Mythology

Cerberus Leaves the Underworld

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There are many players that make up the stories of Greek mythology and each of these has important roles to play. We all know about some of the gods and goddesses, particularly the Olympian gods. We also may be familiar with some of the heroes, such as Hercules and Odysseus. There are also some monsters as part of the stories, such as Cerberus, the creature who guarded the gates of Hades.

There are a handful of stories that involved Cerberus. One of the more common takes is the story of how he left Hades. Here’s more information about that story:

Who Was Cerberus?

Cerberus was alway portrayed as a large dog who had multiple heads. He was known as a fierce defender, and he would stop at nothing to prevent people from entering the Underworld unless it was their time to go there. Although each of the depictions of Cerberus involve him having multiple heads, sources different as to how many there really were. Mostly, he is known for defending the gate from those who were in Hades. His main role was to prevent them from leaving.

Hercules and Cerberus

Perhaps the most attention Cerberus has been given in the stories is during the take of Hercules and his Twelve Labors. As his Twelfth Labor, Hercules was tasked with capturing Cerberus. Since this creature’s sole purpose was to prevent people from leaving Hades, it would have been nearly impossible to capture him without first entering Hades. So, Hercules went into disguise so that he could sneak in. Once there, his task was to capture Cerberus without using any weapons.

Hercules eventually managed to capture the beast. Some versions of the story explain how he did that in different ways. In some versions, Hercules had to first fight Hades. In other versions of the story, Hercules managed to best him with his strength and wit.

Cerberus Leaves Hades

After Hercules captured Cerberus, he had to remove him from the underworld. There were several gates of Hades, and each version of the story has them leaving out of different gates. Some versions of the story also differ in terms of how Hercules got Cerberus to leave after he was captured. The majority of them, however, seem to indicate that Cerberus was dragged. In other versions, it is indicated that Hercules needed to petition Theseus, who was living in the Underworld at the time, to help.

Cerberus was understandably unhappy about how he was captured and forced to leave Hades. It is said that he vomited a poisonous foam as he was being forcibly removed from the underworld. The foam seeped into the ground and eventually, a flower named Aconite grew where the foam landed. This flower was thought to have had poisonous properties.

Hercules presented Cerberus to prove that he had captured the beast, thus fulfilling the Twelve Labors that Hera had forced him to complete.

Source:

Wikipedia – Cerberus

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This post was written by GreekBoston.com