Hades, Tartaros, Elysion (page 127)

Chapter 3: Olympos, the Underworld, and Minor Divinities

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Hesiod, Theogony 736-66

And there, all in their order, are the sources and ends of gloomy earth and misty Tartarus and the unfruitful sea and starry heaven, loathsome and dank, which even the gods abhor. It is a great gulf, and if once a man were within the gates, he would not reach the floor until a whole year had reached its end, but cruel blast upon blast would carry him this way and that. And this marvel is awful even to the deathless gods. There stands the awful home of murky Night wrapped in dark clouds. In front of it the son of Iapetus stands immovably upholding the wide heaven upon his head and unwearying hands, where Night and Day draw near and greet one another as they pass the great threshold of bronze: and while the one is about to go down into the house, the other comes out at the door. And the house never holds them both within; but always one is without the house passing over the earth, while the other stays at home and waits until the time for her journeying comes; and the one holds all-seeing light for them on earth, but the other holds in her arms Sleep the brother of Death, even evil Night, wrapped in a vaporous cloud. And there the children of dark Night have their dwellings, Sleep and Death, awful gods. The glowing Sun never looks upon them with his beams, neither as he goes up into heaven, nor as he comes down from heaven. And the former of them roams peacefully over the earth and the sea’s broad back and is kindly to men; but the other has a heart of iron, and his spirit within him is pitiless as bronze: whomever of men he has once seized he holds fast: and he is hateful even to the deathless gods.  Greek Text

Hesiod, Theogony 767-73

There, in front, stand the echoing halls of the god of the lower-world, strong Hades, and of awful Persephone. A fearful hound guards the house in front, pitiless, and he has a cruel trick. On those who go in he fawns with his tail and both his ears, but suffers them not to go out back again, but keeps watch and devours whomever he catches going out of the gates of strong Hades and awful Persephone.  Greek Text

Homer, Iliad 8.367-68

when Eurystheus sent him forth to the house of Hades the Warder, to bring from out of Erebus the hound of loathed Hades  Greek Text

Homer, Odyssey 11.623

Yea, he once sent me hither to fetch the hound of Hades  Greek Text

Hesiod fr 280 MW – Fragmenta Hesiodea, pp. 139-40, ed. R. Merkelbach and M. L. West. Oxford 1967.

P. Ibscher col. i

 “. . .] to [sl]ay me by force and with long spear, [but destroy]ing [Fate] and Leto’s [son] slew me. [But come,] t[ell me this thr]ough and through: [. . .] you went down [to the house of Aides . . .] tru[sty companio]n accompanied [. . .] why, as you ought [. . .?”

. . .] and [f]irst made [a]nswer: [“. . .] to the shepherd of the host [. . . go]ddess horrid Erinys, [Zeus-bor]n [Mel]eag[ros,] son of [quick-]witted Oineus, indeed I will tell [you] thi[s v]ery exactly[. . . .] illustrious Phersephoneia [. . .] thunder-joyful Z[eus,] and so he would betroth as br[i]de, by the laws of the [immor]tals[, . . .] they say that those [w]oo their gre[at-. . .] sisters, and marry them far [from] their own [parents . . .] he arises from the blessed to betroth for marriage [his own] full [s]ister; for [he says that] he himself is born nearer than great Aides to [Pherseph]one, daughter of pretty-haired Demeter; for he says that [he is] brother by the same father [. . .] Aides is her uncle; [and] he said that [this is w]hy he was going down to the misty gloom.”

[So he said;] and the son of Oineus shuddered as he heard the story, [and,] an[swe]ring [him,] he addressed him gently: [“Theseus,] counselor of the armored [Athen]ians[, . . .-]dameia was the prudent sp[ou]se [. . .] of [g]reat-spirited Peirithoos? [. . .”]  (Transl. Silvio Curtis)

Pausanias 10.28.7

Higher up than the figures I have enumerated comes Eurynomus, said by the Delphian guides to be one of the demons in Hades, who eats off all the flesh of the corpses, leaving only their bones. But Homer’s Odyssey, the poem called the Minyad, and the Returns, although they tell of Hades, and its horrors, know of no demon called Eurynomus.  Greek Text

Bakchylides, Ode 5.56-175

 So it was, they say, that the gate-destroying unconquerable son of Zeus of the flashing thunderbolt went down to the halls of slender-ankled Persephone to bring up into the light from Hades the razor-toothed dog, son of the fearsome Echidna. There he saw the souls of miserable mortals by the streams of Cocytus, like leaves swirled by the wind along the sheep-pasturing headlands of shining Ida. Among them, the shade of Porthaon’s bold, spear-wielding descendant stood out. When the marvellous hero, son of Alcmene, saw him shining in his armor, he stretched the clear-sounding bowstring onto his bow, and opened the lid of his quiver and drew out a bronze-tipped arrow. But the soul of Meleager appeared in front of him and spoke to him, knowing him well: “Son of great Zeus, stand where you are, and calm your spirit— Do not shoot a harsh arrow from your hands in vain against the souls of those who have perished. You have no need to fear.” So he spoke.  Continue Reading  Greek Text

Theognis 707-12

whosoever hath once been veiled in the black cloud of Death and gone to the shadowy place of the departed, passing the black portal which for all their denial of guilt prisoneth the souls of the dead; yet e’en thence, ‘t would seem, to the light of the Sun came hero Sisyphus back by his own great cunning. Greek Text

Aischylos, Psychagogoi fr 275 R – Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta 3, p. 373, ed. S. L. Radt. Göttingen 1985.

Aristophanes, Batrachoi (Frogs) 145-51

Then a great slough
of ever-flowing dung, and in it lie
any who ever wronged his guest,
or screwed a boy and took back the pay,
Or thrashed his mother, or smacked his father’s jaw,
or swore a perjured oath,
Or copied out a speech of Morsimus.  Greek Text

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Edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, February 2021

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