In ancient Greek religion and myth, Pluto (Πλούτων, Ploutōn) was a name for the ruler of the underworld; the god was also known as Hades, a name for the underworld itself. This deity has two major myths: in Greek cosmogony, he received the rule of the underworld in a three-way division of sovereignty over the world, with his brothers Zeus ruling Heaven and Poseidon the Sea; and he abducts Persephone to be his wife and the queen of his realm. In other myths, he plays a secondary role, mostly as the possessor of a quest-object.
The name Ploutōn was frequently conflated with that of Plutus (Πλοῦτος, Ploutos), a god of wealth, because mineral wealth was found underground, and because as a chthonic god Pluto ruled the deep earth that contained the seeds necessary for a bountiful harvest. Ploutōn became a more positive way to talk about the ruler of the underworld, and the name was popularized through the mystery religions and philosophical systems influenced by Plato, the major Greek source on its meaning.
Pluto (genitive Plutonis) is the Latinized form of the Greek Ploutōn. Pluto's Roman equivalent is Dis Pater, whose name is most often taken to mean "Rich Father." Pluto was also identified with the obscure Roman Orcus, like Hades the name of both a god of the underworld and the underworld as a place. The name Pluto is sometimes used for the ruler of the dead in Latin literature, leading some mythology handbooks to assert misleadingly that Pluto was the Roman counterpart of Hades, rather than an adopted Greek name identified with Dis Pater or Orcus. Pluto (French Pluton and Italian Plutone) is commonly used as the name of the classical ruler of the underworld in subsequent Western literature and other art forms.
- 1 Hesiod's Theogony
- 2 Plouton and Ploutos
- 3 Mythology
- 4 Mysteries and cult
- 5 Iconography and attributes
- 6 In Greek literature and philosophy
- 7 Theogonies and cosmology
- 8 In Western art and literature
- 9 Scientific terms
- 10 Notes
- 11 External links
The name Plouton does not appear in Greek literature of the Archaic period. In Hesiod's Theogony, the six children of Cronus and Rhea are Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, and Hestia. The male children divide the world into three realms. Hades takes Persephone by force from her mother Demeter, with the consent of Zeus. Ploutos, "Wealth," appears in the Theogony as the child of Demeter and Iasion: "fine Plutus, who goes upon the whole earth and the broad back of the sea, and whoever meets him and comes into his hands, that man he makes rich, and he bestows much wealth upon him." This union, also described in the Odyssey, took place in a fallow field that had been ploughed three times, in what seems to be a reference to a ritual copulation or sympathetic magic to ensure the earth's fertility. "The resemblance of the name Ploutos to Plouton …," it has been noted, "cannot be accidental. Plouton is lord of the dead, but as Persephone's husband he has serious claims to the powers of fertility." Demeter's son merges with her son-in-law, redefining the implacable chariot-driver Hades whose horses trample the flowering earth.
Plouton and Ploutos
Plouton was one of several euphemistic names for Hades, described in the Iliad as the god most hateful to mortals. Plato says that people prefer the name Plouton, "giver of wealth," because the name of Hades is fear-provoking. The name was understood as referring to "the boundless riches of the earth, both the crops on its surface — he was originally a god of the land — and the mines hidden within it." What is sometimes taken as "confusion" of the two gods Plouton and Ploutos ("Wealth") held or acquired a theological significance in antiquity; as a lord of abundance or riches, Pluto expresses the positive aspect of the god, symbolized in art by the "horn of plenty" (cornucopia), by means of which Plouton is distinguished from the gloomier Hades.
At the time of Ennius (ca. 239–169 BCE), the leading figure in the Hellenization of Latin literature, Pluto was considered a Greek god to be explained in terms of his Roman equivalents Dis Pater and Orcus. It is unclear whether Pluto had a literary presence in Rome before Ennius. Some scholars think that rituals and beliefs pertaining to Pluto entered Roman culture with the establishment of the Saecular Games in 249 BCE, and that Dis pater was only a translation of Plouton. Cicero identifies Pluto with Dis, explaining that "The earth in all its power and plenty is sacred to Father Dis, a name which is the same as Dives, 'The Wealthy One,' as is the Greek Plouton. This is because everything is born of the earth and returns to it again."
The geographer Strabo (1st century) makes a distinction between Pluto and Hades. In writing of the mineral wealth of ancient Iberia (Roman Spain), he says that among the Turdetani, it is "Pluto, and not Hades, who inhabits the region down below." In Lucian's discourse On Mourning (2nd century), Pluto's "wealth" is the dead he rules over in the abyss (chasma); the name Hades is reserved for the underworld itself.
In Greek religious practice, Pluto is sometimes seen as the "chthonic Zeus" (Zeus Chthonios or Zeus Catachthonios), or at least as having functions or significance equivalent to those of Zeus but pertaining to the earth or underworld. In ancient Roman and Hellenistic religion, Pluto was identified with a number of other deities, including Summanus, the god of nocturnal thunder; Februus, the god from whose purification rites the month of February takes its name; the syncretic god Serapis, regarded as Pluto's Egyptian equivalent; and the Semitic god Muth (Μούθ). Muth was described by Philo of Byblos as the equivalent of both Thanatos (Death personified) and Pluto. The ancient Greeks did not regard Pluto as "death" per se.
The best-known myth involving Pluto or Hades is the abduction of Persephone, also known as Kore ("the Maiden"). The earliest literary versions of the myth are a brief mention in Hesiod's Theogony and the extended narrative of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter; the ruler of the underworld is named as Hades ("the Hidden One") in both these works. He is an unsympathetic figure, and Persephone's unwillingness is emphasized. Increased usage of the name Plouton in religious inscriptions and literary texts reflects the influence of the Eleusinian Mysteries, which treated Pluto and Persephone as a divine couple who received initiates in the afterlife; Pluto was disassociated from the "violent abductor" of Kore.
The most influential version of the abduction myth is that of Ovid, who tells the story in both the Metamorphoses (Book 5) and the Fasti (Book 4). Another major retelling is the long unfinished poem De raptu Proserpinae of Claudian. Ovid uses the name Dis, not Pluto in these two passages, and Claudian uses Pluto only once; translators and editors, however, sometimes supply the more familiar "Pluto" when other epithets appear in the source text. The mythography traditionally known as the Library of Apollodorus (in Greek, 2nd/1st century BCE) and the Fables of Hyginus (in Latin, 1st-century BCE) name the god as Pluto instead of Hades. The abduction myth was a popular subject for Greek and Roman art, and recurs throughout Western art and literature, where the name "Pluto" becomes common. Narrative details from Ovid and Claudian influence these later versions in which the abductor is named as Pluto, especially the role of Venus and Cupid in manipulating Pluto with love and desire. Throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and certainly by the time of Natale Conti's widely read Mythologiae (1567), the traditions pertaining to the various rulers of the classical underworld coalesced into a single mythology that made few if any distinctions among Hades, Pluto, Dis, and Orcus.
Unlike his freely procreating brothers Zeus and Poseidon, Pluto is monogamous, and is rarely said to have children. In Orphic texts, the Eumenides ("The Kindly Ones") are the offspring of Persephone and Zeus Chthonios, often identified with Pluto, and are distinguished from the Furies (Greek Erinyes). The Augustan poet Virgil says that Pluto is the father of Allecto the Fury, whom he hates. The lack of a clear distinction between Pluto and "chthonic Zeus" confuses the question of whether in some traditions, now obscure, Persephone bore children to her husband. In the late 4th century, Claudian's epic on the abduction motivates Pluto with a desire for children. The poem is unfinished, however, and anything Claudian may have known of these traditions is lost.
Justin Martyr alludes to children of Pluto, but neither names nor enumerates them. Hesychius mentions a "son of Pluto." In his 14th-century mythography, Boccaccio records a tradition in which Pluto was the father of the divine personification Veneratio ("Reverence"), noting that she had no mother because Proserpina (the Latin name of Persephone) was sterile.
In The Faerie Queene (1590s), Edmund Spenser invents a daughter for Pluto whom he calls Lucifera. The character's name was taken from the 16th-century mythography of Natale Conti, who used it as the Latin translation of Greek phosphor, "light-bearer," a regular epithet of Hecate. Spenser incorporated aspects of the mysteries into The Faerie Queene.
Pluto and Orpheus
Orpheus was regarded as a founder and prophet of the mysteries called "Orphic," "Dionysiac," or "Bacchic." Mythologized for his ability to entrance even animals and trees with his music, he was also credited in antiquity with the authorship of the lyrics that have survived as the Orphic Hymns, among them a hymn to Pluto. Orpheus's voice and lyre-playing represented a medium of revelation or higher knowledge for the mystery cults.
In his central myth, Orpheus visits the underworld in the hope of retrieving his bride, Eurydice, relying on the power of his music to charm the king and queen of Hades. Greek narratives of Orpheus's descent and performance typically name the ruler of the underworld as Plouton, as for instance in the Library of Apollodorus. The myth demonstrates the importance of Pluto "the Rich" as the possessor of a quest-object. Orpheus performing before Pluto and Persephone was a common subject of ancient and later Western literature and art, and one of the most significant mythological themes of the classical tradition.
The demonstration of Orpheus's power depends on the normal obduracy of Pluto; the Augustan poet Horace describes him as incapable of tears. Claudian, however, portrays the steely god as succumbing to Orpheus's song so that "with iron cloak he wipes his tears" (ferrugineo lacrimas deterget amictu), an image renewed by Milton in Il Penseroso (106–107): "Such notes … / Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek."
Lucian suggests that Pluto's love for his wife gave the ruler of the underworld a special sympathy or insight into lovers parted by death. In one of the Dialogues of the Dead, Lucian has Pluto interrogate Protesilaus, who as the first hero killed at Troy wishes to return to the world of the living. "You are then in love with life?" Pluto asks. "Such lovers we have here in plenty; but they love an object, which none of them can obtain." Protesilaus explains, as a sort of reverse Orpheus, that he has left behind a young bride whose memory even the Lethe's waters of forgetting have not erased from him. Pluto assures him that death will reunite them someday, but Protesilaus argues that Pluto himself should understand love and its impatience, and reminds the king of his grant to Orpheus and to Alcestis, who took her husband's place in death and then was permitted at the insistence of Heracles to return to him. When Persephone intercedes for the dead warrior, Pluto grants the request at once, though allowing only one day for the reunion.
Mysteries and cult
As Pluto gained importance within the Eleusinian Mysteries throughout the 5th century BCE as an embodiment of agricultural wealth, the name Hades was increasingly reserved for the underworld as a place. Neither Hades nor Pluto was one of the traditional Twelve Olympians, and Hades seems to have received limited cult, perhaps only at Elis, where the temple was opened once a year. During the time of Plato, the Athenians periodically honored Plouton with the "strewing of a couch" (tên klinên strôsai). At Eleusis, Plouton had his own priestess. Pluto was worshipped with Persephone as a divine couple at Knidos, Ephesos, Mytilene, and Sparta as well as at Eleusis, where they were known simply as God (Theos) and Goddess (Thea).
In the ritual texts of the mystery religions preserved by the so-called Orphic or Bacchic gold tablets, the earliest extant examples of which date from the late 5th century BCE, the name Hades appears more frequently than Plouton. Hades, however, most often refers to the underground place, and Plouton to the ruler who presides over it in a harmonious partnership with Persephone. By the end of the 4th century BCE, the name Plouton appears in Greek metrical inscriptions. Two fragmentary tablets greet Pluto and Persephone jointly, and the divine couple appear as welcoming figures in a metrical epitaph:
Hesychius of Alexandria identifies Pluto with Eubouleus, but other ancient sources distinguish between these two underworld deities, and in the Mysteries Eubouleus plays the role of a torchbearer, possibly a guide for the initiate's return.
Orphic Hymn to Pluto
The Orphic Hymn to Pluto addresses the god as "strong-spirited" and the "All-Receiver" who commands death and is the master of mortals. His titles are given as Zeus Chthonios and Euboulos ("Good Counsel"). In the hymn's topography, Pluto's dwelling is in Tartarus, simultaneously a "meadow" and "thick-shaded and dark," where the Acheron encircles "the roots of the earth." Hades is again the name of the place, here described as "windless," and its gates, through which Pluto carried "pure Demeter's daughter" as his bride, are located in an Attic cave within the district of Eleusis. The route from Persephone's meadow to Hades crosses the sea. The hymn concludes:
- You alone were born to judge deeds obscure and conspicuous.
- Holiest and illustrious ruler of all, frenzied god,
- You delight in the worshiper's respect and reverence.
- Come with favor and joy to the initiates. I summon you.
The names of both Hades and Pluto appear also in the Greek Magical Papyri and curse tablets, with Hades usually referring to the underworld as a place, and Pluto regularly invoked as the partner of Persephone. Five Latin curse tablets from Rome, dating to the mid-1st century BCE, promise Persephone and Pluto an offering of "dates, figs, and a black pig" if the curse is fulfilled by the desired deadline. The pig was a characteristic animal sacrifice to chthonic deities, whose victims were typically black or dark in color.
A set of curse tablets written in Doric Greek and found in a tomb addresses a Pasianax, "Lord to All," sometimes taken as a title of Pluto, but more recently thought to be a magical name for the corpse. Pasianax is found elsewhere as an epithet of Zeus, or in the tablets may invoke a daimon like Abrasax.
Sanctuaries of Pluto
A sanctuary dedicated to Pluto was called a ploutonion (Latin plutonium). The complex at Eleusis for the mysteries had a ploutonion regarded as the birthplace of the divine child Ploutos, in another instance of conflation or close association of the two. Greek inscriptions record an altar of Pluto, which was to be "plastered", that is, resurfaced for a new round of sacrifices at Eleusis. One of the known ploutonia was in the sacred grove between Tralleis and Nysa, where a temple of Pluto and Persephone was located. Visitors sought healing and dream oracles. The ploutonion at Hierapolis, Phrygia, was connected to the rites of Cybele, but during the Roman Imperial era was subsumed by the cult of Apollo, as confirmed by archaeological investigations during the 1960s. It too was a dream oracle. The sites often seem to have been chosen because the presence of naturally occurring mephitic vapors was thought to indicate an opening to the underworld. In Italy, Avernus was considered an entrance to the underworld that produced toxic vapors, but Strabo seems not to think that it was a ploutonion.
Iconography and attributes
In Eleusinian scenes
Kevin Clinton attempted to distinguish the iconography of Hades, Plouton, Ploutos, and the Eleusinian Theos in 5th-century vase painting that depicts scenes from or relating to the mysteries. In Clinton's schema, Plouton is a mature man, sometimes even white-haired; Hades is also usually bearded and mature, but his darkness is emphasized in literary descriptions, represented in art by dark hair. Plouton's most common attribute is a scepter, but he also often holds a full or overflowing cornucopia; Hades sometimes holds a horn, but it is depicted with no contents and should be understood as a drinking horn. Unlike Plouton, Hades never holds agrarian attributes such as stalks of grain. His chest is usually bare or only partly covered, whereas Plouton is fully robed (exceptions, however, are admitted by the author). Plouton stands, often in the company of both Demeter and Kore, or sometimes one of the goddesses, but Hades almost always sits or reclines, usually with Persephone facing him. "Confusion and disagreement" about the interpretation of these images remain.
The keys of Pluto
Attributes of Pluto mentioned in the Orphic Hymn to Pluto are his scepter, keys, throne, and horses. In the hymn, the keys are connected to his capacity for giving wealth to humanity, specifically the agricultural wealth of "the year's fruits."
Pausanias explains the significance of Pluto's key in describing a wondrously carved cedar chest at the Temple of Hera in Elis. Numerous deities are depicted, with one panel grouping Dionysus, Persephone, the nymphs and Pluto. Pluto holds a key because "they say that what is called Hades has been locked up by Pluto, and that nobody will return back again therefrom." Natale Conti cites Pausanias in noting that keys are an attribute of Pluto as the scepter is of Jove (Greek Zeus) and the trident of Neptune (Poseidon).
A golden key (chrusea klês) was laid on the tongue of initiates by priests at Eleusis and was a symbol of the revelation they were obligated to keep secret. A key is among the attributes of other infernal deities such as Hecate, Anubis, and Persephone, and those who act as guardians or timekeepers, such as Janus and Aion. Aeacus (Aiakos), one of the three mortal kings who became judges in the afterlife, is also a kleidouchos (κλειδοῦχος), "holder of the keys," and a priestly doorkeeper in the court of Pluto and Persephone.
Vegetation and color
According to the Stoic philosopher Cornutus (1st century CE), Pluto wore a wreath of phasganion, more often called xiphion, traditionally identified as a type of gladiolus. Dioscorides recorded medical uses for the plant. For extracting stings and thorns, xiphion was mixed with wine and frankincense to make a cataplasm. The plant was also used as an aphrodisiac and contraceptive. It grew in humid places. In an obscure passage, Cornutus seems to connect Pluto's wearing of phasganion to an etymology for Avernus, which he derives from the word for "air," perhaps through some association with the color glaukos, "bluish grey," "greenish" or "sea-colored," which might describe the plant's leaves. Cornutus regularly gives the color divine connotations because it could describe the sky. Pluto's twin sister was named Glauca.
Ambiguity of color is characteristic of Pluto. Although both he and his realm are regularly described as dark, black, or gloomy, the god himself is sometimes seen as pale or having a pallor. Martianus Capella (5th century) describes him as both "growing pale in shadow, a fugitive from light" and actively "shedding darkness in the gloom of Tartarean night," crowned with a wreath made of ebony as suitable for the kingdom he governs. The horses of Pluto are usually black, but Ovid describes them as "sky-colored" (caeruleus, from caelum, "sky"), which might be blue, greenish-blue, or dark blue.
The Renaissance mythographer Natale Conti says wreaths of narcissus, maidenhair fern (adianthus), and cypress were given to Pluto. In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Gaia (Earth) produced the narcissus at Zeus's request as a snare for Persephone; when she grasps it, a chasm opens up and the "Host to Many" (Hades) seizes her. Narcissus wreaths were used in early times to crown Demeter and Persephone, as well as the Furies (Eumenides). The flower was associated with narcotic drugginess (narkê, "torpor"), erotic fascination, and imminent death; to dream of crowning oneself with narcissus was a bad sign. In the myth of Narcissus, the flower is created when a beautiful, self-absorbed youth rejects sexuality and is condemned to perpetual self-love along the Styx.
Conti's inclusion of adianthus (Adiantum in modern nomenclature) is less straightforward. The name, meaning "unmoistened" (Greek adianton), was taken in antiquity to refer to the fern's ability to repel water. The plant, which grew in wet places, was also called capillus veneris, "hair of Venus," divinely dry when she emerged from the sea. Historian of medicine John Riddle has suggested that the adianthus was one of the ferns Dioscorides called asplenon and prescribed as a contraceptive (atokios). Samuel Beckett alludes to the associations of Proserpine (Persephone) and the maidenhair in a poem, published 1946, in which the self is a Platonic cave with capillaires, in French both "maidenhair fern" and "blood vessels".
The cypress (Greek cyparissus, Latin cupressus) has traditional associations with mourning. In ancient Attica, households in mourning were garlanded with cypress, and it was used to fumigate the air during cremations. In the myth of Cyparissus, a youth was transformed into a cypress, consumed by grief over the accidental death of a pet stag. A "white cypress" is part of the topography of the underworld that recurs in the Orphic gold tablets as a kind of beacon near the entrance, perhaps to be compared with the Tree of Life in various world mythologies. The description of the cypress as "white" (Greek leukē), since the botanical tree is dark, is symbolic, evoking the white garments worn by initiates or the clothing of a corpse, or the pallor of the dead. In Orphic funeral rites, it was forbidden to make coffins of cypress.
The tradition of the mystery religions favors Pluto as a loving and faithful partner to Persephone, in contrast to the violence of Hades in early myths, but one ancient myth that preserves a lover for him parallels the abduction and also has a vegetative aspect. A Roman source says that Pluto fell in love with Leuca (Greek Leukē, "White"), the most beautiful of the nymphs, and abducted her to live with him in his realm. After the long span of her life came to its end, he memorialized their love by creating a white tree in the Elysian Fields. The tree was the white poplar (Greek leukē), the leaves of which are white on one side and dark on the other, representing the duality of upper and underworld. A wreath of white poplar leaves was fashioned by Heracles to mark his ascent from the underworld, an aition for why it was worn by initiates and by champion athletes participating in funeral games. Like other plants associated with Pluto, white poplar was regarded as a contraceptive in antiquity. The relation of this tree to the white cypress of the mysteries is debated.
The helmet of invisibility
The mythographical Library traditionally attributed to Apollodorus (2nd century BCE) uses the name Plouton instead of Hades in relating the tripartite division of sovereignty, the abduction of Persephone, and the visit of Orpheus to the underworld. This version of the theogony for the most part follows Hesiod, but adds that the three brothers were each given a gift by the Cyclopes to use in their battle against the Titans: Zeus thunder and lightning; Poseidon a trident; and Pluto a helmet (kyneê).
The helmet Pluto receives is presumably the magical Cap of Invisibility (aidos kyneê), but Apollodorus is the only ancient author who explicitly says it belonged to Pluto. The verbal play of aidos, "invisible," and Hades is thought to account for this attribution of the helmet to the ruler of the underworld, since no ancient narratives record his use or possession of it. Later authors such as Rabelais (16th century) do attribute the helmet to Pluto. Erasmus calls it the "helmet of Orcus" and gives it as a figure of speech referring to those who conceal their true nature by a cunning device. Francis Bacon notes the proverbial usage: "the helmet of Pluto, which maketh the politic man go invisible, is secrecy in the counsel, and celerity in the execution."
In Greek literature and philosophy
The name Plouton is first used in Greek literature by Athenian playwrights. In Aristophanes' comedy The Frogs (Batrachoi, 405 BC), in which "the Eleusinian colouring is in fact so pervasive," the ruler of the underworld is one of the characters, under the name of Plouton. The play depicts a mock descent to the underworld by the god Dionysus to bring back one of the dead tragic playwrights in the hope of restoring Athenian theater to its former glory. Pluto is a silent presence onstage for about six hundred lines presiding over a contest among the tragedians, then announces that the winner has the privilege of returning to the upper world. The play also draws on beliefs and imagery from Orphic and Dionysiac cult, and rituals pertaining to Ploutos (Plutus, "Wealth"). In a fragment from another play by Aristophanes, a character "is comically singing of the excellent aspects of being dead," asking in reference to the tripartition of sovereignty over the world, "And where do you think Pluto gets his name (i.e. "Rich"), / if not because he took the best portion? /… / How much better are things below than what Zeus possesses!"
To Plato, the god of the underworld was "an agent in th[e] beneficent cycle of death and rebirth" meriting worship under the name of Plouton, a giver of spiritual wealth. In the dialogue Cratylus, Plato has Socrates explain the etymology of Plouton, saying that Pluto gives wealth (ploutos), and his name means "giver of wealth, which comes out of the earth beneath." The name Hades is taken to mean "the invisible," people fear what they cannot see; although they are in error about the nature of this deity's power, Socrates says, "the office and name of the god really correspond."
He is the perfect and accomplished Sophist, and the great benefactor of the inhabitants of the other world; and even to us who are upon earth he sends from below exceeding blessings. For he has much more than he wants down there; wherefore he is called Pluto (or the rich). Note also, that he will have nothing to do with men while they are in the body, but only when the soul is liberated from the desires and evils of the body. Now there is a great deal of philosophy and reflection in that; for in their liberated state he can bind them with the desire of virtue, but while they are flustered and maddened by the body, not even father Cronos himself would suffice to keep them with him in his own far-famed chains.
Since "the union of body and soul is not better than the loosing," death is not an evil. Walter Burkert thus sees Pluto as a "god of dissolution." Among the titles of Pluto was Isodaitēs, "divider into equal portions," a title that connects him to the fate goddesses the Moirai. Isodaitēs was also a cult title for Dionysus and Helios.
In ordering his ideal city, Plato proposed a calendar in which Pluto was honored as a benefactor in the twelfth month, implicitly ranking him as one of the twelve principal deities. In the Attic calendar, the twelfth month, more or less equivalent to June, was Skirophorion; the name may be connected to the rape of Persephone.
Theogonies and cosmology
Euhemerism and Latinization
In the theogony of Euhemerus (4th century BCE), the gods were treated as mortal rulers whose deeds were immortalized by tradition. Ennius translated Euhemerus into Latin about a hundred years later, and a passage from his version was in turn preserved by the early Christian writer Lactantius. Here the union of Saturn (the Roman equivalent of Cronus) and Ops, an Italic goddess of abundance, produces Jupiter (Greek Zeus), Juno (Hera), Neptune, Pluto, and Glauca:
Then Saturn took Ops to wife. Titan, the elder brother, demanded the kingship for himself. Vesta their mother, with their sisters Ceres (Demeter) and Ops, persuaded Saturn not to give way to his brother in the matter. Titan was less good-looking than Saturn; for that reason, and also because he could see his mother and sisters working to have it so, he conceded the kingship to Saturn, and came to terms with him: if Saturn had a male child born to him, it would not be reared. This was done to secure reversion of the kingship to Titan's children. They then killed the first son that was born to Saturn. Next came twin children, Jupiter and Juno. Juno was given to Saturn to see while Jupiter was secretly removed and given to Vesta to be brought up without Saturn's knowledge. In the same way without Saturn knowing, Ops bore Neptune and hid him away. In her third labor Ops bore another set of twins, Pluto and Glauce. (Pluto in Latin is Diespiter; some call him Orcus.) Saturn was shown his daughter Glauce but his son Pluto was hidden and removed. Glauce then died young. That is the pedigree, as written, of Jupiter and his brothers; that is how it has been passed down to us in holy scripture.
In this theogony, which Ennius introduced into Latin literature, Saturn, "Titan," Vesta, Ceres, and Ops are siblings; Glauca is the twin of Pluto and dies mysteriously young. There are several mythological figures named Glauca; the sister of Pluto may be the Glauca who in Cicero's account of the three aspects of Diana conceived the third with the equally mysterious Upis. This is the genealogy for Pluto that Boccaccio used in his Genealogia Deorum Gentilium and in his lectures explicating the The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri.
In Book 3 of the Sibylline Oracles, dating mostly to the 2nd century CE, Rhea gives birth to Pluto as she passes by Dodona, "where the watery paths of the River Europus flowed, and the water ran into the sea, merged with the Peneius. This is also called the Stygian river."
Orphic and philosophical systems
The Orphic theogonies are notoriously varied, and Orphic cosmology influenced the varying Gnostic theogonies of late antiquity. Clementine literature (4th century CE) preserves a theogony with explicit Orphic influence that also draws on Hesiod, yielding a distinctive role for Pluto. When the primordial elements came together by orderly cyclonic force, they produced a generative sphere, the "egg" from which the primeval Orphic entity Phanes is born and the world is formed. The release of Phanes and his ascent to the heavenly top of the world-egg causes the matter left in the sphere to settle in relation to weight, creating the tripartite world of the traditional theogonies:
Its lower part, the heaviest element, sinks downwards, and is called Pluto because of its gravity, weight, and great quantity (plêthos) of matter. After the separation of this heavy element in the middle part of the egg the waters flow together, which they call Poseidon. The purest and noblest element, the fire, is called Zeus, because its nature is glowing (ζέουσα, zeousa). It flies right up into the air, and draws up the spirit, now called Metis, that was left in the underlying moisture. And when this spirit has reached the summit of the ether, it is devoured by Zeus, who in his turn begets the intelligence (σύνεσις, sunesi]), also called Pallas. And by this artistic intelligence the etherial artificer creates the whole world. This world is surrounded by the air, which extends from Zeus, the very hot ether, to the earth; this air is called Hera.
This cosmogony interprets Hesiod allegorically, and so the heaviest element is identified not as the Earth, but as the netherworld of Pluto. (In modern geochemistry, plutonium is the heaviest primordial element.) Supposed etymologies are used to make sense of the relation of physical process to divine name; Plouton is here connected to plêthos (abundance).
In the Stoic system, Pluto represented the lower region of the air, where according to Seneca (1st century CE) the soul underwent a kind of purgatory before ascending to the ether. Seneca's contemporary Cornutus made use of the traditional etymology of Pluto's name for Stoic theology. The Stoics believed that the form of a word contained the original truth of its meaning, which over time could become corrupted or obscured. Plouton derived from ploutein, "to be wealthy," Cornutus said, because "all things are corruptible and therefore are 'ultimately consigned to him as his property.'"
Within the Pythagorean and Neoplatonic traditions, Pluto was allegorized as the region where souls are purified, located between the moon (as represented by Persephone) and the sun. Neoplatonists sometimes interpreted the Eleusinian Mysteries as a fabula of celestial phenomena:
Authors tell the fable that Ceres was Proserpina's mother, and that Proserpina while playing one day was raped by Pluto. Her mother searched for her with lighted torches; and it was decreed by Jupiter that the mother should have her daughter for fifteen days in the month, but Pluto for the rest, the other fifteen. This is nothing but that the name Ceres is used to mean the earth, called Ceres on analogy with crees ('you may create'), for all things are created from her. By Proserpina is meant the moon, and her name is on analogy with prope serpens ('creeping near'), for she is moved nearer to the earth than the other planets. She is called earth's daughter, because her substance has more of earth in it than of the other elements. By Pluto is meant the shadow that sometimes obstructs the moon.
A dedicatory inscription from Smyrna describes a 1st–2nd century sanctuary to "God Himself" as the most exalted of a group of six deities, including clothed statues of Plouton Helios and Koure Selene, "Pluto the Sun" and "Kore the Moon." The status of Pluto and Kore as a divine couple is marked by what the text describes as a "linen embroidered bridal curtain." The two are placed as bride and groom within an enclosed temple, separately from the other deities cultivated at the sanctuary.
Plouton Helios is mentioned in other literary sources in connection with Koure Selene and Helios Apollon; the sun on its nighttime course was sometimes envisioned as traveling through the underworld on its return to the east. Apuleius describes a rite in which the sun appears at midnight to the initiate at the gates of Proserpina; it has been suggested that this midnight sun could be Plouton Helios.
The Smyrna inscription also records the presence of Helios Apollon at the sanctuary. As two forms of Helios, Apollo and Pluto pose a dichotomy:
|Helios Apollon||Plouton Helios|
It has been argued that the sanctuary was in the keeping of a Pythagorean sodality or "brotherhood". The relation of Orphic beliefs to the mystic strand of Pythagoreanism, or of these to Platonism and Neoplatonism, is complex and much debated.
In the Hellenistic era, the title or epithet Plutonius is sometimes affixed to the names of other deities. In the Hermetic Corpus, Jupiter Plutonius "rules over earth and sea, and it is he who nourishes mortal things that have soul and bear fruit." In Ptolemaic Alexandria, at the site of a dream oracle, Serapis was identified with Aion Plutonius. Gilles Quispel conjectured that this figure results from the integration of the Orphic Phanes into Mithraic religion at Alexandria, and that he "assures the eternity of the city," where the birth of Aion was celebrated at the sanctuary of Kore on January 6. In Latin, Plutonius can be an adjective that simply means "of or pertaining to Pluto."
The Neoplatonist Proclus (5th century CE) considered Pluto the third demiurge, a sublunar demiurge who was also identified variously with Poseidon or Hephaestus. This idea is present in Renaissance Neoplatonism, as for instance in the cosmology of Marsilio Ficino (1433–99), who translated Orphic texts into Latin for his own use. Ficino saw the sublunar demiurge as "a daemonic 'many-headed' sophist, a magus, an enchanter, a fashioner of images and reflections, a shape-changer of himself and of others, a poet in a way of being and of not-being, a royal Pluto." This demiurgic figure identified with Pluto is also "'a purifier of souls' who presides over the magic of love and generation and who uses a fantastic counter-art to mock, but also … to supplement, the divine icastic or truly imitative art of the sublime translunar Demiurge."
In Western art and literature
Christian writers of late antiquity sought to discredit the competing gods of Roman and Hellenistic religions, often adopting the euhemerizing approach in regarding them not as divinities, but as people glorified through stories and cultic practices and thus not true deities worthy of worship. The infernal gods, however, retained their potency, becoming identified with the Devil and treated as demonic forces by Christian apologists.
One source of Christian revulsion toward the chthonic gods was the arena. Attendants in divine costume, among them a "Pluto" who escorted corpses out, were part of the ceremonies of the gladiatorial games. Tertullian calls the mallet-wielding figure usually identified as the Etruscan Charun the "brother of Jove," that is, Hades/Pluto/Dis, an indication that the distinctions among these denizens of the underworld were becoming blurred in a Christian context. Prudentius, in his poetic polemic against the religious traditionalist Symmachus, describes the arena as a place where savage vows were fulfilled on an altar to Pluto (solvit ad aram / Plutonis fera vota), where fallen gladiators were human sacrifices to Dis and Charon received their souls as his payment, to the delight of the underworld Jove (Iovis infernalis).
Medieval mythographies, written in Latin, continue the conflation of Greek and Roman deities begun by the ancient Roman themselves. Perhaps because the name Pluto was used in both traditions, it appears widely in these Latin sources for the classical ruler of the underworld, who is also seen as the double, ally, or adjunct to the figure in Christian mythology known variously as the Devil, Satan, or Lucifer. The classical underworld deities became casually interchangeable with Satan as an embodiment of Hell. In the 9th century, Abbo Cernuus, the only witness whose account of the Siege of Paris survives, called the invading Vikings the "spawn of Pluto."
In the Little Book on Images of the Gods, Pluto is described as
an intimidating personage sitting on a throne of sulphur, holding the scepter of his realm in his right hand, and with his left strangling a soul. Under his feet three-headed Cerberus held a position, and beside him he had three Harpies. From his golden throne of sulphur flowed four rivers, which were called, as is known, Lethe, Cocytus, Phlegethon and Acheron, tributaries of the Stygian swamp.
This work derives from that of the Third Vatican Mythographer, possibly one Albricus or Alberic, who presents often extensive allegories and devotes his longest chapter, including an excursus on the nature of the soul, to Pluto.
Medieval and Renaissance literature
In Dante's Divine Comedy (written 1308–1321), Pluto presides over the fourth circle of Hell, to which the greedy are condemned. The Italian form of the name is Pluto, taken by some commentators to refer specifically to Plutus as the god of wealth who would preside over the torment of those who hoarded or squandered it in life. Dante's Pluto is greeted as "the great enemy" and utters the famously impenetrable line Papé Satàn, papé Satàn aleppe. Much of this Canto is devoted to the power of Fortuna to give and take away. Entrance into the fourth circle has marked a downward turn in the poet's journey, and the next landmark after he and his guide cross from the circle is the Stygian swamp, through which they pass on their way to the city of Dis (Italian Dite). Dante's clear distinction between Pluto and Dis suggests that he had Plutus in mind in naming the former. The city of Dis is the "citadel of Lower Hell" where the walls are garrisoned by fallen angels and Furies. Pluto is treated likewise as a purely Satanic figure by the 16th-century Italian poet Tasso throughout his epic Jerusalem Delivered, in which "great Dis, great Pluto" is invoked in the company of "all ye devils that lie in deepest hell."
Influenced by Ovid and Claudian, Geoffrey Chaucer (1343–1400) developed the myth of Pluto and Proserpina (the Latin name of Persephone) in English literature. Like earlier medieval writers, Chaucer identifies Pluto's realm with Hell as a place of condemnation and torment, and describes it as "derk and lowe" ("dark and low"). However, Pluto's major appearance in the works of Chaucer comes as a character in "The Merchant's Tale," where Pluto is identified as the "Kyng of Fayerye". As in the anonymous romance Sir Orfeo (ca. 1300), Pluto and Proserpina rule over a fantastical world that melds classical myth and fairyland. Chaucer has the couple engage in a comic battle of the sexes that undermines the Christian imagery in the tale, which is Chaucer's most sexually explicit. The Scottish poet William Dunbar ca. 1503 also described Pluto as a folkloric supernatural being, "the elrich incubus / in cloke of grene" ("the eldritch incubus in cloak of green"), who appears among the courtiers of Cupid.
The name Pluto for the classical ruler of the underworld was further established in English literature by Arthur Golding, whose translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses (1565) was of great influence on William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, and Edmund Spenser. Golding translates Ovid's Dis as Pluto, a practice that prevails among English translators, despite John Milton's use of the Latin Dis in Paradise Lost. The Christian perception of the classical underworld as Hell influenced Golding's translation practices; for instance, Ovid's tenebrosa sede tyrannus / exierat ("the tyrant [Dis] had gone out of his shadowy realm") becomes "the prince of fiends forsook his darksome hole".
Pluto's court as a literary setting could bring together a motley assortment of characters, as in Huon de Méry's 13th-century poem "The Tournament of the Antichrist", where Pluto rules over a congregation of "classical gods and demigods, biblical devils, and evil Christians," and in the 15th-century dream allegory The Assembly of Gods, in which gods and personifications are "apparelled as medieval nobility" basking in the "magnyfycence" of their "lord Pluto," clad in a "smoky net" and reeking of sulphur. Throughout the Renaissance, images and ideas from classical antiquity entered popular culture through the new medium of print and through pageants and other public performances at festivals. The Fête-Dieu at Aix-en-Provence in 1462 featured characters costumed as a number of classical deities, including Pluto, and Pluto was the subject of one of seven pageants presented as part of the 1521 Midsummer Eve festival in London. During the 15th century, no mythological theme was brought to the stage more often than Orpheus's descent, with the court of Pluto inspiring fantastical stagecraft. Leonardo da Vinci designed a set with a rotating mountain that opened up to reveal Pluto emerging from the underworld; the drawing survives and was the basis for a modern recreation.
Opera and ballet
The tragic descent of the hero-musician Orpheus to the underworld to retrieve his bride, and his performance at the court of Pluto and Proserpina, offered compelling material for librettists and composers of opera. Pluto also appears in works based on other classical myths of the underworld. As a singing role, Pluto is almost always written for a bass voice, with the low representing the depths and weight of the underworld, as in Monteverdi and Rinuccini's L'Orfeo (1607) and Il ballo delle ingrate (1608). In their ballo, a form of ballet with vocal numbers, Cupid invokes Pluto from the underworld to lay claim to "ungrateful" women who were immune to love. Pluto's part is considered particularly virtuosic, and a reviewer at the première described the character, who appeared as if from a blazing Inferno, as "formidable and awesome in sight, with garments as given him by poets, but burdened with gold and jewels."
The role of Pluto is written for a bass in Jacopo Peri's Euridice (1600); Giulio Caccini's Euridice (1602); Luigi Rossi's Orfeo (1647); Antonio Cesti's Il pomo d'oro (1668); Antonio Sartorio's Orfeo (1672); Jean-Baptiste Lully's Alceste, a tragédie en musique (1674); Marc-Antoine Charpentier's chamber opera La descente d'Orphée aux enfers (1686); Georg Philipp Telemann's Orpheus (1726); and Jean-Philippe Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie (1733). Pluto was a baritone in Lully's Proserpine (1680), which includes a duo dramatizing the conflict between the royal underworld couple, notable for its early use of musical characterization. Perhaps the most famous of the Orpheus operas is Jacques Offenbach's satiric Orpheus in the Underworld (1858), in which a tenor sings the role of Pluton, disguised in the giddily convoluted plotting as Aristée (Aristaeus), a farmer.
Scenes set in Pluto's realm were orchestrated with instrumentation that became conventionally "hellish", established in Monteverdi's L'Orfeo as two cornets, three trombones, a bassoon, and a régale.
Ballets in which Pluto is featured include Lully's "Ballet of Seven Planets'" interlude from Francesco Cavalli's opera Ercole amante ("Hercules in Love"), a spectacular flop in which Louis XIV himself danced as Pluto and other characters; Jean-Georges Noverre's lost La descente d'Orphée aux Enfers (1760s); Florian Johann Deller's Orefeo ed Euridice (1763), with the role of Pluto danced by Gaétan Vestris; and the Persephone (1952) choreographed by Robert Joffrey based on André Gide's line "king of winters, the infernal Pluto."
The abduction of Proserpina by Pluto was the scene from the myth most often depicted by artists, who usually follow Ovid's version. The influential emblem book (Iconologia) of Cesare Ripa (1593, second edition 1603) presents the allegorical figure of Rape with a shield on which the abduction is painted. Jacob van Swanenburgh, the first teacher of Rembrandt, echoed Ovid in showing Pluto as the target of Cupid's arrow while Venus watches her plan carried out; the treatment of the scene by Rubens is similar. Rembrandt incorporates Claudian's more passionate characterizations. The performance of Orpheus in the court of Pluto and Proserpina was also a popular subject.
Major artists who produced works depicting Pluto include:
- Albrecht Dürer, Abduction of Proserpine on a Unicorn (1516), etching. Dürer's first English biographer called this work "a wild, weird conception" that "produces a most uncomfortable, shuddering impression on the beholder." The source or significance of the unicorn as the form of transport is unclear; Dürer's preparatory drawing showed a conventional horse. Pluto seems to be presented in a manner that recalls the leader of the Wild Hunt.
- Caravaggio, Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto (Italian Giove, Nettuno e Plutone, ca. 1597), a ceiling mural intended for viewing from below, hence the unusual perspective. Caravaggio created the work for a room adjacent to the alchemical distillery of Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte, his most important patron. The three gods hover around a translucent globe that represents the world: Jupiter with his eagle, Neptune holding a trident, and Pluto accompanied by a bluish-gray horse and a Cerberus who resembles a three-headed border collie more than a hellhound. The three figures represent "an allegory of the applied science of alchemy" beyond the traditional personifications of the classical elements air, water and earth.
- Brueghel the Elder, Orpheus before Pluto and Proserpina (1604), painting.
- Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Pluto and Proserpina (1621–22), also known as The Rape of Proserpina, sculpture with a Cerberus looking in three different directions.
- Rembrandt, Abduction of Proserpina (ca. 1631), painting influenced by Rubens (via the engraving of his student Pieter Soutman). Rembrandt's leonine Pluto draws on Claudian's description of the god as like a ravening lion.
After the Renaissance, literary interest in the abduction myth waned until the revival of classical myth among the Romantics. The work of mythographers such as J.G. Frazer and Jane Ellen Harrison helped inspire the recasting of myths in modern terms by Victorian and Modernist writers. In Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891), Thomas Hardy portrays Alec d'Urberville as "a grotesque parody of Pluto/Dis" exemplifying the late-Victorian culture of male domination, in which women were consigned to "an endless breaking … on the wheel of biological reproduction." A similar figure is found in The Lost Girl (1920) by D.H. Lawrence, where the character Ciccio acts as Pluto to Alvina's Persephone, "the deathly-lost bride … paradoxically obliterated and vitalised at the same time by contact with Pluto/Dis" in "a prelude to the grand design of rebirth." The darkness of Pluto is both a source of regeneration, and of "merciless annihilation." Lawrence takes up the theme elsewhere in his work; in The First Lady Chatterley (1926, an early version of Lady Chatterley's Lover), Connie Chatterley sees herself as a Persephone and declares "she'd rather be married to Pluto than Plato," casting her earthy gamekeeper lover as the former and her philosophy-spouting husband as the latter.
Scientific terms derived from the name of Pluto include:
- Pluto, the name of the dwarf planet, with related terms plutoid and plutino
- plutonium, the heaviest primordial element
- pluton, a term of petrology
- plutonism, a geologic theory
- William Hansen, Classical Mythology: A Guide to the Mythical World of the Greeks and Romans (Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 180.
- Hansen, Classical Mythology, pp. 180–181.
- Hansen, Classical Mythology, p. 182.
- Hansen, Classical Mythology, p. 182, makes this distinction.
- Lewis Richard Farnell, The Cults of the Greek States (Clarendon Press, 1907), vol. 3, p. 281.
- Odyssey 5.125–128: And so it was when Demeter of the lovely hair, yielding / to her desire, lay down with Iasion and loved him / in a thrice-turned field (translation of Richmond Lattimore).
