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The Greek underworld, in mythology, was a place where souls went after death and was the Greek idea of afterlife. At the moment of death the soul was separated from the corpse, taking on the shape of the former person, and was transported to the entrance of Hades. Hades itself was described as being either at the outer bounds of the ocean or beneath the depths or ends of the earth. It was considered the dark counterpart to the brightness of Mount Olympus, and was the kingdom of the dead that corresponded to the kingdom of the gods. Hades was a realm invisible to the living and it was made solely for the dead.
There were five main rivers that appear both in the real world and the underworld. Their names were meant to reflect the emotions associated with death.
Tartarus is not considered to be directly a part of the underworld, it is described as being as far beneath the underworld as the earth is beneath the sky. It is so dark that the "night is poured around it in three rows like a collar round the neck, while above it grow the roots of the earth and of the unharvested sea." Tartarus is the place that Zeus cast the Titans along with his father Cronus after defeating them. Homer wrote that Cronus then became the king of Tartarus. While Odysseus does not see them himself, he mentions some of the people within the underworld who are experiencing punishment for their sins. Tantalus, who betrayed the trust of the gods, is suffering torment by having food and drink eternally beyond his reach. Sisyphus, who disrupted the income of souls by tricking and chaining up Thanatos, is condemned to push a heavy rock up a slope, only to have it roll back down each time.
The Fields of Punishment was a place for those who had created havoc on the world and committed crimes specifically against the gods. Hades himself would make the individual's punishment of eternal suffering based on their specific crime. For Tityos, who attempted to rape Leto, this was being staked to the ground while two vultures fed on his regenerating liver. '
The Asphodel Meadows was a place for ordinary or indifferent souls who did not commit any significant crimes, but who also did not achieve any greatness or recognition that would warrant them being admitted to the Elysian Fields. It was where mortals who did not belong anywhere else in the Underworld were sent.
Elysium was a place for the especially distinguished. It was ruled over by Rhadamanthus, and the souls that dwelled there had an easy afterlife and had no labors. Usually, those who had proximity to the gods were granted admission, rather than those who were especially righteous or had ethical merit. Heroes such as Kadmos, Peleus, and Achilles also were transported here after their deaths. Normal people who lived righteous and virtuous lives could also gain entrance, such as Socrates, who proved his worth sufficiently through philosophy.
The Isles of the Blessed were islands in the realm of Elysium. When a soul achieved Elysium they had a choice to either stay in Elysium, or to be reborn. If a soul was reborn three times and achieved Elysium all three times, then they were sent to the Isles of the Blessed to experience eternal paradise.
Hades (Aides, Aidoneus, or Haides), the son of Cronus and brother of Zeus and Poseidon, is the Greek god of the underworld. When the world was divided between the sons of Cronus, Zeus received the heavens, Poseidon the sea, and Hades the underworld; the earth itself was divided between the three. Therefore, while Hades' responsibility was in the Underworld, he was allowed to have power on earth as well. However, Hades himself is rarely seen outside his domain, and to those on earth his intentions and personality are a mystery. In art and literature Hades is depicted as stern and dignified, but not a fierce torturer or devil-like. However, Hades was considered the enemy to all life and was hated by both the gods and men; sacrifices and prayers did not appease him so mortals rarely tried. He was also not a tormenter of the dead, and sometimes considered the "Zeus of the dead" because he was hospitable to them. Those who received punishment in Tartarus were assigned by the other gods seeking vengeance. In Greek society, many viewed Hades as the least liked god and many gods even had an aversion towards him, and when people would sacrifice to Hades, it would be if they wanted revenge on an enemy or something terrible to happen to them 
Hades was sometimes referred to as Pluto and was represented in a lighter way – here, he was considered the giver of wealth, since the crops and the blessing of the harvest come from below the earth.
