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Hades: God of the Underworld





Background Information


Hades was the son of Kronos and Rhea, the first of the Oylimpians. Hades and his brothers; Zeus and Poseidon drew lots to divide the universe among them. Zeus drew the heavens, Poseidon drew the sea, and Hades was left with the underworld. Hades was that god of the Underworld (the dead) and god of wealth because of the, fertile soil, seed-grain, and precious metals that can be found underground.

About Hades:


Personality

Hades is the greediest of all the gods and was constantly interested in increasing his subjects, Hades is also very stubborn and emotions had no effect on him. As a result of his absence of feelings, he very rarely allowed his subjects to leave the Underworld. He is pityless and unmoved by prayers or pleas for mercy.


Symbols

Hades was always thought to be a dark man with a beard and constantly sealed lips. He was visualized with a crown on his head and a key and scepter in his hand. The key and scepter showed that he guarded the realm very carefully and to ward off anyone who tried to escape. Another symbol of Hades was his two-pronged staff. This staff was a devise Hades used to bring unwilling spirits into the deeper realm of the Underworld; Tartarus. Hades also wears a golden helmet which can render him invisible as he chooses.

How Others Viewed and Worshiped Him

Hades was reffered to as the 'Rich One' because he enriched himself with the sight of tears and the pain endured by others. Among the gods and mortals alike, he was very unpopular and when spoke of, attracted much unwanted attention. Although Hades was feared, he underwent a great changed in reputation when he married Persephone. Instead of the evil and hateful god of the underworld, he became known as a god that benefited mortals. Mortals began to see him as a giver of grain, minerals, and other necessities produced from the earth. Hades was rarely worshiped, however when he was, mortals sacrificed black sheep and let their blood drop into pits in the ground. Any animal that was black could be sacrificed to him, unlike the rest of the gods who required white animals to be sacrificed on their behalf. When he was prayed to, mortals would bang their head on the ground.

Greek Gods Family Tree:


Hades was the son of the Titans, Kronos and Rhea. Hades and his siblings became the first generation of greek gods. Although Hades married Persephone, they never had children. The left side of this tree shows where Hades fits in, in the generations of the gods.

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Sorce: www.alief.isd.tenet.edu/Hastings/student/Greek/tree.gif




Anecdotes:


Kronos Devours His Sons

Kronos was the father of Hades, Zeus, and Poseidon, however when he learned of a prophecy that said one of his sons would overthrown him, he wanted to be rid of them. As soon as Hades was born, he and one of his brother's Poseidon were swallowed alive by Kronos. Rhea, their mother, was able to hide Zeus from Kronos when the other two were devoured. Rhea then fed Kronos a lard stone wrapped in infant clothing. Kronos was then forced to regurgitate Hades and Poseidon. After this, a 10 year war broke out against the Titans and they were eventually defeated and dove into the pit; Tartus.

Hades And His Queen Persephone

Although Hades lived in the Underworld and rarely came to the surface, he became entranced with the the beauty of the goddess Persephone. He captured her by opening a hole in the earth beneath her feet, where she fell in. For a while, Hades ruled the Underworld with his queen Persephone. When Demeter learned of her daughter's abduction, she caused a great dearth to fall upon the earth until her daughter returned to her. When Zeus ordered Hades to return her to the care of her mother Demeter, Persephone ate a pomegranate which bound her to the Underworld and Hades forever. Although Persephone was tricked into eating the pomegranate, it was said that there was a mutual attraction between them and a peaceful relationship. Although Phersephone was bound to the underworld, she was allowed to spend half the year taking care of her mother. Persephone was Hades' one greatest weakness.

Fun Facts

- The Cyclopes gave Hades the golden helmet that let him become invisible.
- Every so often, Hades would lend his golden helmet to one of the gods or even a mortal.
- Hades' greatest weakness was his wife, Persephone.
- It was Hades' duty to give every mortal a just burial.
- Despite Hades' abduction of Persephone, she grew to like him and have a peaceful marriage unlike Hades' brother Zeus.
- "Hades" means "The Invisible."
- The cypress and narcissus are plants that are sacred to Hades.

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