Hades and dog Cerberus
History >> Ancient Greece >> Greek MythologyGod of: The Underworld, death, and riches
Symbols: Scepter, Cerberus, drinking horn, and the cypress tree
Parents: Cronus and Rhea
Children: Melinoe, Macaria, and Zagreus
Abode: The Underworld
Roman name: Pluto
Hades is a god in Greek mythology who rules the land of the dead called the Underworld. He is one of the three most powerful Greek gods (along with his brothers Zeus and Poseidon).
How was Hades usually pictured?
Hades is usually pictured with a beard, a helmet or crown, and holding a two-pronged pitchfork or a staff. Often his three headed dog, Cerberus, is with him. When traveling he rides a chariot pulled by black horses.
What powers and skills did he have?
Hades had complete control of the underworld and all its subjects. Besides being an immortal god, one of his special powers was invisibility. He wore helmet called the Helm of Darkness that allowed him to become invisible. He once loaned his helmet out to the hero Perseus to help him defeat the monster Medusa.
Birth of Hades
Hades was the son of Cronus and Rhea, the king and queen of the Titans. After being born, Hades was swallowed by his father Cronus to prevent a prophecy that a son would someday overthrow him. Hades was eventually saved by his younger brother Zeus.
Lord of the Underworld
After the Olympians defeated the Titans, Hades and his brothers drew lots to divide up the world. Zeus drew the sky, Poseidon drew the sea, and Hades drew the Underworld. The Underworld is where dead people go in Greek Mythology. Hades wasn't very happy about getting the Underworld at first, but when Zeus explained to him that all the people of the world would eventually be his subjects, Hades decided it was okay.
In order to guard his realm, Hades had a giant three-headed dog named Cerberus. Cerberus guarded the entrance to the Underworld. He kept the living from entering and the dead from escaping.
Another helper for Hades was Charon. Charon was Hades' ferryman. He would take the dead on a boat across the rivers Styx and Acheron from the world of the living to the Underworld. The dead had to pay a coin to Charon to cross or they would have to wander the shores for one hundred years.
Hades became very lonely in the Underworld and wanted a wife. Zeus said he could marry his daughter Persephone. However, Persephone did not want to marry Hades and live in the Underworld. Hades then kidnapped Persephone and forced her to come to the underworld. Demeter, Persephone's mother and goddess of crops, became sad and neglected the harvest and the world suffered famine. Eventually, the gods came to an agreement and Persephone would live with Hades for four months of the year. These months are represented by winter, when nothing grows.
Interesting Facts About the Greek God Hades
- The Greeks did not like to say the name of Hades. They sometimes called him Plouton, which means "the lord of riches."
- Hades would get very angry at anyone who tried to cheat death.
- In Greek Mythology, the personification of death was not Hades, but another god named Thanatos.
- Hades fell in love with a nymph named Minthe, but Persephone found out and turned the nymph into the plant mint.
- There are many regions to the Underworld. Some were nice, such as the Elysian Fields where heroes went after death. Other areas were awful, such as the dark abyss called Tartarus where the wicked were sent to be tormented for eternity.
- Hades is sometimes considered one of the Twelve Olympian gods, but he didn't live on Mount Olympus.
- Take a ten question quiz about this page.
- Listen to a recorded reading of this page:
History >> Ancient Greece >> Greek Mythology
Zagreus, Prince of the Underworld, is the son of Hades and is the protagonist of the game.
Zagreus has always had a sense that he doesn't belong in the House of Hades. Sometime before the start of the game he decides, against his father's will, to escape from the Underworld—no matter how many tries it might take him. He is aided and encouraged in his journey, primarily by his caretaker Nyx and his mentor Achilles. Others outside the House of Hades, such as Sisyphus, Charon, and the Olympians sometimes offer their aid as well.
Zagreus is met with numerous obstacles throughout the realms of Tartarus, Asphodel, Elysium, and the Temple of Styx. He is mostly faced with various aggressive shades working for his father, but he also has run-ins with the Furies (Megaera, Tisiphone and Alecto), the skeletal remains of the Lernaean Hydra, and the champion of Elysium, Theseus, and his friend, Asterius, in order to arrive at the Temple of Styx. These battles, combined with the dangerous landscape of the Underworld, serve to bring a painful end to Zagreus's escape attempts sooner or later.
Characteristics and Personality
Zagreus is the rebellious son of Hades and, unknowingly, Persephone; but was raised by Nyx. He is largely defined by his persistence, good humor and wit, and his kindness. Having spent most of his immortal life bearing the brunt of his father Hades' repressed frustration and rage, he grew up feeling distant and out of place from the other denizens of the underworld, partially due to his failing to meet the heavy expectations of his father, and partially his apparent inability to contribute to the running of the Underworld. When he discovers the truth of his parentage, he decides to attempt to escape the realm of the dead to seek out his long-lost mother. Despite all the trials and many deaths he faces, he never wavers in pursing his goal, never showing any sign of doubt in his efforts, even in the face of his father's wrath, nor when his own mother at one point tells him not to seek her out anymore.
Zagreus is often shown to be humble, good-humored, and often sarcastic and self-deprecating. His jovial, if somewhat-insubordinate nature allows him to easily befriend the many people he encounters, treating people of lower status as his equals, although he is respectful of his elders (aside from his father), especially his fellow gods. He is sometimes shown to be somewhat blasé, which has led him to offend the people around him or act without thinking of the consequences. However, he often reflects on this and is quick to apologize when he oversteps. He has a mischievous side, and is fond of pranking others.
He is fiercely protective of his friends and loved ones, and goes out of his way to defend them with little regard toward status or societal expectations. He often leverages his own influence to improve the lives of others.
Due to his sheltered upbringing, Zagreus is often shown to be ignorant of the world outside of the Underworld, relying on others to relay information about the outside world.
Zagreus is somewhat small for a god, considerably smaller than Hades and a head shorter than Persephone. He is presumably of reasonable height for a mortal as he tells the Minotaur he is the same height as Theseus. He has heterochromia with one of his father's red eyes and one of his mother's green. His hair is jet black like his father's though with his mother's spikier texture. His skin is quite pale, and he is physically strong and muscular. His feet are perpetually on fire.
'...Take one look at him and I think any questions of his parentage are soon resolved. He never seemed to like it much, there, growing up within Lord Hades' well-appointed house. One day I took him on as a disciple, under orders from Lord Hades; the Master worried that his heir lacked any firm direction in his life. And, indeed, Zagreus took well to the martial ways, and I am proud to say now that he was my student.'
Completing the Epilogue will unlock the complete Codex Entry.
'He was never insubordinate with me, despite his reputation. Perhaps my own lack of decorum in my youth made it easier for us to get along. He learned quickly, exhibiting his father's might, and even greater swiftness. Yet, he soon showed a quality that startled me much more. Forgive me, O gods! You are not known for your kindness. But this son of Lord Hades always regarded me, a mere shade, with respect; and the congenial manner of an old friend. Rumors swirl about the lad; about how he bleeds red like a mortal does. Well, if there's a trace of mortality in him, I am certain he is better for it. I should know.'
Hades: Zagreus has a bitter relationship with his father Hades, who seems to think of him as lazy, naive, and foolish. The two frequently bicker, and Hades thwarts his escape attempts at every turn. Zagreus's memories of his father's treatment of him spur him on at the beginning of his escape attempts. Upon Persephone's return and subsequent encouragement, the two eventually come to something of an understanding, with Hades making Zagreus' escape attempts an official job to stress-test the security of the Underworld. By the time of Persephone's return, thanks to her his relationship with his father has slowly begun to improve, although Zagreus still not able to forgive his father's rude and bitter treatment over the years with him while Hades expect not to be forgiven in any sense, but recognizes that it is his fault in the first place. In a comic sense they still mock each other with trivial matters when both fight at the surface but showing mutual respect for their skills and combat abilities.
Persephone: For most of his life, Zagreus was unaware of his mother's existence or relation to him, having been led to believe that Nyx was his mother instead. The realization of her existence is once of the reasons for his escape attempts. Upon meeting her, he finds that she too was unaware of his existence, having been led to believe that he had died at birth, and left out of grief. The two connect immediately and with each meeting learn more about the circumstances of their separation and why the truth was hidden from them. Eventually, through Zagreus's persistence, Persephone returns to the Underworld, and she formulates a plan to finally ease the tension between the Chthonic and Olympian gods.
Nyx: Though Zagreus is initially shocked to learn that Nyx is not his biological mother, he was understanding, and they remained on good terms. Nyx supports his decision to leave and helped him contact the Olympians. Zagreus eventually learns that Nyx's intervention was the reason that Zagreus exists at all, due to her pulling a favor with her daughters, the Fates, to revive Zagreus when he died at birth. Zagreus has the option of reuniting Nyx with her parent, Chaos, after their years of separation and no contact.
Cerberus: Cerberus is Zagreus's beloved pet and best friend. He is affectionate towards Zagreus, and is quite mournful when he leaves. Zagreus also refuses to fight Cerberus and dislikes his father using him as a way to guilt him into staying, implying emotional harm and potential physical harm (since the two would eventually have to fight should Zagreus continue his escape attempts) on the pet as a result of his son leaving.
Achilles: Achilles is Zagreus's mentor, having taught him to fight. He supports Zagreus's escape attempts and expresses pride in his progress. Upon receiving a 5th nectar bottle, Achilles takes Zagreus's generosity for possible romantic affection and apologizes, explaining that his heart belongs to someone else. Zagreus's reply implies he already 'kind of' felt that was the case and whatever affection he bestowed to Achilles were not for such a pursuit. Zagreus eventually has the option to reunite Achilles with his former lover, Patroclus, in Elysium, through relaxing the terms of Achilles' contract with the House of Hades.
Megaera: Zagreus and Megaera appear to have some past history, but their relationship has since ended due to a mistake from Zagreus part. Megaera is aloof and hostile towards Zagreus and thinks his escape attempts are foolish. Further strain is placed on their relationship each time they have to fight to the death. Zagreus has the option to mend their relationship and rekindle their romance.
Thanatos: He and Zagreus are childhood friends, both being raised by Thanatos's mother, Nyx. Thanatos is initially very hurt when Zagreus attempts to escape the Underworld, as he had not been informed, but continues to help him at times. Despite being opposites in terms of personality, the two share a strong bond, likely due to their respective roles in representing death and life/rebirth. Zagreus has the option of forming a romantic relationship with Thanatos.
Dusa: Zagreus is friendly to Dusa, and doesn't talk down to her despite their difference in status. Dusa often becomes flustered whenever he talks to her. Nyx is initially disapproving of their friendship and of Dusa's tendency to overwork herself, and eventually abruptly fires the Gorgon; however she reverses the decision after Zagreus’s intervention (with some stipulations, however). Dusa is another possible romantic interest for Zagreus; however she ultimately turns Zagreus down, realizing she thinks of him merely as a kind friend.
Orpheus: Zagreus is fond of the morose musician, and is upset when Hades casts him off into the depths of Tartarus for refusing to sing out of his depression for losing his muse, Eurydice. Zagreus has the option of both having him be returned to the House of Hades, and having the terms of his contract lightened so he may visit his muse in Asphodel. Zagreus overall tries to cheer the musician up and get him to sing more, even going as far to tell him tall tales to improve his mood.
Chaos: Zagreus is respectful of his primordial ancestor, and in turn, they are fond of Zagreus, finding his actions and goals fascinating. Although normally disinterested in predictability and ever blunt, Chaos finds Zagreus's gestures of kindness and reverence refreshing, and aids the young god in their own way.
Olympian Gods: The Olympians, most of whom are aunts, uncles, and cousins to Zagreus, seem to sympathize with him and welcome him to join them on Olympus. They contact Zagreus during escape attempts, offering a friendly chat and Boons to aid him in his escape. They believe Zagreus is trying to escape so he can be with them; which is not the case as his objective is actually finding Persephone.
- Zeus: Zeus is proud of his nephew, often comparing him favorably to Hades (even jokingly offering to tell others that he is Zagreus's father instead of Hades). He occasionally brings up his distant relationship with his brother, and at one point brashly tries to have Zagreus mend their relationship by offering forgiveness to Hades, an attempt that only irritates Hades. Eventually Hades reveals to Zagreus that Zeus was the one who spirited away Persephone to the Underworld without telling anyone, after learning of her discontent of Olympus and Hades' fondness of the goddess. Upon learning this, Zagreus thinks that his uncle might be the type to act without thinking of the consequences.
- Poseidon: Poseidon is ecstatic to learn of Zagreus' existence, and shows a great fondness for his long lost nephew. Like the others, he offers his aid. Much like his younger brother, he sometimes compares Zagreus to Hades favorably.
- Demeter: Both Zagreus and Demeter are initially unaware of their relationship, that Demeter is Zagreus's grandmother through Persephone. Zagreus, like many of the other gods, shows reverence and a level of fear towards Demeter, who has developed a reputation of being ruthless and cold upon losing her daughter. He is often reminded of the potential repercussions of what she might do if she were to learn of the truth of Persephone's disappearance. When Persephone does eventually reveal herself to be alive (albeit with a slightly fabricated retelling of the events), Demeter's demeanor begins to soften simply out of relief; and she begins to regard Zagreus much more fondly. However, despite undoing her eternal winter upon Persephone's return, she keeps the area around the Temple of Styx frozen over, out of lingering resentment over being deceived.
