Other names: Aidoneus, Aides (meaning, like Hades, the unseen), Pluto (the rich one), Ditis Pater, Dis Pater, Dis(all meaning the rich one), Orcus (killer), Polydectes (the receiver of many), Clymenus (the Illustrious), Eubulus (the giver of good counsel), etc. He is the "one of many names".
Parents: Chronus and Rhea. This makes Heista, Demeter, Hera, Poseidon, and Zeus his siblings.
Children: In most stories, none. Occasionally the father of Zaegrus-Dionysius, and once in a while an author gets weird and makes him the father of the furies, harpies, etc.
Spouse: Persephone. Though the attempted consort of Mintha (changed into a mint plant before he had the chance) and sometimes the attempted, or sucessful, consort of Leuce (changed into a popular), he is usually seen as being very faithful to Persephone.
Important other relations: His wife, Persephone. His brother, Zeus. (who he often counsels. Neither Zeus or Hades ever seem to do anything escially important without the other's permission) Demeter, (his sister who is not very fond of him for stealing her daughter), Thanatos (death) who he is often mistaken for, Hermes (who brings the dead to his kingdom), etc.
Symbols: The two pronged spear (like a trident, but without the middle fork), sceptre, crown, gold chariot with four black horses, narcissius, mint, poplar, cyprus, horn of pleanty, black animals (like bulls and ewes), and the infamous helmet of invisibility.
Major Stories: Hades' only major story is the "Rape of Persephone" where he forcibly carries off and marries Persephone. He is also tied up by a tricky Sisyphus who does not want to die, let's Eurydice go free, fights with Hercules...(wrestles, sword fights, is shot with an arrow by) and lends Hercules Cerebrus. He also fights with his wife over the fate of Alcetis, a woman who dies for her husband, lends Athena his helmet of invisibility often (Perseus, Trojen War), and manages to get a very good physician killed who is bringing the dead to life. For more information, see Stories.
Personality: As Pluto, Hades is the God of Wealth (as plants and metal come from the underworld) and is hence highly regarded. Otherwise, as God of the Dead, he is feared, and Hades is not a good thing to speak. He will not help people if they give him sacrifices, though will occasionally answer people's curses. To pray to him, one must pound on the ground with rods or their hands. He was only worshiped as the God of the Underworld on Elis, though, as Pluto, he was more widly venerated, often with Dionysius, Demeter, and, of course, Persephone.
He is often referred to as the "Dark Zeus" or "Zeus of the Underworld", and is usually portrayed in a similar way as Zeus, except with dark hair, and a rather depressing look on his face. He, like the other male first generation Olympians, is seen as strong, muscular, and bearded.
When the male Gods drew lots for the Universe, Hades drew the Underworld. He never seems especially unhappy with his lot (it's Poseidon who rebels...not Hades, contrary to popular modern literature), and rarely appears on the surface. In fact, he was only seen to have appeared to flirt with Mintha, abduct Persephone, and be cured of an arrow wound inflicted by Hercules. However, if he did wish to appear, he has a helmet of invisibility, so no one would know. He is often one of the Olympains, but is rarely on Olympus (which, like the earth he shares jointly with his brothers). In many stories, even, he looses his chair to Demeter as he is so rarely there.
Hades is seen as very faithful to his wife (especially when considering Zeus and Poseidon), and is only known to have flirted with two nymphs, Leuce and Mintha, both of whom were swiftly changed into plants by Persephone. (In some stories, Leuce dies of a natural cause and Hades changes her, after her death, into a poplar)
Above all, though, Hades is a just, terrifying, and inexorable God. He is childless, and his wife often does not love him. (Even if she does, she is gone for half the year) He is "grim" and "fearsome", but he is neither evil, nor unjust. In fact, he may be the one just Greek God.
Hades Texts: Warning. Most of these are not very kind to Hades.
From Ovid's Metamorphasis
Chase of the Beasts
Death on Proserpina
Demeter and Persephone
Persephone in the Underworld
From Persephone in Hell, IV
The Rape of Persephone
Six Seeds of Seperation
the House of Hades
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