Who is Hades? - Greek God Hades
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

Who is Hades?

a man and a girl
Hades and Persephone in the underworld

May 2016 - Hades was the god of the dead, who ruled the place where dead people went after they died (Sometimes people also called the underworld "Hades"). He is a rather shadowy figure in more ways than one, spooky and cruel, and the Greeks didn't like to talk about him too much. Generally people who had good intentions did not sacrifice to Hades either. People sacrificed to Hades when they wanted something bad to happen, like if they were trying to get revenge on an enemy.

When they did, instead of burning the fat and the bones so the smoke would go up to the sky, instead they poured blood into pits or ditches dug into the ground (as in the part of Homer's Odyssey where Odysseus visits the Underworld).

People in ancient Greece thought of Hades as the brother of Zeus and Poseidon, and therefore also the brother of Demeter and Hera.

Like Poseidon, Hades does not appear in very many Greek myths. The best-known of the myths he is in are those of Persephone and Orpheus.

Learn by doing: Greek God Bingo
More about the underworld

Bibliography and further reading about Hades:

Persephone and the Pomegranate: A Myth from Greece, by Kris Waldherr (1993). . Not cheap, but beautifully illustrated.

Myth-O-Mania: Have a Hot Time, Hades! by Kate McMullan (2002). - a "cool" retelling of myths from a different point of view.

D'aulaire's Book of Greek Myths, by Edgar and Ingri D'Aulaire.

Greek Religion, by Walter Burkert (reprinted 1987). By a leading expert. He has sections on each of the Greek gods, and discusses their deeper meanings, and their function in Greek society.

Aspects of Death in Early Greek Art and Poetry, by Emily Vermeule (1979). She's an expert on early Greece, and this book goes into detail about what the Greeks thought happened to people after they died. For adults.

More about the underworld
Ancient Greece
Quatr.us home


Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Check out our new ebook: Short and Simple: Ancient Greek Myths! - just out! Twenty-five easy to read, illustrated stories, from Pandora to Medea, Icarus, and the Trojan Horse (you can read these online as samples). Get it this week for just $14.99, five dollars off the regular price of $19.99.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 17 August, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT