The god Hades, son of the TitansCronus and Rhea, received the Underworldfor his realm, when his brother gods, Zeusand Poseidon, received dominion of the sky and sea. Hestia, Hera, and Demeter are Hades’ sisters. Although Hades (the Unseen One) is an Olympian god, he is the Lord of the Underworld and ruler of the dead. Hades is not the god of death, however — that’s Thanatos. Hades rules those given proper funeral rites and brought over to the other side by Charon. Hades complained about Apollo’s son, the healer Asclepius because he restored people to life, thereby reducing Hades’ dominions. Hades inflicted Thebes with plague probably because they weren’t burying the slain and therefore were denying bodies for Hades to have dominion over.
The Cyclopsgave Hades the helmet of invisibility to help in the gods’ battle with the Titans. Perseuslater borrowed this helmet to decapitate Medusa.
The name Hades means “The Invisible.” The realm he rules over is also called Hades. The name Hades is generally applied to the realm of the Underworld: Hades = Hades’ realm.
Hades is the enemy of all life, gods, and men. Since nothing will sway him, he is rarely worshiped. Hades is feared and hated. An oath taken on his name is especially binding.
Sometimes a milder form of Hades, is worshiped. Sometimes people say Pluto is the Roman equivalent of Hades, but Pluto was a god of wealth, not of the Underworld. Sometimes, however, the Greeks themselves called Hades Plouton Hades is also called Haides, Aides, Aidoneus, Zeus Katachthonios (Zeus under the earth), and Orcus (Roman).
The attributes of Hades include his watchdog Cerberus, the key to the Underworld, and sometimes a cornucopiaor a two-pronged pick-axe. The cypress and narcissus are plants sacred to him. Sometimes black sheep were offered to him in sacrifice.
Children of Hades
- The Erinyes (Furies),
- Zagreus (Dionysus), and
- Makaria (goddess of a blessed death)
By some accounts the Underworld also contained the Elysian Fields, where those who were notably heroic or noble would go for their reward after death. But, for the most part, the Underworld was a place where anyone’s shade, or soul, could go after death.
The price of admission was one coin (of any denomination) to pay Charon, the ferryman, to take the shade across the River Styx that separated the earth from the Underworld. This led to the practice of placing a coin under the tongue or on the eyelids of the recently deceased … a way to be sure that the departed could pay the ferryman. Otherwise, without the coin, the spirit would have to restlessly wander the earth for more than a hundred years. Those whose shades entered the Underworld could rest there forever, or choose to be reborn, hopefully perfecting their lives so they could qualify for admission to the Elysian Fields after their next death. Everyone got three lives.
There are few stories about Hades since he spends most of his time among the non-living. The most familiar myth about Hades is the story of the abduction of Persephone by Hades.
(ancienthistory, menmythsmind,world mythology)