In Greek mythology, Hades was an Olympian God, regarded as the ‘God of the Dead’ or the ‘Lord of the Underworld’. He was born to Cronus, the leader of the Titans, who ruled during the legendary Golden Age, and his wife Rhea, on the island of Crete. He had two brothers, Zeus and Poseidon, and three sisters Demeter, Hestia and Hera. In art works, Hades is depicted as a dark man with a huge beard. It is believed that Cronus devoured five of his own children, when Gaia and Ouranos made the prophecy that Cronus would be overcome by one of his sons just like he did to his father.
The youngest son Zeus escaped this wrath with his mother’s help, and went on to become a powerful warrior forcing Cronus to disgorge his siblings. Then Zeus teamed up with his brothers, Poseidon and Hades, raged a war against the Titans, and defeated them. The three brothers chose their realms after this win. Zeus got the sky, Poseidon got the sea and Hades got the underworld. He had a chariot which was pulled by four black horses. The Narcissus and the Cypress plants were sacred to him.
Hades had a pet called Cerberus, a multi-headed dog who guarded the gates of the underworld. Its task was to make sure that no one escaped the realms of Hades. Persephone, the queen on Hades, was the goddess of fertility. She was carried away by Hades, to his realm. He enticed her into plucking a pomegranate, after tasting which, she was bound to the underworld. But, at the end, it was decided that Persephone would spend a part of the year with Hades in the underworld and the rest in her world, with her mother.
Subjects of Hades were forbidden from leaving his realm as it would enrage him to know about his subjects going against his wishes. However, it proved to be an exception when Eurydice, wife of Orpheus, was almost allowed to return back from the underworld. She was killed due to a snake bite. When Orpheus went to the underworld to bring her back, Hades was so touched by his music that he agreed to send Eurydice back, but warned Orpheus to return back to his world without turning back on the way to check whether Eurydice is following him.
But Orpheus thought that Hades tricked him and turned back, and he lost his chance to get his wife back. Being the Lord of the underworld, Hades was indeed feared by one and all, but he was worshipped. People believed that they got precious minerals from the underworld which was the realm of Hades. Black animals were sacrificed to Hades, unlike the traditional ritual of white animal sacrifice to gods. He was also termed as ‘the rich one’, as all the riches of Earth were in his possession
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