7.3 Hades


Hades: lord of the dead

Hades is Zeus’ oldest brother and was given control of the underworld when the gods defeated the Titans. Hades married his niece, Persephone, whom he had abducted from the upper world with the help of her father, Zeus.

The Greeks were terrified of Hades, because seeing him meant you were gone from the earth forever. For this reason they very rarely depicted him in art, and usually referred to him by a euphemistic name, such as Plouton (“the wealthy one”). Hades was not considered evil, but a just and fair ruler of his kingdom. He is often depicted with the cornucopia, a reference to his mother-in-law, Demeter. His kingdom is guarded by the three-headed dog, Cerberus, whose capture was the final labour of Heracles.


  • Lord of the underworld: Hades is the absolute ruler of the dead. He sits on his throne beside Persephone, and almost never leaves his kingdom.

Hades iconography

Cornucopia, throne, Persephone, rooster.



The video below explains the nature and deeds of Hades.

The video below explores the geography of the mythological underworld of the Ancient Greeks. There was no fixed idea of what the underworld looked like, but all our sources agree that it was not a place of joy.