Hades, Greek Aïdes (“the Unseen”), also called Pluto, or Pluton, (“the Rich”), in Greek religion, son of the Titans Cronus and Rhea, and brother of the deities Zeus and Poseidon. After Cronus was killed, the kingdom of the underworld fell by lot to Hades. There he ruled with his queen, Persephone, over the infernal powers and over the dead, in what was often called “the House of Hades,” or simply Hades. Though he supervised the trial and punishment of the wicked after death, he was not normally one of the judges in the underworld; nor did he personally torture the guilty, a task assigned to the Furies (Erinyes). Hades was depicted as stern and pitiless, unmoved (like death itself) by prayer or sacrifice. Forbidding and aloof, he never quite emerges as a distinct personality from the shadowy darkness of his realm, not even in the myth of his abduction of Persephone. He was usually worshiped under a euphemistic epithet such as Clymenus (“the Illustrious”) or Eubuleus (“the Giver of Good Counsel”). He was often called Zeus, with the addition of a special title (e.g., chthonios). His title Pluto, or Pluton (“the Wealthy One,” or “the Giver of Wealth”), may have originated through Hades’ partial amalgamation with a god of the earth’s fertility, or because he gathered all living things into his treasury at death. The word Hades is used in the Greek Old Testament to translate the Hebrew word sheol, denoting a dark region of the dead. Tartarus, originally an abyss far below Hades and the place of punishment in the lower world, later lost its distinctness and became almost a synonym for Hades.

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