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Encyclopedia > Greek underworld
Hermes Psykhopompos: sitting on a rock, the god is preparing to lead a dead soul to the Underworld, Attic white-ground lekythos, ca. 450 BC, Staatliche Antikensammlungen (Inv. 2797)
Hermes Psykhopompos: sitting on a rock, the god is preparing to lead a dead soul to the Underworld, Attic white-ground lekythos, ca. 450 BC, Staatliche Antikensammlungen (Inv. 2797)

The Greek underworld is a general term used to describe the various realms of Greek mythology which were believed to lie beneath the earth or beyond the horizon. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 374 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (1804 × 2888 pixel, file size: 3. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 374 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (1804 × 2888 pixel, file size: 3. ... For other uses, see Hermes (disambiguation). ... Attica (in Greek: Αττική, Attike; see also List of traditional Greek place names) is a periphery (subdivision) in Greece, containing Athens, the capital of Greece. ... Theseus and the Marathonian bull, white-ground lekythos, ca. ... The Staatliche Antikensammlungen (State Collections of Antiques) in the Kunstareal of Munich is a museum for the Bavarian states antique collections for Greek, Etruscan and Roman art. ... // In the study of mythology and religion, the underworld is a generic term approximately equivalent to the lay term afterlife, referring to any place to which newly dead souls go. ... The bust of Zeus found at Otricoli (Sala Rotonda, Museo Pio-Clementino, Vatican) Greek mythology is the body of stories belonging to the Ancient Greeks concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. ...


These include:

  • The great pit of Tartarus, which was originally the exclusive prison of the old Titan gods, but which later came to mean the dungeon home of the damned souls
  • The land of the dead ruled by the god Hades, which is variously called the house or domain of Hades (domos Aidao), Hades, Erebus, the Asphodel Fields, Stygia and Acherontia ;
  • The Islands of the Blessed or Elysian Islands ruled by Cronus, where the great heroes of myth resided after death ;
  • The Elysian Fields ruled by Rhadamanthys, where the virtuous dead and initiates in the ancient Mysteries were sent to dwell.

The five rivers of Hades are Acheron (the river of sorrow), Cocytus (lamentation), Phlegethon (fire), Lethe (forgetfulness) and Styx (hate), which forms the boundary between upper and lower worlds. In classic Greek mythology, below Heaven, Earth, and Pontus is Tartarus, or Tartaros (Greek Τάρταρος, deep place). ... Hades, Greek god of the underworld, enthroned, with his bird-headed staff, on a red-figure Apulian vase made in the 4th century BC. For other uses, see Hades (disambiguation). ... In Greek mythology Erebus (Έρεβος Erebos, Deep blackness/darkness or shadow from Ancient Greek Έρεβος) was the son of a primordial God, Chaos, the personification of darkness and shadow, which filled in all the corners and crannies of the world. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Elysian redirects here. ... Rhadamanthus (also transliterated as Rhadamanthys or Rhadamanthos) in Greek mythology was a son of Zeus and Europa and brother of Minos, king of Crete and Sarpedon. ... The Acheron is located in the Epirus region of northwest Greece. ... Cocytus, meaning the river of wailing (from the Greek κωκυτός, lamentation), is a river in the underworld in Greek mythology. ... In Greek mythology, the river Phlegethon ([river of] fire) was one of the five rivers of the underworld. ... In Classical Greek, Lethe (LEE-thee) literally means forgetfulness or concealment. The Greek word for truth is a-lethe-ia, meaning un-forgetfulness or un-concealment. In Greek mythology, Lethe is one of the several rivers of Hades. ... Styx may refer to: Styx (band), an American rock band popular in the 1970s and 1980s Styx (album), the first album released by the band Styx in 1972 Styx forest, a forest in Tasmania, Australia Styx (Game), a 1983 game by Windmill Software Styx (MUD), a text-based game Styx...


The ancient Greek concept of the underworld evolved considerably over time.

