Hades

Beliefs that fascinate me  

Hades was the god of the underworld. He was known as the god of the dead and of wealth. Hades was the son of Cronos and brother of Zeus. After Hades and his other siblings helped Zeus overthrow Cronos, they divided the kingdom into three sections. Zeus got Olympus and he ruled over all, Poseidon got rule over the seas and Hades lucked out when he “drew the short straw” and got rule over the underworld. The underworld is located deep within the earth (which is why Gaia was angry with Uranus and sent Cronos to finish him) ruled by Hades and Persephone (who stays with him for half the year). The underworld is a place where souls go after their bodies die on earth. Hades is in charge of the proceedings of the underworld but he rarely if ever does anything himself. Hades is aided by his servant Cerberus (three headed dog) who stands guard at the entrance of the underworld. He will let everyone enter but will never let anyone leave; Hades is a very greedy god and wants to keep the souls in his possession. The souls are sent there because Hades has to decide where they will go. Once in the underworld, the souls will be approached by three judges, Rhadamanthus, Minos and Aeasus. It is then that the fate of these souls will be determined. It will be decided to whether or not they will be able to go to a better place or to be punished for all eternity. To enter the underworld, one must cross the Styx river on Charon’s ferry (which there is a toll for). Once on the way, there are three places a soul might end up if guilty of worse crimes during their time alive on earth. If one was to sin against the gods, they would end up in a place of eternal torment. This place was lower than Hades; this place was called Tartarus. This place was for the most vial of souls. Asphodel was where a lot of souls would end up. This place was for the soul who would end up endlessly wondering on a plain of flowers. It wasn’t the best but it wasn’t Tartarus. The third place was Elysium. This place was where the souls who were favored by the gods went. It was a place for the heroes, a place of eternal bliss. This place is often called The Elysian Fields. Hades was known for being stern and had little if no pity for the souls in his domain. He did not care for prayer or sacrifice and he tended to stay in the shadows. This being said, his impact on society was interesting. People had a great fear of displeasing the gods but no one more than Hades. Most couldn’t even say his name in fear that they would die earlier than they were meant to; people started calling him Plouton, which means the god of wealth. The Greeks were very big fatalists so they took this stuff seriously. Hades being the god of the underworld, or afterlife, people tend to make a big deal of trying to lead good lives and focused a great deal on what their afterlife would be like. People were very concerned with death and how they would prepare for the afterlife. Their burial and trip to the underworld was very important. The Greeks believed that at death, the spirit would leave the body and travel to its final destination. Burial was a big part of that. They had a three step burial process that they believed would help them. Step one was something close to what we call a wake. They would clean the body, giving it nice clean clothes (It also depended on wealth of the deceased). The second step was to put coins in the mouth of the deceased and tied the mouth shut so they would not fall out. These coins were the payment, or toll to catch the ferry across the Styx River to the underworld. The third step was important. The living had to take the body to its final resting place. Once the body arrives, the people would leave trinkets and sacrifices to help them when they’re in the afterlife. Though not greatly involved with daily worship, Hades was a big part of Greek society and how they contemplated life and death.

Works Cited

Hades. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2016, from http://www.greekmythology.c…

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. (n.d.). Hades. Retrieved March 10, 2016, from http://www.britannica.com/t…

 

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