Persephone (also known as Kore) was the daughter of Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, and Zeus. Persephone was abducted by Hades, who desired a wife. When Persephone was gathering flowers, she was entranced by a narcissus flower planted by Gaia (to lure her to the Underworld as a favor to Hades), and when she picked it the earth suddenly opened up. Hades, appearing in a golden chariot, seduced and carried Persephone into the underworld. When Demeter found out that Zeus had given Hades permission to abduct Persephone and take her as a wife, Demeter became enraged at Zeus and stopped growing harvests for the earth. To soothe her, Zeus sent Hermes to the Underworld to take Persephone back to her mother. However, she ate 6 pomegranate seeds and so she was forever tied to the underworld, since the pomegranate seed was sacred to the underworld.
Persephone could then only leave the Underworld when the earth was blooming, or every season except the winter. The Homeric Hymns describes the abduction of Persephone by Hades:
I sing now of the great Demeter
Of the beautiful hair,
And of her daughter Persephone
Of the lovely feet,
Whom Zeus let Hades tear away
From her mother's harvests
And friends and flowers—
Especially the Narcissus,
Grown by Gaia to entice the girl
As a favor to Hades, the gloomy one.
This was the flower that
Left all amazed,
Whose hundred buds made
The sky itself smile.
When the maiden reached out
To pluck such beauty,
The earth opened up
And out burst Hades …
The son of Kronos,
Who took her by force
On his chariot of gold,
To the place where so many
Long not to go.
She called to her father,
All-powerful and high, …
But Zeus had allowed this.
He sat in a temple
Hearing nothing at all,
Receiving the sacrifices of
Persephone herself is considered a fitting other half to Hades because of the meaning of her name which bears the Greek root for "killing" and the -phone in her name means "putting to death."
The Erinyes were the three goddesses associated with the souls of the dead and the avenged crimes against the natural order of the world. They were particularly concerned with crimes done by children against their parents, such as matricide, patricide, and unfilial conduct. They would inflict madness upon the living murderer, or if a nation was harboring such a criminal, the Erinyes would cause starvation and disease to the nation. The Erinyes were dreaded by the living since they embodied the vengeance of the person who was wronged against the wrongdoer. Often the Greeks made "soothing libations" to the Erinyes to appease them so as to not invoke the wrath of Erinyes, and overall the Erinyes received many more libations and sacrifices than other gods of the underworld. The Erinyes were depicted as ugly and winged women with their bodies intertwined with serpents.
While Hermes did not primarily reside in the Underworld and is not usually associated with the Underworld, he was the one who led the souls of the dead to the underworld. In this sense he was known as Hermes Psychopompos, and with his fair golden wand he was able to lead the dead to their new home. He was also called upon by the dying to assist in their passing - some called upon him to have painless deaths or be able to die when and where they believed they were meant to die.
Minos was the judge of the dead. He judged the deeds of the deceased and created the laws that governed the underworld. However, none of the laws provided a true justice to the souls of the dead, and the dead did not receive rewards for following them or punishment for wicked actions.
Charon is the ferryman who, after receiving a soul from Hermes, would guide them across the rivers Styx and/or Acheron to the underworld. At funerals, the deceased traditionally had an obol placed over their eye or under their tongue, so they could pay Charon to take them across. To the Etruscans, Charon was considered a fearsome being - he wielded a hammer and was hook-nosed, bearded, and had animalistic ears with teeth. In other early Greek depictions, Charon was considered merely an ugly bearded man with a conical hat and tunic. Later on, in more modern Greek folklore, he was considered more angelic, like the Archangel Michael. Nevertheless Charon was considered a terrifying being since his duty was to bring these souls to the Underworld and no one would persuade him to do otherwise.
Cerberus (Kerberos), or the "Hell-Hound," is Hades' massive multi-headed (usually three-headed) dog that guards the entrance of the underworld. Cerberus' duty is to prevent dead people from leaving the Underworld, and people who were still alive from getting in. Cerberus is described as having many rows of teeth so that he can strip the dead of their clothing, belongings, and flesh, transforming them into only skeletons.
Goddess of the Night lives in her palace. When the Greek goddess Hemera enters Tartarus, Nyx exits. This is how the Greeks believed Night and Day was made.
