Home >> New International Encyclopedia, Volume 16 >> Plague to Polybius >> Pluto

Pluto

cult, earth, zeus and name

PLU'TO (Lat., from nk. TIXoUrcol, Mouton, from IrNoii.ros, p/olitos, wealth). The Boman name for the Greek god of the lower world, properly TIADEs. Two conceptions may lie distinguished. (Me chiefly prominent in poetry represents him as the grim and Implacable ruler beneath the earth: an enemy of all life, invisible, terrible, not to be appeased by sacrifice or prayer. His king dom. though provided with palace and all else that belong to his state, is gloomy and full of horrors, while from it none ever escape. The other conception seems rather found in some aspects of his cult and in popular belief. It is best expressed through his name Pluto, and con siders the ruler of the lower world as the owner and bestower of the products which are hidden in his kingdom. especially of the grain. This aspect seems prominent in the (nit of Eleusis, and it is significant that the name Pluto first ocenrs in Attic poets of the fifth century TC. Naturally Hades is not prominent in the myths. lie was considered a son of Crones and brother of Zeus and Poseidon, to whom the depths of the earth and the kingdom of the dead were assigned after the overthrow of the Titans. From the Cyclops he received his cap of invisibility, which belongs to him as the thunderbolt to Zeus and the trident to Poseidon. In his chariot he suddenly burst from the earth and Parried off Persephone (see Cetus), who became his queen and regularly shared his cult. Tt should be noted, however. that this cult

is directed to Pluto, and to the milder aspect of the god. So far as can he seen only at l'vlas in Elis was there a sanctuary of Hades. This was only opened once a year. and then could only be centered by the priest. In art Hades is not a fre quent figure. alul 110 distinct type was developed to distinguish him. In general he differs from Zeus only in his expression. which is (lark and stern, with his hair hanging heavily over his brows. Ile is also fully and even heavily draped. Of course in such scenes as the rape of Perse phone modifications appear, and sometimes a wolf's head helmet seems to represent the cap of invisibility.

In Rome the worship of Dis Pater and Proser pina was Mtrodueed in m.o. 219 in consequence of various omens, and games were held on three nights in the Campus :Martins, aecompanied by the sacrifice of black cattle. These games, ac cording to the vow, were repeated in 13.C. 116, and later were inoditiol by Augustus. The place where the sacrifices were offered was called Ta rentum, and the altar was twenty feet below the level of the ground and only exposed to view on these occasions. Proserpina may have been an Italian goddess, but this joint cult is certainly of purely Greek origin, and almost certainly bor rowed from Tarentuin.