The Roman Underworld

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THE ROMAN UNDERWORLD
The Romans were greatly influenced by the Greeks in religion. Their religious views did not change drastically; however, Romans did believe that life was “the spirit’s death,” and that the soul was freed after healing the earth. In addition, the names of all the Greek gods and goddesses were changed to those of a Roman background. For example, the Greek god Zeus, who was ruler of the sky and the gods, evolved into Jupiter, who held the same responsibilities. The same went for all of the gods in the Roman world: Poseidon became Neptune, Aphrodite became Venus; the Greek god of the Underworld, Hades, became Pluto, who still remained the ruler of the dead. The Roman Underworld was known as what we call Hell today. It was where all departed souls went, and your punishment depended on the crime(s) committed (if any). The Roman afterlife in the Underworld consisted of five parts: the previous region, the region of waters, the gloomy region (Erebus), Tartarus, and the region of joy (Elysium). In the previous region, two types of beings were sorted out, which were human beings themselves and the creatures mankind had thought to have existed. The second region consisted of Styx, the river that departed souls were to cross over on to reach the other world. On the other side of the bank, a long road would split into two: One road would lead souls to the Elysium, which was the place of bliss, and the other would lead to the land of torture, or Tartarus. Souls who were deceiving among the gods or man were sent to Tartarus, and those who lived a long and blissful life were sent to the Elysium. Souls in the Elysium would then be placed in the river of forgetfulness after a time, drinking the water to receive a new body and name for the soul to live in and to enter the Upper World once more. In Virgil’s book, Aeneid, he explained how the hero Aeneas traveled to the Underworld. During his experience, he witnessed souls that weren’t buried waiting by the...
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