- Artemis: Artemis expresses a sense of kinship with Zagreus, believing that they might have a lot in common as they both feel alienated from their families. She respects Zagreus's skills in hunting and seems to be among the most personally invested and eager in her relationship with Zagreus among the Olympians. She learns that Zagreus was mentored by Achilles, who she shows a strong fondness for, despite him being a mortal, even asking to meet him. Later in the game, Artemis confessed to Zagreus that she feels out of place among the Olympians and considers herself an outcast because of it, but she feels more welcomed and happy when she interacts with him.
- Athena: Athena was one of the first Olympians to reach out to Zagreus and offer her aid. She, like Artemis, seems personally invested in Zagreus's success and the idea of having her cousin reach Olympus, due to her interest in mending the tensions among her family. She has a good relationship with Zagreus's foster mother, Nyx, and admits to Zagreus that she envies their relationship due to not having a mother. When Persephone reveals her relationship with Hades and tells a false story of their apparent love-affair, Persephone suspects that Athena likely sees through the ruse, but due to her interest in keeping the peace in the family, chooses to play along with it.
- Ares: Ares is proud of his cousin and admires his capacity in bringing death (albeit to the already-dead); Zagreus on the other hand is a little weary of the god of war, due to his reputation of cruelty and violence. He shows interest in Zagreus' foster mother, Nyx, due to feeling a debt of gratitude for her role in his work as the manifestation of night herself and asks Zagreus to send his regards to her. The two eventually form a correspondence and meet in person with Zagreus's help (albeit with some unease on his part due to Ares violent, bloodthirsty nature and desire of violence).
- Hermes: Hermes is the only Olympian who has ever seen Zagreus in-person prior to the events of the game, due to his role as a Psychopomp and his working relationship with Charon; although like the rest of the Olympians, he appears to be unaware of Zagreus' true parentage. When he and the other Olympians are invited to the Underworld for a feast, he pretends to not have met Zagreus previously. It is unclear if he knew of Persephone's absconding to the Underworld prior the events of the game.
- Aphrodite: Aphrodite, like the other Olympians, takes an interest in Zagreus' escape attempts. Whenever Zagreus forms a romantic relationship with Megaera or Thanatos, Aphrodite takes notice of it and will comment on it.
- Dionysus: Dionysus shares a relaxed relationship with Zagreus and like the other Olympians, offers his aid to his cousin. At one point, the two collaborate together in pranking Orpheus, leading the musician to believe that the two are the same person.
Alternate dialogue portrait
Alternate dialogue portrait
Alternate dialogue portrait
- Zagreus has heterochromia, having inherited an eye color from each of his parents (his red eye from Hades and his green eye from Persephone).
- The Olympian Gods were not aware of Zagreus' existence until they were contacted by Nyx, whom they believe to be Zagreus' mother.
- Dionysus comments that Zagreus is his favorite demigod, while Aphrodite refers to him a godling and Artemis calls him a "half-god", all implying that Zagreus is not seen by the Olympians as a true god, possibly because Nyx is not seen as a true goddess.
- Despite Zagreus' insistence that he is not "the god of anything", Achilles maintains that every god, by definition, must be the god of something; as such, he theorizes that Zagreus might be the god of blood and, by extension, life. According to Achilles, this would explain the special bond Zagreus shares with Thanatos despite their apparently incompatible personalities.
- Zagreus doesn't know what birds are.
- If Zagreus's codex entry is viewed in the game's files, there is additional text that does not appear in the game. Like the other content of the codex, it appears to be written from Achilles' point of view. More text is occasionally added along with major updates:
- 'Listen, Mortal. You are not supposed to be reading this. You are most bold, or most unwise, to have been digging through these arcane texts, or to have gleaned the knowledge from someone who has. Sometimes, herein, you may find traces of the weavings of the Fates. That is true. At other times, however, your attempts to glean the future shall be thwarted. Best not to spoil the surprises that the Fates may have in store for you, if you ask me. For the Fates work in mysterious ways, and defy prediction; remember that.
- We all sprang from Chaos, did we not? They offer us as suitable an explanation for the sheer improbability of life and consciousness as ever I have heard. Chaos fundamentally is unexpected and inscrutable; know that it is their workings that shall forever frustrate your attempts to make predictable the ever-changing aspects of the Underworld. The days and seasons may be following a seemingly set path -- but the Underworld shall evolve as it is meant to, and by no other means.
- We all are mortal and immortal, save the gods, who only are the latter. Some say that mortals flow from Dionysus from another life, for he is partly mortal from the details of his birth, and yet very much immortal in his station and his disposition. So, then, should it not be possible for other gods to be part-mortals, too? And, are we to take the stories of their ancestry at face value, unquestioningly always, even when the details of their origins are far too absurd or scandalous to be believed? Truly does the god of wine hold sway upon our minds, if such tales of their exploits are to spread unchecked, as fact.
- Though I digress; let us discuss, for this one moment, Death. Death is the most expected of the gods among mortals, is he not? Entirely expected, and yet capable of striking during unexpected times, and taking unexpected forms. Yet even Death is subservient, here; Death almost never saw the light of day. Imagine, then, how empty this place would have been, how paradoxically devoid of warmth, had Death remained obscure. You are to be commended for keeping his secrets.
- And when I think on Death, my mind wanders, so often as it does, to someone else, and Fear. Fear is for the weak; yet, I fear so much when it comes to him. That I may never see him again. That he shall be remembered not for all his grace and brilliance, but because he died because of me. I shall commemorate him here. He was my world. When he perished in the blasted war, because of all my stubbornness, I shortly followed him, of course. Though, somehow I knew I'd not see him again. It is not my place to say anything more, except for this: I pray that he forgives me, for all that I have done. And may he bask forever in the glory of Elysium, a paradise that ought to be for men like him.
For additional information about Zagreus that does not pertain to Hades, see Wikipedia's article: Zagreus.
God of the underworld in Greek mythology
This article is about the Greek god. For the location, see Greek underworld and Hades in Christianity. For other uses, see Hades (disambiguation).
Hades/Serapis with Cerberus
|Symbol||Cornucopia, Cypress, Narcissus, keys, serpent, mint plant, white poplar, dog, pomegranate, sheep, cattle, screech owl, horse, chariot|
|Parents||Cronus and Rhea|
|Siblings||Poseidon, Demeter, Hestia, Hera, Zeus, Chiron|
|Children||Macaria, and in some cases Melinoë, Plutus, Zagreus and the Erinyes|
|Roman equivalent||Dis Pater, Orcus, Pluto|
Hades (; Greek: ᾍδης, translit. Háidēs; 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. Hades was the eldest son of Cronus and Rhea, although this also made him the last son to be regurgitated by his father. 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. In artistic depictions, Hades is typically portrayed holding a bident and wearing his helm with Cerberus, the three-headed guard dog of the underworld, standing to his side.
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, translit. Ploútōn), itself a euphemistic title often given to Hades.
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 dialogueCratylus 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"). 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.
In Homeric and Ionic Greek, he was known as Áïdēs. Other poetic variations of the name include Aïdōneús (Ἀϊδωνεύς) and the inflected forms Áïdos (Ἄϊδος, gen.), Áïdi (Ἄϊδι, dat.), and Áïda (Ἄϊδα, acc.), whose reconstructednominative case *Áïs (*Ἄϊς) is, however, not attested. 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).
Perhaps from fear of pronouncing his name, around the 5th century BC, the Greeks started referring to Hades as Plouton (ΠλούτωνPloútōn), 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). 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. More elaborate names of the same genre were Ploutodótēs (Πλουτοδότης) or Ploutodotḗr (Πλουτοδοτήρ), meaning "giver of wealth".
Epithets of Hades include Agesander (Ἀγήσανδρος) and Agesilaos (Ἀγεσίλαος), 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.Nicander uses the form Hegesilaus (Ἡγεσίλαος).
He was also referred to as Zeus katachthonios (Ζεὺς καταχθόνιος), meaning "the Zeus of the Underworld", by those avoiding his actual name, as he had complete control over the underworld.
In Greek mythology, Hades, the god of the Greek underworld, was the first-born son of the TitansCronus 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 for realms to rule. Zeus received the sky, Poseidon received the seas, and Hades received the underworld, 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.
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; 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.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
God of the underworld
Despite modern connotations of death as evil, Hades was actually more altruistically inclined in mythology. Hades was portrayed as passive and never portrayed negatively; 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. Any other individual aspects of his personality are not given, as Greeks refrained from giving him much thought to avoid attracting his attention.
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. He cared little about what happened in the world above, as his primary attention was ensuring none of his subjects ever left his domain.
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". 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. 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 Pylos. 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, to whom Hades showed uncharacteristic mercy at Persephone's urging, who was moved by Orpheus' music,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)
Abduction of Persephone
The consort of Hades was Persephone, daughter of Zeus and Demeter. 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 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
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
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.
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."
Orpheus and Eurydice
The hero Orpheus once descented into the Underworld in search of his dead wife Eurydice, who died when a snake bit her. So lovely was the music he played that it charmed even Hades (as well as his wife Persephone), who allowed him to take Eurydice to the land of the living, as long as he did not look back at her on his way out.
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.
Sisyphus was a mortal king from Corinth who was punished in Tartarus for revealing to the river godAsopus the whereabouts of his daughter Aegina after Zeus abducted her, and for trying to cheat death as well. Zeus, angry at Sisyphus for revealing the secret, sent Thanatos to Sisyphus, but he cleverly cast Death into his own bonds, and as a result no one could die until Ares freed Thanatos and delivered Sisyphus to him. But still, Sisyphus ordered his wife Merope not to perform any funeral rites for him and what else was accostumed as tribute to the Underworld gods before he was brought to Hades. After some time that Merope hadn't offered proper honours, Hades learnt of this, and allowed Sisyphus to return to the world of the living so that he could punish his wife, with the understanding that he would return afterwards. Sisyphus however never returned back as promised until years later, when he died of old age. Sisyphus was punished by having to roll a boulder up a hill in the Underworld; but everytime he reached the top, the boulder would roll down again and again. In another version, it's Persephone who lets him out.
Main article: Cerberus
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.
At another time, Heracles sieged the town of Pylos and during the fight he wounded Hades, who had sided with the Pylians. In great pain, Hades went to Olympus to be healed by the physician of the gods, Paean.
Minthe was a nymph of Cocytus who became Hades' mistress. A jealous Persephone trampled the nymph under her foot, transforming her into garden mint in the process. In another version, Hades had kept Minthe as his mistress before he married Persephone, and set her aside afterwards. Minthe boasted of being more beautiful than Persephone, and that Hades would soon take her back. In anger over the hubris directed toward her daughter, Demeter trampled Minthe and turned her into mint.
Leuce was the most beautiful of the nymphs and a daughter of Oceanus. Hades fell in love with her and abducted her to the underworld. She lived out the span of her life in his realm, and when she died, the god sought consolation by creating a suitable memorial of their love: in the Elysian Fields where the pious spend their afterlife, he brought a white tree into existence. It was this tree with which Heracles crowned himself to celebrate his return from the underworld.
The plague in Aonia
Once, when a plague hit Aonia, a region in Boeotia, the people consulted the Oracle of Delphi, and the god replied that the should make an appeal to the gods of the underworld; they had to sacrifice two young maidens to appease the anger of Hades and Persephone. The girls that were chosen were Menippe and Metioche, the daughters of Orion. The girls accepted solemnly in order to save their countrymen. As they were led to the altar to be sacrificed, Hades and Persephone took pity in both of them, and transformed them into comets.
After Alcestis chose to die in place of her husband Admetus in order to save him, Heracles brought her back from the dead by fighting and defeating Hades. In other versions, like Euripides' play Alcestis, Heracles fought Thanatos instead.
When the monstrous Typhon attacked the Olympian gods, Hades is said to have trembled in fear in the Underworld while Zeus fought Typhon.
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"), 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. 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; moreover, Hades was also referred to as Hesperos Theos ("god of death & darkness").
When the Greeks propitiated Hades, they banged their hands on the ground to be sure he would hear them. Black animals, such as sheep, were sacrificed to him. While some suggest the very vehemence of the rejection of human sacrifice expressed in myth might imply an unspoken memory of some distant past, there is no direct evidence of such a turn. 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.
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. In certain portraits, snakes also appeared to be attributed to Hades 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. 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, and as seen beforehand, they cannot be different manifestations of the same god, in fact whenever 'another Zeus' is mentioned, this always refers to Hades. Zeus Meilichios and Zeus Eubouleus are often referred to as being alternate names for Hades.