- Hesiod, Theogony 969–74;Apostolos N. Athanassakis, Hesiod. Theogony, Works and Days, Shield (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983, 2004), p. 56.
- Athanassakis, Hesiod, p. 56.
- Emily Vermeule, Aspects of Death in Early Greek Art and Poetry (University of California Press, 1979), p. 37; Hendrik Wagenvoort, "The Origin of the Ludi Saeculares," in Studies in Roman Literature, Culture and Religion (Brill, 1956), p. 198.
- Hansen, Classical Mythology, pp. 162 and 182, citing Homer, Iliad 9.158–159. Euphemism is a characteristic way of speaking of divine figures associated with the dead and the underworld; Joseph William Hewitt, "The Propitiation of Zeus," Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 19 (1908), p. 66, considers euphemism a form of propitiation.
- Plato, Cratylus 403a; Glenn R. Morrow, Plato's Cretan City: A Historical Interpretation of the Laws (Princeton University Press, 1993), pp. 452–453.
- Fernando Navarro Antolin, Lygdamus: Corpus Tibullianum III.1–6, Lygdami Elegiarum Liber (Brill, 1996), pp. 145–146.
- Charlotte R. Long, The Twelve Gods of Greece and Rome (Brill, 1987), p. 179; Phyllis Fray Bober, “Cernunnos: Origin and Transformation of a Celtic Divinity,” American Journal of Archaeology 55 (1951), p. 28, examples in Greek and Roman art in note 98; Hewitt, "The Propitiation of Zeus," p. 65.
- Tsagalis, Inscribing Sorrow, pp. 101–102; Morrow, Plato's Cretan City, pp. 452–453; John J. Hermann, Jr., "Demeter-Isis or the Egyptian Demeter? A Graeco-Roman Sculpture from an Egyptian Workshop in Boston" in Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts 114 (1999), p. 88.
- Pluto Latine est Dis pater, alii Orcum vocant ("In Latin, Pluto is Dis Pater; others call him Orcus"): Ennius, Euhemerus frg. 7 in the edition of Vahlen = Var. 78 = E.H. Warmington, Remains of Old Latin (Heinemann, 1940), vol. 1, p. 421. The Augustan poet Horace retains the Greek accusative form of the noun (Plutona instead of Latin Plutonem) at Carmen 2.14.7, as noted by John Conington, P. Vergili Maronis Opera (London, 1883), vol. 3, p. 36.
- H.D. Jocelyn, The Tragedies of Ennius (Cambridge University Press, 1967), p. 331, with reference to Kurt Latte, Römische Religionsgeschichte (C.H. Beck, 1967, 1992), p. 246ff.
- Cicero, De natura deorum 2.66, translation of John MacDonald Ross (Penguin Books, 1972): Terrena autem vis omnis atque natura Diti patri dedicata est, qui dives, ut apud Graecos Πλούτων quia et recidunt omnia in terras et oriuntur e terris.
- Strabo 3.9, citing Poseidonius as his source, who in turn cites Demetrius of Phalerum on the silver mines of Attica, where "the people dig as strenuously as if they expected to bring up Pluto himself" (Loeb Classical Library translation, in the LacusCurtius edition). The 16th-century mythographer Natale Conti describes Pluto's imperium as "the Spains and all the places bordering the setting sun" (Mythologiae 2.9, edition of 1651, p. 173; cf. Strabo 3.12).
- Lucian, On Mourning (see Greek text); Peter Bolt, Jesus' Defeat of Death: Persuading Mark's Early Readers (Cambridge University Press, 2003) discusses this passage (pp. 126–127) and Greco-Roman conceptions of the underworld as a context for Christian eschatology passim.
- Noel Robertson, Religion and Reconciliation in Greek Cities: The Sacred Laws of Selinus and Cyrene (Oxford University Press, 2010), p. 102, citing passages from the Orphic Hymns, throughout which Plouton is the ruler of the underworld, and Hades is the name of the place itself.
- Hewitt, "The Propitiation of Zeus," p. 74, asserts that "Zeus Catachthonius seems certainly to be Pluto." Other deities to whom the title Katachthonios was affixed include Demeter, Persephone, and the Furies; Eugene Lane, "The Epithets of Men," Corpus monumentorum religionis dei Menis: Interpretation and Testimonia (Brill, 1976), vol. 3, p. 77, citing the entry on Katachthonioi in Roscher, Lexikon II, i, col. 998ff.
- Zeus Chthonius and Pluto are seen as having "the same significance" in the Orphic Hymns and in the Dionysiaca of Nonnus (6.156ff.), by Hewitt, "The Propitiation of Zeus," p. 74, note 7. Overlapping functions are also suggested when Hesiod advises farmers to pray to "Zeus Chthonius and to holy Demeter that they may cause the holy corn of Demeter to teem in full perfection." This form of Zeus receives the black victims typically offered to underworld deities.
- Martianus Capella, De Nuptiis 2.161.
- Martianus Capella, De nuptiis 2.149; Isidore of Seville, Etymologies 5.33.4; Servius, note to Virgil's Georgics 1.43 (Virgil refrains from naming the god); John Lydus, De mensibus 4.25.
- Plutarch, De Iside 27 (361e): "In fact, men assert that Pluto is none other than Serapis and that Persephone is Isis, even as Archemachus of Euboea has said, and also Heracleides Ponticus who holds the oracle in Canopus to be an oracle of Pluto" (Loeb Classical Library translation of 1936, LacusCurtius edition). Also spelled Sarapis. See Jaime Alvar, Romanising Oriental Gods: Myth, Salvation, and Ethics in the Cults of Cybele, Isis, and Mithras, translated by Richard Gordon (Brill, 2008), pp. 53 online and 58; Hermann, "Demeter-Isis or the Egyptian Demeter?", p. 84.
- Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica 1.10.34, attributing this view to the semi-legendary Phoenician author Sanchuniathon via Philo of Byblos. In addition to asserting that Muth was equivalent to both Thanatos (Death personified) and Pluto, Philo said he was the son of Cronus and Rhea. See entry on "Mot," Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, edited by Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking and Pieter Willem van der Horst (William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1999, 2nd ed.), p. 598, and Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide, edited by Sarah Iles Johnston (Harvard University Press, 2004), p. 479. Philo's cosmogony as summarized by Eusebius bears some similarities to that of Hesiod and the Orphics; see Sanchuniathon's history of the gods and "Theogonies and cosmology" below. Philo said that these were reinterpretations of "Phoenician" beliefs by the Greeks.
- Hansen, Classical Mythology, p. 182.
- Diane Rayor, The Homeric Hymns (University of California Press, 2004), pp. 107–109.
- Christos Tsagalis, Inscribing Sorrow: Fourth-century Attic Funerary Epigrams (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2008), pp. 101–102.
- Andrew D. Radford, The Lost Girls: Demeter-Persephone and the Literary Imagination, 1850–1930 (Editions Rodopi, 2007), p. 24. For an extensive comparison of Ovid's two treatments of the myth, with reference to versions such as the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, see Stephen Hinds, The Metamorphosis of Persephone: Ovid and the Self-Conscious Muse (Cambridge University Press, 1987), limited preview online.
- In Book 6 of the Aeneid (the catabasis of Aeneas), Virgil also names the ruler of the underworld more often as Dis than Pluto.
- See also, for instance, J.J.L. Smolenaars, Statius. Thebaid VII: A Commentary (Brill, 1994), passim, or John G. Fitch, Seneca's 'Hercules Furens' (Cornell University Press, 1987), passim, where the ruler of the underworld is referred to as "Pluto" in the English commentary, but as "Dis" or with other epithets in the Latin text.
- Hyginus, Fabulae 146.
- The late-antique mythographer Fulgentius also names the ruler of the underworld as Pluto, a practice continued by medieval mythographers.
- Radford, The Lost Girls, p. 22 et passim.
- Natale Conti observes (Mythologiae 2.9, edition of 1651, p. 174) that before the abduction, Pluto was the only childless bachelor among the gods (solus omnium deorum coelibem et filiis carentem vitam traduceret). The nymph Minthē was the concubine (pallakis, Strabo 8.3.14) of the ruler of the underworld under the name of Hades, but no ancient source records Pluto in this role; Conti, however, describes Minthē (Menthe) as the pellex of Pluto.
- Orphic fragments 197 and 360 (edition of Kern) and Orphic Hymn 70, as cited by Helene P. Foley, Hymn to Demeter (Princeton University Press, 1994), p. 110, note 97.
- Robertson, Religion and Reconciliation in Greek Cities, p. 102. Virgil conflates the Eumenides and the Furies, and elsewhere says that Night (Nox) is their mother. Proclus, in his commentary on the Cratylus of Plato, provides passages from the Orphic Rhapsodies that give two different genealogies of the Eumenides, one making them the offspring of Persephone and Pluto (or Hades) and the other reporting a prophesy that they were to be born to Persephone and Apollo (Robertson, Religion and Reconciliation, p. 101).
- Virgil, Aeneid 7.327: odit et ipse pater Pluton …monstrum.
