Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Underworld (Map of Hades)

Module:8 The Underworld (Map of Hades)
Posted by: Jinky Catherine M. Miake


The Underworld, also referred to as "Hell" or to some people who don't want to say hell say Hades (Hades as the god, name means hell)

Hades (play /ˈheɪdiːz/; from Greek ᾍδης (older form Ἀϝίδης}, Hadēs, originally Ἅιδης, Haidēs or Άΐδης, Aidēs (Doric Ἀΐδας Aidas), meaning "the unseen" refers both to the ancient Greek underworld, the abode of Hades, and to the god of the underworld. Hades in Homer referred just to the god; the genitive ᾍδου, Haidou, was an elision to denote locality: "[the house/dominion] of Hades". Eventually, the nominative, too, came to designate the abode of the dead.

In Greek mythology, Hades is the oldest male child of Cronus and Rhea. According to myth, he and his brothers Zeus and Poseidon defeated the Titans and claimed rulership over the cosmos, ruling the underworld, air, and sea, respectively; the solid earth, long the province of Gaia, was available to all three concurrently. Because of his association with the underworld, Hades is often interpreted in modern times as the personification of death[citation needed], even though he was not.

Hades was also called "Plouton" (Greek: Πλούτων, gen.: Πλούτωνος, meaning "Rich One"), a name which the Romans latinized as Pluto. The Romans would associate Hades/Pluto with their own chthonic gods; Dis Pater and Orcus. The corresponding Etruscan god was Aita.

Symbols associated with him are the Helm of Darkness and the three-headed dog, Cerberus.

The term hades in Christian theology (and in New Testament Greek) is parallel to Hebrew sheol (שאול, grave or dirt-pit), and refers to the abode of the dead. The Christian concept of hell is more akin to (and communicated by) the Greek concept of Tartarus, a deep, gloomy part of hades used as a dungeon of torment and suffering.
Realm of Hades

In older Greek myths, the realm of Hades is the misty and gloomy abode of the dead (also called Erebus), where all mortals go. Later Greek philosophy introduced the idea that all mortals are judged after death and are either rewarded or cursed. Very few mortals could leave his realm once they entered: the exceptions, Heracles, Theseus, are heroic. Even Odysseus in his Nekyia (Odyssey, xi) calls up the spirits of the departed, rather than descend to them.

There were several sections of the realm of Hades, including Elysium, the Asphodel Meadows, and Tartarus. Greek mythographers were not perfectly consistent about the geography of the afterlife. A contrasting myth of the afterlife concerns the Garden of the Hesperides, often identified with the Isles of the Blessed, where the blessed heroes may dwell.

In Roman mythology, the entrance to the Underworld located at Avernus, a crater near Cumae, was the route Aeneas used to descend to the realm of the dead. By synecdoche, "Avernus" could be substituted for the underworld as a whole. The Inferi Dii were the Roman gods of the underworld. 
For Hellenes, the deceased entered the underworld by crossing the Acheron, ferried across by Charon (kair'-on), who charged an obolus, a small coin for passage placed in the mouth of the deceased by pious relatives. Paupers and the friendless gathered for a hundred years on the near shore according to Book VI of Vergil's Aeneid. Greeks offered propitiatory libations to prevent the deceased from returning to the upper world to "haunt" those who had not given them a proper burial. The far side of the river was guarded by Cerberus, the three-headed dog defeated by Heracles (Roman Hercules). Passing beyond Cerberus, the shades of the departed entered the land of the dead to be judged.

The five rivers of the realm of Hades, and their symbolic meanings, are Acheron (the river of sorrow, or woe), Cocytus (lamentation), Phlegethon (fire), Lethe (oblivion), and Styx (hate), the river upon which even the gods swore and in which Achilles was dipped to render him invincible. The Styx forms the boundary between the upper and lower worlds. See also Eridanos.

The first region of Hades comprises the Fields of Asphodel, described in Odyssey xi, where the shades of heroes wander despondently among lesser spirits, who twitter around them like bats. Only libations of blood offered to them in the world of the living can reawaken in them for a time the sensations of humanity.

Beyond lay Erebus, which could be taken for a euphonym of Hades, whose own name was dread. There were two pools, that of Lethe, where the common souls flocked to erase all memory, and the pool of Mnemosyne ("memory"), where the initiates of the Mysteries drank instead. In the forecourt of the palace of Hades and Persephone sit the three judges of the Underworld: Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Aeacus. There at the trivium sacred to Hecate, where three roads meets, souls are judged, returned to the Fields of Asphodel if they are neither virtuous nor evil, sent by the road to Tartarus if they are impious or evil, or sent to Elysium (Islands of the Blessed) with the "blameless" heroes.

In the Sibylline oracles, a curious hodgepodge of Greco-Roman and Judaeo-Christian elements, Hades again appears as the abode of the dead, and by way of folk etymology, it even derives Hades from the name Adam (the first man), saying it is because he was the first to enter there.

