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Hades, God of the Underworld

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Essay title: Hades, God of the Underworld

In Greek mythology, Hades was the god of the underworld. But the underworld was often referred to by his name as well. His-oldest name was Hades, Aides or Aiidoneus, " the Unseen." He was the son of Cronus and Rhea, and brother of Zeus and Poseidon. Having deposed Cronus, the brothers cast lots for the kingdoms of the heaven, the sea, and the infernal regions. The last, afterwards known as Hades from their ruler, fell to Hades. Here he ruled with his wife Persephone over the other powers below and over the dead. He is stern and pitiless, deaf to prayer or flattery, and sacrifice to him is of no avail; only the music of Orpheus prevailed upon him to restore his wife Eurydice. His helmet, given to him by the Cyclopes after their release from Tartarus, rendered him invisible (like the Tarn--or Nebelkappe of German mythology).

He is feared by gods and men, who, afraid to utter his name, both in daily life and on solemn occasions make use of euphemistic epithets: Polydectes (the receiver of many), Clymenus (the Illustrious), Eubulus (the giver of good counsel). Later, owing to his connection with Persephone and under the influence of the Eleusinian mysteries, the idea of his character, underwent a radical change. Instead of the life-hating god of death, he became a beneficent god, the bestower of grain, minerals, and other blessings produced in the depths of the earth. In this aspect he was called Pluto, the " giver of wealth " (a name that first occurs in the Attic poets of the 5th century), and at most of the centers of his cult he was so worshipped; at Elis alone he was Hades, the god of the dead.

The plants sacred to him were the cypress and narcissus; black animals were sacrificed to him, not white, like those offered to the other gods. In art he was represented like Zeus and Poseidon; his features are gloomy, his hair falls over his forehead; his attributes are a sceptre and Cerberus; he carries the key of the world below , and is frequently in company with Persephone. He is sometimes represented as an agricultural god, carrying a cornucopia and a two-pronged fork.

Among the Romans, Hades was usually called Dis pater (the "

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