The Romans & Greeks: Afterlife & Underworld


Both the Greeks and Romans believed in an afterlife. In Greek mythology, the Greek god Hades was the king of the Underworld, a place where souls live after death. Hermes, the messenger of the gods, transported the dead soul of a person to the banks of the River Styx to Hades (the underworld). Charon, the ferry-man who transported souls across the River Styx.  Part of the burial  was to leave a coin underneath the tongue of the deceased to pay Charon for the trip across the River. Otherwise, the deceased would have a long wait.

Charon Demanding Payment

Once across, the soul would be judged,. The soul would be sent to Elysium, Tartarus, Asphodel Fields, or the Fields of Punishment. Elysium Fields contained green fields, valleys and mountains, where pure souls lived peaceful and contented lives. Tartarus was for the people that blasphemed against the gods or were evil. The Asphodel Fields was a kind of limbo where those whose sins equaled their goodness or were indecisive , were sent. The Fields of Punishment was for sinners. In Tartarus, the truly evil souls or enemies of the gods were punished by being burned in lava, or stretched on racks.

Tomorrow,  Philosophy & Philosophers    Rita Bay

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