God of the underworld
In Greek mythology, Hades (the "unseen"), the god of the underworld, was a son of the Titans, Cronus and Rhea. He had three sisters, Demeter, Hestia, and Hera, as well as two brothers, Zeus, the youngest of the three, and Poseidon, collectively comprising the original six Olympian gods. Upon reaching adulthood, Zeus managed to force his father to disgorge his siblings. After their release the six younger gods, along with allies they managed to gather, challenged the elder gods for power in the Titanomachy, a divine war. Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades received weapons from the three Cyclopes to help in the war: Zeus the thunderbolt, Hades the Helm of Darkness, and Poseidon the trident. The night before the first battle, Hades put on his helmet and, being invisible, slipped over to the Titans' camp and destroyed their weapons. The war lasted for ten years and ended with the victory of the younger gods. Following their victory, according to a single famous passage in the Iliad (xv.187–93), Hades and his two brothers, Poseidon and Zeus, drew lots for realms to rule. Zeus got the sky, Poseidon got the seas, and Hades received the underworld, the unseen realm to which the dead go upon leaving the world as well as any and all things beneath the earth.

Hades obtained his eventual consort and queen, Persephone, through trickery, a story that connected the ancient Eleusinian Mysteries with the Olympian pantheon in a founding myth for the realm of the dead. Helios told the grieving Demeter that Hades was not unworthy as a consort for Persephone:
"Aidoneus, the Ruler of Many, is no unfitting husband among the deathless gods for your child, being your own brother and born of the same stock: also, for honor, he has that third share which he received when division was made at the first, and is appointed lord of those among whom he dwells."

- Homeric Hymn to Demeter

Despite modern connotations of death as evil, Hades was actually more altruistically inclined in mythology. Hades was often portrayed as passive rather than evil; his role was often maintaining relative balance.

Hades ruled the dead, assisted by others over whom he had complete authority. He strictly forbade his subjects to leave his domain and would become quite enraged when anyone tried to leave, or if someone tried to steal the souls from his realm. His wrath was equally terrible for anyone who tried to cheat death or otherwise crossed him, as Sisyphus and Pirithous found out to their sorrow.

Besides Heracles, the only other living people who ventured to the Underworld were all heroes: Odysseus, Aeneas (accompanied by the Sibyl), Orpheus, Theseus with Pirithous, and, in a late romance, Psyche. None of them were pleased with what they witnessed in the realm of the dead. In particular, the Greek war hero Achilles, whom Odysseus conjured with a blood libation, said:
    "O shining Odysseus, never try to console me for dying.
    I would rather follow the plow as thrall to another
    man, one with no land allotted to him and not much to live on,
    than be a king over all the perished dead."

            —Achilles' soul to Odysseus. Homer, Odyssey 11.488-491


The consort of Hades was Persephone, represented by the Greeks as the beautiful daughter of Demeter.
Persephone did not submit to Hades willingly, but was abducted by him while picking flowers in the fields of Nysa. In protest of his act, Demeter cast a curse on the land and there was a great famine; though, one by one, the gods came to request she lift it, lest mankind perish, she asserted that the earth would remain barren until she saw her daughter again. Finally, Zeus intervened; via Hermes, he requested that Hades return Persephone. Hades complied,

    "But he on his part secretly gave her sweet pomegranate seed to eat, taking care for himself that she might not remain continually with grave, dark-robed Demeter."
Demeter questioned Persephone on her return to light and air:

    "...but if you have tasted food, you must go back again beneath the secret places of the earth, there to dwell a third part of the seasons every year: yet for the two parts you shall be with me and the other deathless gods."

This bound her to Hades and the Underworld, much to the dismay of Demeter. It is not clear whether Persephone was accomplice to the ploy. Zeus proposed a compromise, to which all parties agreed: of the year, Persephone would spend one third with her husband.
It is during this time that winter casts on the earth "an aspect of sadness and mourning."

Map of Hades:

Locations of the Underworld:The entrance is managed by Charon, the reaper of souls. He takes them into an elevator and heads down, where they sail across the River Styx toward the opposite shore. On that shore, Cerberus, a three-headed dog born from Echidna and Typhon stands guard. The souls must pass by Cerberus toward their afterlife. Once they pass Cerberus, they cannot leave.

Door of Orpheus
A lesser-known entrance, the Door of Orpheus, stands in Central Park, NY. Orpheus created it to retrieve the dead spirit of his wife, Eurydice. Music is required to open this door and Percy and Nico used it in The Last Olympian with Grover 's reed pipes. It lets out behind the main gates, therefore being more direct to Hades' palace.

River Styx 

Charon's ferry floats along this river on it's way to the main gate. In ancient history, Achilles used the river to become invincible. Since the river is so powerful, the person bathing in it has to pick one vunerable spot on their body to make sure you are anchored to their human life, or else they will dissolve into the river. Thus the saying "Achilles' Heel" came to be because he was defeated in his vulnerable spot, his heel. There is also a place on the human heel that is called the "Achilles Tendon", mainly because that is what scientists discovered and named with Achilles.

Luke Castellan used the river to be able to host Kronos. His weakness was a small bit of skin just under his left arm.

Getting the idea from Nico di Angelo, Percy Jackson used the river to become invincible so he could defeat Kronos. His vulnerable point was in the small of his back.