The philosopher Heraclitus, unifying opposites, declared that Hades and Dionysus, the very essence of indestructible life (zoë), are the same god. Among other evidence, Karl Kerényi notes in his book that the Homeric Hymn To Demeter, votive marble images and epithets 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. He suggests that this dual identity may have been familiar to those who came into contact with the Mysteries. Dionysus also shared several epithets with Hades such as Chthonios ("the subterranean"),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; statues of Dionysus found in the Ploutonion at Eleusis gives further evidence as the statue bears a striking resemblance to the statue of Eubouleus 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. 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.
Both Hades and Dionysus were associated with a divine tripartite deity with Zeus. The Orphics in particular believed that Zeus and Hades were the same deity and portrayed them as such. 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. 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. 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.
Among the other appellations under which Hades or Pluto is generally known, are the following:
- 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 sight 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.
- 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.
Hades was depicted infrequently in artwork, as well as mythology, because the Greeks were so afraid of him. 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. He was later presented in the classical arts in the depictions of the Rape of Persephone. Within these illustrations, Hades was often young, yet he was also shown as varying ages in other works. Due to this lack of depictions, there weren't very strict guidelines when representing the deity. On pottery, he has a dark beard and is presented as a stately figure on an "ebony throne." His attributes in art include a bident (less commonly, a scepter), a helm, cornucopias, roosters, and a key. They key plays a doubly symbolic role in that it represents his control over the underworld and acts as a reminder that the gates of the underworld were always locked so that souls could not leave. 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. Cerberus is a very integral symbol of Hades so much so that when Cerberus is depicted, the depiction very rarely portrays him without Hades. Sometimes, artists painted Hades as looking away from the other gods, as he was disliked by them as well as humans.
As Pluto, 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.
Realm of Hades
Main articles: Greek underworld and Hades in Christianity
In older Greek myths, the realm of Hades is the misty and gloomy abode of the dead (also called Erebus) 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. The mythographer Apollodorus, describes Tartarus as "a gloomy place in Hades as far distant from Earth, as Earth is distant from the sky." 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.
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. 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. Owing to its appearance in the New Testament of the Bible, Hades also has a distinct meaning in Christianity.
In popular culture
Main article: Hades in popular culture
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- ^Reckoning by this reverse order is preferred by Poseidon in his speech at Homer, Iliad15.187.
- ^ abTripp, p. 256.
- ^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.
- ^West, M. L., Indo-European Poetry and Myth, OUP, 2007, p. 394.
- ^Bailly, s.v. Ἅιδης.
- ^Bailly, s.v. *Ἄϊς.
- ^See Ancient Greek phonology and modern Greek.
- ^Bailly, s.v. Πλούτων.
- ^ abcdefg"Gale Virtual Reference". Retrieved 2015-11-18.
- ^Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, 806, note. Translated by Smyth, Herbert Weir (1922) in Loeb Classical Library, Volume 145.
- ^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.
- ^Liddell, Henry; Scott, Robert (1996). A Greek-English Lexicon. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. s.v. ISBN .
- ^Callimachus, Hymn. in Pallad. 130, with Friedrich Spanheim's note
- ^Hesychius of Alexandrias.v.
- ^Aeschyl. ap. Athen. iii. p. 99
- ^Nicander, ap. Athen. xv. p. 684
- ^"Ζεύς" in: An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon by Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott.
- ^ abcdTripp, p. 257.
- ^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).
- ^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
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- ^Grant and Hazel, p. 236.
- ^"Hymn 2 to Demeter, line 40". www.perseus.tufts.edu.
- ^Grant and Hazel, p. 235.
- ^Gayley, p. 47.
- ^Gayley, p. 104.
- ^Gayley, pp. 165–166.
- ^Guirand, p. 190.
- ^"Hymn 2 to Demeter, line 347". www.perseus.tufts.edu.
- ^"Hymn 2 to Demeter, line 398". www.perseus.tufts.edu.
- ^Guirand, p. 175.
- ^Guirand, p. 176.
- ^Ovid, Metamorphoses10.1-85
- ^Apollodorus, Bibliotheca1.3.2
- ^Hyginus, Astronomica2.7.1
- ^Seneca, Hercules Furens569
- ^Statius, Thebaid8.63
- ^Apollodorus, Bibliotheca1.9.3
- ^Scholia on Homer's Iliad6.153
- ^Morford, Mark P. O.; Lenardon, Robert J. (1999). Classical Mythology. Oxford University Press, pg 491
- ^Theognis, frags 699-718
- ^Apollodorus, Bibliotheca2.7.3
- ^Pindar, Olympian Odes9.2
- ^Pausanias, Description of Greece6.25.2
- ^Seneca, Hercules Furens559
- ^Homer, the Iliad5.395-404
- ^Strabo, Geographica8.3.14
- ^Ovid, Metamorphoses10.728–730.
- ^Oppian, Halieutica3.485
- ^Servius, note to Eclogue7.61: Leuce, Oceani filia, inter nymphas pulcherrima fuit. hanc Pluton adamavit et ad inferos rapuit. quae postquam apud eum completo vitae suae tempore mortua est, Pluton tam in amoris, quam in memoriae solacium in Elysiis piorum campis leucen nasci arborem iussit, ex qua, sicut dictum est, Hercules se, revertens ab inferis, coronavit.
- ^Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses25
- ^Apollodorus, Bibliotheca1.9.15
- ^Euripides, Alcestis1140
- ^Hesiod, Theogony850
- ^The name Eubouleos is more often seen as an epithet for Dionysus or Zeus.
- ^Iliad, ix
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- ^"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).
- ^Dennis D. Hughes, Human Sacrifice in Ancient Greece (London: Routledge, 2013), 49-70. ISBN 9781134966394 books.google.com/books?id=1iktBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA49
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- ^Hornblower, Spawforth, Eidinow, Simon, Antony, Esther (2014). The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization. Oxford: OUP Oxford. p. 354. ISBN .CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- ^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.
- ^ abKerényi, Karl (1991). Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter. Princeton University Press. ISBN .
- ^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]
- ^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
- ^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
- ^Kerényi 1967, p. 40.
- ^Kerényi 1976, p. 240.
- ^Kerényi 1976, pp. 83, 199.
- ^Orphic Hymns to the Eumenides, 69
- ^Loyd, Alan B (2009). What is a God?: Studies in the Nature of Greek Divinity. The Classical Press of Wales. ISBN .
- ^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.”
- ^"London B 425 (Vase)". www.perseus.tufts.edu.
- ^ abTaylor-Perry, Rosemarie (2003). The God who Comes: Dionysian Mysteries Revisited. Barnes & Noble. pp. 4, 22, 91, 92, 94, 168. ISBN .
- ^Wypustek, Andrzej (2012). Images of Eternal Beauty in Funerary Verse Inscriptions of the Hellenistic Period. BRILL. ISBN .
- ^pl:Andrzej Wypustek 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)[circular reference]
- ^Gantz, Timothy (1996). Early Greek Myth. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN .
- ^Timothy Gantz "Thus it appears that at times Zeus and Hades represented simply different facets of a single extended divine power.” (Early Greek Myth)
- ^Rigoglioso, Marguerite (2010). Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN .
- ^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)
- ^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.”
- ^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.
- ^This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- ^The Rape of PersephoneMuseo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Naples, Italy
- ^Hansen and Hansen, p. 183.
- ^Tripp, p. 257; Grant and Hazel, p. 235
- ^Tripp, p. 258.
- ^ abHomeric Hymn to Demeter
- ^Downing, Christine (June 2006). Gleanings: Essays 1982-2006. iUniverse. ISBN .
- ^Apollodorus, 1.1.2.
- ^Aeneid, book 6.
- ^Sibylline Oracles I, 101–3
- ^This chart is based upon Hesiod's Theogony, unless otherwise noted.
- ^According to Homer, Iliad1.570–579, 14.338, Odyssey8.312, Hephaestus was apparently the son of Hera and Zeus, see Gantz, p. 74.
- ^According to Hesiod, Theogony927–929, Hephaestus was produced by Hera alone, with no father, see Gantz, p. 74.
- ^According to Hesiod, Theogony886–890, 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.
- ^According to Hesiod, Theogony183–200, Aphrodite was born from Uranus' severed genitals, see Gantz, pp. 99–100.
- ^According to Homer, Aphrodite was the daughter of Zeus (Iliad3.374, 20.105; Odyssey8.308, 320) and Dione (Iliad5.370–71), see Gantz, pp. 99–100.
- Hesiod, Theogony, in The Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White, Cambridge, Massachusetts., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1914. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Homer, The Iliad with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, Ph.D. in two volumes. Cambridge, Massachusetts., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1924. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Homer, The Odyssey of Homer, translated by Lattimore, Richard, Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006. ISBN 978-0061244186.
- Homer; The Odyssey with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, Ph.D. in two volumes. Cambridge, Massachusetts., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1919. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Homeric Hymn to Demeter (2), in The Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White, Cambridge, Massachusetts., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1914. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Pindar, Odes, Diane Arnson Svarlien. 1990. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Euripides, Alcestis in Euripides. Euripides, with an English translation by David Kovacs. Cambridge. Harvard University Press. 1994. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Theognis, in Elegy and Iambus. with an English Translation by. J. M. Edmonds. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press. London. William Heinemann Ltd. 1931. 1. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Apollodorus, Apollodorus, The Library, with an English Translation by Sir James George Frazer, F.B.A., F.R.S. in 2 Volumes. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1921. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Ovid, Metamorphoses, Brookes More. Boston. Cornhill Publishing Co. 1922. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Pausanias, Pausanias Description of Greece with an English Translation by W.H.S. Jones, Litt.D., and H.A. Ormerod, M.A., in 4 Volumes. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1918. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Strabo, Geography, translated by Horace Leonard Jones; Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann, Ltd. (1924). LacusCurtis, Books 6–14, at the Perseus Digital Library
- Gaius Julius Hyginus, Astronomica from The Myths of Hyginus translated and edited by Mary Grant. University of Kansas Publications in Humanistic Studies. Online version at the Topos Text Project.
- Antoninus Liberalis, The Metamorphoses of Antoninus Liberalis translated by Francis Celoria (Routledge 1992). Online version at the Topos Text Project.
- Statius, Thebaid. Translated by Mozley, J H. Loeb Classical Library Volumes. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1928.
- Oppian, Halieutica in Oppian, Colluthus, Tryphiodorus. Oppian, Colluthus, and Tryphiodorus. Translated by A. W. Mair. Loeb Classical Library 219. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1928. Online version at topos text.
God of the Underworld, Death, Riches
God of the Underworld, Wealth, Darkness Riches, and Metals. King of the Dead and the Subterranean Regions.
Persephone(wife), Minthe, and Leuke
Melinoe, Erinyes (In some stories), Makaria, Zagreus, Ploutos (In some stories)
Demeter, Hestia, Hera, Poseidon, Zeus
Kronos and Rhea
The Screech Owl, Serpents and Black Rams
Cypress Tree, Asphodel Plant, Mint, White Poplar, Narcissus
The Barn Owl, Serpents, White poplar trees, Narcissus, Pomegranate (through myth) Cypress Tree, Kerberos, Mint and the Asphodel plant.
Symbols of Power
The Helm of Darkness
Too many parameters
Hades is the Greek Ruler of the Underworld, King of the dead, and god of wealth. He is the eldest son of Cronus and Rhea and the elder brother of Poseidon and Zeus.
Hades was one of the children of the Titans, Kronos and Rhea. He was the eldest son and his brothers were Poseidon and Zeus. Like his siblings, he was swallowed whole by Kronos at birth, who was afraid that his children would one day surpass him. Hades and the others were eventually freed by their youngest brother Zeus.
During the ten year war Titanomachy, Hades fought the Titans alongside his brothers and sisters. With the help of Hades, Poseidon, Hestia, Demeter, and Hera; Zeus was able to defeat Kronos and the Titans, thus ending the Great War. When the war ended, the three brothers divided the world among themselves using lots. Zeus was given domain over the sky and the air, and was recognized as overlord. Poseidon was given the sea and all the waters, whereas Hades was given the Underworld, the realm of the dead. The earth was left common to all.
Hades and Hestia are the only two of the siblings that don't have thrones on mount Olympus.
Hades's wife, Persephone was the goddess of vegetation, Spring and fertility, daughter of his younger sister Demeter, and also happened to be Hades's niece.
Hades had fallen in love with Persephone after seeing her frolicking in a vast meadow. As was custom, he asked Zeus, her father, for her hand in marriage. Zeus granted his blessing, but knowing Demeter would never allow her daughter to marry anyone, let alone Hades, Zeus advised Hades to carry Persephone off while Demeter was away.
