According to classical Mythology, Pluto was the ruler of the underworld. Initially, its name was Hades, which was later changed to Pluto. In ancient Greek religion and philosophy, Pluto is a God that presides over the afterlife. At the same time, Plouton was regularly associated or confused with Pioutos, who was a Greek god of wealth since a huge amount of mineral wealth was found underground.
Although Pluto and Hades differ in character, they are not distinct features. With so much mystery surrounding such characters and the mythology itself, it is only right that we dig a bit deeper to understand what it really is.
Who is Pluto?
The history of Pluto god states that back in the day, people were even afraid to utter the name, Pluto. The reason being that it would attract the attention of the god who is the judge of the afterlife.
Additionally, Pluto god was also known as the god of wealth since he owned all of the metals and riches of the underworld. His name is derived from the Greek name “Plouton”, which means wealth.
Previously, Pluto was also referred to as Dis Pater, meaning Father of Gods. However, today, he is best known as the ruler of the underworld and counterpart of Hades that is another Greek god.
Upon Greece’s occupation of the Romans, the gods’ Pluto and Hades were combined and replaced Dis Pater, who was known as the God of the dead, wealth, and agriculture.
Some of the Pluto god myths relate to its origin. According to mythologies, Pluto lived in a palace located in the underworld, which was far away from Mount Olympus where other gods lived. He was responsible for claiming the souls of those who inhabited his underworld domain.
In addition to that, those who entered the underworld were destined to stay there for life. Meanwhile, the gates were guarded by his dog Cerberus, which was an enormous three-headed dog.
Gods Jupiter, Pluto, and Neptune were the sons of powerful father Saturn. Upon his death, the three brother gods were handed over the responsibility of ruling the worlds. Neptune became ruler of the sea, while Jupiter took charge of the sky and Pluto’s domain was the underworld.
Eventually, it was Jupiter who became the supreme god who ruled the sky and earth. On the other hand, Neptune married and stayed in the sea and Pluto happily remained in the underworld, serving his life there. It is said that he occasionally emerged to earth to meet with the other gods.
The Abduction of Proserpina
Jupiter, who was the King of Gods had a niece name Proserpina. She happened to be the daughter of her sister Ceres, the goddess of overlooking harvest. Considering her power, all the gods and mortals did everything they could to keep her happy.
The Pluto god myths related to Proserpina argue that she was a happy and loving young woman. One day, while she was outside plucking flowers, she was spotted by her uncle Pluto. He became enchanted with her beauty and quickly kidnapped her and brought her to the underworld without anyone’s interference.
As a result, Proserpina was disheartened at her fate and refused to talk to Pluto, who had madly fallen in love with her and stopped eating as well. According to the myths, the one who ate a meal in the underworld would never be able to return. Meanwhile, she hoped for someone to come and rescue her. Therefore, she held onto as much as she could. Finally, after a week of starving and crying, she finally ate six seeds of the pomegranate.
On the other hand, Jupiter was increasingly becoming concerned about her missing daughter back on earth. He regularly cried and thoroughly missed her. Jupiter then sent his youngest son Mercury, known for having the best negotiation skills to try to talk to Pluto and make a deal.
However, since Pluto was madly in love with her and Proserpina had already eaten the pomegranate seeds, Mercury had to think and act quickly. Finally, Mercury was able to make a deal with Pluto requiring Proserpina to marry him. This would make her the queen of the underworld.
As a result, she would remain in the underworld half the year while spent the rest six months on earth in the spring. Proserpina and Ceres also agreed to the deal. Each spring, the Ceres blooms as her daughter returns from the underworld. While when it is time to return in the autumn, he cries and lets all the crops die until the cycle could begin again. And this is why we have different seasons according to the legend.
Cyclops, the one-eyed giant gave Pluto ancient god the invisibility cap to help him fight against the titans. This cap makes everyone who wears it invisible to all other supernatural and mortal beings. The pomegranate seeds are also used to symbolize Pluto.
As mentioned earlier, Proserpina ate consumed six seeds and sealed her destiny. Each spring, when Proserpina arrives on earth, she brings the seeds of fertility along with the bloom of spring. Pluto on the other hand uses a key and scepter to protect his kingdom and preventing the dead from escaping.
The Romans adopted much of Greek mythology and culture. Hades, the counterpart of Pluto was a darker god and eventually became the ruler of the afterlife and recognized as a fair judge of the dead.
Furthermore, the Roman underworld was not hellish and a dark place as highlighted in Christianity. It included five parts, through which all the departed both good and bad had to pass through.
The first three parts consisted of a journey, which sorted the souls. Once the souls had passed through the waters of the River Styx, the good souls were sent to Elysium, which was the land of the blessed and lived until eternity in happiness and peace. The bad souls ended up in Tartarus, which was the region of torment.
Even today, Pluto remains a strong character in Greek and Ancient Roman mythology. However, the modern influence has significantly changed. It is known as the ninth planet of our solar system and several characters have been named Pluto in movies too. Therefore, while Pluto remains an ancient character in the books, modern influence has popularized another Pluto hovering above us surrounded by mystery and curiosity.