In the Greek underworld, the souls of the dead still existed but they are insubstantial and they flitted around the underworld with no sense of purpose. The dead within the Homeric Underworld lack menos, or strength, and therefore they cannot influence those on earth. They also lack phrenes, or wit, and are heedless of what goes on around them and on the earth above them. Their lives in the underworld were very neutral, so all social statuses and political positions were eliminated and no one was able to use their previous lives to their advantage in the Underworld.
The idea of progress did not exist in the Greek Underworld – at the moment of death, the psyche was frozen, in experience and appearance. The souls in the Underworld did not age or really change in any sense. They did not lead any sort of active life in the Underworld – they were exactly the same as they were in life. Therefore those who had died in battle were eternally blood-spattered in the underworld and those who had died peacefully were able to remain that way.
Overall the Greek dead were considered to be irritable and unpleasant, but not dangerous or malevolent. They grew angry if they felt a hostile presence near their graves and drink offerings were given in order to appease them so as not to anger the dead. Mostly blood offerings were given due to the fact that they needed the essence of life to become communicative and conscious again. This is shown in Homer's Odyssey, where Odysseus had to give blood in order for the souls to interact with him. While in the underworld, the dead passed the time through simple pastimes such as playing games, as shown from objects found in tombs such as dice and game-boards. Grave gifts such as clothing, jewelry, and food were left by the living for use in the Underworld as well since many viewed these gifts to carry over into the Underworld. There was not a general consensus as to whether the dead were able to consume food or not. Homer depicted the dead as unable to eat or drink unless they had been summoned; however, some reliefs portray the Underworld as having many elaborate feasts. While not completely clear, it is implied that the dead could still have sexual intimacy with another, although no children were produced. The Greeks also showed belief in the possibility of marriage in the Underworld, which in a sense describes the Greek Underworld having no difference than from their current life.
Lucian described the people of the Underworld as simple skeletons. They are indistinguishable from each other, and it is impossible to tell who was wealthy or important in the living world. However, this view of the Underworld was not universal – Homer depicts the dead keeping their familiar faces.
Hades itself was free from the concept of time. The dead are aware of both the past and the future, and in poems describing Greek heroes, the dead helped move the plot of the story by prophesying and telling truths unknown to the hero. The only way for humans to communicate with the dead was to suspend time and their normal life to reach Hades, the place beyond immediate perception and human time.
The Greeks had a definite belief that there was a journey to the afterlife or another world. They believed that death was not a complete end to life or human existence. The Greeks accepted the existence of the soul after death, but saw this afterlife as meaningless. In the underworld, the identity of a dead person still existed, but it had no strength or true influence. Rather, the continuation of the existence of the soul in the Underworld was considered a remembrance of the fact that the dead person had existed, and while the soul still existed, it was inactive. However, the price of death was considered a great one. Homer believed that the best possible existence for humans was to never be born at all, or die soon after birth, because the greatness of life could never balance the price of death. The Greek gods only rewarded heroes who were still living; heroes that died were ignored in the afterlife. However, it was considered very important to the Greeks to honor the dead and was seen as a type of piety. Those who did not respect the dead opened themselves to the punishment of the gods – for example, Odysseus ensured Ajax's burial, or the gods would be angered.
Orpheus, a poet and musician that had almost supernatural abilities to move anyone to his music, descended to the Underworld as a living mortal to retrieve his dead wife Eurydice after she was bitten by a poisonous rattlesnake on their wedding day. With his lyre playing skills, he was able to put a spell on the guardians of the underworld and move them with his music. With his beautiful voice he was able to convince Hades and Persephone to allow him and his wife to return to the living. The rulers of the Underworld agreed, but under one condition – Eurydice would have to follow behind Orpheus and he could not turn around to look at her. Once Orpheus reached the entrance, however, he turned around, longing to look at his beautiful wife, only to watch as his wife faded back into the Underworld. He was forbidden to return to the Underworld a second time and he spent his life playing his music to the birds and the mountains.