Hades and the Underworld

Deep underground reigns the relentless, gloomy brother of Zeus, Hades. His kingdom is filled with darkness and terror. The joyful rays of the bright sun never penetrate here. Bottomless precipices lead from the surface of the earth to the sad kingdom of Hades. Dark rivers flow in it. There flows the icy river Styx, in whose waters the gods themselves swear.

Kokit and Acheron drag their waves there; the souls of the dead resound with their groaning, filled with sorrow, their gloomy shores. In the underground kingdom flow those who forget about all earthly waters of the spring Leta. In the gloomy fields of the kingdom of Hades, covered with the pale colors of the asphodel, the incorporeal light shadows of the dead float. They mourn their unhappy life, a life without light and without desires. Their moans drifted softly, barely audible, like the rustling of withered leaves chased by the autumn wind. No one can return from this realm of sorrow. The three-headed dog Cerberus, on whose neck snakes twist with a terrible hiss, guards the exit. The stern old man Charon, who carries the souls of the dead, will not take any soul back through the dark waters of Acheron to where the sun of life shines brightly. The souls of the dead are doomed to an eternal sorrowful existence in the dark realm of Hades.

It is in this realm, to which neither light, nor joy, nor the sorrows of earthly life reach, that Zeus‘ brother Hades rules. He sits on a golden throne with his wife Persephone. He is served by the relentless goddesses of revenge, the Erinyes. Terrible, they chase the criminal with whips and snakes; they do not give him a moment’s rest and torture him with remorse; nowhere can their victim escape from them, they will find her wherever she hides. Next to the throne of Hades sit the judges in the realm of the dead – Minos and Radamant. Here, next to the throne, is the god of death Thanatos with a sword in his hand, with a black cloak, with huge black wings. A grave coldness blows from these wings as Thanatos flies to the dying man’s bed and cuts a lock of hair from his head with his sword and takes his soul. Next to Thanatos are the sinister cherries. They fly furiously on their wings on the battlefield. The Kerry rejoice to see the defeated heroes fall one after another; they press blood-red lips into the wounds of the slain, drink their hot blood with bait, and pluck their souls from their bodies.

Cerberus and Hercules, 530 BC

Others in the Underworld

Here, next to the throne of Hades, is the beautiful young god of sleep, Hypnos. It soars silently on its wings above the ground with poppy heads in its hands and pours a soporific drink from its horn. He gently touches the magic wand to the eyes of the people, gently closes their eyelids and the mortals fall into a deep sleep.

They roam the dark realm of Hades and the gods of dreams. There are gods among them who give prophetic and joyful dreams, but there are also gods of terrible, oppressive dreams that frighten and torment people. There are gods and false dreams; they mislead man and often lead him to perdition;

The kingdom of the relentless Hades is filled with darkness and terror. There, the terrible ghost of Empusa wanders in the dark, with donkey poop. After cunningly deceiving people into the night darkness and taking them to a secluded place, he drank all their blood and greedily ate their still trembling bodies. There wanders the monstrous Dragon; she sneaks into the happy mothers’ bedrooms at night and kidnaps their children to drink their blood. The great goddess Hecate rules over all ghosts and monsters. It has three bodies and three heads. On a moonless night, in deep darkness, she wanders the roads and cemeteries with her entire horrible retinue of Stygian dogs. It sends horrors and heavy dreams to earth and destroys people. People call Hekate as an assistant in witchcraft; but she is still the only helper against witchcraft for those who worship her, and at the crossroads, where three paths diverge, dogs are sacrificed to her.

The kingdom of Hades is terrible and it is hated by the people.