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AIDES 100.00%
According to the belief current among the Greeks, the world of the dead, or the spacious abode of Hades, with its wide doors, was in the dark depths of the earth. In the Odyssey, its entrance and outer court are on the western side of the river Oceanus, in the ground sacred to Persephone, with its grove of barren willows and poplars. Here is the abode of the Cimmerians, veiled in darkness and cloud where the sun never shines. The soil of this court, and indeed of the lower world in general, is a meadow of asphodel, an unattractive weed of dreary aspect usually planted on graves. The actual abode of the subterranean powers is Erebos, or the impenetrable darkness. In later times entrances to the lower world were imagined in other places where there were cavernous hollows which looked as if they led into the bowels of the earth. Such places were Hermione and the promontory of Taenarum in the Peloponnese, Heraclea on the Euxine, and Cumae in Italy, where the mythical Cimmerli were also localized. The lower world of Homer is intersected by great rivers, the Styx, the Acheron (river of woe), Cocytus (river of cries), a branch of the Styx, Phlegethon and Pyriphlegethon (rivers of fire). The last two unite and join the waters; of the Acheron. In the post-Homeric legend, these rivers are represented as surrounding the infernal regions, and another river appears with them, that of Lethe, or oblivion. In the waters of Lethe the souls of the dead drink forgetfulness of their earthly existence. The lower world once conceived as separated from the upper by these rivers, the idea of a ferryman arose. This was Charon, the son of Erebos and of Nyx, a gloomy, sullen old man, who takes the souls in his boat across Acheron into the realm of shadows. The souls are brought down from the upper world by Hermes, and pay the ferryman an obolos, which was put for this purpose into the mouths of the dead. Charon has the right to refuse a passage to souls whose bodies have not been duly buried. In Homer it is the spirits themselves who refuse to receive any one to whom funeral honours have not been paid. At the gate lies the dog Cerberus, son of Typhaon and Echidna. He is a terrible monster with three heads, and mane and tail of snakes. He is friendly to the spirits who enter, but if anyone tries to got out he seizes him and holds him fast. The ghosts of the dead were in ancient times conceived as incorporeal images of their former selves, without mind or consciousness. In the Odyssey the seer Tiresias is the only one who has retained his consciousness and judgment, and this as an exceptional gift of Persephone. But they have the power of drinking the blood of animals, and having done so they recover their consciousness and power of speech. The soul therefore is not conceived as entirely annihilated. The ghosts retain the outer form of their body, and follow, but instinctively only, what was their favourite pursuit in life. Orion in Homer is still a hunter, Minos sits in judgment as when alive. Perhaps the punishments inflicted in Homer on Tityus, Tantalus, and Sisyphus (for Ixion, the Danaides, Peirithous, and others belong to a later story) should be regarded in this light. The penalties inflicted on them in the upper world may be merely transferred by Homer to their ghostly existence. For the idea of a sensible punishment is not consistent with that of an unconscious continuance in being. It must be remembered, at the same time, that Homer several times mentions that the Erinyes punish perjurers after death. We are forced then to conclude that the ancient belief is, in this instance, found side by side with the later and generally received idea, that the dead, even without drinking blood, preserved their consciousness and power of speech. Connected with it is the notion that the have the power of influencing men's life on earth in various ways. The most ancient belief knows nothing of future rewards of the righteous, or indeed of any complete separation between the just and the unjust, or of a judgment to make the necessary awards. The judges of the dead are in the later legend Minos, Rhadamanthys, Aecus, and Triptlemus. It was a later age, too, which transferred Elysium and Tartarus to the lower world, Elysium as the abode of the blessed, and Tartarus as that of the damned. In the earlier belief these regions had nothing to do with the realm of Hades (See HADES). The name Tartarus was in later times often applied to the whole of the lower world. The ghosts of those who had lived a life of average merit were imagined as wandering on the asphodel meadow. In general it must be said that the ancient ideas of a future life were always subject to considerable changes, owing to the influence of the doctrines taught in the mysteries, and the representations of poets, philosophers, sculptors, and painters (see POLYGNOTUS). The general tendency was to multiply the terrors of Hades, especially at the gates, and in Tartarus. (For the deities cf the lower world see HADES, PERSEPHONE, and ERINYES.) The Greek beliefs on the subject found their way to Rome through the instrumentality of the poets, especially Vergil. But they did not entirely supplant the national traditions. (See ORCUS, MANIA, MANES, LARES, and LARVAe. )
ACHERON 48.40%
A river in the lower world. (See HADES, REALM OF.)
