Profile: Hades (+ book haul)

This is a post for my March book challenge, #marchmonthofmythology.

I’ve mentioned Hades in the myth of Persephone, and in relation to the Olympian gods. You already know he is the Lord of the Underworld. Now let me tell you a little bit more about him.

Hades is the god of the Underworld, but not of death. He doesn’t decide when or how people die, he just makes sure they don’t leave the Underworld once they get there. His attributes (the items he is often depicted with) are a bident (like a trident, but with two prongs; yes, it’s actually called that) and a horn of plenty (aka cornucopia). On ancient Greek pottery he usually sits on a throne, often with Persephone beside him. He also had a helmet of invisibility.

You might think the cornucopia is a little out of place; sure, a weapon, helmet and throne make sense for the ruler of the Underworld, but what’s he doing with a horn of plenty? Truth is, he’s not just there to rule the Underworld. He is also the god of wealth. In fact, his Latin name, Pluto, comes from the Greek Ploutos, which is a euphemism meaning ‘the wealthy one’. This is often associated with precious stones and metals found in the earth, but the cornucopia is filled with food as well. One of my lecturers at uni explained this with the image that Hades pushes up the plants, as it were, from his position underneath the earth. This way he is even more connected with Demeter and Persephone: it’s as if Demeter has to work with Hades to make the plants grow. As far as I know this is not actually mentioned in any mythological retelling – it’s just an interesting theory I wanted to share.

Hades was depicted as a strict and ruthless, but dependable god. You could expect grave punishment if you wronged him and/or broke the rules of the Underworld, but he was not unreasonable. If you ever wanted to ask Hades for a favour, the best time for that would be during the winter, when Persephone is with him. She is just as fearsome as he is, but any talk about love will make both of them sentimental and improve your chances of receiving help. Though if your request is not unreasonable, doesn’t cost Hades any effort, and doesn’t break any divine laws, you probably won’t have much trouble. (As is evidenced by the time Heracles asked to borrow Cerberus.) If you wrong him, however, say, if you tried to abduct his wife, don’t expect any mercy. (Yes, I am basing that on another myth.)

Hades – book haul

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My book haul doesn’t contain any gems or precious metals, but it does contain some pretty good books I got for a pretty good price. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to spend less money on books, and though got quite a few new books this month, I think I kept to my resolution quite well. I only got A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury completely new, and that was because I heard a Dutch subscription box (Celebrate Books) was going to have an A Court of Wings and Ruin themed box. I felt like it was the right time to finally try out this series (and I ordered the box right after I’d finished ACOTAR). Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix isn’t even really a new book; my best friend and I traded editions so I could finally have all of my Harry Potter books in the same edition. (I’d just like to take a moment for everyone to appreciate what a great friend I have.) All of the other books I got/bought from a friend I met through bookstagram (Marijke @booknephilim) who was clearing out some of her shelves.

Have you gotten any new books this month?

 

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