Contents

The Homeric underworld

The Greek Underworld
Residents:
Geography:
Famous inmates:
Related:
Further information: Hades

The oldest descriptions of the underworld can be found in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. The other poets of old epic such as Hesiod describe it similarly. In the Odyssey the Underworld is located beyond the Western horizon. Odysseus reaches it by ship from Circe's island, and later on, the ghosts of the suitors are herded there by Hermes Psychopompus (the guide of the dead). He herds them through the hollows of the earth, beyond the earth-encircling river Oceanus and the gates of the (setting) Sun to their final resting place in Hades. Hermes Psykhopompos: sitting on a rock, the god is preparing to lead a dead soul to the Underworld, Attic white-ground lekythos, ca. ... Proserpine by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1874) (Tate Gallery, London In Greek mythology, Persephone (Greek Περσεφόνη, Persephónē) was the Queen of the Underworld of epic literature. ... Hades, Greek god of the underworld, enthroned, with his bird-headed staff, on a red-figure Apulian vase made in the 4th century BC. For other uses, see Hades (disambiguation). ... Front face of the MINOS far detector. ... In Greek mythology, Aeacus (Greek: Aiakos, bewailing or earth borne) was king in the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf. ... In Greek myths, Rhadamanthus (Ῥαδαμάνθυς; also transliterated as Rhadamanthys or Rhadamanthos) was a wise king, the son of Zeus and Europa. ... Michelangelos rendering of Charon. ... Heracles and threatened Cerberus, Attic black-figure neck-amphora, ca. ... The Acheron is located in the Epirus region of northwest Greece. ... Cocytus, meaning the river of wailing (from the Greek κωκυτός, lamentation), is a river in the underworld in Greek mythology. ... In classic Greek mythology, below Heaven, Earth, and Pontus is Tartarus, or Tartaros (Greek Τάρταρος, deep place). ... In Classical Greek, Lethe (LEE-thee) literally means forgetfulness or concealment. The Greek word for truth is a-lethe-ia, meaning un-forgetfulness or un-concealment. In Greek mythology, Lethe is one of the several rivers of Hades. ... Elysian redirects here. ... In Greek mythology, Styx (Στυξ) is the name of a river which formed the boundary between Earth and the Underworld, Hades. ... In Greek mythology, the river Phlegethon ([river of] fire) was one of the five rivers of the underworld. ... The Asphodel Meadows is a section of the Ancient Greek underworld where indifferent and ordinary souls were sent to live after death. ... In Greek mythology Erebus (Έρεβος Erebos, Deep blackness/darkness or shadow from Ancient Greek Έρεβος) was the son of a primordial God, Chaos, the personification of darkness and shadow, which filled in all the corners and crannies of the world. ... This article is about the Greek myth. ... Sisyphus by Titian, 1549 In Greek mythology, Sisyphus (Σίσυφος) (IPA: ) was a king punished in the underworld by being set to roll a huge boulder up a hill throughout eternity. ... Tantalos, by Goya In Greek mythology Tantalus (Greek Τάνταλος) was a son of Zeus[1] and the nymph Plouto (riches)[2] Thus he was a king in the primordial world, the father of a son Broteas whose very name signifies mortals (brotoi)[3] Other versions name his father as Tmolus wreathed... This article is about the race of Titans in Greek mythology. ... The bust of Zeus found at Otricoli (Sala Rotonda, Museo Pio-Clementino, Vatican) Greek mythology is the body of stories belonging to the Ancient Greeks concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. ... Greek religion is the polytheistic religion practiced in ancient Greece in form of cult practices, thus the practical counterpart of Greek mythology. ... Hades, Greek god of the underworld, enthroned, with his bird-headed staff, on a red-figure Apulian vase made in the 4th century BC. For other uses, see Hades (disambiguation). ... title page of the Rihel edition of ca. ... This article is about the poem by Homer. ... Roman bronze bust, the so-called Pseudo-Seneca, now identified by some as possibly Hesiod Hesiod (Hesiodos, ) was an early Greek poet and rhapsode, who presumably lived around 700 BC. Hesiod and Homer, with whom Hesiod is often paired, have been considered the earliest Greek poets whose work has survived... For other meanings, see Odysseus crater, 1143 Odysseus “Ulysses” redirects here. ... Circe, a painting by John William Waterhouse. ...


The Classical underworld

The Homeric Hymns and lyric poet Pindar introduce the paradise-like realm of Elysium where the virtuous dead were sent after death. This blessed afterlife was also promised in cult to the initiates of the ancient Mysteries. The anonymous Homeric Hymns are a collection of ancient Greek hymns. ... Pindar (or Pindarus) (probably born 522 BC in Cynoscephalae, a village in Boeotia; died 443 BC in Argos), was perhaps the greatest of the nine lyric poets of ancient Greece. ... Elysian redirects here. ...


Transmigration of the soul

Philosophers such as Plato and the mystic Orphics and Pythagoreans include the concept of the judgement of the dead. Spirits were assigned to one of three realms : Elysium for the blessed, Tartarus for the damned, and Hades for the rest. Further they believed in reincarnation and the transmigration of souls. PLATO was one of the first generalized Computer assisted instruction systems, originally built by the University of Illinois (U of I) and later taken over by Control Data Corporation (CDC), who provided the machines it ran on. ...