PLUTO 45.19%
In Greek mythology, the prince of the underworld Hades (q.v.).
A river of the nether world. (See HADES, REALM OF. )
LETHE 35.49%
A river of Hades (q.v.), out of which the souls of the departed drink oblivion of all their early existence.
SIDE 33.18%
The wife of Orion (q.v.); she was thrown into Hades by Hera, for venturing to compare herself with her in point of beauty.
The deities who rule under the earth or who are connected with the lower world, as Hades, Pluto, Persephone, Demeter, Dionysus, Hecate, and Hermes.
ORCUS 22.68%
In Roman mythology, a peculiar divinity of the dead, a creation of the popular beliefs. He carried men off to the lower world, and kept the dead imprisoned there. His name, like that of the Greek Hades, served to denote the lower world. (Cp. DIS PATER.).
Daughter of Zeus and Demeter. As the wife of Hades, she is the dread queen of the world below. Her special name in Attic cult is Core (lit. "the Maiden"). As a maiden while plucking flowers (near Enna in Sicily, according to the story common in later times), she was carried off into the lower world by Hades on his car, with the consent of her father. To appease her mother's wrath, Zeus sent Hermes to bring her back; but, since she had eaten part of a pomegranate given her by Hades (i.e. had already become his wife), she could only spend two-thirds of the year in the upper world with her mother. At the end of that time she had always to return to her husband, and rule as the dark goddess of death; whereas, while with her mother, she was regarded as the virgin daughter, and the helper of the goddess who presides over the fertility of the earth. Hence Persephone is emblematic of vegetable life, that comes and goes with the changing seasons. In spring, when the seeds sprout up from the ground, she rises to her mother; when the harvest is over, and the vegetation dies, and the seed is laid again in the dark grave of earth, she returns to her subterraneous kingdom. From this notion of the seed buried in the dark earth and again rising to light was developed that conception of the myth as an image of immortality which lies at the base of the Eleusinian mysteries. To express her rising and descending, her festivals were celebrated in spring and after the harvest. In spring she was worshipped at the lesser Eleusinia in Attica, and at her flower-festival of the anthesphoria, in the Peloponnesus, but more especially in Sicily. In autumn, there was held in Attica the great Eleusinia; i.e. the wedding-feast on her marriage with the god of the lower world. She was generally worshipped together with her mother; hence they were spoken of as "the two goddesses." In the Eleusinian mysteries she was also connected with Dionysus, who, under the mystic name Iacchus, was regarded as her son, brother, or bridegroom. In later times she was confused with other divinities, especially Hecate, as the goddess of night and of the world of spirits. She was represented either as the young and beautiful daughter of Demeter, with cornucopia, ears of corn, and a cock, the emblem of her rising in spring, or as the grim spouse of Hades, with rich adornments and the symbolic pomegranate. (See cut, and cp.DEMETER, fig.1) The Roman name Proserpina is regarded by some as an altered form of the Greek Persephone; by others as a native name only accidentally similar to the Greek, denoting a goddess who assisted in the germination (proserpere) of the seed, and, owing to the similarity of the two goddesses, transferred to Persephone after the introduction of her cult as the divinity of the lower world. (See HADES; see also LIBITINA.)
A Thracian bard, mentioned by Homer [Il. ii 595], son of Philammon and the Nymph Argiope. He boasted that he could rival the Muses, and was therefore deprived by them of sight and voice, and the power of playing the lute. According to later legends, he expiated his arrogance by being punished in Hades.
In Greek mythology, the three-headed dog, with hair of snakes, son of Typhaon and Echidna, who watches the entrance of the lower world. He gives a friendly greeting to all who enter, but if any one attempts to go out, he seizes him and holds him fast. When Heracles, at the command of Eurystheus, brought him from below to the upper world, the poisonous aconite sprang up from the foam of his mouth, (See the cuts to the article HADES.)
The beautiful son of the river-god Cephisus. He rejected the love of the Nymph Echo (q.v.), and Aphrodite punished him for this by inspiring him with a passion for the reflexion of himself which he saw in the water of a fountain. He pined away in the desire for it: to see one's reflexion in the water was hence considered as a presage of death. The flower of the same name, into which he was changed, was held to be a symbol of perishableness and death, and was sacred to Hdd6s, the divinity of the world below. Persephone had just gathered a narcissus, when she was carried off by Hades.
