Common misconceptions about this Deity~
As I see it, Hades is often seen as the killer of things. Hades doesn’t actually end your life, that is Thanatos. In some cases, Atropos, one of The Fates (or Morai) cut the thread of your life at the moment of your death.
The Three Fates, Gottfrey Schadow, 1790
People also think Hades judges the souls of the dead, but distinction falls to:
“Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Aeacus are the judges of the dead. They judged the deeds of the deceased and created the laws that governed the underworld. However, none of the laws provided a true justice to the souls of the dead, and the dead did not receive rewards for following them or punishment for wicked actions.
Aeacus was the guardian of the Keys of the underworld and the judge of the men of Europe. Rhadamanthys was Lord of Elysium and judge of the men of Asia. Minos was the judge of the final vote.”
A lot of people believe that Persephone is a prisoner of his, that she is trapped and held against her will each season she spends there. I don’t find this to be the case, you can always approach Persephone for her opinions on her marriage, if you’re curious.
Finally, someone mentioned that Hades is always a villain in modern media. From Disney’s “Hercules” with it’s comical hair to The Merovingian, based on Hades, in “The Matrix” and seemingly everywhere in between. In reality, Hades is pretty chill and keeps to himself, not entertaining thoughts of world domination or unseating his siblings. Read more in Spencer Alexander McDaniel’s Hades: Not Such a Bad Guy After All
Variations on this Deity and Regional Forms.
“The descent into Hades, is the same from every place.”
Courtesy: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Hades had very few temples and places of worship, that we know of. I tend to believe that his places of worship, modern and ancient are cemeteries, mausoleums, and so on~ by that idea, he has many. I was once in a museum’s Greco~Roman exhibition, and I hoped to see Hades associated materials. Finding none, I was disappointed. Eventually it struck me that all the funereal pieces surrounding me were Hades associated materials.
Hades could be Zeus or, Zeus of the Earth/Underground
There’s even a theory that there was once only Aidoneus, and he was split into Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus.
Aidoneus was a mythical king of the Mellosians in Epirus
Eita is what the Etruscans called him
Amenthes in Egypt, and Dis Pater or Pluto in Rome
Heraclitus declared that Hades and Dionysus are the same deity, it’s one of the theories of what the Eleusinian Mysteries taught it’s initiates.
Scene from the Eulisinian Mysteries
In conclusion, it would be unusual for a deity that wasn’t widely worshiped in his own place and time to have many variations and identities. I’ve covered what a bit of research has turned up for me. If you know of any I have missed, mention them in the comments.
Names and Epithets of this Deity:
Hades Agesilaos- translates to something like “calls everyone to him” the idea being that everyone goes to Hades in Death~ in the end, he rules us all, and one might argue, permanently
Hades Agesander- “he who carries away all”, echoing the notion that we all belong to him in the end
In order to not reinvent the wheel, here’s a link to some interesting epithets (many that match my UPG of Hades, which I’ll write about in a later post) courtesy of Hellenic Gods:
Other characters, deities, etc associated with this deity.
Hades appears in myths with many other characters:
Chiron the Steersman brings the dead across the river Styx
As previously mentioned, Orpheus and Eurydice
Menthe, a nymph he becomes intimate with who is turned into the plant mint, by Persephone
Herakles (Hercules), Hades allows Hercules to borrow Cerberus for his quest.
Hermes goes into and out of the Underworld as he wishes, so I imagine that they’re pretty close.
He battled the Titans, and punishes Sisyphus and Asclepius, Pirithous and Theseus- who attempted to kidnap Persephone.
This deity’s genealogical connections:
Hades has several family members; his wife is Persephone and his Mother in Law is Demeter. He is the son of Cronos and Rhea and his brothers are Zeus and Poseidon.
Does he have children? Depends on who you ask, sources are conflicted about his children, both their names and their parentage so- theoretically:
The Erinyes – Goddesses of vengeance against those who disturb the natural order
Makaria- daughter, Blessed death
Melinoe- daughter, brings nightmares (also an epithet used for Hekate and Persephone)
Zagreus- could be Hades’ son, could be Zeus’ son, could be Hades, could be Dionysus – his story is quite wild: https://www.greekmythology.com/Other_Gods/Minor_Gods/Zagreus/zagreus.html
A favorite myth about this deity.
Orpheus and Eurydice
I just adore that he and his wife make this decision together, because as Gods they are reachable. Orpheus has reached them with his art, love, and devotion. This story shows that Persephone and Hades aren’t cold and inhuman, but have hearts that can be moved.
Symbols and Icons of this Deity:
He has a helmet that renders the wearer invisible
Dogs, three headed or otherwise
Rivers, asphodel, narcissus ~ I associate him with Hellebores, but that’s just UPG
Skulls, cemeteries, headstones, and the like
Chickens, roosters, cornucopia, jewels, cypress, white poplars, tawny owls, horses, snakes