hellenes, the deceased entered the underworld by crossing the Styx, ferried across by Charon kair'-on), who charged an obolus, a small coin for passage placed in the mouth of the deceased by pious relatives. Paupers and the friendless gathered for a hundred years on the near shore according to Book VI of Vergil's Aeneid. Greeks offered propitiatory libations to prevent the deceased from returning to the upper world to "haunt" those who had not given them a proper burial. The far side of the river was guarded by Cerberus, the three-headed dog defeated by Heracles (Roman Hercules). Passing beyond Cerberus, the shades of the departed entered the land of the dead to be judged.

The five rivers of the realm of Hades, and their symbolic meanings, are Acheron (the river of sorrow, or woe), Cocytus (lamentation), Phlegethon (fire), Lethe (oblivion), and Styx (hate), the river upon which even the gods swore and in which Achilles was dipped to render him invincible. The Styx forms the boundary between the upper and lower worlds. See also Eridanos.

The first region of Hades comprises the Fields of Asphodel, described in Odyssey xi, where the shades of heroes wander despondently among lesser spirits, who twitter around them like bats. Only libations of blood offered to them in the world of the living can reawaken in them for a time the sensations of humanity.

Beyond lay Erebus, which could be taken for a euphonym of Hades, whose own name was dread. There were two pools, that of Lethe, where the common souls flocked to erase all memory, and the pool of Mnemosyne ("memory"), where the initiates of the Mysteries drank instead. In the forecourt of the palace of Hades and Persephone sit the three judges of the Underworld: Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Aeacus. There at the trivium sacred to Hecate, where three roads meet, souls are judged, returned to the Fields of Asphodel if they are neither virtuous nor evil, sent by the road to Tartarus if they are impious or evil, or sent to Elysium (Islands of the Blessed) with the "blameless" heroes.