Persephone was picking flowers, when Persephone was caught by the sight of a flower, the narcissus. Unnoticed by the maidens with her, Persephone went to pick up the flower. Out of nowhere, the ground split, and Hades himself rode out in his majestic chariot, guided by black-ash steeds. Grabbing Persephone, he rode back into the Underworld, and the gap sealed. Demeter, not able to find Persephone, became extremely sullen and saddened. Her sadness left the Earth to die. Nothing grew, nothing was green and the harvests died. This was the season of Winter, in which period of time Demeter was sad. Going to Zeus, she found that Hades himself had taken Persephone. So when Hermes was sent to the underworld to ask Hades for Persephone back. In the Underworld, Hades was showering Persephone with gold and riches, and constructed a vast, beautiful garden for her. Hearing the news, she gladly was allowed to go back. But Hades persuaded Persephone to eat six pomegranate seeds. She went back to Demeter, happy again. And everything on Earth grew. But when Persephone told Demeter of the pomegranate, Demeter was struck with sadness. Anything eaten in the Underworld, would bind them to it forever. So Zeus had declared Persephone would spend half of the year in the Underworld, and the rest of the year coming back and living with Demeter. This is the reason that Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter was formed.
In another myth, a dead spirit boy (which Demeter had turned into a lizard, and was eaten by a hawk) came to Persephone and convinced her to eat six pomegranate seeds, and when Zeus found out he declared she had to go back to the Underworld for six months, one month for each seed.
In some other myths, when Persephone was abducted, Demeter was so sad and enraged that she made nothing on Earth grow except for the village of Eluesis as the people there provided her with shelter and food while she was searching the whole world for her daughter.
Athenians and Sicilians honored Zeus Meilichios ("kindly" or "honeyed") while other cities had Zeus Chthonios ("earthy"), Zeus Katachthonios ("under-the-earth") and Zeus Plousios ("wealth-bringing"). These deities might be represented as snakes or in human form in visual art, or, for emphasis as both together in one image. They also received offerings of black animal victims sacrificed into sunken pits, as did chthonic deities like Persephone and Demeter, and also the heroes at their tombs. Olympian gods, by contrast, usually received white victims sacrificed upon raised altars. It should be noted that Zeus Chthonios, Zeus Katachthonios and Zeus Plousios are all epithets associated with Hades, not Zeus.
Interestingly it is often mentioned that Zeus, Hades and Dionysus were all attributed to being exactly the same god. Aidoneus - the full first name of Hades, is said to have been derived from an ancient word meaning 'father' - he abducted the maiden goddess Kore in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter:
"The earth gaped open and Lord Hades, whom we will all meet, burst forth
with his immortal horses onto the Nysian plain. Lord Hades, son of Cronus
who is called by many. Begging for pity and fighting him off, she was
dragged into his golden chariot. She screamed the shrill cry of a maenad, calling
father Zeus, Zeus the highest and the best..."
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. The dual nature of Hades = Zeus is exemplified by the existence of Zeus Meilichios.
Zeus Meilichios is mentioned as being an epithet not for Zeus, but rather for Hades. In the Orphics, the gods were identified with certain animals, for Hades it was the snake. Zeus is never mentioned as being associated with snakes, because Zeus is one of the few Greek gods who never appear attended by a snake. Hades, Asklepios, Hermes, Apollo, even Demeter and Athene have their snakes; Zeus never.
Hades is often portrayed as a youth either holding or portrayed with snakes, and snakes themselves appear as an attribute to Hades. The fact that Hades is depicted as a snake is referencing to the story where Hades ravished Persephone is the guise of a snake, begetting upon her Zagreus. Therefore, should be mentioned that Zeus Meilichios is a different business to Zeus Olympios and therefore means that Zeus Meilichios was not Zeus, but in fact Hades.
In the oral tellings of the story, rather than the single written source, the ghost goddess Melinoe is said to have been fathered by a snake. Occasionally the result of Persephone's inpregnation, is that she then goes on to give birth to twins, the gods Zagreus and Melinoe.
Connection to Dionysus
A curious identity exists between the gods Dionysus and Hades, hinted at by the ancient ‘Homeric Hymn to Demeter’ – a versified account of the Eleusinian myth. This states that Persephone was abducted in the ‘fields of Nysus’, from which Dionysus appears to get his name (‘God of Nysus’).
A few statues found in the Ploutonian, a temple dedicated to Hades inside the Sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone in Eleusis, depict Eubouleus, also known as “Aides Kyanochaites” the depiction of Hades as a youth, and a statueof Dionysus show that these two figures were depicted with identical facial features.
“… For were it not Dionysus to whom they institute a procession and sing songs in honor of the pudenda, it would be the most shameful action. But Dionysus, in whose honor they rave in bacchic frenzy, and Hades are the same…” (Fragment of Heraclitus (5th BC), quoted by Clement of Alexandria 2nd CE)
Heraclitus also stated that Hades and Dionysus were the same – a unification of opposites: One the god of indestructible quintessence of life and the other the lord of irresistible death, from which new life mystically arises through the fertilising processes of putrefaction.
It also worth mentioning that several epithets of Dionysus were shared with Hades ("Zagreus, Meilichois, Eubuleus, Chthonios, Efklæís" to name a few) and that during several of Dionysus' chief festivals, most notably the Anthesteria, the dead were honoured.
Karl Kerényi notes that the grieving goddess Demeter refused to drink wine, which is the gift of Dionysus, after Persephone's abduction, because of this association, and suggests that Hades may in fact have been a "cover name" for the underworld Dionysus. The names Hades (Full version Aidoneus) means “The unseen".
From (Taylor-Perry, Rosemarie (2003). The God who Comes: Dionysian Mysteries Revisited. p. 4.): Interestingly it is often mentioned that Zeus, Hades and Dionysus were all attributed to being exactly the same god. Aidoneus - the full first name of Hades, is said to have been derived from an ancient word meaning 'father' - he abducted the maiden goddess Kore in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter:
"The earth gaped open and Lord Hades, whom we will all meet, burst forth
with his immortal horses onto the Nysian plain. Lord Hades, son of Cronus
who is called by many. Begging for pity and fighting him off, she was
dragged into his golden chariot. She screamed the shrill cry of a maenad, calling father Zeus, Zeus the highest and the best..."
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. The reason why Zeus is possibly linked to Zagreus as his father maybe because of a reason mentioned in Rosemarie Taylor-Perry's book “The God who Comes: Dionysian Mysteries Revisited”. In the book, it's mentioned that in Pre-Orphic mythology, Zeus gave Persephone a potion or kykeonmade from the heart of Dionysus so that he would be reborn through her. In Ancient Greece, Dionysus was known as “serpent of a thousand heads” or “(he of) the thousand names”. The book continues on to mention that Persephone's ‘death’ or abduction by Dionysus (Who is also Hades, Sabazios and Zagreus) is the reason why poppy capsules (Made to resemble pomegranate seeds) were used during primary initiation rites.
Dionysus himself was a mystery god, and god of vegetation, Dionysus was also initiated into the mysteries of Demeter, the goddess of the grain: the Eleusinian mysteries or mysteries of the dead, involving the afterlife. Though somewhat effeminate, Dionysus is essentially the masculine counterpart of Persephone. The mysteries of Demeter also involved the “secrets of the couch.” Karl Kerenyi, in his book on Eleusis, clearly shows that many ancients revealed what the secret was, beginning with Euripedes in some of his plays. The secret was that Dionysus and Hades are the same.
Ancient portrayals show him holding in his hand the kantharos, a wine-jar with large handles, and occupying the place where one would expect to see Hades. On a vase by the archaic master Xenokles we see, on one side, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, each with his emblems of power, the last has his head turned back to front and, on the other side, the subterranean Dionysus welcoming Persephone, who is obviously being sent to him by Hermes and her mother. Dionysus is striding forward to meet his bride: a bearded, dark bridegroom, with the kantharos in his hand, against a background of grapes.
With the literary and archaeological sources that still exist, its clear that in some traditions, now obscure, Persephone bore children to her husband; at the very least, a son and a daughter, whose names very in each source.
According to several scholars, there was an Eleusinian tradition detailing Persephone bearing a son to Plouton (Hades). The child's names varies between; Ploutos, Zagreus, Brimios, or Iackos, among other names.
In the late 4th century AD, Claudian's epic on the abduction motivates Pluto with a desire for children. The poem is unfinished, however, and anything Claudian may have known of these traditions is lost.
Plutarch, in his book on Theseus, portrays Hades (Here called Aidoneus) as a mythical Molossian King who ruled over Epirus. In this tale, he's mentioned as having eloped with Persephone, the daughter of Queen Demeter and fathered a daughter (Here named Kore). Aidoneus had promised his daughter's hand in marriage to whomever could subdue his dog Cerberus without harming him. It's his daughter, rather than Persephone, whom Peirithous had wished to abduct. Once Aidoneus learned of Peirithous' plan, he killed Peirithous and confined Theseus. Plutarch had essentially utilised several aspects of Hades' mythology and turned them into a historical account.
In the Orphic Hymn 70, the Erinyes are mentioned to be the children of Zeus Khthonios (Hades) and Phersephone (Persephone). This is later supported by Statius (Roman epic C1st A.D.) mentioning: "[Hades] the father of the Eumenides (Erinyes)."
Justin Martyr (2nd century AD) alludes to children of Pluto, but neither names nor enumerates them.
Hesychius (5th century AD) mentions a "son of Pluto.”
In a fragment from one of Aeschylus’ lost Sysiphus plays (c. 5th century BC), Zagreus seems to be the son of Hades, while in Aeschylus’ Egyptians (Aigyptioi), Zagreus was apparently identified with Hades himself.
The Suida mentions: "Makaria (Macaria, Blessed). Death. A daughter of Haides".
There is a character in Edmund Spencer's ‘The Faerie Queen’ called Lucifera (Meaning ‘Light Bearer’ who may be a reference to Melinoe) “Of griesly Pluto she the daughter was.” The book itself was published back in 1590.
In his 14th-century mythography, Boccaccio records a tradition in which Pluto was the father of the divine personification Veneratio ("Reverence/Reverent Death"), noting that she had no mother because Proserpina was sterile. Boccaccio cites Servius as his source, adding that Theodontius names the daughter of Pluto as Reverentia and says she was married to Honos ("Honor/ Honourable Death"). Apparently Vereratio is a reference to Makaria, "Blessedness," who was a daughter of Hades, according to the Suda. Judging from the earlier religions it's evident that Persephone was not in fact infertile and its highly probable that she was the mother of Macaria.
It's believed that it's entirely possible that there were more children attributed to Hades and Persephone that were later syncretised to become children of Zeus. In the story of Zagreus, its mentioned that the father appeared as a snake (A creature associated with Hades and the Underworld), the father is written into this myth in code, not outright, as Hades. A few lines are added to reference back to Zeus, but the deeper symbolism points to Hades. In the story of Melinoë, Persephone bears her by the shores of the Cocytus, but strangely at the same time in the bed of Zeus Kronion, which here translates to the king son of Kronos, which could also be Hades. The line describing how Zeus took Hades’ form to conceive Melinoe on Persephone is a clear indication that the original myth was carefully re-written so that Melinoë's parentage could be attributed to Zeus. The way that this myth was written was done in a way so that people who worshipped her as a child of Hades were free to do so; but also those who believed that she was a child of Zeus had a way of explaining their beliefs.
Another myth tells of Hades' involvement with Asclepius, a mortal son of Apollo who was a gifted healer and the world's first doctor. Asclepius was so gifted he was able to give mortals longer lives by curing plagues and showing them how to take care of themselves. Asclepius brought people back from the brink of death many times. Eventually though Asclepius started to bring people back from the dead for hefty sums of money. It was with this feat that Hades lost his temper and stormed up to Mount Olympus demanding that Asclepius pay the price for openly mocking death. Zeus appeased Hades by personally striking down Asclepius with a thunderbolt. Apollo, enraged at the death of his son, killed the younger generations of Cyclopes that forged the bolt. Enraged at Apollo's defiance Zeus forced him to serve a mortal king for a year as punishment. Asclepius was later deified as the god of healing.
One of the few other myths Hades played a major part in was the myth of Sisyphus. Sisyphus was a clever and charismatic king who feared death and made up his mind to find a way to evade Hades. Sisyphus trapped Thanatos when he came to reap his soul and though Thanatos escaped and Hades would drag Sisyphus to the Underworld anyway Sisyphus had told his wife not to bury him with fare and so his ghost was sent back to ask for his last rites but Sisyphus instead remained in the world of the living as an undead, content to live forever in life rather than go to the Underworld. However, Hades discovered Sisyphus' ruse and came to collect him.
Hades was so angry at Sisyphus for holding the natural order hostage that he arranged a special punishment for him. Hades put Sisyphus on the edge the pits of Tartarus but told Sisyphus that his schemes would be overlooked and he had a chance to go to the paradise of Elysium if and only if he could roll a large boulder up a hill; Sisyphus quickly agreed fearing the punishments of Tartarus and tried to push the boulder up the hill but it fell, frantically he tried again and it fell. Sisyphus would keep trying to push the boulder up the hill so he would never be brought to be punished in the fiery pits and one day he could get out and go to Elysium, but Hades never told him the boulder, like all parts of the Underworld, obeyed his wishes and would always roll down and that that was his punishment. So Sisyphus continues to try to escape Tartarus forever punished by his own ambitions.