- Foley, Hymn to Demeter, p. 110.
- Justin Martyr, Apology 2.5; see discussion of the context by David Dawson, Allegorical Readers and Cultural Revision in Ancient Alexandria (University of California Press, 1992), pp. 193–194.
- Hesychius, lexicon entry on Ἰσοδαίτης (Isodaitês), 778 in the 1867 edition of Schmidt.
- David Scott Wilson-Okamura, Virgil in the Renaissance (Cambridge University Press, 2010), p. 169, citing Boccaccio, Genealogia deorum gentilium 8.6; see also the Italian translation of 1644, p. 130. Boccaccio cites Servius as his source, adding that Theodontius names the daughter of Pluto as Reverentia and says she was married to Honos ("Honor"). Macaria, "Blessedness," was a daughter of Hades, according to the Suda.
- "Of griesly Pluto she the daughter was": Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, I.iv.11.1, as noted by G.W. Kitchin, Book I of The Faery Queene (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1879, 9th ed.), p. 180. In the 15th-century allegory The Assembly of Gods (lines 601–602), the figure of Vice personified is the bastard son of Pluto.
- A.C. Hamilton, The Spenser Encyclopedia (University of Toronto Press, 1990, 1997), p. 351, noting that Hecate is called a "phosphor", bringer of light, by Euripides, Helen 569. The title Phosphoros is a common one for Hecate; Sarah Iles Johnston, Restless Dead: Encounters between the Living and the Dead in Ancient Greece (University of California Press, 1999), p. 206.
- Douglas Brooks-Davies, entry on "Mysteries" in The Spenser Encyclopedia, pp. 486–487.
- Claude Calame, "The Authority of Orpheus, Poet and Bard: Between Tradition and Written Practice," in Allusion, Authority, and Truth: Critical Perspectives on Greek Poetic and Rhetorical Praxis (De Gruyter, 2010), p. 16.
- As accurately reflected by the translation of Michael Simpson, Gods and Heroes of the Greeks: The Library of Apollodorus (University of Massachusetts Press, 1976), pp. 13–15. Apollodorus consistently names the ruler of the underworld Plouton throughout, including the myths of his birth, tripartite division of sovereignty over the world, and the abduction.
- Geoffrey Miles, Classical Mythology in English Literature: A Critical Anthology (Routledge, 1999), p. 54ff.
- Horace, Carmen 2.14.6–7, inlacrimabilem Plutona (Greek accusative instead of Latin Plutonem).
- A.S.P. Woodhouse et al., A Variorum Commentary on the Poems of John Milton (Columbia University Press, 1972), p. 327.
- In the dialogue Amatorius (Ἐρωτικός) 20, Plutarch says that the only god Hades listens to is Eros; the 17th-century classicist Daniel Clasen, translating the Moralia into Latin, gives the god's name as Pluto, and in his mythographical work Theologia gentilis 2.4.6 includes this quality in his chapter on Pluto; see Thesaurus graecarum antiquitatum (Leiden, 1699), vol. 7, 104.
- Lucian, Dialogues of the Dead 23 (English translation from the 1820 edition of William Tooke; Jan Kott, The Eating of the Gods (Northwestern University Press, 1987), pp. 95–97. Lucian's dialogue has sometimes been referenced as a model for the premature loss of love between an active man carried suddenly into death and his young wife; see for instance Alfred Woltmann, Holbein and His Times (London, 1872), p. 280, and A.P. Russell, In a Club Corner: The Monologue of a Man Who Might Have Been Sociable (Houghton, Mifflin, 1890), pp. 78–79. The dialogue has also been seen as a burlesque of domesticity; Betrand A. Goldgar, Henry Fielding: Miscellanies (Wesleyan University Press, 1993), vol. 2, p. xxxviii.
- Tsagalis, Inscribing Sorrow, p. 102. The shift may have begun as early as the 6th century. The earliest evidence of the assimilation of Hades and Ploutos/Plouton is a phiale from Douris dating to ca. 490 BCE, according to Jan N. Bremmer, "W. Brede Kristensen and the Religions of Greece and Rome," in Man, Meaning, and Mystery: Hundred Years of History of Religions in Norway. The Heritage of W. Brede Kristensen (Brill, 2000), pp. 125–126. A point of varying emphasis is whether the idea of Plouton as a god of wealth was a later development, or an inherent part of his nature, owing to the underground storage of grain in the pithoi that were also used for burial. For a summary of these issues, see Cora Angier Sowa, Traditional Themes and the Homeric Hymns (Bolchazy-Carducci, 1984, 2005), p. 356, note 105.
- Morrow, Plato's Cretan City, p. 452; Long, The Twelve Gods, p. 154.
- Farnell, The Cults of the Greek States, p. 281.
- Long, The Twelve Gods, p. 179. See lectisternium for the "strewing of couches" in ancient Rome. Two inscriptions from Attica record the names of individuals who participated in the ritual at different times: Inscriptiones Graecae II21933 and 1934, as cited by Robert Develin, Athenian Officials, 684–321 B.C. (Cambridge University Press, 1989, 2003), p. 417.
- Nicholas F. Jones, The Associations of Classical Athens: The Response to Democracy (Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 125, citing Inscriptiones Graecae II21363, dating ca. 330–270; Karl Kerényi, Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter (Princeton University Press, 1967), pp. 110–111.
- Tsagalis, Inscribing Sorrow, pp. 101–102.
- Fritz Graf and Sarah Iles Johnston, Ritual Texts and the Afterlife (Routledge, 2007), first page (not numbered).
- The recurring phrase "house of Hades" (῾Αΐδαο δόμος) can be read ambiguously as either the divine being or the place, or both. In the numbering of Graf and Johnston, Ritual Texts and the Afterlife, "house of Hades" appears in Tablet 1, line 2 (Hipponion, Calabria, Magna Graecia, ca. 400 BCE), which refers again to Hades as a place ("what you are seeking in the darkness of murky Hades", line 9), with the king of the underworld (ὑποχθονίοι βασιλεϊ, hypochthonioi basilei) alluded to in line 13; Tablet 2, line 1 (Petelia, present-day Strongoli, Magna Graecia, 4th century BCE); and Tablet 25 (Pharsalos, Thessaly, 350–300 BCE). Hades is also discernible on the "carelessly inscribed" Tablet 38 from a Hellenistic-era grave in Hagios Athanasios, near Thessalonike.
- Kevin Clinton, Myth and Cult: The Iconography of the Eleusinian Mysteries (Stockholm, 1992), p. 111, observing that this presentation in art contrasts with the earliest literary sources.
- Giovanni Casadio and Patricia A. Johnston, "Introduction", Mystic Cults in Magna Graecia (University of Texas Press, 2009), p. 21.
- Tsagalis, Inscribing Sorrow, p. 101.
- Tablets 15 (Eleuthera 6, 2nd/1st century BCE) and 17 (Rethymnon 1, from the early Roman Empire, 25–40 CE), from Crete, in the numbering of Graf and Johnston.
- Sometimes read as "father," as in the translation given by Alberto Bernabé and Ana Isabel Jiménez San Cristóbal, Instructions for the Netherworld: The Orphic Gold Tablets (Brill, 2008), p. 84.
- Παρὰ Φερσεφόνει Πλούτωνί τε: Tsagalis, Inscribing Sorrow, pp. 100–101. Tsagalis discusses this inscription in light of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and the Thesmophoria.
- The entry in Hesychius reads: Εὐβουλεύς (sch. Nic. Al. 14) · ὁ Πλούτων. παρὰ δὲ τοῖς πολλοῖς ὁ Ζεὺς ἐν Κυρήνη (Eubouleus: ho Ploutôn. para de toîs polloîs ho Zeus en Kyrene), 643 (Schmidt).
- Kevin Clinton, "The Mysteries of Demeter and Kore," in A Companion to Greek Religion (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), pp. 347–353. In the view of Lewis Richard Farnell, The Cults of the Greek States, vol. 3, p. 145, Eubouleus was originally a title referring to the "good counsel" the ruler of the underworld was able to give and which was sought at Pluto's dream oracles; by the 2nd century BCE, however, he had acquired a separate identity.
- Euboulos may be a cult title here and not the name of the god Eubuleus; elsewhere it is an epithet of the sea god Nereus, perfect in his knowledge of truth and justice, and in his own Orphic hymn the guardian of the "roots" of the sea. See Pindar, Pythian Ode 3.93; Hesiod, Theogony 233–236; Orphic Hymn 23; Athanassakis, Hesiod, p. 52; Pierre Bonnechere, "Trophonius of Lebadea: Mystery Aspects of an Oracular Cult in Boeotia," in Greek Mysteries: The Archaeology and Ritual of Ancient Greek Secret Cults (Routledge, 2003, 2005), p. 188.
- The translations of the Orphic Hymn to Pluto are from Apostolos N. Athanassakis, The Orphic Hymns (Scholars Press, 1977).