In the Sibylline oracles, a curious hodgepodge of Greco-Roman and Judaeo-Christian elements, Hades again appears as the abode of the dead, and by way of folk etymology, it even derives Hades from the name Adam (the first man), saying it is because he was the first to enter there.[79] Owing to its appearance in the New Testament of the Bible, Hades also has a distinct meaning in Christianity.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Cartwright, Mark, "Hades", Ancient History Encyclopedia, retrieved 29 June 2015.
  2. ^ Reckoning by this reverse order is preferred by Poseidon in his speech at Homer, Iliad 15.187.
  3. ^ a b Tripp, p. 256.
  4. ^ According to Dixon-Kennedy, p. 143 (following Kerényi 1951, p. 230) says "...his name means 'the unseen', a direct contrast to his brother Zeus, who was originally seen to represent the brightness of day". Ivanov, p. 284, citing Beekes 1998, pp. 17–19, notes that derivation of Hades from a proposed *som wid- is semantically untenable; see also Beekes 2009, p. 34.
  5. ^ West, M. L., Indo-European Poetry and Myth, OUP, 2007, p. 394.
  6. ^ Bailly, s.v. Ἅιδης.
  7. ^ Bailly, s.v. *Ἄϊς.
  8. ^ See Ancient Greek phonology and modern Greek.
  9. ^ Bailly, s.v. Πλούτων.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g "Gale Virtual Reference". Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  11. ^ Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, 806, note. Translated by Smyth, Herbert Weir (1922) in Loeb Classical Library, Volume 145.
  12. ^ Schmitz, Leonhard (1867). "Agesander (1)". In Smith, William (ed.). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 1. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. p. 68.
  13. ^ Liddell, Henry; Scott, Robert (1996). A Greek-English Lexicon. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. s.v. ISBN 0-19-864226-1.
  14. ^ Callimachus, Hymn. in Pallad. 130, with Friedrich Spanheim's note
  15. ^ Hesychius of Alexandria s.v.
  16. ^ Aeschyl. ap. Athen. iii. p. 99
  17. ^ Nicander, ap. Athen. xv. p. 684
  18. ^ "Ζεύς" in: An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon by Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott.
  19. ^ a b c d Tripp, p. 257.
  20. ^ Walter Burkert, in The Orientalizing Revolution: Near Eastern Influence on Greek Culture in the Early Archaic Age, 1992, (pp 90ff) compares this single reference with the Mesopotamian Atra-Hasis: "the basic structure of both texts is astonishingly similar." The drawing of lots is not the usual account; Hesiod (Theogony, 883) declares that Zeus overthrew his father and was acclaimed king by the other gods. "There is hardly another passage in Homer which comes so close to being a translation of an Akkadian epic," Burkert concludes (p. 91).
  21. ^ Poseidon speaks: "For when we threw the lots I received the grey sea as my abode, Hades drew the murky darkness, Zeus, however, drew the wide sky of brightness and clouds; the earth is common to all, and spacious Olympus." Iliad 15.187
  22. ^ a b "Hades the Greek God of the Underworld, Hades the unseen". www.greekmyths-greekmythology.com. Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  23. ^ Grant and Hazel, p. 236.
  24. ^ "Hymn 2 to Demeter, line 40". www.perseus.tufts.edu.
  25. ^ Grant and Hazel, p. 235.
  26. ^ Gayley, p. 47.
  27. ^ Gayley, p. 104.
  28. ^ Gayley, pp. 165–166.
  29. ^ Guirand, p. 190.
  30. ^ "Hymn 2 to Demeter, line 347". www.perseus.tufts.edu.
  31. ^ "Hymn 2 to Demeter, line 398". www.perseus.tufts.edu.
  32. ^ Guirand, p. 175.
  33. ^ Guirand, p. 176.
  34. ^ Strabo, 8.3.14; Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.728–730.
  35. ^ The name Eubouleos is more often seen as an epithet for Dionysus or Zeus.
  36. ^ Iliad, ix
  37. ^ Parker, L. P. E. (2007). Euripides Alcestis: With Introduction and Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 109. ISBN 9780191569012.
  38. ^ Brown, Robert (1844). "The Religion of Zoroaster Considered In Connection With Archaic Monotheism". Archive.org. Archived from the original on 2007. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  39. ^ "Hades never knows what is happening in the world above, or in Olympus, except for fragmentary information which comes to him when mortals strike their hands upon the earth and invoke him with oaths and curses" (Robert Graves, The Greek Myths 1960: §31.e).
  40. ^ Kerényi 1951, p. 231.
  41. ^ See, Sally (2014). The Greek Myths. S&T. p. 21. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  42. ^ "Snake Symbolism". The Psychology of Dreams. 1998. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  43. ^ Bell, Malcolm (1982). Morgantina Studies, Volume I: The Terracottas. Princeton University Press. pp. 88, 89, 90, 106, 168, 254. ISBN 9781400853243.
  44. ^ Ogden, Daniel (2008). A Companion to Greek Religion. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0470997346.
  45. ^ Versnel, Henk (2011). Coping With the Gods: Wayward Readings in Greek Theology. Brill. ISBN 9789004204904.
  46. ^ Schlesier, Renate (2012). A Different God?: Dionysos and Ancient Polytheism. Berlin, Germany.: Freie University. pp. 27, 28. ISBN 9783110222357.
  47. ^ Hornblower, Spawforth, Eidinow, Simon, Antony, Esther (2014). The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization. Oxford: OUP Oxford. p. 354. ISBN 9780191016752.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  48. ^ Heraclitus, encountering the festival of the Phallophoria, in which phalli were paraded about, remarked in a surviving fragment: "If they did not order the procession in honor of the god and address the phallus song to him, this would be the most shameless behavior. But Hades is the same as Dionysos, for whom they rave and act like bacchantes", Kerényi 1976, pp. 239–240.
