Hades was the Greek god of the dead, riches and the Underworld. He presided over funeral rites and defended the right of the dead to due burial. Hades was also the god of the hidden wealth of the earth, from the fertile soil with nourished the seed-grain, to the mined wealth of gold, silver and other metals.
Hades was the son of Kronos and Rhea, and the oldest male child. According to myth, he and his brothers Zeus and Poseidon defeated the Titans and claimed rulership over the cosmos, ruling the underworld, air, and sea, respectively; the solid earth, long the province of Gaia, was available to all three concurrently. His consort was Persephone.
Hades was also called plouton, or the Rich One, which the Romans latinised as Pluto. They also associated him with many of their other chthonic gods, like Dis Pater and Orcus. The corresponding Etruscan god was Aita. Symbols associated with him are the Helm of Darkness, bident, and the three-headed dog, Cerberus.
The etymology of Hades is uncertain: some derive it from a-idein, whence it would signify "the god who makes invisible," and others from hadô or chadô'; so that Hades would mean "the allembracer," or "all-receiver." The Roman poets use the names Dis, Orcus, and Tartarus as synonymous with Pluto, for the god of the lower world.
Birth, infancy and rescue
Hades is a god of the first generation of Olympians, and is the eldest son of Kronos and Rhea. Like Hestia, Poseidon, Demeter, and Hera, he was swallowed by Kronos, and spent his childhood inside Kronos' stomach, until his brother, Zeus, came and rescued him and his siblings. After their release the six younger gods, along with allies they managed to gather, challenged the elder gods for power in the Titanomachy, a divine war. The war lasted for ten years and ended with the victory of the younger gods. Following their victory, according to a single famous passage in the Iliad (xv.187–93), Hades and his two brothers, Poseidon and Zeus, drew lots for realms to rule. Zeus got the sky, Poseidon got the seas, and Hades received the underworld, the unseen realm to which the souls of the dead go upon leaving the world as well as any and all things beneath the earth.
The abduction of Persephone
The consort of Hades was Persephone, represented by the Greeks as the beautiful daughter of Demeter.
Persephone did not submit to Hades willingly, but was abducted by him while picking flowers in the fields of Nysa. In protest of his act, Demeter cast a curse on the land and there was a great famine; though, one by one, the gods came to request she lift it, lest mankind perish, she asserted that the earth would remain barren until she saw her daughter again. Finally, Zeus intervened; via Hermes, he requested that Hades return Persephone. Hades complied,
"But he on his part secretly gave her sweet pomegranate seed to eat, taking care for himself that she might not remain continually with grave, dark-robed Demeter."
Demeter questioned Persephone on her return to light and air:
"...but if you have tasted food, you must go back again beneath the secret places of the earth, there to dwell a third part of the seasons every year: yet for the two parts you shall be with me and the other deathless gods."
This bound her to Hades and the Underworld, much to the dismay of Demeter. It is not clear whether Persephone was accomplice to the ploy. Zeus proposed a compromise, to which all parties agreed: of the year, Persephone would spend one third with her husband.
It is during this time that winter casts on the earth "an aspect of sadness and mourning."
Theseus and Pirithous
Theseus and Pirithous pledged to kidnap and marry daughters of Zeus. Theseus chose Helen and together they kidnapped her and decided to hold onto her until she was old enough to marry. Pirithous chose Persephone. They left Helen with Theseus' mother, Aethra and traveled to the Underworld. Hades knew of their plan to capture his wife, so he pretended to offer them hospitality and set a feast; as soon as the pair sat down, snakes coiled around their feet and held them there. Theseus was eventually rescued by Heracles but Pirithous remained trapped as punishment for daring to seek the wife of a god for his own.
Heracles' final labour was to capture Cerberus. First, Heracles went to Eleusis to be initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries. He did this to absolve himself of guilt for killing the centaurs and to learn how to enter and exit the underworld alive. He found the entrance to the underworld at Taenarum. Athena and Hermes helped him through and back from Hades. Heracles asked Hades for permission to take Cerberus. Hades agreed as long as Heracles didn't harm Cerberus. When Heracles dragged the dog out of Hades, he passed through the cavern Acherusia.
Minthe was a beautiful nymph, whom Hades wanted to marry. Persephone, however, trampled her under foot, where she was transformed into the mint plant.