ADMETUS 11.40%
Son of Pheres, king of Pherae in Thessaly, who took part in the Calydonian boar-hunt and the voyage of the Argo. Apollo served him for a time as a shepherd, either from love and as a reward for his piety, or to expiate a capital crime. When Admetus wooed Alcestis, the daughter of Pelias, and her father would only give her to one who should yoke lions and boars to a chariot, he fulfilled the task with Apollo's help; indeed, the god even prevailed on the Moirai to release him from death, provided that any one would volunteer to die for him. He is at length seized with a mortal sickness, and his aged parents refusing to give up the remnant of their days for him, Alcestis dies for her husband, but is sent back to the upper world by Persephone, or, according to another story, is rescued out of the hands of Hades by Heracles.
The celebrated Greek painter of the island of Thasos. He worked chiefly in Athens, whither he had been invited by Cimon about 460 B.C. , and where he received the citizenship. His most celebrated paintings were the Capture of Troy and the Descent of Odysseus into Hades, in the hall erected by the Cnidians at Delphi. We possess a description of them in considerable detail by Pausanias [x 25-31]. Other celebrated paintings by him (though several of his contemporaries were associated with him in their execution) were to be seen in the Stoa Poecile, the Capture of Troy and the Battle of Marathon [ib. 15], and in the temples of the Dioscuri [ib. 18 § 1], and of Theseus at Athens. Though his works were only tinted outlines traced upon a coloured background, without shading and without any perspective, and sketched, as it were, in simple relief, all on the same plane, still his clear, rhythmical composition, the delicacy of his drawing, the impressiveness of his contours, and the nobility of his figures were highly celebrated [Overbeck's Schriftquellen, 1067-1079].
In Homer Elysium is a beautiful meadow at the western extremity of the earth, on the banks of the river Oceanus. Thither the favoured of Zeus such as Rhadamanthys his son, and his son-in-law Menelaus, are carried without having seen death. They live a life of perfect happiness, there is no snow, nor storm, nor rain, but the cool west wind breathes there for ever. Hesiod speaks of the islands of the blest by the Ocean, where some of the heroes of the fourth generation of men live a life without pain, and where the earth produces her fruits three times in the year. According to Pindar, all who have three times passed blamelessly through life live there in perfect bliss under the sway of Cronus and his assessor Rhadamanthys. Such are Cadmus and Peleus, and Achilles through the intercession of his mother Thetis with Zeus. Like Cronus, the Titans, after their reconciliation with Zeus, dwell on these islands. In later times Elysium with its bliss was localized in the world below, and regarded as the abode of those whom the judges of the dead had pronounced worthy of it. (Cp. HADES, REALM OF.)
CRONUS 8.24%
In Greek mythology, the youngest son of Uranus and Gaea, who mutilated and overthrew his father, and, with the assistance of his kinsfolk the Titans, made himself sovereign of the world. He took his sister Rhea to wife, and became by her father of Hestia, Demeterr, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus. But his mother prophesied that one of his children would overthrow him. He accordingly swallowed them all except Zeus, whom Rhea saved by a stratagem. Zeus, when grown tip, obtained the assistance of the Ocean-nymph Thetis in making Cronus disgorge his children, and then, with the help of his kinsfolk, overpowered Cronus and the Titans. According to one version of the fable, Cronus was imprisoned in Tartarus with the Titans; according to another, he was reconciled with Zeus, and reigned with Rhadamanthys on the Islands of the Blessed. Cronus seems originally to have been a god of the harvest; whence it happens that in many parts of Greece the harvest month was called Cronion. His name being easily confused with that of Chronos ("Time"), he was afterwards erroneously regarded as the god of time. In works of art he was represented as an old man with a mantle drawn over the back of his head, and holding a sickle in his hand. The Romans identified him with Saturnus, their god of sowing (see SATURNUS).
DREAMS 7.86%
According to Hesiod, Dreams are the children of Night, and brothers and sisters of Death and Sleep. Like these they are represented in the Odyssey as dwelling in the far West, near Oceanus, in the neighbourhood of the sunset and the kingdom of the dead. Deceptive dreams issue from a gate of ivory, true dreams through a gate of horn. The gods above, especially Hermes, have authority over these dream-gods, and send sometimes one, sometimes another, to mankind. On some occasions they create dream-figures themselves, or appear in person under different shapes, in the chamber of the sleeper. The spirits of the departed, too, so long as they are not in the kingdom of Hades, have the power of appearing to the sleeper in dreams. These, the ideas of the Homeric age, survived in the later popular belief. Later poets call dreams the sons of Sleep, and give them separate names. Morpheus, for instance, only appears in various human forms. Ikelos, called also Phobetor, or Terrifyer, assumes the shapes of all kinds of animals as well as that of man: Phantasos only those of inanimate objects. A god of dreams was subsequently worshipped, and represented in works of art, sometimes with Sleep, sometimes alone. He was honoured especially at the seats of dream-oracles and the health-resorts of Asclepius. (See ARTEMIDORUS, 2; INCURATIO; and MANTIC ART.)