  49. ^ a b Kerényi, Karl (1991). Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691019154.
  50. ^ Summary of Karl Kerenyi: "The Hymn tells us that Persephone was abducted in Nysion pedion, or the Nysian Plain, a plain that was named after the Dionysian mountain of Nysa. Nysa was regarded as the birthplace and first home of Dionysus. The divine marriage of Plouton and Persephone was celebrated on ‘the meadow’. The dangerous region that Kore let herself be lured to in search of flowers was likely not originally connected to Plouton but to Dionysus, as Dionysus himself had the strange surname of ‘the gaping one’, though despite this the notion that the wine god in his quality as the Lord of the Underworld does not appear on the surface of the hymn. People would not be able to detect the hidden meaning it if it wasn’t for archaic vase portrayals." Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter [P. 34, 35,]. "The Hymn to Demeter later mentions that Queen Metaneira of Eleusis later offers the disguised Demeter a beaker of sweet wine, something that Demeter refuses on the grounds that it would be against themis, the very nature of order and justice, for her to drink red wine and she instead invents a new beverage called kykeon to drink instead. The fact that Demeter refuses to drink wine on the grounds that it would be against themis indicates that she is well aware of who Persephone’s abductor is, that it is the Subterranean cover name of Dionysus. The critic of the mysteries, the severe philosopher Herakleitos once declared “Hades is the same as Dionysos.” The subterranean wine god was the ravisher, so how could Demeter accept something that was his gift to mankind" [P. 40]
  51. ^ Summary of Karl Kerenyi: "The book later refers to Herakles initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries so that he may enter the Underworld. In the iconography after his initiation Herakles in shown wearing a fringed white garment with a Dionysian deerskin thrown over it. Kore is shown with her mother Demeter and a snake twined around the Mystery basket, foreshadowing the secret, as making friends with snakes was Dionysian [P. 58]. The god of the Anthesteria was Dionysus, who celebrated his marriage in Athens amid flowers, the opening of wine jars, and the rising up of the souls of the dead [P. 149]. There are two reliefs in a marble votive relief of the fourth century BCE. One depicts Kore crowning her mother Demeter, the deities at the second altar are Persephone and her husband Dionysus as the recumbent god has the features of the bearded Dionysus rather than of Plouton. In his right hand, he raises not a cornucopia, the symbol of wealth, but a wine vessel and in his left, he bears the goblet for the wine. Over their heads an inscription reads “To the God and Goddess” [P. 151, 152]. The fragments of a gilded jar cover of the Kerch type show Dionysus, Demeter, little Ploutos, Kore, and a curly-haired boy clad in a long garment, one of the first son’s of the Eleusinian king who was the first to be initiated. On another vase, Dionysus sits on his omphalos with his thryrsos in his left hand, sitting opposite Demeter, looking at each other severely. Kore is shown moving from Demeter towards Dionysus, as if trying to reconcile them [P. 162]. Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter
  52. ^ Summary of Karl Kerenyi: Kore and Thea are two different duplications of Persephone; Plouton and Theos are duplications of the subterranean Dionysus. The duplication of the mystery god as subterranean father and subterranean son, as Father Zagreus and the child Zagreus, husband and son of Persephone, has more to do with the mysteries of Dionysus than with the Eleusinian Mysteries. But a duplication of the chthonian, mystical Dionysus is provided even by his youthful aspect, which became distinguished and classical as the son of Semele from the son of Persephone. Semele, though not of Eleusinian origin, is also a double of Persephone [P. 155]. Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter
  53. ^ Kerényi 1967, p. 40.
  54. ^ Kerényi 1976, p. 240.
  55. ^ Kerényi 1976, pp. 83, 199.
  56. ^ Orphic Hymns to the Eumenides, 69
  57. ^ Loyd, Alan B (2009). What is a God?: Studies in the Nature of Greek Divinity. The Classical Press of Wales. ISBN 1905125356.
  58. ^ Alan B Loyd: "“The identification of Hades and Dionysus does not seem to be a particular doctrine of Herakleitos, nor does it commit him to monotheism. The evidence for a cult connection between the two is quite extensive, particularly in Southern Italy, and the Dionysiac mysteries are associated with death rituals.”
  59. ^ http://www.my-favourite-planet.de/images/people/d-01/dionysus/athens_dj-28082013-2-0833c_dionysus-eleusis.jpg
  60. ^ http://www.my-favourite-planet.de/images/people/d-01/dionysus/athens_dj-28082013-2-0826d_dionysus-eleusis.jpg
  61. ^ https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/22/NAMA_181_Eubouleus_2.JPG/477px-NAMA_181_Eubouleus_2.JPG
  62. ^ "London B 425 (Vase)". www.perseus.tufts.edu.
  63. ^ a b Taylor-Perry, Rosemarie (2003). The God who Comes: Dionysian Mysteries Revisited. Barnes & Noble. pp. 4, 22, 91, 92, 94, 168. ISBN 9780875862309.
  64. ^ Wypustek, Andrzej (2012). Images of Eternal Beauty in Funerary Verse Inscriptions of the Hellenistic Period. BRILL. ISBN 9004233180.
