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Essay: Hades the Greek God of the Underworld

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  • Hades the Greek God of the Underworld
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Hades is the Greek God of the Underworld, and is also known as Aides or Aiidoneus which means the Unseen. As the God who ruled the dead Hades has always instilled fear among the mortals as well as the Gods. Born to the Titans Cronus and Rhea he displayed his bravery in the Titanomachy also known as the War of the Titans. In this war he helped the Olympians defeat the mighty Titans, and thus got his kingdom The Underworld. As the king of the Underworld he was perceived as a grim figure who strictly followed the rules for the dead.

Like his brothers and sisters Hades had been swallowed by his father Cronus soon after his birth. Cronus was scared of a prophecy according to one of his children would remove him from his throne just as he had done to his father. To prevent this prophecy from coming true Cronus would swallow his children as soon as they were born. However only Zeus escaped this misfortune as his mother had hidden him from Cronus. Years later Zeus made Cronus throw up all his siblings. Also with his brothers Hades, and Poseidon Zeus led a war against the Titans. The brothers knew that they would require weapons and men to win against the powerful Titans. They released the Cyclopes which were imprisoned by Cronus in the underworld. The Cyclopes were skilled metal smiths. They made thunderbolts for Zeus, a trident for Poseidon and a helmet for Hades that him invisible. With these weapons the brothers fought a bloody war with the Titans. Of course the Winners were the gods. After the war they divided the world amongst themselves. While Zeus ruled the sky and the living, Poseidon got the seas, and Hades became the God of the Underworld.

About the many myths associated with Hades the one about Persephone is the most well known. According to Greek mythology Hades was captivated by the beauty of Persephone the daughter of Demeter And Zeus. When he saw her picking a flower from the planes growing close to her house. Hades expressed his intention to Zeus about marrying Persephone. Zeus know that Demeter won’t be happy so he didn’t tell her. He also told hades that he should tricked persephone into coming with him. So then he made a flower that if pulled it would open a hole to the underworld. So Persephone pulled the flower she fell but was caught by Hades, and brought to the underworld. Demeter was furious at Zeus and threatened to curse all those who lived on the Earth if her daughter was not returned to her. Although Persephone was brought back to her mother she was bound by the rules of the underworld to spend a part of each year with Hades as she had eaten a pomegranate offered to her by him. It is believed that Persephone had fallen in love with Hades, and had started liking her role as a queen. Some say she ate the pomegranate seeds on purpose, as she knew that anyone who tasted the food of the underworld would be doomed to live there forever.

In most of the paintings Hades is depicted as a bearded man wearing a dark and gloomy expression. He also wears the helmet gifted to him by the Cyclopes. He also holds a bird-tipped scepter in one hand, and the key to the underworld in the other. Even though he is an Olympian God he preferred to spend most of his time in the dark depths of the Underworld. His kingdom the Underworld is the land of the dead. Hades is perceived as a strict God who forbade his disciples from leaving his realm. Once anyone entered his kingdom they could never leave. Although never perceived as an evil God, Hades was ruthless with those who violated his rules or displeased him. It is believed that he was hard to please. He only accepted sacrifices that were black in color. Mortals refrained from uttering his name aloud, and always referred to him on solemn occasions using euphemistic epithets only. However under the influence of Persephone, Hades’s character as a merciless God underwent a drastic change. He came to be referred to as the bestower of the riches of the underworld like grains and minerals. In Roman mythology, Hades is known as Pluto, which means the one who showers wealth.

Despite his grim character Hades was known to be a just God. He also played the role of a good counselor who helped those who died to make a successful journey into the afterlife. His grave demeanor justifies his solemn responsibility of preventing the dead from escaping back to the Earth thereby maintaining a balance between the world of the living and the dead.

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