Who Was Hades and What Did He Do?
Hades, in Greek myth, was the god of the underworld, the place where human souls go after death. It was also the Underworld (the equivalent of hell) itself. The kingdom of Hades, somewhere below the Earth, was reached by a ferry across the River Styx – the river of the dead. It was guarded by Cerberus, a three-headed dog. The spirits of bad people were tortured in Tartarus. According to Iliad, Hades’ dominion lies between secret places of the earth. According to the Odyssey, one must cross Ocean to get there.
A brother of Zeus, Hades is a grim but not evil figure. It became his dominion after he and his brothers drew lots for their share of the universe. As the ruler of the dead, Hades was a ghastly figure, inspiring awe and terror in everybody. Consequently, he was rarely depicted in art. When he was, he was most commonly portrayed with a beard, and a solemn, mournful look.
He frequently wears a helmet, named the Helm of Darkness or the Cap of Invisibility. Cerberus, the three-headed dog which guarded the entrance to the Underworld, is usually beside him. Every so often he carries a scepter or holds the key to his kingdom. At a later stage, he became associated with his weapon of choice, the bident, a two-pronged fork modeled after Poseidon’s trident.
As Plouton, he was sometimes shown with a cornucopia, the horn of plenty. Besides ruling the Underworld, he is also the god of wealth, and in that aspect he was called Plouton. He appears in few myths, and the most famous story about him concerns his quarrel with Demeter after he had stolen her daughter, Persephone, as his wife.