Classical Myths in English Literature

By Dan S. Norton; Peters Rushton | Go to book overview

H

HADES (hādēz) is the name both of the underworld and of its ruler. The Greeks also called the god Aides, Aidoneus, and Pluton, or Pluto, which means "giver of wealth" and refers to the god's ownership of the precious metals under the earth; and the Romans usually called him Pluto, Dis (which means "rich"), and Orcus, which is also a name of his kingdom. Frequently confused with Pluto was Plutus, a figure that in ancient times symbolized agricultural wealth but later came to represent the wealth of money. In English literature this god of wealth has been replaced by Mammon, whose name comes from a Syriac word for riches and who appears in the New Testament as the personification of wealth and worldliness. The shrewd andavaricious Mammon has pled his case many times in English poetry, most brilliantly in Spenser Faerie Queene ( 2. 7) and Milton Paradise Lost ( 1. 678-692; 2. 228-298).

After the Titans were defeated, the three male Olympians, Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus, divided the universe by lot, and the underworld where men's souls go after death became the kingdom of Hades. The attributes of this dark god are the scepter, the horn of plenty, and the helmet that makes its wearer invisible (the name Hades means "unseen"). Since Hades rules the land of death, men seldom tell stories about him and even fear to speak his name. He is not, however, the god of death (who is Thanatos), and he is not evil. Hades has none of the qualities of the Christian Satan. He is a stern but just god who, according to the ancients who believed in judgment after

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Classical Myths in English Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Contents xi
  • How to Use This Book xiii
  • Greek Myth and the Poets 1
  • A 13
  • C 101
  • D 126
  • E 139
  • G 165
  • H 171
  • J 224
  • L 227
  • N 230
  • O 238
  • Q 322
  • S 322
  • T 326
  • U 348
  • X 408
  • Z 411
  • Literary References 425
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