Cerebrus, Charon, Ascalaphus, Meneotes, and Hermes
Parents: Tyopheus and Echidna (Echidna is a half human, half dragon? monster who is the mother of most of the monsters)
Important Relations: Hades, his master and Hercules who removed him from Hades temporarily.
Appearance: A three headed (or fifty, or hundred. Usually three) dog with the tale of a dragon. His mane sometimes swirms with venemous snakes, and his teeth are always venemous.
Function: Cerebrus guardes the gates of Hades. He is often pictured with Hades, his master.
Personality: Cerebrus is greedy! He will let someone by him for a sop (a cake of flour and honey), though otherwise will never let someone escape Hades' domain. ("Throw a sop to Cerebrus" meaning to bribe someone to get something done more expediantly, comes from Cerebrus' greed. He appears in Dante's Inferno also because of this greed.) He happily welcomes people into Hades with a wagging tail and ears, but will never let them go.
Stories: Cerebrus appears in Hercules' twelvth labor, which is to bring him from the Underworld. (He is usually returned. Occasionally he is abandoned, or tied up in a grove, and eventually escapes and returns to Hades)
Texts: Infernal Repast
Children: Unknown. May have had children when alive.
Spouse: Unknown. May have had a wife while alive.
Important Relations: Is the oarsman for Hades.
Appearance: Either as a grumpy, harsh old man, or as a ghoul.
Function: Charon ferries souls (for a coin) across either the Acheron or the Styx into Hades.
Personality: Charon is gruff, distasteful, and greedy. (He will not ferry someone across the rivers with out their coin.)
Stories: Charon ferried people in his lifetime, and after he died continued his trade for Hades. He ferries everyone who enters the Underworld across the Acheron (or Styx) including Orpheus, Theseus, and Hercules. For letting Hercules across, Hades had him chained to his oar for a year.
Important Relations: Persephone (who he tattles on), Demeter (who he enrages), and Hades (who he greatly pleases).
Appearance: As a child, in some stories. In others he is an undescript adult.
Function: He is the gardner in Hades for Persephone in some stories.
Personality: That of a very annoying tattle-tale who is willing to trade the fate of humanity for practically nothing.
Stories: Ascalaphus is the one who tattles that Persephone has eaten in the Underworld. In some stories he dies because he laughs at Demeter's grief. She either turns him into a lizard and feeds him to a bird, or in some stores she changes him into a lizard and he is caught by a bird. He is made Persephone's gardner in the Underworld, and sees her eat the pomegranate seed. For this either Demeter traps him under a rock, or Persephone turns him into a screech-owl.
Documents: From Ovid's Metamorphis
Function: Meneotes herds the cows of Hades.
Stories: When Hercules decides to sacrifice one of Hades' cows to Hades (sounds pretty stupid, huh?), Meneotes tries to stop him. Hercules wrestles with Meneotes (sometimes breaking a rib), until Persephone stops him.
Because of the wealth of information about Hermes, I will relate only the stories which relate to the Underworld.
Parents: Zeus and Maia
Children: Probably too many to count. Pan is one of them.
Symbols: Staff (which he leads people's souls off with), winged sandles, winged helmet, others
Appearance: A young man, with no beard or a slight beard.
Personality: Hermes is a trickster God, and has a personality to match
Stories: Hermes was the only one of Zeus' illegetimate children who Hera could ever get along with. However, she did, once, fight with him. Zeus had a mistress, Io, who he changed into a cow so that Hera would not suspect anything. However, Hera is a very intelligent Goddess, and knew that something was suspicious. So, Hera demanded that Zeus give her Io. Zeus could not refuse and look innocent, so he gave Hera the cow.
Hera put her hundred eyed servant, Argos, to work guarding the cow. Now Argos would only shut half of his eyes when he went to sleep, so he was a good guardian for the cow. However, Io was miserable, so Zeus sent Hermes to try and free Io.
Hermes asked Argos if he would like to hear a story, for surely he must be bored having nothing to do but watch a cow all day. Argos agreed that he was, and so Hermes began a very long story. It had no beginning, and no end, and was immensly boring. Argo began to drift to sleep: first fifty eyes, then the other fifty. Hermes touched him with his wand and Argos was killed. Hermes set Io free and returned.
Hera was furious. She called a trial to determine whether Hermes was guilty for having killed Argos. Hermes gave his defense as "is it really a crime to bore someone to death". All of the Gods except for Hera voted for Hermes, so he was freed. However, as a condition, he was made a God of the Underworld, and from then on ferried souls to the Underworld for Hades. (Incidentally Hera did forgive Hermes shortly, and she set Argos' eyes on her favorite bird, the peacock, as a memorial to him)
Hermes was also the one to bring Persephone back from the underworld.
the House of Hades
More Denizens of the Underworld
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