  65. ^ Andrzej Wypustek (Ph.D) "Votive inscriptions frequently mentioned Pluto but very rarely Hades. Particularly at Eleusis, the Pluto cult was for a deity who, like Persephone and Demeter, was favourably disposed to humans. He was frequently portrayed as a majestic elder with a sceptre, ranch, cornucopia, pomegranate, or drinking vessel in his hand; sometimes he was accompanied by an eagle. His iconography resembled that of Zeus, and especially that of some chthonic personification of the ruler of the gods, above all Zeus Meilichios. We can now go a step further. The nearest equivalent to the contrast between Hades and Pluto as presented in the Theophile epigram can be found in the Orphic Hymns, which are assumed to have originated from the Τελεται of the Dionysiac mystic circles in Asia Minor of the 1st – 3rd centuries. Hymn 41 worships Antaia, i.e. Demeter, the goddess who had searched for her daughter in Hades and discovered her in ‘the sacred bed of the sacred chthonic Zeus’. This formulation in itself is not surprising because the name Zeus (as a synonym for a deity and ruler) was used in reference to Hades-Pluto as the ruler of the underworld. In an interesting, though, sadly, only partly preserved inscription from Appia-Murathanlar in the Tembris Valley (in 3rd century AD Phrygia) the deceased appeals to “Zeus, god of the dead [φθιηένων*], Pluto” to protect his grave. The term “Chthonic Zeus” could, however, mean something more than a mere euphemism for the name Hades. The idea of defining Zeus as χθόνιος, κατα (χθόνιος) ἄλλος or simply Hades had been present in ancient Greek literature from Homer to Nonnos. This was a sort of extension, aspect or ‘shadow’ of the universal power of Zeus in the kingdom of the dead, where he was the judge of the dead and the also the consort of Persephone-Kore.Moreover, he was the provider of riches, Πλουτοδότης; a personification which was abbreviated to Πλούτων. Among other things, he controlled the crops and it was to him (as well as to Demeter) that the farmers turned for the promise of a good harvest. These are hardly well known traditions today. Some scholars maintain that their obscurity is on account of the secret role they played in the mysteries. … Therefore the Orphics worshipped Pluto as the saviour and judge of the deceased, as Zeus χθόνιος. They most likely assumed that Zeus had another embodiment of sorts in the underworld, in Hades. The effect of this assumption was the myth, known to us in several versions, of how Zeus had lain with Persephone (even though she was his daughter). The so-called great Orphic tablet of Thurii refers to the abduction of Persephone by Zeus, who then fathers her son, Dionysus. Their child was revered by the Orphics as Dionysus Zagreus, Dionysus Iacchus, which shows how much importance they attached to the love affair of that particular couple." (Images of Eternal Beauty in Funerary Verse Inscriptions of the Hellenistic Period)
  66. ^ Gantz, Timothy (1996). Early Greek Myth. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-5360-9.
  67. ^ Timothy Gantz "Thus it appears that at times Zeus and Hades represented simply different facets of a single extended divine power.” (Early Greek Myth)
  68. ^ Rigoglioso, Marguerite (2010). Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-11312-1.
  69. ^ Marguerite Rigoglioso "Given that Zeus was also sometimes portrayed as having an incarnation in the underworld that was closely identified with Hades, we can read here that Zeus and Hades were essentially two representations of the same god. ... The idea of Hades equals Dionysus, and that this dual god impregnated Persephone in the Eleusinian tradition, therefore, is in perfect accord with the story that Zeus impregnated her with Dionysus in Orphic myth, given that Hades equals Zeus, as well. Moreover, what we see from this esoteric complex is that, in seeding Persephone, Zeus/Hades/Dionysus created what Kerenyi perceptively calls “a second, a little Dionysus,” a “subterranean Zeus." (Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity)
  70. ^ Rosemarie Taylor-Perry: "“Interestingly it is often mentioned that Zeus, Hades and Dionysus were all attributed to being the exact same god… Being a tripartite deity Hades is also Zeus, doubling as being the Sky God or Zeus, Hades abducts his 'daughter' and paramour Persephone. The taking of Kore by Hades is the act which allows the conception and birth of a second integrating force: Iacchos (Zagreus-Dionysus), also known as Liknites, the helpless infant form of that Deity who is the unifier of the dark underworld (chthonic) realm of Hades and the Olympian ("Shining") one of Zeus.”
  71. ^ Murray, John (1833). A Classical Manual, being a Mythological, Historical and Geographical Commentary on Pope's Homer, and Dryden's Aeneid of Virgil with a Copious Index. Albemarle Street, London. pp. 5–6.
  72. ^ This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.'
  73. ^ The Rape of Persephone Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Naples, Italy
  74. ^ Hansen and Hansen, p. 183.
  75. ^ Tripp, p. 257; Grant and Hazel, p. 235
  76. ^ Tripp, p. 258.
  77. ^ a b Homeric Hymn to Demeter
  78. ^ Aeneid, book 6.
  79. ^ Sibylline Oracles I, 101–3
  80. ^ This chart is based upon Hesiod's Theogony, unless otherwise noted.
  81. ^ According to Homer, Iliad 1.570–579, 14.338, Odyssey 8.312, Hephaestus was apparently the son of Hera and Zeus, see Gantz, p. 74.
  82. ^ According to Hesiod, Theogony 927–929, Hephaestus was produced by Hera alone, with no father, see Gantz, p. 74.
  83. ^ According to Hesiod, Theogony 886–890, of Zeus' children by his seven wives, Athena was the first to be conceived, but the last to be born; Zeus impregnated Metis then swallowed her, later Zeus himself gave birth to Athena "from his head", see Gantz, pp. 51–52, 83–84.
  84. ^ According to Hesiod, Theogony 183–200, Aphrodite was born from Uranus' severed genitals, see Gantz, pp. 99–100.
  85. ^ According to Homer, Aphrodite was the daughter of Zeus (Iliad 3.374, 20.105; Odyssey 8.308, 320) and Dione (Iliad 5.370–71), see Gantz, pp. 99–100.

