King of the Underworld

  "Hades is not to be soothed, neither overcome, wherefore he is most hated by mortals of all Gods"  --Agamemnon

When the Olympian [Oh-lihm-pee-ahn] Gods had defeated the Titans [Tigh-tanz].  Zeus [Zyoos, Zoos] (Jupiter or Jove [Joo-pih-tuhr or Johv] in Roman) and his two elder brothers, Poseidon and Hades, [Poh-sigh-dahn and Hay-deez] cast lots (threw dice) to settle the dispute of who would rule over which realm. Zeus, of course, won the skies; Poseidon (Neptune [Nehp-toon/Nehp-tyoon], in Roman) claimed the waters and Hades (Pluto/Dis [Ploo-toh/Dihs] in Roman and Greek) acquired that which is known as The Underworld, the land of the dead which soon was known simply by his name, Hades. Though many could consider this incorrect as it is not it's proper name. Thus he became the Greek God of the dead, though not Death himself.  That office belonged to another of his dominion. Death's proper name was Thanatos [Than-a-tohs], Mors [Mohrz] in Roman, who was an entirely different God altogether. Sometimes there is confusion on this issue. While Thanatos was under Hades' rule it was he who dispatched the living and not the king himself.

Some accounts say that the Romans called Hades Orcus [Oar-kuhs] while others list Orcus as the Roman name for Thanatos.  It is the opinion of the author that the later is originally true.  However, since the name has, for quite some time now, been used to represent Hades rather than Thanatos I believe it is no less applicable now than Pluto, Dis, Pluton, etc., and it may even be moreso than some of them. Perhaps it is this which has caused confusion and thus Hades and Thanatos to be considered one and the same. One thing for certain, whether both actually shared the name Orcus originally or not they are and were two separate entities. Pluto/Dis is Hades'  name as God of riches and wealth.  Dis is the Latin word for rich. However, sometimes Pluto/Pluton/Plutos seems to be a distinctly different God from Hades altogether. He is called Pluto as God of wealth.  It is a form of the Greek word Pluoton meaning rich and was used as a term of flattery in hopes of swaying the stern kings favour in one's direction.

The Underworld was variously placed in many locations and accepted as being in all of them collectively or seperately. Some accounts claim it is inside the Earth, others place it at the end of the sea and lastly at Avernus in Rome on the very site where the Christians built a church, St. Maria Del Infernus, with this in mind it is only logical that he should be the God of wealth since his domain clearly is where all treasures were from; deep within the earth. He had a famed, magickal cap or helmet which made it's wearer invisible. He is also known as Ades, Aides and Aidoneus [Ay-doh-neus, Ay-doh-noos, [Ay-doh-nee-uhs] (a poetic, Roman form of Hades).  Though he was often called Plutos, it is clear that this God was initially a totally different diety, however. Plutos was a minor God of wealth and riches, a son of Demeter and Iasion. His mother abandoned him in childhood however and he was raised by the Goddess of peace, Eirene/Pax [Irene/Paks] one of the Horae.  Depictions of Eirene often show her holding a child, this is Plutos. Plutosfavoured the righteous to a discriminative extent denying the less righteous his favours. For this, he was blinded as punishment by Zeus so that he might be less apt to be biased. He is the origin of the word plutocrat. In addition there is also an Oceanid by the name of Pluto who was the mother of Tantalus. She is called "The Ox-eyed Pluto."

It is generally accepted that his period of worship was most popular between circa 1500 BCE until Christianization (circa 400 CE). These dates are approximate and may be alterable more or less.  His worship was centred at Pylos and seems to have been limited to there.  Hades' home in The Underworld was known as, The House Of Ais.  It is described as many gated and filled with many guests.   The lands of his home are covered with asphodel, a ghostly flower indigenous to The Underworld alone.  This spectral garden bleeds into a massive waste land.  Hades himself is described as a handsome, sombre and dark man with a dark, full beard and regal garb of deep tones (typically blacks and crimson) carrying a bident or two-pronged harpoon and, like Hecate, a key. The key has always been an important symbol in magickal religions representing the key to the unknown or unrealized. The gateway of the sub or supraconscience. It is a symbol of knowledge and wisdom, which is usually attributed to darker Gods and Goddesses. It is said that a potent charm for worshipers of Hecate is a brass key found in an abandoned place. While such a key found buried in the Earth is an especially propitious charm for Hadean followers.


