Hades was the king of the underworld and god of the dead.

Residence: The Underworld
Symbols: Cerberus, sceptre, cornucopia
Parents: Cronus and Rhea
Siblings: HestiaHeraPoseidonDemeterChiron and Zeus
Consort: Persephone
Roman equivalent: Pluto

Heraklion Archaeological Museum
Statue of Hades and Cerberus, 2nd c. AD. Heraklion Museum. (c) Carole Raddato

He presided over funeral rites and defended the right of the dead to due burial. Hades was also the god of the hidden wealth of the earth, from the fertile soil with nourished the seed-grain, to the mined wealth of gold, silver and other metals.


At birth, Hades was swallowed whole by his father Cronus, but Zeus later enlisted the aid of the goddess Metis, who fed the Titan a potion causing him to disgorge the god and his siblings. 


During the battle with the Titans, the Cyclops crafted a magical trident for Hades, and together with his brothers, Zeus and Poseidon, he defeated the Titans and imprisoned them in Tartarus.

After the Titanomachy, Hades and his brothers drew lots for the division of the world and won the Underworld as his domain.

Abduction of Persephone

Persephone was seized by Hades and carried off to the underworld as his bride. Her mother Demeter despaired at her disappearance and searched for her the throughout the world. When she learned that Zeus had conspired in her daughter’s abduction she was furious, and refused to let the plants of the world grow until Persephone was returned. Zeus consented, but because the girl had tasted of the food of Hades, a handful of pomegranate seeds, she was forced to forever spend a part of the year with her husband in the underworld. Her annual return to the earth in spring was marked by the flowering of the meadows and the sudden growth of the new grain. Her return to the underworld in winter, conversely, saw the dying down of plants and the halting of growth.

Hades abducting Persephone. Fresco in the small Macedonian royal tomb at Vergina, Macedonia, c. 340 BC.
Pinax with Persephone and Hades Enthroned, c. 500-450 BC. Cleveland Museum of Art. (c) Daderot
Detail of an Apulian red-figure krater, c. 330-310 BC, depicting an enthroned Hades next to Persephone.

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