Hades

Discussion in 'Greek Mythology' started by Eulalie, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. Eulalie

    Eulalie New Member

    Can Hades just take a person because he wishes them in the underworld? I don't know a great deal about Hades, I always tend to block out information about him, I guess it is because he represents death. However, I was watching "Clash of the Gods" and I got a little confused when they were talking about him. Does he have the capability to pick someone and take them or did they have to be in a circumstance that could lead to their death?
  2. fibi ducks

    fibi ducks Active Member

    Hi Eulalie,
    the way I get it, Hades could take people any time, but doesn't- in fact he accepts people inside his halls at the time that they have been fated to die. During the Trojan war the ghost of Patroclos appeared to Achilles and tells him, among other things, that he died when he had been fated to, and that Achilles also was fated to die under the walls of Troy. It's from that incident that I get this basic picture. But during the same war, Sarpedon, a son of the divine Zeus, and dear to him, was also fated to die. Now the story is that Zeus said to his wife that he had a mind to save Sarpedon, but she pointed out to him that he could do it if he wanted, but that if he did, then many of the other gods who had children in the battle would want to save them too, and that he will cause much resentment in this way. Well if that's all true, then Zeus could go against fate if he wanted to, but chooses not to. Perhaps Hades operates in the same way- that is, he could take people on a whim if he wanted to, but doesn't.
    How does this match with the film though?
    Best wishes.
    Alejandro likes this.
  3. Eulalie

    Eulalie New Member

    Well what about Persephone? That is the story I was watching, where she was just picking flowers and he decided he wanted her and broke through the earth and snatched her. I didn't realize he did that or was this a unique situation because he wanted her as his wife?
  4. fibi ducks

    fibi ducks Active Member

    From what I gather, Persephone was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Both parents being gods, I think Persephone must have been immortal too. I think Hades kidnapped her, but it was just that - he took her down to his kingdom below where he has a big house and lots of ghostly subjects, but Persephone was always alive. In the story as I got it, it was Zeus who allowed this kidnapping to happen. And he allowed it as a favour to Hades. So it seems he needed permission.
    Alejandro likes this.
  5. LegendofJoe

    LegendofJoe Active Member

    I have heard this story called The Rape of Persephone. Hades wanted her, so he took her. Demeter begged Zeus to do something about this and did not let anything grow on Earth while her daughter was in Hades.
    Zeus sent Hermes to save her, but before she left, Hades convinced her to eat some pomegranite seeds. Because she ate from the land of the dead, she could not leave permanently. So she spent part of the year on Earth(summer), and part with Hades(winter).
    I heard a professor of Classics once say, going out picking flowers always leads to trouble for the damsel.
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  6. Wotan

    Wotan Member

    Clash of the Titans was an awesome movie, but as Sam Worthington said "This movie is not historicaly accurate, if you want to see me in a skirt fighting giant scorpians with a rubber sword, this is the movie for you" As for what Hade's can and cannot do, I believe he can do many things as he is a god but just like Poseidon and Calypso during the Odessy the other gods will interveen if they are not happy with it. It also seems they you don't need to be dead to go to Hades as during various myths people bribe the boat man, go down the river styx and return.
  7. fibi ducks

    fibi ducks Active Member

    Yes - exactly -
    well, I didn't see the film but,
    yes, gods can do loads of things, and its the nature of how we relate to them that we often don;t know the extents of their powers. But no reason to think he (Hades) could upset other gods with impunity. And also, yes, Hercules for one got to Hades and back alive - anyway I read that he did.
    I somewhwere came accross an account that when a human died in Greece, it was the custom for relatives to place a coin in their mouth for the miserly ferryman who carried souls over to the land of the dead. And that unfortunate souls who had been given no coin had to spend eternity waiting on the wrong side of the river. But if this is right then -
    it is not that the sould of a deceased human automatically goes to the underworld,
    but that human ghosts prefer to be there.
    I can't help wandering what it is that is better for them there. But I won't enquire too deaply.
  8. LegendofJoe

    LegendofJoe Active Member

    I don't think the dead have a choice. Apparently, the underworld in Greek myth is a gloomy place, but for some reason, across the styx is where the soul was supposed to go. If it was not able to pay Charon, the soul was stuck in a type of limbo and not at rest. Either way, it was a bleak existence.
    The only other way out of this was to become a great hero and achieve godhood like Heracles, but that is really rare.
    In The Aeneid, the underworld was slightly brighter. If you were evil, you went to Tartarus, where you were punished. If you were good, you went to a happy place called the Elysian fields.
    Heracles by the way did get to the underworld and back at least two times. Once was to bring back Acestis, a woman who gave her life to save her husband. The other was when he went to get Cerberus as part of his twelve labors.
    Alejandro likes this.
  9. Wotan

