Ancient Greek Gods for Kids: Hades & Cerberus and the Underworld Illustration

Ancient Greek Gods for Kids

Hades, God of the Underworld
Roman name: Pluto

Hades ruled the Underworld. The Underworld was the place the ancient Greeks believed you went after you died. The Underworld was a big place. Some parts were really beautiful. One especially beautiful place was the Elysian Fields. That's where heroes went after they died. Some parts were not nice at all! You can guess who went there!

Hades was not in charge of death. He did not decide who lived and who died up on earth. He was in charge of assigning the dead a place to live in the Underworld. You could not argue with Hades. He was the only decision maker in the Underworld. 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 for eternity!

Hades had a faithful and deeply loved companion, his three-headed dog, Cerberus. To give his dog a sniff at a new place, Hades came up to the surface now and then. If it was important enough, Hades even attended council meetings of the gods on Mount Olympus. But he never thought of Mount Olympus as his home. To Hades, home was the Underworld. His family visited him now and then. Zeus popped down whenever he felt like it. His nephew, Hermes, the deal maker for the gods, dropped in whenever he needed his uncle's help to smooth over or fix something.

Hades had two powerful brothers (and three sisters) - the mighty Zeus, king of the gods, and Poseidon, lord of the sea. He also had several nieces and nephews. His family, when they thought about him at all, thought Hades must be lonely down there in the Underworld, all by himself. But Hades was content. His family 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. (Zeus had reassigned that job to Apollo.) 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.

His family thought Hades would never fall in love. With whom? Nearly all the people Hades met were dead. They tried to introduce him to people, living people, but Hades was not interested. He had his hands full taking care of the scrabbles between souls down in the Underworld, and playing with his beloved dog and his favorite toys. Much to everyone's surprise, one day, while allowing his dog a sniff at the surface, Hades fell in love. That's when the trouble started. 

Some Myths about Hades

Hades Falls in Love - Persephone & Hades

Hades and the King of Corinth

Hades, Cerberus and the 12th Labor of Hercules

Kerberos on Strike

The Bad Barber

Hades and Orpheus 

The Sun Chariot - The Story of Helios

The Temple Worm

Can you solve the Hades riddle? (animated, video)