Hades (meaning the invisible one) was the son of Rhea [Ree-ah/Ray-ah] and Cronus [Kroh-nuhs] (see Zeus' page) and it is believed that he was their eldest child. His siblings are Demeter [Dehm-uh-tuhror Dee-meetuhr], Hera [Hair-ah/Hur-uh/Hee-rah/Heer-uh]. Hestia [Hehs-tee-ah], Poseidon and the baby of the family, Zeus. He is associated with the planet Pluto (which, of course was named from him) and it's magickal attributes. Like the planet, the God himself is often depicted as a cold and distant, sombre character in myth. He is not easily moved and is unpitying, more often than not. A greedy, moody God ever seeking to expand his realm. He quenched his thirsts on the tears of mourners, ignored the pleas of the spirits of the dead and rejoiced in death and the sorrow it caused the living. He had a slow, black rage that never seemed to swell beyond control. For all his unsavory qualities he was the most patient of all the Gods. Perhaps because he knew that whatever befell the humans he disfavoured, regardless of how prosperous or joyous their lives might be, sooner or later they would all be one of his subjects in his realm.

He rarely frequents Olympus and when he does he is generally reclusive still. This suits everyone on Olympus just fine, as he is not altogether a welcome visitor to begin with. It is most likely that his lovely wife Persephone or Kore [Puhr-seh-foh-nee or Koh-ree] (Proserpine or Proserpina [Proh-suhr-pih-nee Pro-suhr-pee-nah] in Roman) is responsible for urging him to Olympus on the rare occasions that he does appear, as it is likely that few of the other divine guests would do so. While he is considerably unlikeable by most he is not an evil God. But he is heavy handed and can be quite unreasonable. Most Gods and Goddesses who have dealings or even loose associations with him do so primarily through their associations with Persephone.

He is most notorious for the Rape of Persephone, myth (see Hecate) where he abducted Persephone, a Goddess of the Earth and spring. She is the daughter of Demeter and Zeus. The tale is rather extensive and quite intertwined. I will simplify, however, I recommend for a full understanding of the myth that you read at least one of the versions available.

Young Persephone, was strolling through the field when she spied the lovely  narcissus. She found the flower radiant beyond compare and set to gathering some as a gift for her beloved mother. Suddenly the day grew still for a moment, then dark. Soon a terrible rumbling began deep within the Earth. The young Goddess was frightened and confused when before her the ground erupted and from the chasm emerged a golden (or black) chariot drawn by four coal-black steeds. Hades then took the fair maiden by the waist and returned to his dark realm far from the flowers and the fields and the sun. Her cries of fear tore through the forests, across the lands and over the seas until they reached her mother's ear. Demeter searched the whole world over for Persephone and asked every creature of the wilds, but none could tell her where her beloved daughter had gone. It was as if the young Goddess had vanished without a trace. For nine days Demete r searched with not even a hint of what tragedy had befell her child. When at long last, she came upon the Goddess Hecate (some accounts say Helios, the Sun God) who left her dark cave with brilliant torch in hand to aid her in her search. Though she and Helios were the only two in all the heavens and all the Earth who knew what had actually happened she feigned ignorance. At long last, with Hecate's help, it was discovered where Persephone had vanished to and Zeus ordered that Hades return his bride to Demeter as through her sufferings the land was perishing. He agreed, knowing he could not defy the will of Zeus.

He asked lovely Persephone to think fondly of him, and shared with her the fruit of the dead, the pomegranite. He knew that if she partook of the fruit, she must return to his realm sooner or later. She returned to her mother and Demeter restored the fruitfulness of the Earth. Persephone did return to her husband as he expected and still does. During her visits, the earth grows cold and barren as Demeter pines for her daughter again. Hades was remarkablly faithful to Persephone only having two recorded affairs. The first with the nymph Minthe [Mihn-thee], who Persephone trod into the ground (she revived as the mint plant) and Leuce [Loo-kee/Loo-see] (a daughter of Poseidon) who died of olde age becoming the white poplar of the Elysian Fields (a heaven). He did seem so like his nieces, now didn't he? Compared to the other exploits of his fellow Olympians, Hades was extremel y loyal to his wife.

I have decided to combine Hades' information and The Underworld's information rather than make two separate articles. Hades' realm is a vast, mysterious and often fearsome place. But it is not as foreboding as it might seem nor as some might expect. Not that it can't be mind you, but not all of it is. These expections are primarily caused with the fact that Christians and poets have used the name Hades as an alternative title for their Hell forming an unfortunate association between the two. There are no actual similarities really. This associate ignores the fact that parts of Hades are actually a paradise. It has been known by many names, some of these being: Hades, Hell, Infernal Region, Lower World, Nether World, Tartarus, The House Of Hades (Ais), Under World, Underworld.

