Questions tagged [underworld]

For questions on the mythical realm of the dead, typically far underground, where the deceased go after death.

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Can gods swear on the Styx

In ancient Greece, humans used to swear on the Styx to keep promises. My 8yo had an interesting question today: "Can gods swear on the Styx as well ? They won't ever have to cross it anyway ...
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4 answers
153 views

Do any Mediterranean mythologies depict souls escaping from the Underworld without the help of a living rescuer?

Persephone was rescued from the Underworld (for a little while) by Hermes, who brought her back to Demeter. Eurydice was (almost) rescued from the Underworld by Orpheus. Semele was rescued from the ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Was the Grim Reaper originally depicted with a scythe or a sickle?

Was the Grim Reaper originally depicted with a scythe or a sickle? I have seen both versions of the Angel of Death's weapon and was wondering which one is considered the older, more original version. ...
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4 votes
1 answer
174 views

What places were actually in the underworld?

I've recently become interested in Greek mythology and I thought what better place to start than a good 'ol family tree. Whilst researching Tartarus I came across, seemingly, two areas of thought. One ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Who came first, Egyptian pharoah Horus-Aha 3100bc, or, Horus the Deity?

Horus-Aha Hor-Aha (or Aha or Horus Aha) is considered the second pharaoh of the First Dynasty of Egypt by some Egyptologists, others consider him the first one and corresponding to Menes. He lived ...
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4 votes
1 answer
111 views

Why was the Aztec god Xolotl associated with Venus?

I was reading about the Aztec god Xolotl and how he was associated with fire, lightning, and death. He was also, apparently, associated with Venus. If this is true, is there any particular reason why ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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After Triptolemus being added to Hades' jury, is Minos the most important judge?

Minos was the judge of the third and final vote, when the jury was composed of just Rhadamanthys, Minos and Aeacus . After the fourth judge was added, the majority in the judgement was not ...
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1 answer
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Was Plutus the son of Pluto and Proserpina?

There are so many different answers to the "Who were Hades/Pluto and Persephone/Prosperina children?" question that I'm not sure if they even had children together at all anymore. One person ...
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1 answer
285 views

Satan and Angra Mainyu

Many people say that Satan(Lucifer's Devil side) completely originated from Ahriman. I don't know much about the Avesta of Zoroaster but is that true?
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2 votes
2 answers
789 views

Do all (or most) religions believe in the existence of an afterlife?

I'm talking about both modern and ancient religions that we know of. Christianity -> Heaven, Hell Greco Roman -> Hades Egyptian -> Anubis, Osiris among many others. Are there any exceptions to this ...
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9 votes
4 answers
727 views

Who was the first Satan like deity/creature/person in mythology?

There are satan/devil representations in other faiths/myths. But who was the first to have a role and background similar to Satan? Since religions sometimes take over traits of the old ones there ...
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Drinking water from the River Lethe

They were all required to drink a measure of the water, and those who were not saved by their good sense, drank more than the measure, and each one as he drank forgot all things. Found here in ...
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1 vote
1 answer
442 views

What is the 'White Rock' in Greek mythology?

I just found this term, White Rock, or Leucas, while reading about the Underworld here. As men and women die, Hermes leads their souls to the Underworld, past the streams of Oceanus, past the White ...
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7 votes
3 answers
904 views

Was there a hell or place of suffering after death in Norse mythology?

Was there a hell or place of suffering after death in Norse mythology. If so, was it eternal? What caused a person to go there?
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13 votes
4 answers
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What kind of dog breed would Cerberus be?

There are countless depictions of Cerberus with various number of heads or additional parts such as snake heads or tails. Some even say that Cerberus did not refer to a dog or hound at all, but rather ...
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5 votes
1 answer
1k views

Does anyone else sample the food of the Underworld?

Most of us know the story behind the seasons in Greek Mythology, but just to recap... Hades kidnapped the daughter of Demeter, Persephone. Demeter went in search for her, lead by Hecate's torches. ...
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3 votes
1 answer
446 views

When was the pool of Mnemosyne first mentioned as part of the Underworld waters?

Beyond lay Erebus, which could be taken for a euphonym of Hades, whose own name was dread. There were two pools, that of Lethe, where the common souls flocked to erase all memory, and the pool of ...
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5 votes
1 answer
696 views

Why are the three Judges of the Underworld Zeus's sons?

The Judges of the Dead in Greek Mythology are Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Aeacus. Minos was a tyrant king of Crete. He made war with Athens because his son died there. He demanded 14 virgin youths, 7 ...
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11 votes
2 answers
892 views

How did Hades get Kerberos?

Kerberos (Latin: Cerberus) is the three headed dog that guards the entrance of the Underworld. He is most known for being captured by Heracles for his 12th labor. But it is never mentioned how ...
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4 votes
1 answer
453 views

How long was Theseus in the Underworld?

This is the way I see it. Heracles rescued Theseus from the Underworld. But now I'm left with the question, "If Heracles and Theseus were alive at the same time, how did Theseus ever get any glory?" ...
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4 votes
1 answer
713 views

Why was Adonis allowed to leave the Underworld?

Adonis is a Greek hunter who caught the eye of Aphrodite. One day, he was out hunting and wounded a boar. The animal was in so much pain, it killed Adonis. Adonis died, but was allowed to leave the ...
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5 votes
2 answers
339 views

Who visited the underworld or summoned ghosts and why?

In Greek mythology, there are two distinct ways to communicate with the dead: A Nekyia (νέκυια) is a ritual to summon the dead. An example of this is Odysseus in the Odyssey. A Katabasis (κατάβασις) ...
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6 votes
3 answers
5k views

Hades, in Greek Mythology, was he really a bad guy, or just a hard to understand God?

