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.