Hades was also featured in the myth of Heracles. When Heracles raided Pylos, Hades was presen, fighting alongside the people of Pylos. Heracles shot Hades in the heel with one of his hydra blood arrows. This caused Hades to ascend Olympus in order to be healed by the immortal healer, Paean.
According to Ovid, Hades was pursued by the nymph Minthe, associated with the river Cocytus, however, Persephone turned Minthe into the plant called mint by trampling her into the ground.
- The Screech Owl is the sacred bird of Hades. The bird itself is not referring to an actual Screech Owl as they are native only to the Americas; instead it refers to the Tawny Owl, a bird that got its scientific name from Greek strix "owl" and Italian allocco, "tawny owl" (from Latin ulucus "screech-owl").
- Cypress Tree are the trees sacred to Hades, Aphrodite, and Artemis. Another sacred tree of Hades was the White Poplar.
- Cerberus, was his three headed pet dog is a symbol of his.
- Snakes were sacred to him due to his previous role as a snake god called Zeus Meilichios. According to Nonnos, in his tripartite deity role under Zeus' name (As Zeus, Hades and Dionysus, these gods were considered to be different incarnations of the same god with different roles.) Hades seduced Persephone in the guise of a snake and she later birthed their son Zagreus and in oral stories, their daughter Melinoe. Hades soon obtained permission from Dios (Zeus Olympius) to marry her. Snakes were also considered to be messengers to the Underworld and people believed that they were capable of rebirthing themselves from death through the act of shedding their skins.
- The bident is Hades' weapon, and one of his symbols and is often conflated with his scepter.
- The helmet of Hades that allowed him to become invisible.
- Hades sceptre could split the earth open and guide legions of the dead.
- Hades is the oldest son out of Hades, Zeus, and Poseidon
- There's an allusion that Hades, Zeus and Dionysus were the same deity, this is further exemplified by the fact that Demeter refused to drink wine, a gift from Dionysus.
- Hades' name in Roman Mythology is Pluto, though some people confuse him with the god Dis Pater, another Roman god of the Underworld, who had his place taken by Pluto. Dis Pater was sometimes used to refer to Hades.
- His son, Ploutos., shared his duty as God of Wealth with Hades. In fact some stories list Ploutos as being the son of Hades and Demeter, while others affirm that he's the son of Hades and Persephone.
- Unlike his brothers, and most gods, Hades never caused harm to any mortal without provocation. The only mortals who received his punishment were Pirithous, who attempted to kidnap Hades' wife, Theseus who assisted Pirithous and arguably Asklepios whose healing was so great he began returning the dead to life. Hades' only other relation to mortals was the fact that he placed them in specific parts of the Underworld, depending on how good or evil they were in life. This relatively peaceful nature of his is rarely portrayed in popular culture depictions of him.
- The Helm of Darkness is sometimes called The Helm of Terror, because it can make someone invisible or it can show them their greatest fears.
- Even though he is a God of Olympian caliber, Hades is not an Olympian and as such does not have a throne on Mount Olympus, instead residing in the Underworld. However, he is an Olympian in the sense that he is aligned with them and by being Zeus' elder brother.
- He rules and possessed the riches and wealth under the earth. Hades controls the demons and spirits in the underworld. The Underworld is sometimes called Hades.
- Hades has a pet 3-headed dog named Cerberus.
- The name 'Zagreus' is attributed as being one of Hades' oldest epithets, linking him back to the days of Minoan worship.
- The hymns of the Sibyllines make a mention of Hades being the father of Dionysus (Zagreus) and Melinoe.
Images of Hades
Hades offers Persephone food
HAIDES (Hades) was the king of the underworld and god of the dead. He presided over funeral rites and defended the right of the dead to due burial. Haides was also the god of the hidden wealth of the earth, from the fertile soil with nourished the seed-grain, to the mined wealth of gold, silver and other metals.
Haides was devoured by Kronos (Cronus) as soon as he was born, along with four of his siblings. Zeus later caused the Titan to disgorge them, and together they drove the Titan gods from heaven and locked them away in the pit of Tartaros. When the three victorious brothers then drew lots for the division of the cosmos, Haides received the third portion, the dark dismal realm of the underworld, as his domain.
Haides desired a bride and petitioned his brother Zeus to grant him one of his daughters. The god offered him Persephone, the daughter of Demeter. However, knowing that the goddess would resist the marriage, he assented to the forceful abduction of the girl. When Demeter learned of this, she was furious and caused a great dearth to fall upon the earth until her daughter was returned. Zeus was forced to concede lest mankind perish, and the girl was fetched forth from the underworld. However, since she had tasted of the pomegranate seed, she was forced to return to him for a portion of each year.
Haides was depicted as a dark-bearded, regal god. He was depicted as either Aidoneus, enthroned in the underworld, holding a bird-tipped sceptre, or as Plouton (Pluton), the giver of wealth, pouring fertility from a cornucopia. The Romans named him Dis, or Pluto, the Latin form of his Greek title Plouton, "the Lord of Riches."
FAMILY OF HADES
[1.1] KRONOS & RHEA(Hesiod Theogony 453, Homer Iliad 15.187, Apollodorus 1.4, Diodorus Siculus 5.68.1, Hyginus Pref)
[1.1] THE ERINYES (by Persephone) (Orphic Hymns 29.6 70.3)
[1.2] THE ERINYES(Statius Thebaid 12.557 & 11.47)
[2.1] ZAGREUS(Aeschylus Frag 124)
[3.1] MELINOE (by Persephone) (Orphic Hymn 71)
[4.1] MAKARIA(Suidas s.v. Makaria)
HADES or PLUTON (Haidês, Ploutôn or poetically Aïdês, Aidôneus and Ploutens), the god of the lower world. Plato (Cratyl. p. 403) observes that people preferred calling him Pluton (the giver of wealth) to pronouncing the dreaded name of Hades or Aides. Hence we find that in ordinary life and in the mysteries the name Pluton became generally established, while the poets preferred the ancient name Aides or the form Pluteus. The etymology of Hades is uncertain: some derive it from a-idein, whence it would signify "the god who makes invisible," and others from hadô or chadô; so that Hades would mean "the allembracer," or "all-receiver." The Roman poets use the names Dis, Orcus, and Tartarus as synonymous with Pluton, for the god of the lower world.
Hades is a son of Cronus and Rhea, and a brother of Zeus and Poseidon. He was married to Persephone, the daughter of Demeter. In the division of the world among the three brothers, Hades obtained "the darkness of night," the abode of the shades, over which he rules. (Apollod. i. 1. § 5, 2. § 1.) Hence he is called the infernal Zeus (Zeus katachthonios), or the king of the shades (anae enerôn, Hom. Il. ix. 457, xx. 61. xv. 187, &c.). As, however, the earth and Olympus belonged to the three brothers in common, he might ascend Olympus, as he did at the time when he was wounded by Heracles. (Il. v. 395; comp. Paus. vi. 25. § 3; Apollod. ii. 7. § 3; Pind. Ol. ix. 31.) But when Hades was in his own kingdom, he was quite unaware of what was going on either on earth or in Olympus (Il. xx. 61, &c.), and it was only the oaths and curses of men that reached his ears, as they reached those of the Erinnyes. He possessed a helmet which rendered the wearer invisible (Il. v. 845), and later traditions stated that this helmet was given him as a present by the Cyclopes after their delivery from Tartarus. (Apollod. i. 2. § 1.) Ancient story mentions both gods and men who were honoured by Hades with the temporary use of this helmet. (Apollod. i. 6. § 2, ii. 4. § 2.) His character is described as fierce and inexorable, whence of all the gods he was most hated by mortals. (Il. ix. 158.) He kept the gates of the lower world closed (whence he is called Pulartês, Il. viii. 367; comp. Paus. v. 20. § 1.; Orph. Hymn. 17. 4), that no shade might be able to escape or return to the region of light. When mortals invoked him, they struck the earth with their hands (Il. ix. 567), and the sacrifices which were offered to him and Persephone consisted of black male and female sheep, and the person who offered the sacrifice had to turn away his face. (Od. x. 527; Serv. ad Virg. Georg. ii. 380.)
The ensign of his power was a staff, with which, like Hermes, he drove the shades into the lower world (Pind. Ol. ix. 35), where he had his palace and shared his throne with his consort Persephone. When he carried off Persephone from the upper world, he rode in a golden chariot drawn by four black immortal horses. (Orph. Argon. 1192, Hymn. 17. 14; Ov. Met. v. 404; Hom. Hymn. in Cer. 19; Claudian, Rapt. Proserp. i. in fin.) Besides these horses he was also believed to have herds of oxen in the lower world and in the island of Erytheia, which were attended to by Menoetius. (Apollod. ii. 5. §§ 10, 12.) Like the other gods, he was not a faithful husband; the Furies are called his daughters (Serv. ad Aen. i. 86); the nymph Mintho, whom he loved, was metamorphosed by Persephone into the plant called mint (Strab. viii. p. 344; Ov. Met. x. 728), and the nymph Leuce, with whom he was likewise in love, was changed by him after her death into a white poplar, and transferred to Elysium. (Serv. ad Virg. Eclog. vii. 61.) Being the king of the lower world, Pluton is the giver of all the blessings that come from the earth: he is the possessor and giver of all the metals contained in the earth, and hence his name Pluton. (Hes. Op. et Dies, 435; Aeschyl. Prom. 805; Strab. iii. p. 147; Lucian, Tim. 21.) He bears several surnames referring to his ultimately assembling all mortals in his kingdom, and bringing them to rest and peace; such as Polydegmon, Polydectes, Clymenus, Pankoitês, &c. (Hom. Hymn. in Cer. 9; Aeschyl. Prom. 153 ; Soph. Antig. 811; Paus. ii. 35. § 7.) Hades was worshipped throughout Greece and Italy. In Elis he had a sacred enclosure and a temple, which was opened only once in every year (Paus. vi. 25. § 3) ; and we further know that lie had temples at Pylos Triphyliacus, near Mount Menthe, between Tralles and Nysa, at Athens in the grove of the Erinnyes, and at Olympia. (Strab. iii. p. 344, xiv. p. 649 Paus. i. 28. § 6, v. 20. § 1.) We possess few representations of this divinity, but in those which still exist, he resembles his brothers Zeus and Poseidon, except that his hair falls down his forehead, and that the majesty of his appearance is dark and gloomy. His ordinary attributes are the key of Hades and Cerberus.
In Homer Aides is invariably the name of the god; but in later times it was transferred to his house, his abode or kingdom, so that it became a name for the lower world itself. We cannot enter here into a description of the conceptions which the ancients formed of the lower world, for this discussion belongs to mythical geography.
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
ALTERNATE NAME SPELLINGS
CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
BIRTH OF HADES
Hesiod, Theogony 453 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"But Rhea was subject in love to Kronos (Cronus) and bare splendid children, Hestia, Demeter, and gold-shod Hera and strong Haides (Hades), pitiless in heart, who dwells under the earth . . . and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker [Poseidon], and wise Zeus . . . These great Kronos swallowed as each came forth from the womb to his mother's knees . . . Therefore he kept no blind outlook, but watched and swallowed down his children [all except Zeus] . . . As the years rolled on, great Kronos the wily was beguiled by the deep suggestions of Gaia (Gaea, Earth), and brought up again his offspring, vanquished by the arts and might of his own son [Zeus], and he vomited up first the stone which he had swallowed last."
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 4 - 6 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"He [Kronos (Cronus)] then married his sister Rhea. Because both Ge (Earth) and Ouranos (Uranus, Heaven) had given him prophetic warning that his rule would be overthrown by a son of his own, he took to swallowing his children at birth. He swallowed his first-born daughter Hestia, then Demeter and Hera, and after them Plouton [Hades] and Poseidon . . .
[Zeus alone escaped] When Zeus was grown, he engaged Okeanos' (Oceanus') daughter Metis as a colleague. She gave Kronos a drug, by which he was forced to vomit forth first the stone and then the children he had swallowed."
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 68. 1 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"To Kronos (Cronus) and Rhea, we are told, were born Hestia, Demeter, and Hera, and Zeus, Poseidon, and Haides."
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 70. 1 :
"There was delivered to Kronos (Cronus) an oracle regarding the birth of Zeus which stated that the son who would be born to him would wrest the kingship from him by force. Consequently Kronos time and again did away with the children whom he begot; but Rhea, grieved as she was, and yet lacking the power to change her husband’s purpose, when she had given birth to Zeus, concealed him in Ide."
Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From Saturnus [Kronos (Cronus)] and Ops [Rhea]: Vesta [Hestia], Ceres [Demeter], Juno [Hera], Jupiter [Zeus], Pluto [Hades], Neptunus [Poseidon]."
Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 139 :
"After Opis [Rhea] had borne Jove [Zeus] by Saturnus [Kronos (Cronus)], Juno [Hera] asked her to give him to her, since Saturnus and cast Orcus [Hades] under Tartarus, and Neptunus [Poseidon] under the sea, because he knew that his son would rob him of the kingdom."