References

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External links

Maps of the Underworld (Greek mythology)
The God Hades
Cerberus

In Greek mythology, Cerberus (; Greek: Κέρβερος Kerberos [ˈkerberos]), often called the "hound of Hades", is a multi-headed dog that guards the gates of the Underworld to prevent the dead from leaving. Cerberus was the offspring of the monsters Echidna and Typhon, and usually is described as having three heads, a serpent for a tail, and snakes protruding from parts of his body. Cerberus is primarily known for his capture by Heracles, one of Heracles' twelve labours.

Christian views on Hades

Hades, according to various Christian denominations, is "the place or state of departed spirits".

Cocytus

Cocytus or Kokytos (Ancient Greek: Κωκυτός, literally "lamentation") is a river in the underworld in Greek mythology. Cocytus flows into the river Acheron, on the other side of which lies Hades, The Underworld, the mythological abode of the dead. There are five rivers encircling Hades: the Styx, Phlegethon, Lethe, Acheron and Cocytus.

Cypress

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The Cupressaceae family also contains 13–16 other genera (not listed above) that do not bear cypress in their common names.

Plants named cypress

Dionysus

Dionysus (; Greek: Διόνυσος Dionysos) is the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking and wine, of fertility, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, and theatre in ancient Greek religion and myth.He is also known as Bacchus ( or ; Greek: Βάκχος, Bakkhos), the name adopted by the Romans and the frenzy he induces is bakkheia. His thyrsus, sometimes wound with ivy and dripping with honey, is both a beneficent wand and a weapon used to destroy those who oppose his cult and the freedoms he represents. As Eleutherios ("the liberator"), his wine, music and ecstatic dance free his followers from self-conscious fear and care, and subvert the oppressive restraints of the powerful. Those who partake of his mysteries are possessed and empowered by the god himself.Dionysus is generally depicted in myth as the son of Zeus and the mortal Semele, although in the Orphic tradition, he was identified as the son of Zeus and Persephone. In the Eleusinian Mysteries he was identified with Iacchus, the son (or, alternately, husband) of Demeter.

His origins are uncertain, and his cults took many forms; some are described by ancient sources as Thracian, others as Greek. In some cults, he arrives from the east, as an Asiatic foreigner; in others, from Ethiopia in the South. Some scholars believe that Dionysus is a syncretism of a local Greek nature deity and a more powerful god from Thrace or Phrygia such as Sabazios or Zalmoxis. He is a god of epiphany, "the god that comes", and his "foreignness" as an arriving outsider-god may be inherent and essential to his cults. He is a major, popular figure of Greek mythology and religion, becoming increasingly important over time, and included in some lists of the twelve Olympians, as the last of their number, and the only god born from a mortal mother. His festivals were the driving force behind the development of Greek theatre.

