Pluto (mythology)


Pluto (mythology)

Pluto was the Roman god of the underworld, known in Latin as Tertius, the counterpart of the Greek Hades.

Overview

Pluto was originally the Roman god of certain metals and, because these materials are mined, he also took on the role of god of the underworld. The Greek word for wealth is Polytonic|Πλοῦτος ("Plοutos") and it is believed that the Romans derived Pluto from the Greek because these metals, jewels and other riches lie under the Earth.

It is debatable whether in the Roman pantheon he was considered a son of Saturn, as Hades was of Cronus.Fact|date=June 2008 If so, he would have been one of the children not devoured by Saturn, along with Neptune and Jupiter. Together, they represented the grave, the water and the air, and the Romans believed that none of these things could be consumed by time, represented by Saturn.Fact|date=June 2008 After Saturn's defeat, the three brothers took control of the world, and divided it into three separate parts for each brother to rule. Jupiter took control of the skies, Neptune of the seas, and Pluto ruled the underworld (Tartarus or Hades).

The widely accepted myth about Hades and Persephone was also told of Pluto and Proserpina in Roman myth. Pluto and Proserpina are almost exact replicas of their Greek equivalents, as the Romans' ideas about the spirits of the underworld were very vague before adopting Greek mythology. Venus, in order to bring love to Pluto, sent her son Amor, also known as Cupid, to hit Pluto with one of his arrows. Proserpina was in Sicily, at the fountain of Arethusa near Enna, where she was playing with some nymphs and collecting flowers, when Pluto came out from the volcano Etna with four black horses. He abducted her in order to marry her and live with her in Hades, the Greco-Roman Underworld. She is therefore Queen of the Underworld. Notably, Pluto was also her uncle, being the brother of her parents, Jupiter and Ceres.

Ceres vainly went looking for her in any corner of the Earth, but wasn't able to find anything but her daughter’s small belt that was floating upon a little lake (made with the tears of the nymphs). Ceres angrily stopped the growth of fruits and vegetables, bestowing a malediction on Sicily. The plants died, and it became cold and dark above ground. Ceres refused to go back to Mount Olympus and started walking on the Earth, making a desert at every step. While Proserpina remained in captivity, Ceres wept, and nothing could grow or be harvested. The people of the world were dying, and prayed to Jupiter for help.

Worried, Jupiter sent Mercury to order Pluto to free Proserpina. Pluto would have obeyed, but by then, she had eaten six pomegranate seeds, whether of her own accord or through Pluto's trickery. Having tasted the food of the underworld, she could not leave, but when Jupiter ordered her return, Pluto struck a deal with him. He said that since she had stolen his six pomegranate seeds, she must stay with him six months of the year, but could remain aboveground the rest of the time. For this reason, in spring when Ceres received her daughter back, the crops blossomed and flowers colored in a beautiful welcome to her daughter, and in summer they flourished. In the autumn, Ceres changed the leaves to shades of brown and orange (her favorite colors) as a gift to Proserpina before she had to return to the underworld.Fact|date=June 2008 During the time that Proserpina resided with Pluto, the world went through winter, a time when the earth was barren. Thus, the seasons were created.

Although Hades was seen as somewhat merciless, Pluto was worshipped by the Romans for some of his kinder attributes. Although Hades took a central role in many Greek myths, Pluto was not as much of a general focus.

Most sources refer to Pluto as the Roman ruler of the underworld, and Hades as a name for the Roman realm of the underworld.

ee Also

*Hades
*Proserpina
*Pluto (dwarf planet)


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pluto — This article is about the dwarf planet. For other uses, see Pluto (disambiguation). Pluto   …   Wikipedia

  • Pluto (disambiguation) — NOTOC Pluto is the second largest dwarf planet in the Solar system.Pluto may also refer to:Mythology*Pluto (mythology), the Roman god of the Underworld *Plouto or Pluto, a nymph in Greek mythologyFiction*Pluto (Disney), a character in Disney… …   Wikipedia

  • Pluto in fiction — Pluto has been featured in many instances of science fiction and popular culture. Initially classified as a planet upon its discovery in 1930, Pluto has also received considerable publicity following its 2006 reclassification as a dwarf planet.… …   Wikipedia

  • Pluto — /plooh toh/, n. 1. Class. Myth. a name given to Hades, under which he is identified by the Romans with Orcus. 2. Astron. the planet ninth in order from the sun, having an equatorial diameter of about 2100 miles (3300 km), a mean distance from the …   Universalium

  • Pluto — I. /ˈplutoʊ/ (say ploohtoh) noun 1. Greek Mythology Hades, the lord of the dead and the lower world. 2. Greek Legend a nymph, mother of Tantalus. {Latin, from Greek Ploutōn} –Plutonian, adjective II. /ˈplutoʊ/ (say ploohtoh) noun Ast …   Australian English dictionary

  • Pluto —    From Roman mythology, the ruler of the underworld and the dead, and the precious metals found in the earth. He has a helmet which renders its wearer invisible. Pluto lacked pity, but he is just. His wife is Libera. The Greeks called him Hades …   The writer's dictionary of science fiction, fantasy, horror and mythology

  • Pluto — Plu·to || pluːtəʊ n. ninth planet in the solar system; (Greek Mythology) god of wealth and god of the underworld who is also identified with Hades …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Sailor Pluto — Sailor Moon character Setsuna as Sailor Pluto in her original uniform, with Garnet Rod, as drawn by Naoko Takeuchi. First appearance …   Wikipedia

  • Moons of Pluto — Hubble image of the Plutonian system Pluto has four known moons. The largest, Charon, is proportionally larger, compared to its primary, than any other satellite of a known planet or dwarf planet in the Solar System. The other moons, Nix, Hydra,… …   Wikipedia

  • Ceres (mythology) — Seated Ceres from Emerita Augusta, present day Mérida, Spain (National Museum of Roman Art, 1st century AD) Ancient Roman …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.