Image by Cristina Gottardi

HADES

Welcome to your crash course of Greek Mythology! If you've ever been fascinated about the ancients and wanted to know more but didn't have the time, never fear! Mythology Made has made the myths super simple so you can read on the go and learn something new.

God of the dead

Hades was the older brother of Zeus and ruled the realm of the underworld. He was aided by his three headed dog Cerberus and personally supervised the trials and verdicts of the wicked after death however, he was not normally one of the judges in the underworld, nor did he personally torture the guilty. Hades was depicted as stern and pitiless who seemed to be unmoved by prayer or sacrifice (like death itself).

TITANOMACHY


Hades was on the winning side of Titanomachy - that is - the war between the new gods and the titans. Hades was one of the children that Cronus swallowed in a bid to stop a son overthrowing him (just as he had overthrown his father Uranus).

When Cronus threw up all the children he had swallowed (Poseidon, Hera, Demeter and Hestia), they battled fiercely before finally banishing Cronus for good. Once the war was over, Hades became king of the underworld. Some argue that Hades was in fact more powerful than Zeus - most likely, Zeus was afraid of the power that Hades and his dwellers possessed. Along with Hades, the Fates (Clothos, Lachesis, Atropos), the Furies and Nyx (Goddess of Night) roamed the underworld and were not to be messed with.

What's in a name?

The Greeks were terrified of Hades and feared that if they mentioned him by name, he might send for him early. So instead, they got creative with their names for the King of the Underworld:

- Aidoneus⠀
- Pluto ⠀
- Ditis Pater⠀
- "The Rich One"⠀
- Orcus (Killer)⠀
- "The receiver of many"⠀
- "The Illustrious"⠀
- "The giver of good counsel"⠀
- "The Hospitable One"⠀

Hero or villain?

Hades is known for being a tender and gentle husband to his wife Persephone. He never cheated on her, listened to her council when he acted as a judge in the underworld, and indeed they grew to be very happy in each other's company. Unlike his Casanova brothers Poseidon and Zeus, Hades seemed to be truly devoted to his queen.

However, many have debated if Hades is in fact the villain of the story for his kidnapping of Persephone in the first place. It is argued that he took her against her will, forced Demeter's hand into creating winter and therefore nearly causing the world to perish. Other sources claim that Hades had gone to Zeus to ask for permission to wed Persephone and only when Zeus had granted the union, did Hades pursue her.

Whichever version you prefer, `the tale of Hades and Persephone is one of the most infamous myths of the Ancient Greek myths. Modern retellings have become particularly popular - have you read any?