Wine played an important role in Greek culture, and the cult of Dionysus was the main religious focus for its unrestrained consumption. His worship became firmly established in the seventh century BC. He may have been worshipped as early as c. 1500–1100 BC by Mycenaean Greeks; traces of Dionysian-type cult have also been found in ancient Minoan Crete.The cult of Dionysus is also a "cult of the souls"; his maenads feed the dead through blood-offerings, and he acts as a divine communicant between the living and the dead. He is sometimes categorised as a dying-and-rising god.

Eridanos (river of Hades)

The river Eridanos or Eridanus (; Ancient Greek: Ἠριδανός, "Amber") is a river in northern Europe mentioned in Greek mythology and historiography.

Greek underworld

In mythology, the Greek underworld is an otherworld where souls go after death. The original Greek idea of afterlife is that, at the moment of death, the soul is separated from the corpse, taking on the shape of the former person, and is transported to the entrance of the underworld. The underworld itself—sometimes known as Hades, after its patron god—is described as being either at the outer bounds of the ocean or beneath the depths or ends of the earth. It is considered the dark counterpart to the brightness of Mount Olympus with the kingdom of the dead corresponding to the kingdom of the gods. Hades is a realm invisible to the living, made solely for the dead.

Hadestown (musical)

Hadestown: The Myth. The Musical is a 2016 stage musical adaptation of the 2010 folk opera concept album by the same name by Anaïs Mitchell. It premiered off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop on May 6, 2016 and ran through July 31. Following productions in Edmonton and London, the show premiered in previews on Broadway in March 2019. The show was developed for the stage and directed by Rachel Chavkin.

Like the original concept album, Hadestown tells a version of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, where Orpheus journeys to the underworld to rescue his fiancée Eurydice.

Harrowing of Hell

In Christian theology, the Harrowing of Hell (Latin: Descensus Christi ad Inferos, "the descent of Christ into Hell") is the triumphant descent of Christ into Hell (or Hades) between the time of his Crucifixion and his Resurrection when he brought salvation to all of the righteous who had died since the beginning of the world. After his death, the soul of Jesus descended into the realm of the dead.

The Harrowing of Hell is referred to in the Apostles' Creed and the Athanasian Creed (Quicumque vult) which state that Jesus Christ "descended into Hell". Christ having descended to the underworld is alluded to in the New Testament in 1 Peter 4:6, which states that the "good tidings were proclaimed to the dead". The Catholic Catechism interprets Ephesians 4:9, which states that "[Christ] descended into the lower parts of the earth", as also supporting this interpretation. This near-absence in Scripture has given rise to controversy and differing interpretations. The Harrowing of Hell is commemorated in the liturgical calendar on Holy Saturday.According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, the story first appears clearly in the Gospel of Nicodemus in the section called the Acts of Pilate, which also appears separately at earlier dates within the Acts of Peter and Paul.The descent into Hell had been related in Old English poems connected with the names of Cædmon and Cynewulf. It is subsequently repeated in Ælfric of Eynsham's homilies c. 1000 AD, which is the first known inclusion of the word "harrowing". Middle English dramatic literature contains the fullest and most dramatic development of the subject.As an image in Christian art, the harrowing is also known as the Anastasis (a Greek word for "resurrection"), considered a creation of Byzantine culture and first appearing in the West in the early 8th century.

Lethe

In Greek mythology, Lethe (Greek: Λήθη, Lḗthē; Ancient Greek: [lɛ́:tʰɛː], Modern Greek: [ˈliθi]) was one of the five rivers of the underworld of Hades. Also known as the Ameles potamos (river of unmindfulness), the Lethe flowed around the cave of Hypnos and through the Underworld, where all those who drank from it experienced complete forgetfulness. Lethe was also the name of the Greek spirit of forgetfulness and oblivion, with whom the river was often identified.

In Classical Greek, the word lethe (λήθη) literally means "oblivion", "forgetfulness", or "concealment". It is related to the Greek word for "truth", aletheia (ἀλήθεια), which through the privative alpha literally means "un-forgetfulness" or "un-concealment".

List of Disney's Hercules characters

The following are fictional characters from Disney's 1997 film Hercules and from the derived 1998 TV series. These productions are adaptations of Greek mythology, very different from the classical versions.

