Hades the Greek god has a very different personality than the other gods, and during ancient Greece, he was one of the least worshipped of the Greek pantheon.
Hades the Greek god is cruel and without pity, yet just and fair to those who enter the underworld, which he rules over. Cold, and strict, he is unreactive to prayer or pleas of mercy. He is disliked and feared by other gods and humans alike for his fierce and unrelenting personality.
Along with Ares the god of war, they are the two most hated and feared deities, although Hades was loved by his wife.
Hades Displayed his Fierce Courage during the Overthrow of Cronus
Hades was the son of Cronus and Rhea, who were the King and Queen of the Titan gods. Because Cronus had been told a prophecy that his rule would be overthrown one day by his own children, he would swallow them as they were born.
When the sixth child was born, who was Zeus, Rhea hid the baby, replacing him with a stone wrapped in baby clothes for Zeus to swallow. When Zeus grew up he gave Cronus a drink that caused him to throw up the other children, and Hades emerged from the stomach of Cronus, along with his siblings Poseidon, Demeter, Hera, and Hestia.
The three brothers of Zeus, Poseidon and Hades then went to work to overthrow Cronus. Hades wore the Helmet of Invisibility, which he had received as a gift from the Cyclops for freeing them from Tartarus, to sneak up on Cronus. Zeus stunned Cronus with thunderbolts, and then
Poseidon held down Cronus with his trident. Hades delivered the most devastating part of the attacked, castrating Cronus, which signified the end of his rule.
This was the end of the time of the Titan gods, and the beginning of the Olympic gods. They divided up the kingdom and Hades became the ruler of the underworld, while his brothers became god of the sky, and god of the sea. You can read more about Zeus here, and Poseidon here.
Hades Ruled the Underworld with Merciless Strictness
As the ruler of the Underworld, Hades would oversee the judgement and torture of the wicked who ended up in there after death. His attention to detail when not letting a single soul escape the Underworld was legendary, and he himself would also very rarely leave. He is the most important character in Greek mythology who is not an Olympic god, who all lived in mount Olympus while he resided in his home in the Underworld.
The Underworld existed deep within the earth. No sun would reach there, and five rivers flowed to the Underworld. These included:
The Styx: the river of unbreakable oaths and hatred
The Acheron: the river of sorrow and pain
The Cocytus: the river of lamentation and wailing
The Phlegethon: the river of fire
The Lethe: the river of oblivion and forgetfulness
There were also different regions in the Underworld, and the souls who went there would be divided by the severity of their sins. A panel of judges would determine the severity of their punishment, and they would be tortured by Furies, the goddess of vengeance. Depending on their level of punishment, they would go to one of the following regions of the Underworld:
Tartarus: the deepest part of the Underworld, where the worst offenders would be sent. It was like a dungeon, with gates of iron and bronze.
The Fields of Mourning: This region was for people who had spent their lives pursuing the love of someone who did reciprocate. It was full of the broken-hearted, who were mostly woman in the myths.
The Asphodel Meadows: This is the region where normal souls were sent to live. Greek beliefs about the afterlife changed over time, and at some times it was believed that all people would go to the Underworld after death. If only the guilty were to go to the Underworld, this region was reserved for those who had not committed terrible crimes yet had not lived their life in a fulfilling manner.
The Elysian Fields: This was the region of the Underworld that was pleasant, full of exceptional people, who lived lives of enjoyment in beautiful meadows.
Hades Kidnapped his Queen Persephone
When Hades saw Persephone, he instantly fell in love with her. She was the daughter of Demeter, the goddess of nature. Hades went to his brother Zeus to help him, and together they made a plan to kidnap her. While she was gathering flowers in the field with her friends, they made the ground split open underneath her so that they fell into the Underworld. He then made her his wife, and while in the beginning she resisted and resented him, eventually she fell in love with him too, and they lived happily together. She became known as the queen of the Underworld.
In contrast to some of the other gods, such as Zeus, who was a perpetual seducer, even resorting to rape when his pursuits were rejected, Hades was apparently faithful to his wife Persephone. In fact, besides kidnapping his wife, it is difficult to find any examples of Hades behaving unethically in Greek mythology.
Hades and Persephone were assisted by their dog Cerberus, who had three heads, and a serpent tail. He would devour anyone who tried to escape from the underworld.
Hades was Also Known as the God of Wealth
Hades was also known as god of wealth because of the precious metals buried in his kingdom. He is the wealthiest of all the gods, as all of the gold, diamonds and other precious gemstones found on earth are under his domain. During Roman times, Hades was known as Pluto, a name which has its origins in the world for “wealth”.
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