Ovid, Fasti 4. 197 (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Saturnus [Kronos (Cronus)] received this oracle : ‘Best of kings, you shall be knocked from power by a son.’ Jabbed by fear, he devours his offspring as each was born, and entombs them in his bowels. Rhea often complained of much pregnancy and no motherhood, and mourned her fertility."
Cicero, De Natura Deorum 3. 17 (trans. Rackham) (Roman rhetorician C1st B.C.) :
"You reckon Jupiter [Zeus] and Neptunus [Poseidon] gods, therefore their brother Orcus [Haides] is also a god."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 27. 50 (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Kronos (Cronus) who banqueted on his own young children in cannibal wise."
For MORE information on the birth and devouring of the gods see KRONOS
HADES & THE WAR OF THE TITANS
Haides and his brothers Zeus and Poseidon battled the Titanes for the rule of the cosmos.
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 6 - 7 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"When Zeus was grown, he engaged Okeanos' (Oceanus') daughter Metis (Counsel) as a colleague. She gave Kronos (Cronus) a drug, by which he was forced to vomit forth first the stone and then the children he had swallowed. With them Zeus fought a war against Kronos and the Titanes. After ten years of fighting Ge (Gaea, Earth) prophesied a victory for Zeus if he were to secure the prisoners down in Tartaros as his allies. He thereupon slew their jail-keeper Kampe (Campe), and freed them from their bonds. In return the Kyklopes (Cyclopes) gave Zeus thunder, lightning, and a thunderbolt, as well as a helmet for Plouton (Pluton) [Haides] and a trident for Poseidon. Armed with these the three gods overpowered the Titanes, confined them in Tartaros, and put the Hekatonkheires (Hecatoncheires) in charge of guarding them. The gods then drew lots for a share of the rule. Zeus won the lordship of the sky, Poseidon that of the sea, and Plouton the rule of Haides' realm."
For MORE information on the Titanomachia see THE TITANES
HADES & THE DIVISION OF THE COSMOS
After the Titanes were vanquished the three brothers, Zeus, Haides and Poseidon drew lots for the division of the cosmos. Haides received the underworld as his share.
Homer, Iliad 15. 187 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"We are three brothers born by Rheia to Kronos (Cronus), Zeus, and I [Poseidon], and the third is Aides [Haides] lord of the dead men. All was divided among us three ways, each given his domain. I [Poseidon] when the lots were shaken drew the grey sea to live in forever; Aides drew the lot of the mists and the darkness, and Zeus was allotted the wide sky, in the cloud and the bright air. But earth and high Olympos are common to all three."
Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th - 4th B.C.) :
"Aidoneus Polysemantor (Ruler of Many), is . . . your [Demeter's] own brother and born of the same stock : also, for honour, 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."
Plato, Gorgias 523a ff (trans. Lamb) (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
"By Homer's account, Zeus, Poseidon, and Plouton (Pluton) [Haides] divided the sovereignty amongst them when they took it over from their father [Kronos (Cronus)]."
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 7 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"The three gods [Zeus, Poseidon and Haides] overpowered the Titanes, confined them in Tartaros . . . The gods then drew lots for a share of the rule. Zeus won the lordship of the sky, Poseidon that of the sea, and Plouton (Pluto) the rule of Hades' realm."
Ovid, Fasti 4. 443 (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"[Zeus speaks :] ‘My rank is no greater [than Haides]. I hold court in the sky; another rules the sea [Poseidon], and one the void [Haides].’"
Seneca, Hercules Furens 53 (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"Dis [Haides] himself, who drew a lot equal to Jove's [Zeus's]."
Seneca, Hercules Furens 833 :
"The king [Haides] of the third estate."
Seneca, Phaedra 1210 :
"Heaven, hell, and ocean . . . there remains no further lot; three kingdoms know me."
Statius, Thebaid 8. 21 (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"The third hazard [drawn lot] hurled me [Haides] defeated from the mighty heaven, and I guard the world of guilt."
Statius, Thebaid 11. 444 ff :
"The Warden of the Larvae (Shades) [Haides] and the third heir of the world, after the lot's unkind apportioning, leapt down from his chariot and grew pale, for he was come to Tartarus and heaven was lost for ever."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 31. 56 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Lord Zeus holds the starry hall on Olympos; he has given the briny sea to his brother [Poseidon] the water king for his prerogotive; he has given the cloudy house of darkness to your [Persephone's] consort [Haides]."
HADES & THE GIANT TYPHOEUS
When the monster Typhoeus battled Zeus for heaven, Haides remained in the underworld.
Hesiod, Theogony 820 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"And through the two of them [Zeus battling Typhoeus] . . . through the thunder and lightning, and through the fire from the monster, and the scorching winds and blazing thunderbolt . . . Haides trembled where he rules over the dead below."
For MORE information on this giant see TYPHOEUS
HADES & THE RAPE OF PERSEPHONE
Zeus betrothed his daughter to Haides without the prior consent of her mother Demeter. The god seized the girl as she was playing in a flowery meadow and carried her off to his Underworld realm. Demeter later compelled Zeus to return her for part of the year with the threat of earthly famine.
For the MYTH of the myth of Haides & Persephone see: The Rape of Persephone
HADES & THE APPOINTMENT OF THE JUDGES OF THE DEAD
Plato, Gorgias 523a ff (trans. Lamb) (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
"Sokrates (Socrates) : Give ear then, as they say, to a right fine story, which you will regard as a fable, I fancy, but I as an actual account; for what I am about to tell you I mean to offer as the truth. By Homer's account, Zeus, Poseidon, and Plouton (Pluton) [Haides] divided the sovereignty amongst them when they took it over from their father [Kronos (Cronus)]. Now in the time of Kronos there was a law concerning mankind, and it holds to this very day amongst the gods, that every man who has passed a just and holy life departs after his decease to the Isles of the Blest (Nesoi Makaron), and dwells in all happiness apart from ill; but whoever has lived unjustly and impiously goes to the dungeon of requital and penance which, you know, they call Tartaros. Of these men there were judges in Kronos' time, and still of late in the reign of Zeus--living men to judge the living upon the day when each was to breathe his last; and thus the cases were being decided amiss. So Plouton [Haides] and the overseers from the Isles of the Blest came before Zeus with the report that they found men passing over to either abode undeserving. Then spake Zeus : ‘Nay,’ said he, ‘I will put a stop to these proceedings. The cases are now indeed judged ill and it is because they who are on trial are tried in their clothing, for they are tried alive. Now many,’ said he, ‘who have wicked souls are clad in fair bodies and ancestry and wealth, and at their judgement appear many witnesses to testify that their lives have been just. Now, the judges are confounded not only by their evidence but at the same time by being clothed themselves while they sit in judgement, having their own soul muffled in the veil of eyes and ears and the whole body. Thus all these are a hindrance to them, their own habiliments no less than those of the judged. Well, first of all,’ he said, ‘we must put a stop to their foreknowledge of their death; for this they at present foreknow. However, Prometheus has already been given the word to stop this in them. Next they must be stripped bare of all those things before they are tried; for they must stand their trial dead. Their judge also must be naked, dead, beholding with very soul the very soul of each immediately upon his death, bereft of all his kin and having left behind on earth all that fine array, to the end that the judgement may be just. Now I, knowing all this before you, have appointed sons of my own to be judges; two from Asia, Minos and Rhadamanthys, and one from Europe, Aiakos (Aeacus). These, when their life is ended, shall give judgement in the meadow at the dividing of the road, whence are the two ways leading, one to the Isles of the Blest (Nesoi Makaron), and the other to Tartaros. And those who come from Asia shall Rhadamanthys try, and those from Europe, Aiakos; and to Minos I will give the privilege of the final decision, if the other two be in any doubt; that the judgement upon this journey of mankind may be supremely just.’"
OFFSPRING OF HADES
Haides was usually regarded as an infertile god, for a god of the dead should, by his very nature, be incapable of siring children.
In Orphic myth, it is heavenly Zeus rather than Haides who impregnates Persephone, sometimes in the guise of an earthly dragon, sometimes in the form of her own husband.
I. THE ERINYES
The three goddesses of earthly wrath were sometimes represented as daughters of Haides. The usual account, however, describes them as earth-born.
Orphic Hymn 70 to the Eumenides (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"[Erinyes] from Zeus Khthonios (Chthonius) [Haides] born, and Phersephone, whom lovely locks adorn."
Statius, Thebaid 12. 557 (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"[Hades] the father of the Eumenides [Erinyes]."
Aeschylus, Fragment 124 Sisyphus (from Etymologicum Gudianum 227. 40) (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"Now [I came] to bid farewell to Zagreus and to his sire, the hospitaler."
[N.B. In this fragment Sisyphos describes his departure from the lower world. Haides, the "hospitaler of the dead," is the husband of Persephone, and so the "father" of the chthonic Zagreus. His putative father however was Zeus.]
Melinoe was a chthonian goddess identified with Hekate. In Orphic myth she was born when Persephone was seduced by Zeus in the guise of her husband Haides.
Orphic Hymn 71 to Melinoe (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"Melinoe, saffron-veiled, terrene, who from Phersephone dread venerable queen, mixt with Zeus Kronion, arose, near where Kokytos' (Cocytus') mournful river flows; when, under Plouton's (Pluton's) [Haides'] semblance, Zeus divine deceived with guileful arts dark Phersephone. Hence, partly black thy limbs and partly white, from Plouton dark, from Zeus ethereal bright."
IV. MACARIA (MAKARIA)
Suidas s.v. Makariai (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek Lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Makaria (Macaria, Blessed). Death. A daughter of Haides. And a proverb : ‘Go to blessedness’, instead of go to misery and utter destruction. Or ‘Go to blessedness’ is said by euphemism. Since even the dead are called ‘blessed ones.’"
HADES LOVES : MINTHE
Strabo, Geography 8. 3. 14 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Near Pylos, towards the east, is a mountain named after Minthe, who, according to myth, became the concubine of Haides, was trampled under foot by Kore (Core) [Persephone], and was transformed into garden-mint, the plant which some call Hedyosmos. Furthermore, near the mountain is a precinct sacred to Haides."
Ovid, Metamorphoses 10. 728 (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Persephone of old was given grace to change a woman's [Mintha's] form to fragrant mint."
Oppian, Halieutica 3. 485 (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd A.D.) :
"Mint (Mintha), men say, was once a maid beneath the earth, a Nymphe of Kokytos (Cocytus), and she lay in the bed of Aidoneus [Haides]; but when he raped the maid Persephone from the Aitnaian hill [Mount Etna in Sicily], then she complained loudly with overweening words and raved foolishly for jealousy, and Demeter in anger trampled upon her with her feet and destroyed her. For she had said that she was nobler of form and more excellent in beauty than dark-eyed Persephone and she boasted that Aidoneus would return to her and banish the other from his halls: such infatuation leapt upon her tongue. And from the earth spray the weak herb that bears her name."
For MORE information on this nymphe see MINTHE
HADES LOVES : LEUCE
R. E. Bell, Women of Classical Mythology (sourced from Servius on Virgil's Eclogues 4. 250) (C20th Mythology encyclopedia) :
"Leuke (Leuce) was a nymph, a daughter of Okeanos (Oceanus), who was carried off by Hades. After her death she was changed into a white poplar in Elysium. The white poplar was sacred to Hades. When Herakles returned form the underworld, he was crowned with poplar leaves."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 5. 14. 2 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Herakles (Heracles) found the white poplar (leukê) growing on the banks of the Akheron (Acheron), the river in Thesprotia . . . It is no wonder that the white poplar grew first by the Akheron."
For MORE information on this nymph see LEUKE
HADES & THE HERO ORPHEUS
When Orpheus came to the underworld seeking the return of his dead love Eurydike (Eurydice), Haides and Persephone were moved by his pleas and agreed to let her return.
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 14 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"When his [Orpheus'] wife Eurydike (Eurydice) died from a snake-bite, Orpheus descended into Haides' realm with the desire to bring her back up to earth, and persuade Plouton (Pluton) [Hades] to release her. Plouton promised to do this if on the return trip Orpheus would not turn round before reaching his own home. But he disobeyed, and turned to look at his wife, who thereupon went back down again."
Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 7 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Orpheus . . . was passionately devoted to music. It is thought that by his skill he could charm even wild beasts to listen. When, grieving for his wife Eurydice, he descended to the Lower World, he praised the children of the gods in his song."
Ovid, Metamorphoses 10. 8 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"The new-wed bride [Eurydike (Eurydice), wife of Orpheus] . . . fell dying when a serpent struck her heel. And when at last the bard Rhodopeius [Orpheus] had mourned his fill in the wide world above, he dared descend through Taenaria's dark gate to Styx to make trial of the Umbrae (Shades); and through the thronging wraiths and grave-spent ghosts he came to pale Persephone and him, Dominus Umbrarum (Lord of the Shades) [Haides], who rules the unlovely realm, and as he struck his lyre's sad chords he said : ‘Ye deities who rule the world below, whither we mortal creatures all return, if simple truth, direct and genuine, may by your leave be told, I have come down not with intent to see the glooms of Tartara, nor to enchain the triple-snaked necks of Medusaeum [Kerberos (Cerberus)], but for my dear wife's sake, in whom a trodden viper poured his venom and stole her budding years. My heart has sought strength to endure; the attempt I'll not deny; but love has won, a god whose fame is fair in the world above; but here I doubt, though here too, I surmise; and if that ancient tale of ravishment is true, you too were joined in love. Now by these regions filled with fear, by this huge Chaos, these vast silent realms, reweave, I implore, the fate unwound too fast of my Eurydice. To you are owed ourselves and all creation; a brief while we linger; then we hasten, late or soon to one abode; here on road leads us all; here in the end is home; over humankind your kingdom keeps the longest sovereignty. She too, when ripening years reach their due term, shall own your rule. The favour that I ask is but to enjoy her love; and, if fate will not reprieve her, my resolve is clear not to return: may two deaths give you cheer.’
