Roman name: Pluto
Ancient Greek Gods for Kids
Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus were brothers. Each ruled over some part of the universe. Poseidon ruled the seas. Hades ruled the Underworld. Zeus accepted the most demanding job of all - Zeus was chosen to rule over all of the gods and all of the earth and all of the heavens.
Unlike his two brothers, Zeus and Poseidon, both of whom were full of life, Hades was a gloomy fellow. He had a home high on Mount Olympus, but he was rarely there. He was much happier, well, more content anyway, to live in the Underworld.
Hades was not the lord of death. He did not decide who lived and who died up on earth. His job was to run things down in the Underworld, the place where you went after you died.
The Underworld was a big place. Some areas were really nice, and some were not nice at all. The Elysian Fields, for example, was the place heroes were sent after they died. It was a great neighborhood. But parts of the Underworld were scary! People who behaved badly on earth might end up in one of those sections. Hades decided where you were sent. It was not wise to anger Hades, whether you were alive or dead or you might end up someplace you really did not want to be.
His brothers thought Hades rarely took time to play, but they were mistaken. Hades loved to play. One of his favorite belongings was his invisible helmet. He had a lot of fun with that. More than anything, except for his beloved dog, Cerberus, Hades loved his golden chariot. It was his pride and joy. His chariot used to belong to a god named Helios. But Helios had retired and no longer pulled out the sun each day. (That was one of Apollo's jobs now.) Helios was delighted to give his old chariot to Hades. In exchange, Hades promised Helios a favor, which was all the payment Helios required. Hades and his beloved dog Cerberus would climb aboard his golden chariot, and tear across the Underworld. The souls of the dead scattered left and right to get out of their way.
Hades was never lonely. For a long time, he did not have a wife, but he did have a faithful and deeply loved companion, his three-headed dog, Cerberus. His family visited now and then. Zeus popped in whenever he felt like it. His nephew, Hermes, the deal maker for the gods, stopped by, whenever things had to be smoothed over and fixed.
To give his dog a sniff at a new place, Hades even came up to the surface now and then. If it was important enough, Hades would even attend meetings of the gods on Mount Olympus. But he never thought of himself as one of the Olympians. To Hades, home was the Underworld.