    Wotan Member

    I was under the impression that the coins for the Boat-man was placed over each eye of the dead, but I could be mistaken as my source of information on this matter is less than acurate (the movie troy which is full of problems as it is)
  10. fibi ducks

    fibi ducks Active Member

    I've found a few odd things about what the greeks thought happened to them after death.
    In Hesiod, he says that there was a golden age of man, the first ever created, and that they lived in peace and were gentle mannered - the earth produced sustenance for them without their effort. They lived many years without appearing to age or ail, and when they died it was as if they had just fallen asleep. Their ghosts remained above the earth, benevolent to humans. They help us to aquire wealth, and perhaps other good fortune.
    A different angle from the Illiad: when the ghost of Patroclus had appeared to Achilles, and disappeared, Achilles gave a little speach about what he now knew about the underworld - because of the evidence of talking with the ghost of his friend. I don't remember enough of what it is he said to try to repeat it - but - that he feels he knows what he hadn't before suggests that uncertainty about what happened after death was quite normal for ancient greeks. Well - it seems so to me. I think this is worth pointing out as it is easy for us to see a mythical world view as having been a fixed and certain thing for those whose culture it came from.

    This is a bit of a tangent...
    There's also an interesting story about a tyrant called (I think) Periander whose wife had died without telling him where she had hidden some money. He asked the help of a necromancer, who summoned her spirit, and they asked her. But she was unhappy, because although clothes had been buried with her, they had not been burned, which meant that she could not use them in the underworld. Periander summoned all the wealthy ladies for a formal occasion, had them strip off their fine clothes, burned them all and buried them for his wife. He did, I think get the money. I might have got details wrong, but that's the gist of it.
    This business of burning is intriguing - it crops up in other stories - such as Demeter attempting to make a human baby immortal by burning away a part of its mortal body on a fire every day. It would be really interesting to bring together many aspects of the mythology of fire.
  11. Rhonda Tharp

    Rhonda Tharp Active Member

    I found Isis doing the same thing in her search for Osiris. She comes across a Queen and her infant son, and Isis tries to burn away his mortality, but the Queen comes in while Isis has her son in the fire and throws Isis out of her house. The Queen realizes that she had Isis in her home, but it was too late.
  12. LegendofJoe

    LegendofJoe Active Member

    Apparently in order to become immortal, the mortal remains somehow still must be burned away. Heracles' immortality was guarenteed after he completed the Twelve Labors, but he still had to undergo some sort of death. After donning the poisened cloak, he threw himself into the burning pyre. However, his bones could not be found among the burnt remains, proving that he did not technically die, but ascended to Olympus.
    It is interesting that the idea of burning away mortal remains is found in the story of Isis. However, this version is told by Plutarch, who was a late Greek writer.
    In order to achieve a happy life after death in Egyptian belief, you have to do the complete opposite of cremation: mummification.
    It is only with the preservation of the body that one can find life after death. There is more than one kind of soul in Egyptian and one of them is forever connected with the body.
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  13. fibi ducks

    fibi ducks Active Member

    In the story of Demeter and the royal child that I mentioned, as in this, Demeter is disturbed and the process is not completed. I got the Demeter story from a Homeric Hymn. But I'm not sure of what antiquity it is.
  14. LegendofJoe

    LegendofJoe Active Member

    The Homeric Hymns are pretty old. Maybe not as old as Homer, but they are up there.
  15. fibi ducks

    fibi ducks Active Member

    Yeah, I thought so. Do you think that we just have to trust the academics on this sort of thing? I.e. how old is this or that source? I don't quite like to. But I think I'll start a thread on something like this topic when I work out what I want to ask people.
  16. LegendofJoe

    LegendofJoe Active Member

    Hi fibi ducks
    I'm holding a copy of the Homeric Hymns in front of me. The translator states that the poems are by various authors active within the sixth and seventh centuries. The Illad and Odyssey are a century earlier.
    I don't know if this is debated. I'm sure with the passage of time the dating of these books will be fine-tuned.
    But I think the scholars are fairly comfortable with these dates. They use all kinds of methods to date the material which includes textual analysis.
    I suppose a little bit of faith has to go into accepting what specialists say; I can't see electrons but I'm pretty sure they exist.lol
  17. fibi ducks

    fibi ducks Active Member

    Hi Legend of Joe, thanks for your answer. I'm in a bit of a different place though. I can explain it with the help of a quote from Homer -

    "Tell me now, you Muses who have dwellings on Olympus - for you are goddesses and are present and know all things, but we hear only rumour and know nothing - who were the leaders and lords of the Danaans."
    Illiad, II. 484

    The italics are mine.
    I couldn't refute academic arguments, as I don't know what they are. I won't say that they are wrong. And I do give academic conclusions some weight - even without understanding how they were reached. But even so - to me they are rumours. Perhaps from a relatively respected source, but rumours all the same.

    But if you don't agree then I hope we will agree to differ on this!
    Best wishes,
    F D.
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