So to the music of his strings he [Orpheus] sang, and all the bloodless spirits wept to hear; and Tantalus forgot the fleeing water, Ixion's wheel was tranced; the Belides [Danaides] laid down their urns; the vultures left their feast, and Sisyphus sat rapt upon his stone. Then first by that sad ringing overwhelmed, the Eumenides' [Erinyes'] cheeks, it's said, were wet with tears; and the queen [Persephone] and he whose sceptre rules the underworld could not deny the prayer, and called Eurydice. She was among the recent ghosts and, limping from her wound, came slowly forth; and Rhodopeius [Orpheus] took his bride and with her this compact that, till he reach the world above and leave Valles Avernae [Valleys of Hell], he look not back or else the gift would fail. The track climbed upwards, steep and indistinct, through the hushed silence and the murky gloom; and now they neared the edge of the bright world, and, fearing lest she faint, longing to look, he turned his eyes--and straight she slipped away. He stretched his arms to hold her--to be held--and clasped, poor soul, naught but the yielding air. And she, dying again, made no complaint (for what complaint had she save she was loved?) and breathed a faint farewell, and turned again back to the land of spirits whence she came. The double death of his Eurydice stole Orpheus' wits away . . . He longed, he begged, in vain to be allowed to cross the stream of Styx a second time. The ferryman [Kharon (Charon)] repulsed him. Even so for seven days he sat upon the bank, unkempt and fasting, anguish, grief and tears his nourishment, and cursed Erebus' cruelty."
Seneca, Hercules Furens 569 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"Orpheus had power to bend the ruthless lords of the shades [Haides and Persephone] by song and suppliant prayer, when he sought back his Eurydice. The art which had drawn the trees and birds and rocks, which had stayed the course of rivers, at whose sound the beasts had stopped to listen, soothes the underworld with unaccustomed strains, and rings out clearer in those unhearing realms. Eurydice the Thracian brides bewail; even the gods, whom no tears can move, bewail her; and they [the Erinyes] who with awful brows investigate men's crimes and sift out ancient wrongs, as they sit in judgment bewail Eurydice. At length death's lord [Haides] exclaims : ‘We own defeat; go forth to the upper world, yet by this appointed doom--fare thou as comrade behind thy husband, and thou, look not back upon thy wife until bright day shall have revealed the gods of heaven, and the opening of Spartan Taenarus shall be at hand.’ True love hates delay and brooks it not; while he hastes to look upon his prize, 'tis lost. The realm which could be overcome by song, that realm shall strength have power to overcome."
Statius, Thebaid 8. 21 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"Must I [Haides] so oft endure the profanation of Chaos by living strangers? . . . It shames me too, alas! how Tartarus opened a way to the Odyrsian plaint [Orpheus]; with my own eyes I saw the Eumenides [Erinyes] shed base tears at those persuasive strains, and the Sisters [the Moirai or Fates] repeat their allotted task; me too--, but the violence of my cruel law was stronger."
HADES & THE ADVENTURES OF HERACLES
Haides played a role in several of the adventures of Herakles (Heracles).
I. HERACLES & CERBERUS (KERBEROS)
Haides permitted Herakles to fetch Kerberos from Hell, when the hero presented him with his petition.
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 125 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"[Herakles (Heracles) on his journey to the underworld] Desiring to supply the souls with blood, he slaughtered one of Haides' cattle. Their keeper Menoites (Menoetes), son of Keuthonymos (Ceuthonymus), challenged Herakles to a wrestling match. Herakles hugged his torso and broke his ribs, but set him down at the request of Persephone . . . Herakles asked Plouton (Pluton) [Haides] for Kerberos (Cerberus), and was told to take the hound if he could overpower it without using any of the weapons he had brought with him."
Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 79 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"When Hercules came to lead out the three-headed dog, they [Peirithoos and Theseus, trapped in the underworld] begged his promise of protection. He obtained the favor from Pluto [Haides], and brought them out unharmed."
Seneca, Hercules Furens 45 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"[Hera complains about Herakles :] ‘Nor is earth vast enough for him [Herakles]; behold, he has broken down the doors of infernal Jove [Haides], and brings back to the upper world the spoils of a conquered king [i.e. the hound Kerberos (Cerberus)]. I myself saw, yes, saw him, the shadows of nether night dispersed and Dis [Haides] overthrown, proudly displaying to his father [Zeus] a brother's spoils. Why does he not drag forth, bound and loaded down with fetters, Pluto [Haides] himself, who drew a lot equal to Jove's? Why does he not lord it over conquered Erebus and lay bare the Styx? It is not enough merely to return; the law of the shades has been annulled, a way back has been opened from the lowest ghosts, and the mysteries of dread Death lie bared. But he, exultant at having burst the prison of the shades, triumphs over me, and with arrogant hand leads through the cities of Greece that dusky hound.’"
Seneca, Hercules Furens 760 ff :
"Now tell my son's [Herakles] famous struggle. Is it [the hound Kerberos (Cerberus)] his willing uncle's [Haides'] gift, or his spoil, he brings? . . . here appears the palace of greedy Dis [Haides]. Here the savage Stygian dog frightens the shades . . . At last the dog, vanquished [by the club of Herakles] ceases his threatenings and, spent with struggle, lowers all his heads and yields all wardship of his cavern. Both rulers [Haides and Persephone] shiver on their throne, and bid lead the dog away. Me [Theseus] also they give as boon to Alcides' [Herakles'] prayer."
Seneca, Hercules Furens 830 ff :
"Eurystheus . . . had bidden thee [Herakles]explore the world's foundations; this only was lacking to thy tale of labours, to despoil the king [Haides] of the third estate."
Seneca, Hercules Furens 888 ff :
"He [Herakles] has crossed the streams of Tartarus [i.e. Haides], subdued the gods of the underworld [Haides and Persephone], and has returned. And now no fear remains; naught lies beyond the underworld."
Seneca, Troades 721 ff :
"He [Herakles], fierce warrior, to whose vast strength all savage creatures yielded, who burst through the doors of Dis [Haides] and made the dark retraceable."
Statius, Thebaid 8. 21 (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"Must I [Haides] so oft endure the profanation of Chaos by living strangers? . . . fierce Alcides [Herakles], when the iron threshold of Cerberus' gate fell silent, its guardian removed."
For the story of Herakles' rescue of Theseus from the underworld, at the same time as the Kerberos adventure, see: Hades Wrath: Pirithous (Peirithoos) (below)
For MORE information on Herakles and the Hound of Haides see KERBEROS
II. HERACLES & ALCESTIS (ALKESTIS)
Herakles was sometimes described as battling Haides for the life of Queen Alkestis (Alcestis), who had agreed to die in place of her husband Admetos (Admetus).
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 106 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"[Apollon] obtained from the Moirai (Fates) a privilege for [King] Admetos , whereby, when it was time for him to die, he would be released from death if someone should volunteer to die in his place. When his day to die came . . . [his wife] Alkestis (Alcestis) died for him. Kore [Persephone], however sent her back, or, according to some, Herakles battled Haides and brought her back up to Admetos."
III) HERACLES & THE SIEGE PYLOS
Herakles wounded Haides during his seige of the town of Pylos. The god was probably originally imagined present collecting the souls of the battlefield dead, though he was later depicted as a defender of the town.
Homer, Iliad 5. 382 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"[Dione consoles her daughter Aphrodite after the goddess is wounded :] ‘For many of us who have our homes on Olympos endure things from men, when ourselves we inflict hard pain on each other . . . Hera had to endure it when [Herakles] the strong son of Amphitryon struck her beside the right breast with a tri-barbed arrow, so that the pain he gave her could not be quieted. Haides the gigantic had to endure with the rest the flying arrow when this self-same man, the son of Zeus of the aigis (aegis) struck him among the dead men at Pylos, and gave him to agony; but he went up to the house of Zeus and to tall Olympos heavy at heart, stabbed through and through with pain, for the arrow was driven into his heavy shoulder, and his spirit was suffering. But Paieon (Paeon), scattering medicines that still pain, healed him, since he was not made to be one of the mortals. Brute, heavy-handed, who though nothing of the bad he was doing, who with his archer hurt the gods who dwell on Olympos!’"
Pindar, Olympian Ode 9 str 2 (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"The hands of Herakles could wield his club against the Trident's power, when by the walls of Pylos stood Poseidon and pressed him hard; and with his silver bow Phoibos Apollon menaced him close in battle; and Haides too spared not to ply him with that sceptred staff, which takes our mortal bodies down along the buried road to the dead world."
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 142 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"In the course of the battle [against the polis of Pylos] Herakles wounded Haides as he helped out the Pylians."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 6. 25. 2 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"It is said that, when Herakles was leading an expedition against Pylos in Elis, Athena was one of his allies. Now among those who came to fight on the side of the Pylians was Hades, who was the foe of Herakles but worshipped at Pylos. Homer is quoted in support of the story, who says in the Iliad : And among them huge Haides suffered a wound from a swift arrow, when the same man, the son of aegis-bearing Zeus, hit him in Pylos among the dead, and gave him over to pains."
Seneca, Hercules Furens 559 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"He [Haides] who as king lords it o'er countless peoples, what time thou [Herakles] wast making war on Pylos, Nestor's land, brought to combat with thee his plague-dealing hands, brandishing his three-forked spear, yet fled away, with but a slight wound smitten, and, though lord of death, feared he would die."
HADES FAVOUR & WRATH : SISYPHUS
Aeschylus, Sisyphus the Runaway (lost play) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
Weir Smyth (L.C.L.) discusses the plot of this lost play : "Sisyphos drapetês (the Runaway) was satyric; its theme, the escape from Haides of the crafty Korinthian (Corinthian) king. According to the fabulous story told by Pherekydes (Frag. 78 in Müller, Fragmenta Historicum Graecorum) . . . [Zeus] sent Thanatos (Death) against the babbler [Sisyphos]; but Sisyphos (Sisyphus) bound Thanatos (Death) fast, so that men ceased to die, until Ares came to the rescue, released Thanatos, and gave Sisyphos into his power. Before he died, however, Sisyphos directed his wife Merope to omit his funeral rites, so that Haides, being deprived of his customary offerings, was persuaded by the cunning trickster to let him go back to life in order to complain of his wife's neglect. But, once in the upper world, he refused to return, and had to be fetched back by Hermes.--The Satyroi (Satyrs) forming the Chorus were probably represented as initiates if the play was a parody of the Dionysiac-Orphic mysteries. Sisyphos petrokylistês (the Stone-Roller) is probably identical with the Sisyphos drapetês; and the conclusion of the single drama may have been the famous punishment inflicted on the 'craftiest of men.'"
In another VERSION of this myth it is Persephone who releases Sisyphos from the underworld see Persephone Favour: Sisyphus
HADES WRATH : PIRITHOUS & THESEUS
The hero Peirithoos (Pirithous) sought to abduct Persephone, the bride of Haides. As punishment the god trapped him on a stone chair and eternal torment. Theseus, who accompanied him on the expedition, was freed at the request of Herakles.
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca E1. 23 - 24 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Theseus and Peirithoos (Pirithous) agreed with each other to marry daughters of Zeus, so Theseus with the other's help kidnapped twelve-year-old Helene (Helen) from Sparta, and went down to Haides' realm to court Persephone for Peirithoos . . . Theseus, arriving in Haides' realm with Peirithoos, was thoroughly deceived, for Haides on the pretense of hospitality had them sit first upon the throne of Lethe (Forgetfulness). Their bodies grew onto it, and were held down by the serpent's coils. Now Peirithous remained fast there for all time, but Herakles led Theseus back up."
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 124 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"As he [Herakles] approached the gates of Haides' realm [in his quest to fetch Kerberos (Cerberus)], he came across Theseus along with Peirithoos (Pirithous), who had courted Persephone with matrimonial intentions and for this reason was held fast as was Theseus. When they saw Herakles they stretched forth their hands as if to rise up with the help of his strength. He did in fact pull Theseus up by the hand, but when he wanted to raise Peirithoos, the earth shook and he let go."