Virgil's underworld

The most elaborate description of the underworld appears in Virgil's Aeneid, where the various sections of the land of the dead are described as a whole. Aeneas flees burning Troy, Federico Barocci, 1598 Galleria Borghese, Rome The Aeneid (IPA English pronunciation: ; in Latin Aeneis, pronounced — the title is Greek in form: genitive case Aeneidos): is a Latin epic written by Virgil in the 1st century BCE (between 29 and 19 BCE) that tells the legendary story...


Local cults

Many local cults in Greece claimed to possess entrances to the underworld, and had special religious rites associated with these. Ancient travel writers and geographers such as Pausanias and Strabo describe these. Pausanias is the name of several ancient people: Pausanias was a Spartan general of the 5th century BC. Pausanias of Sparta was King of Sparta from 409 BC-395 BC. Pausanias was the servant/lover who assassinated Philip II of Macedon in 336 BC Pausanias, Greek traveller and geographer of... The Greek geographer Strabo in a 16th century engraving. ...


The ferryman

The deceased entered the underworld by crossing the river Acheron ferried across by Charon (kair'-on), who charged an obolus, a small coin, as a fee. This coin was placed under the tongue of the deceased by relatives. Paupers and the friendless gathered forever on the near shore. The far side of the river was guarded by Cerberus, the three-headed guard dog of Hades. Michelangelos rendering of Charon. ... The obolus (or obol) is a Greek silver coin worth a sixth of a drachma. ... pau·per ( P ) Pronunciation Key (pôpr) n. ... Heracles and threatened Cerberus, Attic black-figure neck-amphora, ca. ...


The hound of Hades

Main article: Cerberus

Heracles and threatened Cerberus, Attic black-figure neck-amphora, ca. ...

Myths in which it features

The twelfth and last task of Hercules was to retrieve Cerberus, the three-headed guard dog of Hades, from his post and show him to his cousin, for whom he was working as punishment from killing his wife and sons. He was successful, and was rewarded freedom from bondage after unintentional infanticide, which he did because Hera made him insane. Later, however, Hera made him insane again and he killed Iphitus,the son of the prince of Oechalia Eurytus. As punishment, he was forced to be a slave of Queen Omphale of Lydia, for three years. Hercules and the Nemean Lion (detail), silver plate, 6th century BC (Cabinet des Médailles, Paris). ... Heracles and threatened Cerberus, Attic black-figure neck-amphora, ca. ... In sociology and biology, infanticide is the practice of intentionally causing the death of an infant of a given species, by members of the same species - often by the mother. ... For other uses, see Hera (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Hera (disambiguation). ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... In Greek mythology, King Eurytus, or Eurýtos of Oschalia (Oikhalia), Thessaly, was the father of Dryope and Iole. ...


The Argonaut Orpheus, a wonderful musician, lost his soon to be wife, Euridice, after she was bitten by a snake. He descended to the Underworld and managed to pass Cerberus and Charon by charming them with his kithara (a musical instrument similar to a lyre) to plead Hades and Persephone. Persephone felt sorry for him, so he was allowed to have her back, if he reached the normal world again without looking over his shoulder. At the last minute, because he was unable to hear his wife's footsteps, he turned back and in doing so he caught his last glimpse of his wife's ghost as he lost her forever. Argonaut may refer to: The Argonauts, a band of heroes who sailed on the ship Argo with Jason in Greek mythology. ... For other uses, see Orpheus (disambiguation). ... In Greek mythology, there were two characters named Eurydice, or Eurydíkê. The more famous was a woman - or a nymph - named Eurydice who was the wife of Orpheus. ... The kithara was an ancient Greek musical instrument. ... “Lyres” redirects here. ... Hades, Greek god of the underworld, enthroned, with his bird-headed staff, on a red-figure Apulian vase made in the 4th century BC. For other uses, see Hades (disambiguation). ... Proserpine by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1874) (Tate Gallery, London In Greek mythology, Persephone (Greek Περσεφόνη, PersephónÄ“) was the Queen of the Underworld of epic literature. ...


See also

  • Hell
  • Heaven
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Greek underworld

D'Aulaire, Edgar Parin. D'Aulaire, Ingri. D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths For other uses, see Hell (disambiguation). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Image File history File links Commons-logo. ...


 
 

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