Pluto: Meet Hades of Roman Mythology

10/02/2022

     Pluto, is the name given, in Roman Mythology, to the Greek God Hades. Pluto is the King of the Underworld and has as a pet, Cerberus, the three-headed Hound and guardian of the underworld.

Hades in Roman Mythology:

     Pluto is how the god of the dead and riches became known in Roman Mythology, after the introduction of Greek myths and literature. Originally, the Romans did not have a notion of a realm for after-death happiness or unhappiness, like the Greek Hades - but an immense cavity, called Orco, which later came to be identified with the Greek underworld.

     To the god who commanded him, then, they incorporated Hades, under his epithet of Pluto. He was also responsible for everything that lies beneath the earth.

     He was the son of Saturn (Cronos) and Rhea and brother of Jupiter and Neptune. When Jupiter shared the Universe, he gave Pluto the empire of the underworld. Pluto was so macabre and frightening, he couldn't find a woman who would accept him to marry.

     So he decided to steal Proserpina, daughter of Jupiter and Ceres-goddess of agriculture-when she was on her way to the spring of Arethusa, in Sicily, to fetch water. Pluto is represented with an ebony crown on his head, the keys to hell in his hand, in a coach drawn by black horses.

Pluto was, the God of Greek Mythology, Hades.

Celebration:

     In his honor, a great festival was celebrated in February, when he was then offered sacrifices of bulls and black goats (the Roman festivals of February) by a priest wearing a cypress crown, and lasting twelve nights.

     There were no temples dedicated to Pluto in Rome. Pluto is married to his niece Proserpina, daughter of Ceres (equivalent, respectively, to the Greek goddesses Persephone and Demeter).


An interesting fact:

     Unlike his brothers Zeus and Poseidon (Jupiter and Neptune), who procreate freely, Pluto is monogamous and is rarely said to have children. In Orphic texts, the chthonic nymph Melinoe is the daughter of Persephone with Zeus disguised as Pluto, and the Eumenides are descendants of Persephone and Zeus Chthonios, often identified as Pluto.

     The poet Augustus Vergil says that Pluto is the father of the Furies, but the mother is the goddess Nox (Nyx), not his wife Persephone. The lack of a clear distinction between Pluto and "chthonic Zeus" confuses the question of whether in some now obscure traditions Persephone bore children to her husband.


Cult:

     As Pluto gained importance as an embodiment of agricultural wealth within the Eleusinian Mysteries, starting in the 5th century BC, the name Hades was increasingly reserved for the underworld as a place. Neither Hades nor Pluto were one of the traditional Twelve Olympians, and Hades appears to have received limited worship, perhaps only at Elis, where the temple was opened once a year.

     During Plato's time, Athenians periodically honored the god named Plouton. At Eleusis, Plouton had her own priestess. Pluto was worshiped with Persephone as a divine couple in Knidos, Ephesus, Mytilene and Sparta, as well as in Eleusis, where they were known simply as God (Theos) and Goddess (Thea).

Pluto in Christianity:

     Christian writers of late antiquity sought to discredit the competing gods of Roman and Hellenistic religions, often taking the euhemerizing approach of regarding them not as deities, but as persons glorified through histories and cult practices, and therefore not true worthy deities. of worship. The infernal gods, however, maintained their potency, becoming identified with the Devil and treated as demonic forces by Christian apologists.

     A source of Christian revulsion towards chthonic gods was the arena. Attendants in divine garb, among them a "Pluto" who escorted the corpses out, were part of the gladiatorial games ceremonies. Tertullian calls the sledgehammer-wielding figure usually identified as the Etruscan Charun the "brother of Jupiter", i.e. Hades/Pluto/Dis, an indication that the distinctions between these denizens of the underworld were becoming blurred in a Christian context.

     Prudentius, in his poetic polemic against the religious traditionalist Symmachus, describes the arena as a place where savage vows were performed on an altar to Pluto, where fallen gladiators were human sacrifices to Dis, and Charon received their souls as his payment, to the delight of the king. underworld.

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