Outer Plane

In the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, an Outer Plane is one of a number of general types of planes of existence. They can also be referred to as godly planes, spiritual planes or divine planes. The Outer Planes are home to beings such as deities and otherworldly creatures such as demons, celestials and devils. Each Outer Plane is usually the physical manifestation of a particular moral and ethical alignment and the entities that dwell there often embody the traits related to that alignment.

The intangible and esoteric Outer Planes—the realms of ideals, philosophies, and gods—stand in contrast to the Inner Planes, which compose the material building blocks of reality and the realms of energy and matter.

All Outer Planes are spatially infinite but are composed of features and locations of finite scope. Many of these planes are often split into a collection of further infinites called layers, which are essentially sub-planes that represent one particular facet or theme of the plane. For example, Baator's geography is reminiscent of Hell as depicted in Dante's The Divine Comedy. In addition, each layer may also contain a number of realms. Each realm is the home to an individual deity, or occasionally a collection of deities.

Persephone

In Greek mythology, Persephone ( pər-SEF-ə-nee; Greek: Περσεφόνη), also called Kore ( KOR-ee; Greek: Κόρη; "the maiden"), is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Homer describes her as the formidable, venerable, majestic queen of the underworld, who carries into effect the curses of men upon the souls of the dead. She becomes the queen of the underworld through her abduction by and subsequent marriage to Hades, the god of the underworld. The myth of her abduction represents her function as the personification of vegetation, which shoots forth in spring and withdraws into the earth after harvest; hence, she is also associated with spring as well as the fertility of vegetation. Similar myths appear in the Orient, in the cults of male gods like Attis, Adonis, and Osiris, and in Minoan Crete.

Persephone as a vegetation goddess and her mother Demeter were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries, which promised the initiated a more enjoyable prospect after death. In some versions, Persephone is the mother of Zeus' sons Dionysus, Iacchus, or Zagreus. The origins of her cult are uncertain, but it was based on very old agrarian cults of agricultural communities.

Persephone was commonly worshipped along with Demeter and with the same mysteries. To her alone were dedicated the mysteries celebrated at Athens in the month of Anthesterion. In Classical Greek art, Persephone is invariably portrayed

robed, often carrying a sheaf of grain. She may appear as a mystical divinity with a sceptre and a little box, but she was mostly represented in the process of being carried off by Hades.

In Roman mythology, she is called Proserpina.

Phlegethon

In Greek mythology, the river Phlegethon (Φλεγέθων, English translation: "flaming") or Pyriphlegethon (Πυριφλεγέθων, English translation: "fire-flaming") was one of the five rivers in the infernal regions of the underworld, along with the rivers Styx, Lethe, Cocytus, and Acheron. Plato describes it as "a stream of fire, which coils round the earth and flows into the depths of Tartarus". It was parallel to the river Styx. It is said that the goddess Styx was in love with Phlegethon, but she was consumed by his flames and sent to Hades. Eventually when Hades allowed her river to flow through, they reunited.

Pluto (Marvel Comics)

Pluto is a fictional deity appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is based on the Greco-Roman god of the same name.

Pluto (mythology)

Pluto (Latin: Plūtō; Greek: Πλούτων, Ploutōn) was the ruler of the underworld in classical mythology. The earlier name for the god was Hades, which became more common as the name of the underworld itself. In ancient Greek religion and mythology, Pluto represents a more positive concept of the god who presides over the afterlife. Ploutōn was frequently conflated with Ploutos (Πλοῦτος, Plutus), a god of wealth, because mineral wealth was found underground, and because as a chthonic god Pluto ruled the deep earth that contained the seeds necessary for a bountiful harvest. The name Ploutōn came into widespread usage with the Eleusinian Mysteries, in which Pluto was venerated as a stern ruler but the loving husband of Persephone. The couple received souls in the afterlife, and are invoked together in religious inscriptions. Hades, by contrast, had few temples and religious practices associated with him, and he is portrayed as the dark and violent abductor of Persephone.

