7 Things You Didn't Know About the Greek God, Hades
Jun 26, 22
Greek Mythology: 7 Things You Didn't Know About the Greek God, Hades
The god of the underworld is a character that looms large in practically any version of Greek mythology—even if the details about him can be murky. Hades was a popular subject among ancient writers, who left behind numerous tales and fragments concerning his role as the ruler of the underworld.
Even though he’s one of the most prominent gods in all of Greek mythology, little is actually known about Hades. His origins are obscure, and even his appearance or what he looked like remains a mystery. Even so, this article will explore some lesser-known facts about this mysterious god.
He Was One of The Twelve Olympians
All of the gods of ancient Greece were known as Olympians, but not all Olympians were gods. There were a few humans who made it onto the list, for example, and Hades was one of them. Hades is associated with the Greek underworld, and the Olympians are gods associated with the sky.
Hades was the son of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. Cronus was a king of the Titans, a race of gods who ruled before the Olympians took over. They also ate their children, but they (including Hades) were spared.
While Hades spent most of his time in the underworld, he would also ascend to the sky on certain occasions. For instance, he would fly up to the heavens during eclipses.
Hesiod’s Version of His Origins
Homer and Hesiod are the two most important sources for information about the gods in ancient Greece. According to Hesiod, the first gods were born out of chaos and nothingness. The goddesses, however, were formed from the sea and earth.
Hades was the first god born from the earth, and he was therefore the first king of the underworld. Hades wasn’t actually a god; he was a king of Tartarus. This is the name of the part of the underworld where the kings of the dead lived.
Tartarus is sometimes also referred to as the “pit of Tartarus” or the “abyss of Tartarus.”
He Kept a Storehouse Full of Souls
The souls of the dead were sent to the underworld by the river Acheron on a boat. The boat would dock at the entrance to the underworld, which was the domain of Hades.
Hades would let the souls pass, but he kept a record of how many souls entered the underworld so that he could be sure to send the right number back to the world of the living.
Hades would make sure that the souls of virtuous people went to the Elysian Fields, while the souls of the wicked went to the Fields of Punishment. Hades had a special storehouse where he kept the souls of people who were still awaiting their judgment.
The souls of heroes who were killed by snakes were kept in a special part of the underworld since snakes were the creatures that sent them there.
He Married His Sister, Persephone
Hades and Persephone were brother and sister who also ended up marrying each other. Persephone was originally engaged to the god of the growing seasons, but she was kidnapped by Hades.
When she was returned, she was pregnant and therefore forced to marry her brother. Her son was named Demeter, and he would be the one to inherit the rule of Tartarus when his father died. Persephone would also be the one to inherit the rule of the underworld when her husband died.
This is another example of how the gods of ancient Greece often inherited their roles from their parents.
He Had a Great Horned Guardian Dog
Hades had a dog named Cerberus, who guarded the entrance to the underworld. Cerberus was a large and ferocious beast who was said to be more powerful than the gods of Olympus.
Cerberus had three heads, and his job was to make sure that no souls ever escaped the underworld. Cerberus was, however, tricked by the god of wine, Dionysus, into allowing a group of innocent souls to pass by him and escape the underworld.
His Symbols Are The Sword and the Mask
Hades’ symbols were the sword and the mask, since he was the master of the underworld and the ruler of the dead. Hades was typically depicted as a dark or shadowy figure.
He is also sometimes shown as a black-haired man with a dark beard. The mask he wore was thought to be a crude representation of death. The sword he wielded was symbolic of the fact that he was the ruler of death and the underworld.
He was born from the world’s first ever murder.
Hades was born when his father, Cronus, was forced to swallow a baby because it was destined to overthrow him. This baby happened to be the child of the goddess of childbirth, Hera.
The child was named Zeus, and he would later become king of the gods. Zeus was sent to the underworld when he was an infant, and he was put in the care of the ruler of the underworld, Hades.
Hades was supposed to feed the infant only milk, but he fed him a mixture of milk and blood instead. This was the first ever murder, and the blood and milk were the first ever examples of death. Hades’ first ever meal was the blood and milk of death, so he became the first ever god of the underworld.
Even the details concerning his appearance are fuzzy. The gist, however, is well known. He was a dark god with mysterious origins, and he was the ruler of the underworld. He was also the king of the dead, and he kept a storehouse full of souls awaiting judgment.
Beyond this, however, little else is known. His wife, children, and even his appearance remain a mystery.
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