Living Visitors to the Underworld
To fulfill one of his twelve labors, Hercules had oo go into the underworld and return with Cerberus, the dog of Hades. With the help of Hermes and Athena, he forced his way across the river by beating Charon. He then fought Hades, and after being victorious took the dog. While there, he came across Theseus and released him.
Theseus went to the underworld to return a favor to Pirithous who helped him kidnap Helen. Pirithous wanted to marry Persephone but he would but would have to overcome Hades in order to accomplish this. Theseus and Pirithous fought their way to Hades’s palace. Pirithous told Hades he wanted to marry Persephone but Hades was not about to let her go. He asked the two to sit down. They sat down on chairs of oblivion where they were trapped for years. Theseus was later released by Hercules, but Pirithous had to remain.
Orpheus was an excellent musician who lost his wife to a snakebite. He used his music to gain entrance into the underworld. Persephone had pity on him and told him he could return with his wife to the land of the living. One requirement was that he could not look back until he was out of the underworld. He resisted the temptation to look back until they were almost out of the underworld. He tried to sneak a look back at his wife. As soon as he did, his wife returned to the underworld. He was not able to return again until his natural death.
Aeneas (Roman Myth)
Aeneas was a Trojan Hero in Greek and Roman mythology. After Troy fell he and other survivors of the Trojan War fled and sailed away to find a new home. After landing in Italy, Aeneas tried to determine where to settle. Aeneas visited Cumaean Sibyl, a prophetess who had access to the underworld through a cave with a hundred openings. Sibyl agreed to be Aeneas’s guide and directed him to take an item from a nearby magical bough, which was sacred to Proserpine (Persephone), wife of Pluto (Hades). Charon, the ferryman of the underworld, allowed Aeneas to pass because of the item from the magical bough. In the underworld, Aeneas spoke to his father Achises. He told Aeneas where to settle. Aeneas returned from the underworld and sailed on to the Tiber River in a land called Latium. He married a princes and founded the city of Lavinium.
Sisphus was a very clever man, who deceived the gods and was famous for outwitting the god Thanatos (death). First he offended Zeus who sent Thanatos after him. Sisphus tricked Thanatos and held him captive so that no mortals were able to die. Zeus sent Hermes to release death, who then caught up with Sisphus. In order to cheat death again, Sisphus told his wife not to give him proper burial rights. When entering the underworld he was not able to pay the crossing fee to Charon. He begged Persephone to allow him to return to earth for three days and punish his wife for not properly preparing his body for death Persephone agreed. After three days, Sisphus did not return to the underworld. He lived out the rest of his natural life to an old age. Sisphus, like any mortal, died of old age, and when he entered the underworld he was sentenced to Tartarus to be punished for his crimes.
Major Gods and Goddesses
Introduction | Creation Story | Olympians VS. Titans | Creation of Man |
Revolt of Giants | Abduction of Persephone | The Underworld
Visitors to Underworld | Amzon Warriors | Ares vs. Athena | Daedalus and Icarus
Echo and Narcissus | Judgement of Paris | Perseus and Andromeda | Trojan War