The Underworld was gaurded by a three headed dog (Hesiod says he had fifty heads) named Cerberus. Cerberus [sur-ber-uhs] was the offspring of Typhon [Tigh-fahn] a giant monster (the youngest son of Gaea  [Gay-ah/Jee-ah]) and Echidna/Echidne [Ee-kihd-na/Ee-kid-nee], half woman half serpent. Bringing Cerberus up from Hades was the twelfth labor of Hercules/Heracles/Victor [Huhr-kyoo-leez/Hur-ah-kleez/Vihk-tuhr] (Victor was a name used by the Romans to represent many of the Gods not JUST Hercules. The asphodel, or flower of the dead, grew wild here but particularly in the area of Tartarus known as the Asphodel Fields (another of the heavens) where many heroes are believed to reside. The flower was descibed as waxen and fragrant. Many flowers have been poeticly called asphodel over the years including: Daffodils, lillies, and mums.


Points for research on The Underworld

The Three Judges Of Hades:

Aeacus [Ee-ah-cuhs] - A son of Zeus and Aegina [Ee-gee-nah]. A man who was made one of the judges in Hades by Zeus due to his high integrity.
Minos [Mih-nos] - A son of Zeus and Europa [Yoo-roh-pah]. The most celebrated lawgiver ever whose laws remained in effect for over 1,000 years. He is the brother of Rhadamanthus and Sarpedon.
Rhadamanthus and Sarpedon [Rad-ah-man-thus and Sahr-pee-dahn] - Half brother of Aeacus and father of Minos II. Rhadamanthus - Also known as Rhadamanthys. A son of Zeus and Europa. One of the three judges of the dead presiding in Hades.


The Five Rivers Of Hades:

Acheron [Ak-eh-rahn] - The river of woe. One of five which Charon [Kair-ahn], the ferryman, had to cross with the spirits of the newly deceased in order to get them into Hades' realm.
Cocytus [kah-sih-tuhs] - The river of wailing and lamentation.
Lethe [Lee-thee] - The river of forgetfullness. Oblivion. Drinking from these waters makes one forget but not indefinetly. Certain myths mention those who are returned to life for one reason or another who must first drink from these waters before they may return to Earth so that they will forget the details of The Underworld. Considered the primative beginnings of reincarnation by many.
Phlegethon [Fleh-geh-thahn]- The river of fire. Also known as, Pyriphlegethon [Pihr-ih-fleh-geh-thahn].
Styx [Stiks] - The river by which the Gods sealed their oaths. Pity the man or immortal who swore on the river Styx and broke his word! The river was named after the Goddess of the same name; daughter of Oceanus [Oh-shee-ann-uhs] and Tethys [Teh-thihs]; and mother of Nike (Victory), Strength and Valor. Some mythologists include her as the mother of Persephone by Zeus, though this is rare. She was the first to help Zeus when the war with the Titans began and he rewarded her by making her the Goddess by which inviolable oaths were sworn. Immortals swore by these waters and broke their word were forced to drink from the river (which caused insensibility for a year); were denied nectar and ambrosia and were banished for nine years. In addition, bathing in these waters renders one invulnerable.

The Most Severe Punishments in Hades:

  • Danaides
  • Ixion
  • Sisyphus
  • Tantalus
  • Tityus


The Regions Of The Under World:

Avernus [Ah-vuhr-nuhs] - A lake in Rome that was once believed to be an entrance into The Underworld. It was considered a part of it as well.

Erebus [Ehr-eh-buhs] - A region of The Underworld through which the dead must pass to reach Hades.

Tartarus [Tahr-tahr-uhs] - The lowest region of Hades' realm where the most wicked are contained and punished. It is here that the Titans were confined. Accounts describe thisregion very differently. According to one source it is surrounded by a brass wall and is three times darker than the darkest night. Another says it is surrounded by three massive walls and by Phlegethon. Sometimes used as a name for the entire Underworld.

The following is a list of various items associated or attributed to Hades.  In no way does this infer a compleat listing of possibillities.

Tobacco Cyprus Iron
Olibanum Hibiscus Nitrates

Mint (Garden) Sulfur


Nux Vomica



Red Poppy


All Bident
Fire Opal Chain
Obsidian Lamp
King Of Wands
Knight Of Wands
 Ruby Spear


Pyramid Of Fire

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Created: 11:45 PM 12/11/1996
Updated: 1:11 PM 9/25/2004