Hades and dog Cerberus
Symbols: Scepter, Cerberus, drinking horn, and the cypress tree
Parents: Cronus and Rhea
Children: Melinoe, Macaria, and Zagreus
Abode: The Underworld
Roman name: Pluto
Hades is a god in Greek mythology who rules the land of the dead called the Underworld. He is one of the three most powerful Greek gods (along with his brothers Zeus and Poseidon).
How was Hades usually pictured?
Hades is usually pictured with a beard, a helmet or crown, and holding a two-pronged pitchfork or a staff. Often his three headed dog, Cerberus, is with him. When traveling he rides a chariot pulled by black horses.
What powers and skills did he have?
Hades had complete control of the underworld and all its subjects. Besides being an immortal god, one of his special powers was invisibility. He wore helmet called the Helm of Darkness that allowed him to become invisible. He once loaned his helmet out to the hero Perseus to help him defeat the monster Medusa.
Birth of Hades
Hades was the son of Cronus and Rhea, the king and queen of the Titans. After being born, Hades was swallowed by his father Cronus to prevent a prophecy that a son would someday overthrow him. Hades was eventually saved by his younger brother Zeus.
Lord of the Underworld
After the Olympians defeated the Titans, Hades and his brothers drew lots to divide up the world. Zeus drew the sky, Poseidon drew the sea, and Hades drew the Underworld. The Underworld is where dead people go in Greek Mythology. Hades wasn't very happy about getting the Underworld at first, but when Zeus explained to him that all the people of the world would eventually be his subjects, Hades decided it was okay.
In order to guard his realm, Hades had a giant three-headed dog named Cerberus. Cerberus guarded the entrance to the Underworld. He kept the living from entering and the dead from escaping.
Another helper for Hades was Charon. Charon was Hades' ferryman. He would take the dead on a boat across the rivers Styx and Acheron from the world of the living to the Underworld. The dead had to pay a coin to Charon to cross or they would have to wander the shores for one hundred years.
Hades became very lonely in the Underworld and wanted a wife. Zeus said he could marry his daughter Persephone. However, Persephone did not want to marry Hades and live in the Underworld. Hades then kidnapped Persephone and forced her to come to the underworld. Demeter, Persephone's mother and goddess of crops, became sad and neglected the harvest and the world suffered famine. Eventually, the gods came to an agreement and Persephone would live with Hades for four months of the year. These months are represented by winter, when nothing grows.
Interesting Facts About the Greek God Hades
- The Greeks did not like to say the name of Hades. They sometimes called him Plouton, which means "the lord of riches."
- Hades would get very angry at anyone who tried to cheat death.
- In Greek Mythology, the personification of death was not Hades, but another god named Thanatos.
- Hades fell in love with a nymph named Minthe, but Persephone found out and turned the nymph into the plant mint.
- There are many regions to the Underworld. Some were nice, such as the Elysian Fields where heroes went after death. Other areas were awful, such as the dark abyss called Tartarus where the wicked were sent to be tormented for eternity.
- Hades is sometimes considered one of the Twelve Olympian gods, but he didn't live on Mount Olympus.
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