The Underworld



Geography

  • According to the Iliad the underworld is located somewhere beneath the earth.
  • According to the Odyssey, the the Underworld goes over the edge of the world and across the ocean.
  • There were five subterranean rivers flowing through the Underworld. They were called Acheron ("Woe"), Cocytus ("Wailing"), Lethe ("Forgetfulness"), Phlegethon or Pyriphlegethon ("Fiery"), and Styx ("Abhorrence"). The spirits of the dead had to cross all five rivers before they could be judged and sent to their final resting place.
  • The Roman poet Virgil displays a clear understanding of the location of the Underworld; the Acheron River pours into the Cocytus River where an old man named Charon brings the dead souls across the water. They travel by boat untill they reach the gate to Tartarus by a river bank.
http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/Underworldmap.html
http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/Underworldmap.html

What is The Underworld?

  • The underworld was considered to be a place where those who committed sins during their lifetime were punished and those who were good received rewards.
  • Charon would only accept the dead souls who's bodies were burried properly. They had to be burried with money in their mouthes to pay him for passage.
  • In addition to Hades, there were three minor gods in the Underworld. These gods acted as judges to decide the destiny of the souls of the dead. These three were Minos and Rhadamanthys, sons of Europa, and Aeacus, the son of Aegina.

Fun Facts

  • The Underworld conisisted of two divisions; the Tartarus and Erebrus. Tartarus is the prison of mortals and it is deeper then Erebus. Erebus is where dead souls pass through before reaching Tartarus.
  • The domain of Hades had a variety of names, such as Underworld, Elysium and Isles of the Blessed. The most popular name, however, was Hades.
  • The Underworld was gaurded by a three headed dog named Ceberus. Ceberus was the child of Typhon and Echidna, who was half woman and half snake. Only a few could get tpast Ceberus, including Orpheus who played his Lyre which cause Ceberus to fall asleep.

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Anecdotes:

  • Hades was one of the children of Cronus and Rhea. He was swallowed by Cronus. Zeus tricked Cronus into taking Hades's soul out of his body. Eventually, Hades overthrew Cronus by using the helmet that the Cyclops had once given him that gave him the power of invisibility. Hades, Zues, and Poseidon were then assigned divisions of the world to rule. Hades became the ruler of the underworld. He ruled the Underworld with Persephone, his queen, until she was forced to leave him by her mmother and zues. Hades was later very unsocial and was hardly ever seen by mortals or the other gods. Hades was eventually banned from Olympus.
  • Aegyptus, the brother of Danaus, always wanted his sons to marry the Dana├»ds. However, the girls father, Danaus, hated the idea. He created a plan to have his daughters kill their husbands the night of the wedding. All of the girls followed their fathers instructions except for one. The girls who listened to their father were punished by being sentenced to the Underworld as a punishment for eternity.

Work Cited


Stackhouse, Paul. Hades (Pluto). KET. 2007. <http://www.dl.ket.org/latin1/mythology/1deities/underworld/hades.htm>
World of the Dead. TimelessMyths. 29 sept. 2002.
<http://www.timelessmyths.com/classical/hades.html>
Parada, Carlos. Map of the Underworld. Greek Mythology Link. 1997.
<http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/Underworldmap.html>
Lindemans, Micha. Cerberus. EncyclopediaMythica. 03 March, 1997.
<http://www.pantheon.org/articles/c/cerberus.html>