Pluto/Hades – God of the Underworld

~ Rape of Proserpine by Christoph Schwartz

Pluto (also called Dis) was the God of the Underworld. Pluto became the lord of the dead and the ruler of the Underworld after he, together with his brother Neptune, helped Jupiter overthrow their father Saturn.

Other information:

  1. Both Pluto and Dis mean ‘wealthy’. Hades is also the name for the Underworld itself.
  2. Pluto is infamous for his abduction or rape of Persephone (his niece), daughter of Ceres.
  3. In classical art, Pluto is seldom depicted alone. Artists have always placed Persephone by his side either as his Queen or victim.
  4. He has a three-headed dog called Cerberus that guards the gates of Hades. Cerberus eats all who try to leave the Underworld.
  5. The ancient Greeks believed that when a person dies, Mercury will escort his/her soul to the River Styx. There, those who had received a proper paid burial will be led by the ferryman, Charon across to the gates of hell.

Classical References:

Homeric Hymn to Demeter; Hesiod, Theogony; Ovid, Metamorphoses


Scepter; chariot; black horses; Proserpine; pomegranate

~ The Abduction of Proserpine by Rembrandt van Rijn

~ Return of Persephone by Lord Frederick Leighton

5 Responses to “Pluto/Hades – God of the Underworld”
  1. Schwartz’s Persephone painting also seems to reference Plato (and possibly disagree with or rewrite the role of the horses that represent the Rational and Appetitive parts of the tripartite soul). Hades’ chariot is pulled by an excess of dark, Appetitive horses.

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  1. […] sources substitute some of the Gods above with Pluto (King of the Underworld) and Vesta (Ruler of peoples’ hearth and […]

  2. […] Ceres is usually depicted with her daughter Persephone who was abducted by Hades. […]

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