I'm writing a research paper on Hades, king of the underworld, and I really wanted to know if Hades was really a bad guy. I have many pages of evidence saying that he isn't. But I would like to know ...
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7 votes
3 answers
255 views

When and why did necromancy became a bad thing?

Talking about Europe and cultures that influenced it... Why and since when was the revival of the dead considered evil? In Greek mythology bringing back a loved one is hard or comes at a price, but ...
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7 votes
1 answer
191 views

Who was the spirit entity who Solomon commanded to help build the temple?

Entity? Demon? Spirit? Who was or is he? How or by who’s power was this bieng controller?
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1 answer
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What is the source of the story of Hades trapping Pirithous and Theseus in the Chairs of Forgetfulness?

Apparently, there is a version of the Pirithous and Theseus story that has Hades trapping the pair in the Underworld by having them sit on the Chairs of Forgetfulness: This happened, some think, ...
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4 votes
1 answer
910 views

Why did Hades let Heracles rescue Theseus?

Why would Hades allow Heracles to rescue Theseus after he and Pirithous came down to kidnap Persephone?
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5 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why is Heracles in the Underworld?

Odysseys during his travel to the Underworld in Book XI of the Odyssey meets the "phantom" of the deified Heracles: And after him I marked the mighty Heracles—his phantom; for he himself among the ...
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4 votes
1 answer
248 views

How would a body be prepared for the Greek afterlife?

The only thing I know is that one must place a coin under the tongue to pay Charon, the ferry man of the Underworld.
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7 votes
1 answer
2k views

Stories of living people that journeyed into the underworld and back?

This is inspired from: What items are necessary for a mortal to travel safely in the underworld? Which living people made it into the underworld and back? What are their stories, and what ...
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7 votes
2 answers
1k views

What items are necessary for a mortal to travel safely in the underworld?

I am currently working on a performance where the hero has to make it through the underworld and back. I am assuming there are things such a traveller could bring with them to safely complete the ...
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10 votes
2 answers
822 views

Use of the terms "Dīs" and "Orcus" in the Aeneid

The common terms used to refer to the Greek/Roman god of death are Hades or Pluto, yet in the Aeneid, the god of death is commonly referred to as Dīs. Further, the realm of Hades (the Underworld, ...
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3 votes
2 answers
186 views

Are there any saints or heroes in mythology who ally with death?

I am looking for any information about mythical heroes or holy figures who ally with death. I found list of Death Deities on Wikipedia. But I do not know, where to start searching information about '...
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9 votes
1 answer
680 views

What is the inspiration behind the dark forest in Dante?

The entrance to Dante's underworld is situated somewhere in a dark forest: Midway in the journey of our life I came to myself in a dark wood, for the straight way was lost. Ah, how hard ...
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7 votes
1 answer
340 views

How did the Assyrians imagine the underworld?

There's an exhibit of two reconstructed Assyrian graves in the Pergamon Museum. The description on the display vaguely mentioned the "Mesopotamians" thought the underworld was very similar to the ...
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4 votes
1 answer
1k views

Who is the boatman that took away Sinfjotli's corpse?

In chapter 10 of the Saga of the Völsungs, Sigmund's son Sinfjotli dies. His corpse is presumably carried to the underworld by a mysterious boatman, in a manner reminiscent of the Greek ferryman of ...
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6 votes
1 answer
256 views

What is the name of the lake in Frogs?

In Aristophanes' Frogs, Dionysus crosses a lake to reach Hades. The lake is where we first (and last) meet the eponymous frogs of the play, and Aristophanes does not name it. We do know, however, that ...
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6 votes
2 answers
658 views

Who was the ruler of the Japanese Yomi?

The Japanese Underworld (Yomi) is said to be ruled by Izanami. However, in the tale of Ōkuninushi, Susanno is said to reside there as its king. In addition to that, Izanamzi told Inzangi that she had ...
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14 votes
2 answers
941 views

Was Hermes originally mortal?

In Greek mythology the story of the birth of the god Hermes makes it sound as if he was originally mortal and that he somehow managed to bribe his way into becoming the twelfth [i.e. the last] of the ...
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5 votes
2 answers
970 views

How did Hades get to know Persephone?

Hades, the Underworld god, probably only knew about the Underworld. So why would he even know about Persephone, much less be attracted to her? If he did see above the ground, please tell me how he ...
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12 votes
1 answer
1k views

What exactly was Sisyphus' punishment?

Sisyphus' punishment was to roll a rock up a hill forever, but then why couldn't he just drop it? Why couldn't he get it to the top?
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8 votes
1 answer
408 views

Looking for source: Woman refuses to drink from the River Lethe

I saw a "story from Greek mythology" referenced in my morning paper, and I'd never heard it before. A woman came to the River Styx and asked to be taken across into that dark land. [The ...
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18 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why is the ferry toll for Charon placed in the dead person's mouth?

In Greek mythology, the deceased pays a ferryman, Charon, to take them across the river Styx. Apparently this reflects a common custom in the funeral rites of antiquity. Sometimes, though not always, ...
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27 votes
1 answer
7k views

Why did Charon collect a toll at the River Styx

Charon is known as the ferryman of the River Styx, letting certain people cross the river with a fee. Charon himself is well known for helping many significant heroes in multiple Greek legends. He ...
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16 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the River Styx?

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?
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15 votes
3 answers
21k views

Why are Kore and Persephone interchangeable in the myth regarding Hades wife?

In Greek mythology, Kore and Persephone were interchangeable as Hades' wife. Which is it? Kore or Persephone?
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