Welcome to the Underworld: A Guided Tour

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Welcome to the Underworld: A Guided Tour

Welcome to the Underworld: A Guided Tour

The Greek Underworld was a crazy place, full of untouchable souls and vengeful gods. Also, to the Greeks, it was a real place. You could actually go there if you did the right things (or had the right guide). So, for the first stop on your guided tour of the Underworld, on your right you will see…

  1. Five rivers

Doré_-_Styx

The first barrier to entry into the underworld are the five rivers the Styx, Archeron, Lethe, Phlegethon, and Cocytus. The most prominent is the Styx – the river of hatred that circles the underworld seven times. The Acheron is the river of pain, the Lethe is the river of forgetfulness, the Phlegethon is the river of fire, and the Cocytus is the river of wailing. Once you cross these (probably with the aid of Charon, the Ferryman), you come to the Entryway.

  1. Entryway

Cerbere

The entrance to the Underworld is guarded by many deities and monsters, including the Chimera, the Harpies and the three-headed dog Cerberus. Near the entryway is also an area where the Judges of the Underworld decide where the souls of each dead person will go – Elysium, Tartarus, the Asphodel Meadows, the Vale of Mourning, or the Fields of Punishment.

  1. Tartarus

Tartarus isn’t exactly part of the Underworld – instead, it is a deep, dark pit and a prison, described as being as far beneath the Earth as the sky is above it. The gods use it as a prison for their immortal enemies (including their predecessors, the Titans).

  1. Fields of Punishment

This was an area for those who caused havoc and committed crimes against the gods, where Hades himself would make the individual’s punishment based on their specific crime.

  1. Fields of Asphodel

The Asphodel Meadows were the middle ground. Ordinary souls that had no significant crimes and achieved no greatness or notoriety were sent here (That is, if they weren’t a fit for any of the other areas).

  1. Vale of Mourning

The Vale of Mourning is a very sad place – an area for those consumed by unhappy love.

  1. Elysium

Schwabe_Carlos_Elysian_Fields

Elysium was the place to be (if you’re dead, of course). It was an area especially for the famous and distinguished heroes, ruled by Rhadamanthus, a wise king from Crete and brother of Minos and Sarpedon. Some sources also credit him as a judge of the dead.

Here you might bump into famous heroes like Hercules, Achilles, Theseus and Socrates.

  1. Isles of the Blessed

The Isles of the Blessed are the place to be when you’re already in the place to be – islands in the realm of Elysium.

Elysium has a system to it that leads to the Isles of the Blessed. Each person who makes it to Elysium has a chance to be reborn. If they do so and make it back to Elysium three times, they go to the Isles of the Blessed to live in eternal paradise.

Related topics elysium, fields of asphodel, greek underworld, tartarus
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