The River Styx is mentioned quite a lot when a Greek hero meets his demise.

However is this really a body of water in Hades?

Is it made out of something else?

What is the River Styx?

2 Answers 2


The River Styx is one of the five rivers of the Greek Underworld, rivers that separate Hades from the land of the living.

During the Titanomachy (the Titan war), which was fought between the Titans and the Olympians, the goddess Styx sided with the Olympians.

Once the war was won, Zeus, king of the Olympians, promised that every oath be sworn on Styx's name, as a sign of the greatest respect.

He also proceeded to name the River Styx after her.

Achilles was dipped in it as a child and was rewarded with invulnerability, except for his heel, which was where his mother was holding him, hence the term : Achilles' heel.

The full list of rivers surrounding Hades :

  1. Acheron - the river of woe

  2. Cocytus - the river of lamentation

  3. Phlegethon - the river of fire

  4. Lethe - the river of forgetfulness

  5. Styx - the river of hate

  • 4
    Beautiful answer. Keep it up! Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 20:40
  • 1
    How is lamentation different than woe? Not necessarily the rivers, but the names, I mean, seem to mean the same thing to me: great sorrow.
    – user93
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 23:41
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    @fredsbend to lament something would probably mean you regret it, so you regret something you did or did not do while alive. Woe would just be general sadness over being dead. That's my understanding of it anyway.
    – Daft
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 12:16

It is the mystical division between life and death - or rather, life and afterlife. It is a symbol of that border.

It is definitely not made out of normal water, as falling into the Styx causes one to lose one's memories. Which is why one has to take the ferry to the other side.

  • 2
    It is Lethe that causes you to forget, surely. And there is in fact a River Styx in the Peloponnese: I know not whether its waters are bitter or oblivion-causing, but it does dry up at inopportune times. Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 14:03
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    here is a photo of the spring of Styx , modern greek site. mythagogia.blogspot.gr/2013/11/blog-post_7.html . It is connected with the "water of immortality". Its current name is "blackwater." korinthorama.gr/new/…
    – anna v
    Commented May 3, 2015 at 13:06

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