In mordern culture
In 2010, Hades has been in the movies Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief played by Steve Coogan, and the remake of Clash of the Titans and its sequel Wrath of the Titans played by Ralph Fiennes. He is depicted as an antagonist in all three but only evil in Clash. And he turns into an ally in Wrath.
- He appears in the popular series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. In the first book, the Lightning Thief, he is depicted as the villain; near the end, however, it is shown that he isn't. He also appears in The Last Olympian, where he shows up with an army of zombies to help defeat Kronos in the Battle of Manhattan. He is the father of Nico di Angelo.
- In John C. Wright's Titans of Chaos, he, off-stage, is one of the factions who must be appeased about how the children are kept. Furthermore, he puts forward his wife's claim to the throne of Olympus after Zeus's death. He is referred to as "Unseen One" and "Lord Dis".
- In Poul Anderson's retelling of Orpheus, "Goat Song", the computer SUM preserves all dead humans for a foretold resurrection and is the Hades figure that he must persuade to bring his dead love back to life.
- Roberta Gellis's Dazzling Brightness retells the story of Hades and Persephone.
- He appears in the God of War, a comic book series that spans from the video game franchise.
- He appears in The Goddess Test under the name of Henry, who is looking for a new wife to rule with him in the Underworld after Persephone left him.
- Hades is a central, sympathetic character in the fantasy novel The Hunter of the Dead by Maria Aragon, published in 2009. The novel explores his relationship with Persephone and with other deities aside from the Olympians.
In the two television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, Hades was a recurring character, most frequently played by Erik Thomson, although Mark Ferguson and Stephen Lovatt have also played the part. In both series, he was depicted as being overworked and understaffed.
On two episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Persephone was played by Andrea Croton, while Michael Hurst portrayed Charon as a recurring character on both series. The ruler of the Underworld was also the subject of episode 3 of Clash of the Gods.
In the DC comics TV series Smallville, the powerful and demonic deity Darkseid was in Earth's history by many names such as Hades and Lucifer and was also connected to the Hindu goddess Kali.
Anaïs Mitchell's folk opera Hadestown presents Hades as the boss of a post-apocalyptic Depression-era company town. The 2010 recording features Greg Brown performing the deep-voiced part of Hades.
- In the God of War video game series, Hades originally resembled a demon more than a man (God of War). His appearance is changed in God of War II (and continues this way) to being overweight, having a grotesque, scarred body, a fiery helmet, spike like growths protruding from his back, and he has clawed weapons attached to chains called the Claws of Hades. In the original God of War (2005), he provides Kratos (the player) with a new magic spell, the Army of Hades. He briefly appears at the end of God of War II (2007) overlooking Mt. Olympus as Kratos leads the Titans in an assault on Mt. Olympus. He is a boss in God of War III (2010) and is killed by Kratos, causing the spirits of the Underworld to roam free and Kratos taking his weapons as his own. In God of War: Chains of Olympus (2008), there is an after-game challenge mode named after him, the Challenge of Hades. The Challenge of Hades is also present in the original God of War but is an in-game challenge of Pandora's Temple and not an after-game challenge.
- Hades can also be worshipped in Zeus: Master of Olympus providing silver and Cerberus to the city.
- Hades is the primary antagonist in the Immortal Throne expansion pack of Titan Quest
- Hades also appears in the Kingdom Hearts series in the world Olympus Coliseum, based on the Disney movie Hercules. His personality is identical to the movie and James Woods reprises his role as Hades.
- Hades is a Major God in Age of Mythology and Age of Empires: Mythologies.
- Hades plays a major role in Herc's Adventures
- In Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire the Hero has to enter the realm of Hades during the main quest.
- In the game Poptropica, Hades is an ally.
- Hades is the Lord of the Underworld and the true antagonist of Kid Icarus: Uprising, voiced by S. Scott Bullock. In the game's story line, Hades engineers the series of battles to ensure a vast amount of souls to increase his own powers. He also displays the power to craft souls into monsters or resurrect those who died.
- In Persona 2: Innocent Sin, Hades is Eikichi Mishina's ultimate Persona.
- Hades is a recurring summon in the Final Fantasy series
Haides was depicted as a dark-bearded, regal god. He was depicted as either Aidoneus, enthroned in the underworld, holding a bird-tipped sceptre, or as Plouton, the giver of wealth, pouring fertility from a cornucopia.