Also swearing on the river styx is about the most serious oath you can make but the gods get off easy when they break there oath

The Fields of Punishment

The Fields of Punishment are fields of complete and brutal torture for souls of people who have done extreme wrongs in their lifetimes.

    * King Sisyphus cheated death numerous times with the first one having him chain up Thanatos so that no one can die. He even appealed to Persephone that his wife never gave him a proper funeral. Sisyphus was sentence to roll a boulder up a hill that would roll back down when it gets close to the top.

    * King Tantalus was invited to dine with the gods and was said to have stolen nectar and ambrosia and brought it back to his people alongside the secret of the gods. Tantalus later chopped up his son Pelops and served him as food to the Gods. Upon his death, his punishment was to stand in the middle of a lake under the branches of a fruit tree, but whenever he reached for the fruit, the branches would retreat from his grasp, and whenever he leaned down for a drink, the water would recede from him.

    * Ixion was the king of the Lapiths, the most ancient tribe of Thessaly. Ixion got mad at his father in law and ended up pushing him onto a bed of coal and woods commiting the first kin-related murder. The princes of other lands ordered that Ixion be denied of any sin clensing. Of course Zeus took pity on Ixion and was invited to a meal on Olympus. But when he saw Hera, he fell in love with her and did some under the table caressing until Zeus signaled him to stop. Zeus created a cloud-clone of Hera to test him and Ixion made love to her which resulted in the birth of Centauros who mated with some Magnesian mares on Mount Pelion engendering the race of Centaurs,who are called the Ixionidae from their descent. Zeus ended up driving Ixion from Mount Olympus and then struck him with a thunderbolt. He was sentenced to eternity in the Fields of Punishment tied to a winged flaming wheel that was always spinning. Only when Orpheus came down to the Underworld to rescue Eurydice did it stop spinning because of the music Orpheus was playing.

It has "miles of barbed wire separating the different torture areas." Some of the torture areas include being burned at the stake, running through cactus patches naked, being chased by Hellhounds, and being forced to listen to opera music. It is also noted by Percy Jackson in the Lightning Theif that there was lots of people in the Fields of Punishment

The Fields of Asphodel

Souls who don't wish to be judged go the Asphodel Fields. According to Grover, it is described as "standing in a wheat field in Kansas for eternity." Annabeth Chase stated that most people don't do either good or bad in their lifetimes, thus floating in the Asphodel Fields forever.


Elysium is the place of paradise for heroes. Those who die a hero's death live in peace in Elysium. Percy states that is where he wants to end up and it is where the demigod and ex-Hunter, Bianca di Angelo is now. Charles Beckendorf, Silena Beauregard, Lee Fletcher, Ethan Nakamura, and Luke Castellan are also there. In the middle of the lake, is the Isles of the Blest.

According to Percy, the only part of Elysium that can be seen behind its locked gate are several houses from different time periods. The grass ripples in rainbow colors and it is possible for one standing outside the gate to hear laughter and smell barbecue cooking.

Isles of the Blest

The Isles of Blest is reserved for heroes who have chosen to be reborn three times, each time achieving Elysium. Not many people live in the Isles of the Blest, and not many will, as there are not a lot of people who do good in their life, according to Percy Jackson. Luke Castellan, was one of the few heroes who wished to go into the Isles of the Blest, when he sacrificed himself in order to destroy Kronos. Annabeth instead, tells him that he always put too much stress on himself.

It is described as a glittering blue lake with three small islands like a vacation resort in the Bahamas.

Tartarus is the darkest and deepest area of the Underworld. Tartarus is where the gods imprison their enemies, chiefly the Titans. Kronos is known for being held there. When a monster is slain, its essence is sent to Tartarus until they can reform.

Tartarus is the lowest region of the world, as far below earth as earth is from heaven. Tartarus is described as a dank, gloomy pit, surrounded by a wall of bronze, and beyond that a three-fold layer of night. According to the Illiad, it is a 9-day anvil fall from the other regions of Hades.

Confirmation of Learning

Comprehension Questions:
1. The Underworld, is also referred to as ________.
2. __________refers to the abode of the dead.
3. What are the three several sections of the realm of Hades?
4. In Roman mythology, where is the entrance to the Underworld located?
5. What are the five rivers of the realm of Hades?
6.__________is where the shades of heroes wander despondently among lesser spirits, who twitter around them like bats.
7. Who were the three judges appointed by Hades and Persephone?
8. How did Hades obtained his eventual consort and queen, Persephone?
9. Who is the consort of Hades?
10.Who is the reaper of souls?
11.________is a three-headed dog born from Echidna and Typhon stands guard.
12. Who was sentence to roll a boulder up a hill that would roll back down when it gets close to the top?
13._____________was the king of the Lapiths, the most ancient tribe of Thessaly.
14.Souls who don't wish to be judged go to the_____________.
15._____________is the place of paradise for heroes.
Discussion Question: 
1. What are the strength and weaknesses of Hades?
2.Characterize Hades in the story.
3. Describe the time, place and elements of the story.


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