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4. 63. 4 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"Peirithoos (Pirithous) [after helping Theseus abduct Helene] now decided to seek the hand of Persephone in marriage, and when he asked Theseus to make the journey with him Theseus at first endeavoured to dissuade him and to turn him away from such a deed as being impious; but since Peirithoos firmly insisted upon it Theseus was bound by the oaths to join with him in the deed. And when they had at last made their way below to the regions of Haides, it came to pass that because of the impiety of their act they were both put in chains, and although Theseus was later let go by reason of the favour with which Herakles regarded him, Peirithoos because of the impiety remained in Haides, enduring everlasting punishment; but some writers of myths say that both of them never returned."
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4. 26. 1 :
"Herakles then, according to the myths which have come down to us, descended into the realm of Haides, and being welcomed like a brother by Persephone brought Theseus and Peirithoos (Pirithous) back to the upper world after freeing them from their bonds. This he accomplished by the favour of Persephone, and receiving the dog Kerberos (Cerberus) in chains he carried him away to the amazement of all and exhibited him to men."
Plutarch, Life of Theseus 31.2 & 35. 1 (trans. Perrin) (Greek historian C1st to C2nd A.D.) :
"[Theseus] to return the service of Peirithoos (Pirithous), [who helped him abduct Helene] journeyed with him to Epiros, in quest of the daughter of Aidoneus the king of the Molossians. This man called his wife Phersephone, his daughter Kora (Core), and his dog Kerberos (Cerberus), with which beast he ordered that all suitors of his daughter should fight, promising her to him that should overcome it. However, when he learned that Peirithoos and his friend were come not to woo, but to steal away his daughter, he seized them both. Peirithoos he put out of the way at once by means of the dog, but Theseus he kept in close confinement . . .
Now while Herakles was the guest of Aidoneus the Molossian, the king incidentally spoke of the adventure of Theseus and Peirithoos, telling what they had come there to do, and what they had suffered when they were found out. Herakles was greatly distressed by the inglorious death of the one, and by the impending death of the other. As for Peirithoos, he thought it useless to complain, but he begged for the release of Theseus, and demanded that this favour be granted him.Aidoneus yielded to his prayers, Theseus was set free, and returned to Athens, where his friends were not yet altogether overwhelmed."
Aelian, Historical Miscellany 4. 5 (trans. Wilson) (Greek rhetorician C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
"Benefits were remembered, and thanks for them given, by Theseus to Herakles. Aïdoneus king of the Molossians put Theseus in chains when he came with Pirithous to kidnap the king's wife [i.e. Persephone]. Theseus did not want to marry the woman himself but did this as a favour to Pirithous. Herakles came to the country of the Molossians and rescued Theseus, in return for which the latter set up an altar to him."
Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 79 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"When Jove [Zeus] saw that they [Theseus and Peirithous] had such audacity [kidnapping Helene] as to expose themselves to danger, he bade them in a dream both go and ask Pluto on Pirithous' part for Proserpina [Persephone] in marriage. When they had descended to the Land of the Dead through the peninsula Taenarus, and had informed Pluto [Haides] why they had come, they were stretched out and tortured for a long time by the Furies. When Hercules came to lead out the three-headed dog, they begged his promise of protection. He obtained the favor from Pluto, and brought them out unharmed."
Ovid, Heroides 2. 67 ff (trans. Showerman) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"With record of his [Theseus'] deeds. When men shall have read of . . . the knocking at the gloomy palace of the darksome god."
Seneca, Phaedra 93 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"Through the deep shades of the pool which none recrosses is he [Theseus] faring, this brave recruit of a madcap suitor [Peirithoos (Pirithous)], that from the very throne of the infernal king [Haides] he may rob and bear away his wife [Persephone]. He hurries on, a partner in mad folly; him nor fear nor shame held back. And there in the depths of Acherontis [i.e. the underworld] he seeks adultery and an unlawful bed."
Seneca, Phaedra 147 ff :
"Suppose that Theseus is indeed held fast [in the underworld], hidden away in Lethean depths, and must suffer Stygia [i.e. the underworld] eternally."
Seneca, Phaedra 222 ff :
"Trust not in Dis [Haides]. Though he bar his realm, and though the Stygian dog [Kerberos (Cerberus)] keep guard o’er the grim doors, Theseus alone finds out forbidden ways."
Seneca, Phaedra 625 ff :
"The overlord of the fast-holding realm and of the silent Styx has made no way to the upper world once quitted; and will he let the robber [Theseus] of his couch go back? Unless, perchance, even Pluton [Haides] sits smiling upon love!"
Seneca, Phaedra 951 :
"[Theseus was] in depths of Tartarus, in presence of dread Dis [Haides], and imminent menace of hell's lord."
Seneca, Phaedra 1149 ff :
"Theseus looks on sky and upper world and has escaped from the pools of Stygia, chaste one, thou owest naught to thine uncle, the all-devouring; unchanged the tale remains for the infernal king [i.e. he keeps his bride]."
Seneca, Phaedra 1217 ff :
"[Theseus returned from the underworld laments his unhappy lot :] ‘Alcides, give back his boon to Dis [Haides]; give me up again to the ghosts whom I escaped. Impiously, I make vain prayers for the death I left behind.’"
Statius, Thebaid 8. 21 (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"Must I [Haides] so oft endure the profanation of Chaos by living strangers? The rash ardour of Pirithous provoked me, and Theseus, sworn comrade of his daring friend [when the pair attempted to abduct Persephone]."
HADES WRATH : ASCLEPIUS
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4. 71. 3 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"It was believed that he [Asklepios (Asclepius)] had brought back to life many who had died. Consequently, the myth goes on to say, Haides brought accusation against Asklepios, charging him before Zeus of acting to the detriment of his own province, for, he said, the number of the dead was steadily diminishing, now that men were being healed by Asklepios. So Zeus, in indignation, slew Asklepios with his thunderbolt."
Aesop, Fables 133 (from Chambry & Babrius, Fabulae Aesopeae 75) (trans. Gibbs) (Greek fable C6th B.C.) :
"[This fable by Aesop contains an allusion to the story of Asklepios (Asclepius) :] There was once a doctor who knew nothing about medicine. One of his patients was feeling quite weak, but everyone insisted, ‘Don't give up, you will get well; your illness is the sort that lasts for a while, but then you will feel better.’
The doctor, however, marched in and declared : ‘I'm not going to play games with you or tell you lies: you need to take care of all your affairs, because you are going to die; you are not going to last more than another day.’
Having said this, the doctor did not even bother to come back again. After a while the patient recovered from his illness and was venturing out of doors, although he was not yet fully steady on his feet. When the doctor ran into the patient, he greeted him, and asked how all the people down in Haides were doing. The patient said, ‘They are taking it easy, drinking the water of Lethe. But Persephone and the mighty god Plouton (Pluton) [Haides] were just now threatening terrible things against all the doctors, since they keep the sick people from dying. Every single doctor was denounced, and they were ready to put you at the top of the list. This scared me, so I immediately stepped forward and grasped their royal sceptres as I solemnly swore that this was simply a ridiculous accusation, since you are not really a doctor at all.’ "
For MORE information on the medicine-god see ASKLEPIOS
HADES WRATH : THEBES, & FAVOUR : CORONIDES
Haides and Persephone inflicted Thebes with a deadly plague, probably as punishment for King Kreon's (Creon's) refusal to allow the burial of the dead warriors of the army of the Seven Against Thebes. When the maiden Koronides (Coronides) sacrificed themselves to appease the gods, they were pitied and transformed into a pair of comets.
Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 25 (trans. Celoria) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"When plague seized Aonia [Boeotia] and many died, there were sent officers to consult Apollon's oracle at Gortyne. The god replied that they should make an appeal to the two gods of the underworld [Haides and Persephone]. He said that they would cease from their anger if two willing maidens were sacrificed to the two.
Of course not one of the maidens in the city complied with the oracle until a servant-woman reported the answer to the daughters of Orion [the two Koronides (Coronides)]. They were at work at their loom and, as soon as they heard about this, they willingly accepted death on behalf of their fellow citizens before the plague epidemic had smitten them too. They cried out three times to the gods of the underworld saying that they were willing sacrifices. They thrust their bodkins into themselves at their shoulders and gashed open their throats. And they both fell down into the earth. Persephone and Hades took pity on the maidens and made their bodies disappear, sending them instead up out of the earth as heavenly bodies. When they appeared, they were borne up into the sky. And men called them comets."
For MORE information on these maidens see THE KORONIDES
ANCIENT GREEK ART
K14.1 Hades & Persephone
Apulian Red Figure Vase Painting C4th B.C.
K14.4 Hades & Persephone
Apulian Red Figure Vase Painting C4th B.C.
K14.5 Hades & Persephone
Athenian Red Figure Vase Painting C5th B.C.
K14.8 Hades & Sisyphus
Athenian Black Figure Vase Painting C6th B.C.
K14.3 Hades & Persephone
Athenian Red Figure Vase Painting C5th B.C.
K14.7 Hades & Persephone
Apulian Red Figure Vase Painting C4th B.C.
T16.6 The Return of Persephone
Athenian Red Figure Vase Painting C5th B.C.
K14.2 Hades & Persephone
Apulian Red Figure Vase Painting C4th B.C.
K14.6 Hades & Persephone
Athenian Red Figure Vase Painting C5th B.C.
F14.1 Hades & Persephone
Greek Macedonia Wall Fresco C4th B.C.
SOURCES (ALL HADES PAGES)
- Homer, The Iliad - Greek Epic C8th B.C.
- Homer, The Odyssey - Greek Epic C8th B.C.
- Hesiod, Theogony- Greek Epic C8th - 7th B.C.
- Hesiod, Works and Days- Greek Epic C8th - 7th B.C.
- Hesiod, The Shield of Heracles- Greek Epic C8th - 7th B.C.
- The Homeric Hymns- Greek Epic C8th - 4th B.C.
- Aesop, Fables - Greek Fables C6th B.C.
- Pindar, Odes - Greek Lyric C5th B.C.
- Greek Lyric I Sappho, Fragments - Greek Lyric C6th B.C.
- Greek Lyric II Anacreon, Fragments - Greek Lyric C6th B.C.
- Greek Lyric III Stesichorus, Fragments - Greek Lyric C7th - 6th B.C.
- Greek Lyric IV Bacchylides, Fragments - Greek Lyric C5th B.C.
- Greek Lyric V Anonymous, Fragments - Greek Lyric B.C.
- Greek Elegaic Theognis, Fragments - Greek Elegaic C6th B.C.
- Aeschylus, Agamemnon - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
- Aeschylus, Eumenides - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
- Aeschylus, Libation Bearers - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
- Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
- Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
- Aeschylus, Suppliant Women - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
- Aeschylus, Fragments - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
- Aristophanes, Frogs - Greek Comedy C5th - 4th B.C.
- Herodotus, Histories - Greek History C5th B.C.
- Plato, Cratylus - Greek Philosophy C4th B.C.
- Plato, Gorgias - Greek Philosophy C4th B.C.
- Plato, Republic - Greek Philosophy C4th B.C.
- Apollodorus, The Library - Greek Mythography C2nd A.D.
- Apollonius Rhodius, The Argonautica - Greek Epic C3rd B.C.
- Callimachus, Fragments - Greek Poetry C3rd B.C.
- Lycophron, Alexandra- Greek Poetry C3rd B.C.
- Greek Papyri III Euphorion, Fragments - Greek Epic C3rd B.C.
- Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History- Greek History C1st B.C.
- Strabo, Geography - Greek Geography C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
- Pausanias, Description of Greece- Greek Travelogue C2nd A.D.
- Plutarch, Lives - Greek Historian C1st - 2nd A.D.
- The Orphic Hymns- Greek Hymns C3rd B.C. - C2nd A.D.
- Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses - Greek Mythography C2nd A.D.
- Aelian, Historical Miscellany - Greek Rhetoric C2nd - 3rd A.D.
- Oppian, Halieutica - Greek Poetry C3rd A.D.
- Tryphiodorus, The Taking of Ilias- Greek Epic C5th A.D.
- Nonnus, Dionysiaca- Greek Epic C5th A.D.
- Hyginus, Fabulae- Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.
- Hyginus, Astronomica- Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.
- Ovid, Metamorphoses - Latin Epic C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
- Ovid, Fasti - Latin Poetry C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
- Ovid, Heroides- Latin Poetry C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
- Propertius, Elegies - Latin Elegy C1st B.C.
- Cicero, De Natura Deorum - Latin Rhetoric C1st B.C.
- Seneca, Hercules Furens- Latin Tragedy C1st A.D.
- Seneca, Oedipus- Latin Tragedy C1st A.D.
- Seneca, Phaedra- Latin Tragedy C1st A.D.
- Seneca, Troades- Latin Tragedy C1st A.D.
- Valerius Flaccus, The Argonautica- Latin Epic C1st A.D.
- Statius, Thebaid- Latin Epic C1st A.D.
- Statius, Achilleid- Latin Epic C1st A.D.
- Statius, Silvae - Latin Poetry C1st A.D.
- Apuleius, The Golden Ass - Latin Novel C2nd A.D.
- Suidas, The Suda - Byzantine Greek Lexicon C10th A.D.
Other references not currently quoted here: Argonautica Orphica 1192, et. al.
A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.
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