How Did Hades Become The God Of The Underworld?

Hades, God of the Underworld

How Hades Got The Underworld

At the end of the Titanomachy, the three sons of Cronus drew lots to see who would get the each realm to rule over. Zeus became the ruler of the skies, Poseidon became the ruler of the waters, and Hades became the ruler of the underworld. In addition, Zeus also stood as the head of the Olympian Gods and sat atop the cosmic throne above all things just as Cronus and Uranus had before him.

Hades did not become an Olympian because his realm, the underworld, is too far away from the heavens, but Hades is still a very powerful and respected deity. He, Zeus, and Poseidon are all necessary to keep the order of the world.

What Is Hades’s Real Name?

Hades’s real name is actually Pluto or Pluton and this is also how the Romans knew him in their beliefs. His real name means The Giver of Wealth or perhaps The Wealthy One. This relation to wealth shows that Hades is perhaps the god of wealth himself as a separate responsibility from ruling the underworld. This makes sense, there are plenty of deities known to take on multiple responsibilities such as Apollo or Hermes.

3D scene of pluto made in Adobe After Effects
Pictured is Pluto, the planet in the solar system that is named after Hades

The name Hades means The Unseen, and this name most likely relates to two things. Firstly, Hades was given a special item by the Cyclopes after Zeus freed them from Tartarus during the Titanomachy–that item being the Helmet of Invisibility. By wearing that helmet, Hades is completely invisible and undetectable. Secondly, Hades is a presence that has essentially always existed for man–the afterlife–and though you never see him while you are alive, there is always an innate spiritual feeling that he is there or that he is coming.

When Was Hades Born?

Hades was born as the eldest male child of Cronus and Rhea, but he was not the oldest child of their children because the firstborn was Hestia. Still, Hades was actually able to grow up long enough that he was conscious and able to see his father swallow him whole.

According to some sources, this event left Hades rather traumatized and explains the more reserved and mysterious nature by which he acts. His other siblings are not specified to be this way, so it is possible that they did not grow up enough to have this happen to them like that.

Hades was freed from Cronus’s innards when Zeus sneaked into a party hosted by the Titans and poisoned him. The poison caused Cronus to vomit profusely until he released all five of his children who then joined Zeus against him for the Titanomachy to overthrow him.

Who’s Hades’s Wife?

Hades’s wife is the goddess named Persephone who rules as the queen of the underworld alongside him. Persephone is also the embodiment of spring and she can bring about life and death as well as destruction. Her own name is related to the bringing of death.

Persephone is the daughter of Demeter and Zeus, and also the mother of Dionysus by Zeus although they were never spouses or consorts. Persephone was kidnapped by Hades, with permission of Zeus, and taken to the underworld where she and Hades became spouses.

In protest, Demeter ceased all growth and harvest on the earth which caused mankind to begin starving and caused many men and deities to complain to Zeus. Zeus finally gave in and ordered Hades to return Persephone to Demeter but Persephone had consumed pomegranate seeds from the underworld which meant she had to stay in the underworld for at least a third of the year.

Can Hades Bring Back The Dead?

Yes! Hades can bring back the dead and has done so, or offered to do so, several times in mythology. Hades returned the soul of Semele to Dionysus so that he could rescue her from the underworld after Dionysus managed to defeat him in battle.

Hades once also gave Orpheus the chance to save the soul of Eurydice if he would walk out of the underworld and not look back upon her before leaving. However, Orpheus failed the challenge by falling into the temptation of looking.

Some Greek heroes such as Heracles and Theseus have entered the Underworld alive and then escaped it. However, these are rare instances and it was not really by Hades’s will that they did these feats.

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