Greek mythology and ancient Greece have sparked interest for ages. This interest won't stop, since the myths and legends continue to entice young and old alike.
One of the most curious personas in Greek mythology is Hades. The legend of his underground kingdom is just as alluring today as ever. The reason for this could lie in the subject of death - the natural process that has been the greatest mystery since ancient times.
Greek mythology tells us that Hades is the god of death and ruler of the Underworld. His siblings include Zeus and Poseidon. The three brothers defeated the Titans and ruled together equally - Poseidon ruled over the seas, Zeus over the skies and Hades over the Underworld. The god of the Underworld remains one of the most mystical of Olympian gods - little is known about him. According to some legends he was a just god. When a mortal entered his realm, Hades either rewarded him for his earthly life or punished him for it.
But what was the Underworld? It bears the same name as its god and according to Greek mythology it was where the souls of dead went. The Greek idea of life after death states that during physical death the soul and body become separated. There are 5 rivers in his realm, visible to those living there. Their names are associated with the emotions related to death. Styx is the river of hatred, Acheron the river of woe, Phlegethon of fire, Lethe of oblivion and Cocytus of lamentation.
At the entrance to the Underworld live Sorrow, Anxiety, Diseases and Old Age. Accompanying them are also Fear, Hunger, Death (Thanatos), Agony and Sleep. Near the entrance there are many beasts - gorgons, centaurs and others. The souls entering the Underworld carry a coin under their tongue in order to pay Charon to ferry them across the river. But not all cross it - these are the souls of the unburied, who are unable to cross until their bodies are laid under ground. Past the river, the very gates are guarded by Cerberus.
The kingdom of the dead is divided into various areas. Those who were neither good nor evil go to the Asphodel Meadows. The souls of heroes and the good are sent to the Elysian Fields; the evil ones are sent to Tartarus.
Legends of the Underworld of Hades also state that many souls try to drink from the river Lethe - the river of forgetting, in order to forget about their life on Earth.