The Greek Underworld
In the world of the Greeks, all who died
descended into the underworld, Hades. In Hades, there are
three stages and these are called the Elysian Fields. Each
field is different and separate in its own way and there are
three judges that decide which field you are to spend eternity
in. These judges, Aeacus, Minos, and Rhadamanthus, chose
your destiny by your behavior on earth.
When your soul is lowered into the underworld, beings can still
eat, drink, speak, and feel emotions, however their bodies are
nothing but shadows.
The trip to Hades begins with a ferry ride across the Styx river,
which was the barrier between the world of the living and that of
the dead. If you had a proper burial and had the fare, you
could ride the ferry into Hades, however if you did not, you were
destined to wander the shore for one hundred years. The
river of woe, Acheron, was another one of the rivers surrounding
Hades. Souls had to be boated across it also, or try and
cross it by themselves. The Cocytus, the river of wailing
and Phlegethon, the river of fire all flowed into Acheron and
surrounded Tartarus. The last river, Lethe, was the river
of forgetfulness, and those traveling into the Elysian Fields
drank its water to be relieved of their shameful deeds.
After they crossed the Styx river the judges
decided which layer the soul would be sent to. The first
layer, the Elysian Fields was for war heroes and people who did
wonderful and great things on earth. If however a soul was
superior, but not quite good enough for Elysium they would be
sent to the Fields of Asphodel. This land was a level of
the underworld that contained zombie-like souls. These
souls were neither heroes nor criminals.
If you were a criminal though, you would be sent to Tartarus. This level was a sunless land of beings that were sentenced by the judges to endure an eternity of punishment. Souls such as Tantalus, Sisyphus, and Ixion dwelled in this world.
This project was developed by Sophomore students at Sandpoint High School for the 2001 University of Idaho EdTechQuest. Contact us if you have any questions or comments.