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 Hedes

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PostSubject: Hedes   Tue Jun 15, 2010 2:22 pm



Hades (Άδης or Ἀΐδας; from Greek ᾍδης, Hadēs, originally Ἅιδης, Haidēs or Άΐδης, Aidēs, meaning "the unseen"[1][2]) refers both to the ancient Greek underworld, the abode of Hades, and to the god of the underworld. Hades in Homer referred just to the god; the genitive ᾍδου, Haidou, was an elision to denote locality: "[the house/dominion] of Hades". Eventually, the nominative, too, came to designate the abode of the dead.

In Greek mythology, Hades is the oldest male child of Cronus and Rhea. According to myth he and his brothers Zeus and Poseidon defeated the Titans and claimed rulership over the universe ruling the underworld, air, and sea, respectively; the solid earth, long the province of Gaia, was available to all three concurrently. Because of his association with the underworld, Hades is often interpreted by moderns as the Grim Reaper, even though he was not.

By the Romans Hades was called Pluto, from his Greek epithet Πλούτων Ploutōn (πλοῦτος, wealth), meaning "Rich One". In Roman mythology, Hades/Pluto was called Dis Pater and Orcus. The corresponding Etruscan god was Aita. Symbols associated with him are the Helm of Darkness and the three-headed dog, Cerberus.

The term hades in Christian theology (and in New Testament Greek) is parallel to Hebrew sheol (שאול, grave or dirt-pit), and refers to the abode of the dead. The Christian concept of hell is more akin to (and communicated by) the Greek concept of Tartarus, a deep, gloomy part of hades used as a dungeon of torment and suffering.

In Greek mythology, Hades (the "unseen"), the god of the underworld, was a son of the Titans, Cronus and Rhea. He had three sisters, Demeter, Hestia, and Hera, as well as two brothers, Zeus, the youngest of the three, and Poseidon, collectively comprising the original six Olympian gods. Upon reaching adulthood, Zeus managed to force his father to disgorge his siblings. After their release the six younger gods, along with allies they managed to gather, challenged the elder gods for power in the Titanomachy, a divine war. Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades received weapons from the three Cyclopes to help in the war: Zeus the thunderbolt, Hades the Helm of Darkness, and Poseidon the trident. The night before the first battle, Hades put on his helmet and, being invisible, slipped over to the Titans' camp and destroyed their weapons. The war lasted for ten years and ended with the victory of the younger gods. Following their victory, according to a single famous passage in the Iliad (xv.187–93), Hades and his two brothers, Poseidon and Zeus, drew lots[6] for realms to rule. Zeus got the sky, Poseidon got the seas, and Hades received the underworld,[7] the unseen realm to which the dead go upon leaving the world as well as any and all things beneath the earth.



His identifying possessions included a famed helmet of darkness, given to him by the Cyclopes, which made anyone who wore it invisible. Hades was known to sometimes loan his helmet of invisibility to both gods and men (such as Perseus). His dark chariot, drawn by four coal-black horses, always made for a fearsome and impressive sight. His other ordinary attributes were the Narcissus and Cypress plants, the Key of Hades and Cerberus, the three-headed dog. He sat on an ebony throne.



The philosopher Heraclitus, unifying opposites, declared that Hades and Dionysus, the very essence of indestructible life zoë, are the same god.[11] Amongst other evidence Carl Kerenyi notes that the grieving goddess Demeter refused to drink wine, which is the gift of Dionysus, after Persephone's abduction, because of this association, and suggests that Hades may in fact have been a 'cover name' for the underworld Dionysus.[12] Furthermore he suggests that this dual identity may have been familiar to those who came into contact with the Mysteries (Kerenyi 1976, p. 240). One of the epithets of Dionysus was "Chthonios", meaning "the subterranean" (Kerenyi 1976, p. 83).[13]
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