Hades the Underworld
Hades the Underworld was a mysterious and supernatural realm. It was the domain of the god Hades and other gods and goddesses associated with the inexplicable, such as death, disease, sleep, ghosts, dreams, witchcraft and enchantments. The realm of Hades the Underworld consisted of different areas where the souls of dead mortals also resided. Mortals who had led a good life were sent to the Elysian Fields, part of Elysium, the province of the gods and goddesses of the Underworld. The souls of mortals who had been both good and evil on earth were sent to the Asphodel Meadows. Those mortals that had led evil lives were confined in the dark depths of the mysterious Underworld, in the bowels of the earth, called Tartarus where no ray of sunshine nor gleam of daylight or healthy life ever appeared and the souls of the wicked suffered endless torture.
Picture of Hades, the Underworld
Geography of Hades the Underworld
The imaginary world of Hades the Underworld was believed to be located in a subterranean region. It was the world of the dead where all souls passed after their time on earth. The River Styx was a great black river that encircled Hades the Underworld. The only way to cross the River Styx was in a ferryboat rowed by a terrible, silent boatman named Charon the Ferryman. In the dominions of Hades there were several main areas:
Map of Hades the Underworld
Map of Hades the Underworld
The above picture of the imaginary Map of Hades the Underworld provides an overview of the world of the dead.
The Five Rivers of Hades the Underworld
Five rivers flowed through Hades the Underworld:
- The River Styx
- The River Acheron
- The River Cocytus
- The River Phlegethon
- The River Lethe
Facts about Hades the Underworld
The realms of and facts about Hades the Underworld are described in the following chart, a second chart details interesting information and facts about the residents of Hades the Underworld.
Mythical Facts about Hades the Underworld for Kids
Subject: Information and Facts about Hades the Underworld
The Underworld: The Underworld, also known as the Infernal region, was believed to be inhabited by the shades or spirits of the dead and their keepers
River Styx: The River Styx (meaning Hateful) was a great black river that encircled Hades the Underworld. The only way to cross the River Styx was in a ferryboat rowed by a terrible boatman named Charon
River Acheron: The River Acheron (meaning sorrow) was also known as the River of Pain that flowed from the River Styx and believed to carry pains for mortals. It also carried the good souls from the Underworld that were sent back to earth after 1000 years to be born again into living beings
River Cocytus: The souls that had committed a terrible sin in a moment of passion but had lived in repentance for the rest of their earthly lives were sent to Tartarus. But after one year suffering the torments of hell were sent down the River Cocytus (meaning lamentation) to face a further judgement. The souls of the unburied dead were said to wander along its marshy banks
River Phlegethon: The River Phlegethon (meaning flaming) was described as "a stream of fire, which coils round the earth and flows into the depths of Tartarus".
River Lethe: The good souls of the dead had to drink from the River Lethe (meaning oblivion & forgetfulness) which made them forget all they had done and suffered when they were alive
Elysium: Elysium was described as a Paradise and domain of the good souls of the dead and where many of the gods and goddesses of the Underworld resided
City and Palace of Hades: The golden Palace of Hades was located in Elysium and was the seat of power over the Underworld that was ruled by the god Hades, the King of the Underworld and his wife, Persephone, the Queen of the Underworld. Hades held court in the palace which was located in Elysium beside the Pool of Lethe and this, and the City of Hades, was the abode of other important gods and goddesses who resided in Hades
Cerberus: Hades the Underworld was guarded by Cerberus the monstrous three-headed dog whose howls could be heard across the realm. Cerberus permitted all shades to enter, but none to return. The sight of the huge and monstrous Cerebus confronted the souls of the dead when they alighted from the ferryman's boat following their journey across the River Styx.
The Judges of the Dead: In the forecourt of the Palace of Hades sat the three judges of the Dead called Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Aeacus, guarded by Cerberus the three-headed dog, who judged whether the life of a mortal had been good or evil.
The Death Fates (the Keres): The Death Fates, or Keres, were present at the judgement when the ultimate fate of a mortal was about to be decided and after their confessions weighed the person's 'Ker', or life force.
The Crossroads of Hecate: When the judgement was made the souls were sent to the crossroads, sacred to Hecate, where three roads meet. The souls were then directed to the Fields of Asphodel if they had lived neither virtuous nor evil lives, sent by the road to Tartarus if they were evil, or sent to Elysian Fields (Paradise)
Archives of the Fates: The Fates (Moirai) kept the Archives of the Fates that contained the complete records of all mortals and events, on indestructible tablets of brass and iron
Elysian Fields: The Elysian Fields was the residence of the good souls. "Elysian the fields of the blessed, where flowers of gold bloomed in beautiful meadows"
Fields of Asphodel: The souls of mortals who had been both good and evil on earth were sent to the Asphodel Meadows in the Underworld for unending toil and hardship. Hades possessed a herd of immortal, sable-black cattle which roamed the asphodel fields under the care of the evil, supernatural herdsman Menoetes.
Tartarus: The infernal regions, described in the Iliad as situated as far below Hades as heaven is above the earth. It was the place of punishment for the spirits of the wicked.
Mythical Facts about the Hades the Underworld for Kids