(i.e. "the crafty"). The son of Aeolus, brother of Athamas, husband of the Pleiad Merope. His son is Glaucus, the father of Bellerophon. He is regarded as the builder of Ephyra, (afterwards Corinth) and as originator of the Isthmian Games. In legends he appears as extremely cunning and crafty; in Homer he is called the "slyest of all men" [Il. vi 153]. The reason why he is punished in the other world, where he is forced for ever to keep on rolling a block of stone to the top of a steep hill, only to see it roll again to the valley, and to start the toilsome task again [Od. xi 593], is not mentioned by Homer; and later legends vary on this point. According to the account which gives the best idea of his cunning, Sisyphus discloses to the rivergod Asopus, in search of his daughter Aegina (see AeACUS), how she had been carried off by Zeus; but this information was not given until Asopus has satisfied the condition laid down by Sisyphus, by creating the spring Peirene, which ever after supplied the citadel and town of Corinth [Pausanias ii 5 § 1]. Zeus desires to kill Sisyphus as a punishment for revealing the facts, and sends Death to him; but Sisyphus fetters Death in strong chains, and no one dies, till at last Ares sets him free and hands Sisyphus over to him. But be commands his wife not to inter him, and succeeds in persuading Pluto and Persephone to let him return for awhile to the upper world in order to punish her want of love. Having no desire to return to Hades, he forgets his promise, and eventually Hermes has to come and fetch him. In the post-Homeric legends Odysseus, on account of his cunning, is made the son of Sisyphus and Anticleia [Sophocles, Ajax 190, Phil. 417; Eur., Iph. at Aulis, 524].
MINOS 6.00%
A mythical king of Crete, the centre of the oldest legends of that island. He is the son of Zeus and of Europa; in Homer, brother of Rhadamanthys, father of Deucalion and Ariadne, and grandfather of Idomeneus. Residing at Gnossus as the "familiar friend of Zeus," he had a "nine-yearly" rule over the flourishing island [<italic>Od.</italic> xix 179], an expression which later generations explained as signifying periods of nine years; at the end of which he went into a cave sacred to Zeus, in order to hold converse with his father, and to receive the laws for his island. Just as he was thought to be the framer of the famous older Cretan constitution, so he was also considered a founder of the naval supremacy of Crete before the times of Troy; Hesiod calls him the "mightiest king of all mortals," who rules with the sceptre of Zeus over most of the neighbouring peoples. Later legend gives him another brother, Sarpedon, and a number of children (among others Androgeos, Glaucus, Catreus, and Phaedra) by his wife Pasiphae, a daughter of Helios and Perseis. When after the death of Asterin, the husband of Europa, he has driven away his brothers in consequence of a quarrel, he seizes the kingship of Crete, in which he is supported by Poseidon, who, on his prayer that he should send him a bull for sacrifice, causes a wonderfully beautiful snow-white bull to rise from the sea. But as he, desiring to keep it for his own herd, sacrifices another, the god to punish him inspires his wife Pasiphae (q.v.) with love for the bull. Homer [Od. xi 322] calls Minos the "meditator of evil"; in later times he was represented as a hard-hearted and cruel tyrant, especially on the Attic stage, because of the part he played in Attic legends. On account of the murder of his son Androgeos (q.v.) at Athens, he undertook an expedition of revenge against Attica, captured Megara (see NISUS), and compelled the Athenians to send him once in every nine years seven boys and seven girls to Crete, to be devoured by the Minotaur (q.v.; see also THESEUS). Tradition made him die in Sicily, whither he had pursued Daedalus (q.v.) on his flight, and where king Cocalus or his daughters stifled him in a hot bath. His Cretan followers interred him near Agrigentum, where his grave was shown. In Homer [Od. xi 568] Odysseus sees him in Hades with a golden sceptre in his hand, judging the shades; he does not appear in the legends as judge of the dead by the side of Aeacus and Rhadamanthys till later [Plato, Apol. 41 a, Gorg. 523 e].
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