Since the days when man lived in caves and struggled to survive, wondering about the world that surrounds him. What makes the sun rise and set? Why are there seasons? Where do things go when they die? To the ancient Greeks, there were simple explanations to all these questions – it was the gods! Things that seemed unexplainable could suddenly make sense when there were gods and goddesses involved. And these stories of the gods that the Greeks created to help make sense of the universe have survived the years to become a treasured and integral part of the history of the Western world. The Greek underworld, in mythology, was a place where souls went after death and was the Greek idea of afterlife. At the moment of death the soul was separated from the corpse, taking on the shape of the former person, and was transported to the entrance of Hades. Hades’ realm itself was described as being either at the outer bounds of the ocean or beneath the depths or ends of the earth. It was considered the dark counterpart to the brightness of Mount Olympus, and was the kingdom of the dead that corresponded to the kingdom of the gods. Hades was a realm invisible to the living and it was made solely for the dead. The Underworld, better known as Hades after the god who ruled it, was a dark and dreary place where the shades, or souls, of those who died lived. A persons whole life was planned and plotted by the Fates. The Fates were the three goddesses who controlled the destiny of everyone from the time they were born to the time they died. They were: Clotho, the spinner, who spun the thread of a person's life, Lachesis, the apporitioner, who decided how much times was to be allowed each person, and Atropos, the inevitable, who cut the thread when you were supposed to die. When Atropos cut your thread you were dead and then you made your journey to Hades. Upon death, the shade is led by Hermes to the entrance of the Underworld and to the banks of the Acheron. There were five rivers that made up the Underworld. They were the Acheron (the river of woe), Cocytus (the river of lamentation), Phlegethon (river of fire), Lethe (river of forgetfulness), and the Styx (river of hate). This poem, written by an anonymous writer, was written about the rivers in the Underworld.
"Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate, Sad Acheron of sorrow black and deep; Cocytus named of lamentation loud Heard on the rueful stream; fierce Phlegethon Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage. Far off from these a slow and silent stream, Lethe, the river of oblivion, rolls Her watery labyrinth, whereof who drinks Forthwith his former state and being forgets, Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain."
Hades (Aides, Aidoneus, or Haides), the son of Kronos and brother of Zeus and Poseidon, was the Greek god of the underworld. When the world was divided between the sons of Cronos, Zeus received the heavens, Poseidon the sea, and Hades the underworld; the earth itself was divded between the three. Therefore, while Hades' responsibility was in the Underworld, he was allowed to have power on earth as well. However, Hades himself is rarely seen outside his domain, and to those on earth his intentions and personality are a mystery. In art and literature Hades is depicted as stern and dignified, but not a fierce torturer or devil-like. However, Hades was considered the enemy to all life and was hated by both the gods and men; sacrifices and prayers did not appease him so mortals rarely tried. He was also not a tormenter of the dead, and sometimes considered the "Zeus of the dead" because he was hospitable to them. Those who received punishment in Tartarus were assigned by the other gods seeking vengeance. In Greek society, many viewed Hades as the least liked god and many gods even had an aversion towards him, and when people would sacrifice to Hades, it would be if they wanted revenge on an enemy or something terrible to happen to them Hades was sometimes...
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