Facts and Mythology about the River in Hades
The River Styx was the principal river of the underworld, which had to be crossed to pass to the regions of the dead. The River Styx was a river which formed the boundary between Earth and the Underworld (Hades). The souls of the dead first had to pay the ferryman Charon to take them across the the River Styx to Hades which was the underworld or the realm of the dead according to Greek and Roman mythology.
The souls or ghosts of the dead were escorted by Mercury the Roman Messenger of the gods, to the boatman, or ferryman, Charon who would only ferry the souls who could pay him the fare across the River Styx so a coin was always placed in in or on the mouths of the dead. The penalty for not being able to pay the ferryman to take them across the River Styx was to spend one hundred years wandering around the shores of Hades.
Facts and Mythology about Cerberus and Hades
The far side of the river was guarded by Cerberus, the three headed savage dog, or hellhound, with a snake for a tail and snakes down his back like a mane. Passing beyond Cerberus, the ghosts or souls of the departed entered the land of the dead to be judged. Cerberus guarded the gate to Hades and ensured that spirits of the dead could enter, but none could exit. Mythology tells that the final of the 12 Labors of Hercules was to capture Cerberus, which due to his legendary strength, he did by wrestling it into submission.
Facts and Myths of Hades
There are many facts and myths about Hades the Underworld. These legends include descriptions of the different regions of Hades. The underworld of Hades was divided into five areas. The different regions of Hades were called the Fields of Asphodel, the region of waters called the River Styx, a gloomy region called Erebus, Tartarus, or the region of torments and finally the district of joy and bliss which was called Elysium. The myths and legends relating to the different regions of Hades are as follows:
The first was called the previous region or the Fields of Asphodel
*** Two sorts of beings inhabited the Fields of Asphodel - those which make the real misery of mankind upon earth, such as war, discord, labor, grief, cares, distempers, and old age and those with imaginary terrors, and all the most frightful monsters of our own imagination taken from mythology such as Gorgons and Harpies
The second was the region of waters called the River Styx.
*** All the departed souls had to pass the waters to enter into the other world. The River was called Styx, or the hateful passage
The third was the gloomy region called Erebus
*** Erebus began immediately with the bank on the other side the River Styx and was supposed to extend a great way in. Erebus was subdivided again into several particular districts or regions:
*** *** The first region was the place for infants
*** *** The next region was for all who had been put to death without a cause
*** *** Then the place for those who put an end to their own lives. This was a melancholy region, situated amidst the marshes made by the overflowings of the Styx, or hateful river
*** *** After this were the fields of mourning, full of dark woods and groves, and inhabited by those who died of love
*** *** Last of all was an open country, allotted for the souls of departed warriors
*** The road from Erebus then divided into two, of which the right hand road led to Elysium, or the place of the blessed and the left hand road to Tartarus, or the place of the tormented.
The fourth region was therefore Tartarus, or the region of torments and punishment after death
The fifth district was the region of joy and bliss which was called Elysium
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