Hades

God of the Underworld

Hades on his throne in the underworld
Hades on his throne in the underworld

Parents and birth circumstances and acquisition of power.

Hades is the 4th son of the Titan Kronos and Rhea.
Kronos's mother, Gaea, forwarned Kronos that Kronos's children will one day depose their father just as Kronos deposed his father, so when a child is born, Kronos swallow him/her. The same fate happens to Hades: When he is born, Kronos swallows him.

Rhea giving one of her son to Kronos to swallow
Rhea giving one of her son to Kronos to swallow


When Zeus has grown up, Zeus's wife Metis tricks Kronos into swallowing herbs, and Hades, together with 4 other brothers and sisters: Hera, Demeter, Poseidon and Hestia, emerges from Kronos's stomach.
Hades follows Zeus in the war against the Titans, also called the Titanomachy.
Titanomachy
Titanomachy

After they defeat the Titans, Zeus, Hades and Poseidon divide up the universe: Zeus rules the Olympian, Poseidon becomes the ruler of the oceans, while Hades inherits the realm of the underworld.

Names

Hades name, or Aidoneus or Haides, means "the unseen"
The living people are fearful of him, and they are frightened just to mention the name Hades, so euphemisms were used.
Because all the minerals are situated underground, they were supposed to be Hades's wealth, and he is also called "The rich one", or Plouton in Greek. Hence the name Pluton, Hades's name in the Roman pantheon of gods and goddesses.

Physical attribute

Hades, like Zeus and Poseidon, is often drawn as a strong dark - bearded man. He may have the Helm of Darkness and ride a chariot drawn by 4 immortal horses.
Hades on the chariot of 4 immortal horses
Hades on the chariot of 4 immortal horses


Wife

Persephone is Hades's wife. She is the daughter of the goddess Demeter, one of the original 6 children of Kronos and Rhea and a sister of Hades. One day, Hades saw Persephone picking flower and he abducted to the underworld. Demeter was so sad that her daughter was lost that she cast a spell on the land and there was a great famine. Finally, Zeus intervened and told Hades to return Persephone to Demeter. However, as Persephone had tasted fruit of the underworld, namely a pomegranate, she couldn't stay forever in the upper world. Zeus compromised that Persephone has to stay with Hades for 1/3 of each year, the rest she can stay with her mother. In those 4 months, It's cold on earth as Demeter becomes sad and that specific period of the year is called winter.
Persephone and Hades
Persephone and Hades


Children

Because Hades is the God of the dead, he is often regarded as an infertile god. However, other sources attributes some children to him:
- The Erineyes: The 3 goddesses of Earthly wrath. However, most sources implied that they are earth - born.
- Zagreus: It's said that this is a son of Zeus.
- Melinoe: Another son of Zeus, Zeus disguised as Hades and seduced Persephone.
- Makaria

Symbols of Hades

- Helm of Darkness/Cap of invisibility: Render the user invisible, the Helm of Darkness was given to Hades during the Titanomachy. Hades is not the only user: Hermes sometimes uses it, Athena uses it during the Trojan war to hide herself from Ares and the hero Perseus uses the cap to defeat Medusa
Perseus depicted as wearing the Helm of Darkness and holding Medusa's head.
Perseus depicted as wearing the Helm of Darkness and holding Medusa's head.

- Minerals and jewels: As Hades is the god of the underworld, all the minerals and jewels in the earth are attributed to him.
- Cerberus: the 3 - headed dog, the guard of the underworld. Cerberus prevents the souls who have entered the underworld from returning.
Cerberus
Cerberus

- A 2 - pronged staff
Hades, Cerberus and the 2 pronged staff
Hades, Cerberus and the 2 pronged staff


Friends or foes

Hades mostly has no friend, as he's the god of the dead and nobody and no god likes him, especially the goddess Demeter since Hades steals Persephone from her.


Stories

Hades and Sisyphus

Sisyphus, the king of Corinth, is shrewd and is "the craftiest of man". One day, Sisyphus betrayed Zeus's secret. Zeus was furious and sent Thanatos (Death) to chain Sisyphus up in Tartarus. However, he tricked Thanatos by asking him how the chains work. When Thanatos showed him, he seized the chains and chained Thanatos himself. Since Death is out of commission, nobody could die. Finally, Ares came, released Thanatos and surrender Sisyphus to Thanatos. Before Sisyphus died, however, he told his wife to bury him without any funeral rite. His wife duly did so, and Hades was robbed of the traditional offering. Sisyphus succeeded in persuading Hades to let him return to life and scold his wife for neglecting the customs. When he lived again, he refused to return to the underworld, and Hermes had to brought him back to Hades. To punish him for his trickery, Sisyphus has to for eternity push a boulder uphill, only to see it rolling downhill again.
Sisyphus and the boulder
Sisyphus and the boulder


The story of Orpheus.

Orpheus is the son of Calliope, one of the 9 Muses who promote literature and music. Orpheus is described as having beautiful voice, a voice which can move people. Orpheus is in love with Eurydice. However, the newly - wed bride was bitten by a serpent and died. Orpheus was sad. On the advices of nymphs, he went to the underworld and asked for permission to bring Eurydice back to life. Hades was moved by Orpheus sad voice and allowed Orpheus to bring Eurydice back to Earth on 1 condition: On the way out of the underworld, Orpheus must not look back at Eurydice, or she will be lost forever. Orpheus agreed. He and Eurydice started to walk out of the Underworld. Unfortunately, suspicions built up inside Orpheus. Is the footstep behind him that of Eurydice? Or Hades is fooling with him? At the end, he could not wait and turned back. He saw Eurydice, but she quickly disappeared into the Underworld. Ultimately, Orpheus was killed by the Maenads.

Orpheus and Eurydice
Orpheus and Eurydice


Author: Anh Nguyen