Pluto and Hades differ in character, but they are not distinct figures and share two dominant myths. In Greek cosmogony, the god received the rule of the underworld in a three-way division of sovereignty over the world, with his brother Zeus ruling the Sky and his other brother Poseidon sovereign over the Sea. His central narrative is the abduction of Persephone to be his wife and the queen of his realm. Plouton as the name of the ruler of the underworld first appears in Greek literature of the Classical period, in the works of the Athenian playwrights and of the philosopher Plato, who is the major Greek source on its significance. Under the name Pluto, the god appears in other myths in a secondary role, mostly as the possessor of a quest-object, and especially in the descent of Orpheus or other heroes to the underworld.Plūtō ([ˈpluːtoː]; genitive Plūtōnis) is the Latinized form of the Greek Plouton. Pluto's Roman equivalent is Dis Pater, whose name is most often taken to mean "Rich Father" and is perhaps a direct translation of Plouton. Pluto was also identified with the obscure Roman Orcus, like Hades the name of both a god of the underworld and the underworld as a place. The borrowed Greek name Pluto is sometimes used for the ruler of the dead in Latin literature, leading some mythology handbooks to assert misleadingly that Pluto was the Roman counterpart of Hades. Pluto (Pluton in French and German, Plutone in Italian) becomes the most common name for the classical ruler of the underworld in subsequent Western literature and other art forms.

Saint Seiya

Saint Seiya (聖闘士星矢(セイントセイヤ), Seinto Seiya), also known as Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac or simply Knights of the Zodiac, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masami Kurumada. It was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1986 to 1990, with the chapters collected into 28 tankōbon volumes by Shueisha.

The story follows five mystical warriors called the "Saints" (聖闘士(セイント), Seinto, or "Knights" in some adaptations) who fight wearing sacred sacred sets of armor named "Cloths" (聖衣(クロス), Kurosu), the designs of which derive from the various constellations the characters have adopted as their destined guardian symbols, and empowered by a mystical energy called "Cosmo" (小宇宙(コスモ), Kosumo). The Saints have sworn to defend the reincarnation of the Greek goddess Athena in her battle against other Olympian gods who want to dominate Earth.

The manga was adapted into an anime television series by Toei Animation that ran from 1986 to 1989, before being continued in the form of three original video animation series between 2002 and 2008. Four animated feature films were shown in Japanese theaters from 1987 to 1989, with a fifth in 2004 and a sixth in 2014. Since 2006, creator Kurumada has been publishing a sequel manga titled Saint Seiya: Next Dimension. Several spin-off manga by different authors have also been created, as well as a standalone anime and original net animation.

Saint Seiya has been successful, with over 35 million copies sold as of 2017. The series began to be known in the West after it became popular in France in 1988, where it was given the name of Les Chevaliers du Zodiaque; this was also the first foreign release of the series. Both the original manga and the anime adaptation were also successful in other Asian, European and American countries, however, none of them were translated into English until 2003. In North America the manga is licensed by Viz Media, the anime has been released by both DIC Entertainment (as Knights Of The Zodiac) and ADV Films, and the first four films were released by Discotek Media.

Sisyphus

In Greek mythology Sisyphus or Sisyphos (; Ancient Greek: Σίσυφος Sísuphos) was the king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth). He was punished for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll down when it nears the top, repeating this action for eternity. Through the classical influence on modern culture, tasks that are both laborious and futile are therefore described as Sisyphean ().

Styx

In Greek mythology, Styx (; Ancient Greek: Στύξ [stýks]) is a deity and a river that forms the boundary between Earth and the Underworld, often called "Hades", which is also the name of its ruler. The rivers Styx, Phlegethon, Acheron, Lethe, and Cocytus all converge at the center of the underworld on a great marsh, which sometimes is also called the Styx. According to Herodotus, the river Styx originates near Feneos. Styx is also a goddess with prehistoric roots in Greek mythology as a daughter of Tethys, after whom the river is named and because of whom it had miraculous powers.

Hades' family tree [80]
UranusGaia
Uranus' genitalsCronusRhea
ZeusHeraPoseidonHADESDemeterHestia
    a [81]
     b [82]
AresHephaestus
Metis
Athena [83]
Leto
ApolloArtemis
Maia
Hermes
Semele
Dionysus
Dione
    a [84]     b [85]
Aphrodite
Classical religious forms
Mystery religions
and sacred mysteries
Main beliefs
Texts/epic poems/odes
Rites and practices
Sacred places
Mythical beings
Deities
Heroes/heroines
Mythical tribes
Oracles/seers
Magic
Mythical realms
Underworld
Mythological wars
Mythological and
religious objects
Symbols
Mythological powers
Storage containers,
cups, vases
Musical Instruments
Games
Festivals/feasts
Vessels
Modern offshoot religions
Modern popular culture

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