- Act of Thomas 50, as cited and discussed by Susan E. Myers, Spirit Epicleses in the Acts of Thomas (Mohr Siebeck, 2010), p. 174.
- Hans Dieter Betz, The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation (University of Chicago Press, 1986, 1992), passim; John G. Gager, Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World (Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 12 (examples invoking Pluto pp. 99, 135, 143–144, 207–209) and passim on Hades.
- Bolt, Jesus' Defeat of Death, p. 152; John Scheid, "Sacrifices for Gods and Ancestors", in A Companion to Roman Religion (Blackwell, 2007), p. 264.
- Daniel Ogden, Magic, Witchcraft, and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds (Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 212, with English translation of the curse.
- Gager, Curse Tablets, p. 131, with translations of both tablets, and note 35.
- Derek Collins, Magic in the Ancient Greek World (Blackwell, 2008), p. 73.
- Esther Eidinow, "Why the Athenians Began to Curse," in Debating the Athenian Cultural Revolution: Art, Literature, Philosophy and Politics 430–380 BC (Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 50; Ogden, Magic, Withcraft, and Ghosts, p. 212.
- Bernard Dietrich, "The Religious Prehistory of Demeter's Eleusinian Mysteries," in La soteriologia dei culti orientali nell' Impero Romano (Brill, 1982), p. 454.
- Robertson, Religion and Reconciliation, p. 163 online, citing Inscriptiones Graecae 13356.155 and IG 221672.140; see also The Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore: Topography and Architecture (American School of Classical Studies, 1997), p. 76, note 31.
- Strabo 14.1.44; "Summaries of Periodicals," American Journal of Archaeology 7 (1891), p. 209; Hewitt, "The Propitiation of Zeus," p. 93.
- Frederick E. Brenk, "Jerusalem-Hierapolis. The Revolt under Antiochos IV Epiphanes in the Light of Evidence for Hierapolis of Phrygia, Babylon, and Other Cities," in Relighting the Souls: Studies in Plutarch, in Greek Literature, Religion, and Philosophy, and in the New Testament Background (Franz Steiner, 1998), pp. 382–384, citing Photius, Life of Isidoros 131 on the dream.
- Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood, "Reconstructing Change: Ideology and the Eleusinian Mysteries," in Inventing Ancient Culture: Historicism, Periodization and the Ancient World (Routledge, 1997), p. 137; Georg Luck, Arcana Mundi: Magic and the Occult in the Greek and Roman Worlds (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985, 2006, 2nd ed.), p. 505.
- Strabo C244–6, as cited by Daniel Ogden, Magic, Witchcraft, and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds: A Sourcebook (Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 190 –191.
- Kevin Clinton, Myth and Cult: The Iconography of the Eleusinian Mysteries (Stockholm, 1992), pp. 105. As Clinton notes (p. 107), the Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae does not distinguish between Hades and Plouton, and combines evidence for either in a single entry. The only vase to label the Eleusinian Theos with an inscription is a red-figured footed dinos in the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, attributed to the Syleus Painter. The main scene is the departure of Triptolemos, with Demeter on the left and Persephone as Pherephata ([Φε]ρ[ε]φάτα) on the right. Theos wears a himation over a spangled tunic with decorated hem (Clinton, p. 106).
- Catherine M. Keesling, "Endoios's Painting from the Themistoklean Wall: A Reconstruction," Hesperia 68.4 (1999), p. 544, note 160.
- Pausanias 5.20.
- Natale Conti, Mythologiae 2.9, edition of 1651, pp. 173–174.
- Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus 1051 ("Rites they to none betray, / Ere on his lips is laid / Secrecy's golden key / By their own acolytes, / Priestly Eumolpidae," in the 1912 translation of F. Storr), as cited by Jane Ellen Harrison, introduction to Mythology and Monuments of Ancient Athens, a translation of Pausanias by Margaret de G. Verrall (London, 1890), pp. liv–lv. It is unclear whether a literal key is meant, or a golden lamella (Totenpass).
- Robert Turcan, Les religions de l'Asie dans la vallée du Rhône (Brill, 1972), p. 26.
- Turcan, Les religions de l'Asie, pp. 23–26. Both Persephone (as Persephassa and "Kore out of Tartaros") and Anubis are key-holders throughout the Greek Magical Papyri. Jesus Christ, as the conqueror of death and Hades, holds keys in the Book of Revelation 1:18; see Walter A. Elwell and Philip W. Comfort, Tyndale Bible Dictionary (Tyndale, 2001), p. 561.
- For extensive notes on Aiakos, see Radcliffe Guest Edmonds, Myths of the Underworld Journey: Plato, Aristophanes, and the 'Orphic' Gold Tablets (Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 148, note 116. As a possessor of keys, he appears in Apollodorus 3.12.6, Greek Magical Papyri IV.1264, and inscriptions.
- Ancient sources on phasganion, xiphion and gladiolus, generally called "corn-flag" by historical botanists, include Theophrastus, Historia Plantarum 7.12.3; Dioscorides E 2.101; Pliny the Elder, Natural History 21.107–115; Pseudo-Apuleius, Herbarius 79, as cited by Andrew Dalby, Food in the Ancient World from A to Z (Routledge, 2003), p. 105, characterizing Pliny's entry on the plant as "confused." The correspondence of ancient plant names to modern species is always uncertain. Both the Greek xiphion and the Latin word gladiolus ("little sword") come from a word meaning "sword."
- Nouveau dictionnaire d'histoire naturelle (Paris, 1819), pp. 315–316; Julius Billerbeck, Flora classica (Leipzig, 1824), p. 13; "L'origine dei maccheroni," Archivo per lo studio delle tradizioni popolari 17 (1898), vol. 36, p. 428.
- Francis Adams, The Seven Books of Paulus Aegineta (London, 1847), p. 270; Dalby, Food in the Ancient World, p. 105; Nouveau dictionnaire d'histoire naturelle, p. 315.
- John M. Riddle, Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance (Harvard University Press, 1992), p. 42; Nouveau dictionnaire d'histoire naturelle, p. 315.
- P.G. Maxwell-Stuart, Studies in Greek Colour Terminology: ΓΛΑΥΚΟΣ (Brill, 1981), vol. 1, pp. 40, 42, citing Cornutus, Theologiae Graecae Compendium 9, 20, 35. The word γλαυκότης (glaukotēs), however, is a textual crux in the passage pertaining to Pluto.
- Lucifuga inumbratione pallescens and Tartareae noctis obscuritate furvescens, Martianus Capella, De nuptiis 1.79–80; Danuta Shanzer, A Philosophical and Literary Commentary on Martianus Capella's De Nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii Book 1 (University of California Press, 1986), p. 171.
- Ovid, Fasti 4.446, as cited John G. Fitch, Seneca's Hercules furens: A Critical Text with Introduction and Commentary (Cornell University Press, 1987), p. 166, note to Seneca's identical description of the horses of the Sun (line 132). Ovid describes the horses as black (ater) in his version of the abduction myth in the Metamorphoses, 5.310.
- Natale Conti, Mythologiae 2.9. Conti's sources on this point are unclear, and he thoroughly conflates traditions pertaining to the various classical rulers of the underworld.
- Homeric Hymn to Demeter, lines 7–9, as cited by Radford, Lost Girls, p. 145; Clayton Zimmerman, The Pastoral Narcissus: A Study of the First Idyll of Theocritus (Rowman & Littlefield, 1994), p. 2.
- Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus 681, and scholion, on Demeter and Persephone (the two "Great Goddesses"); Euphorion, fragment 94, on the Eumenides; Zimmerman, The Pastoral Narcissus, p. 2; Jan Coenradd Kamerbeek, The Plays of Sophocles, Commentaries: The Oedipus Colonus (Brill, 1984), vol. 7, p. 106, noting that garlands of flowers were expressly forbidden at the Thesmophoria; James C. Hogan, A Commentary on the Plays of Sophocles (Southern Illinois University Press, 1991), p. 99.
- "Death and Greek Myths," in Greek and Egyptian Mythologies, edited by Yves Bonnefoy (University of Chicago Press, 1991, 1992), p. 110.
- Zimmerman, The Pastoral Narcissus, p. 2; Carlin A. Barton, The Sorrows of the Ancient Romans: The Gladiator and the Monster (Princeton University Press, 1993), p. 92. The phallus as a magic charm was the remedy for invidia or the evil eye, a self-induced form of which was the ruin of the mythological figure Narcissus.
- On the difficulty of identifying precisely which flower the ancients meant by "narcissus," see R.C. Jebb, Sophocles: The Plays and Fragments (Cambridge University Press, 1900, 3rd edition), p. 115.
- Artemidorus, Oneirocritica 1.77, as noted by Jebb, Sophocles, p. 115.
- Ovid, Metamorphoses 3.505; Zimmerman, The Pastoral Narcissus, p. 48. The Styx here is a pool.
- Theophrastus, Historia plantarum 7.13–14; Nicander, Theriaca 846; Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel 4.24; Adams, The Seven Books of Paulus Aegineta, pp. 22–23; Richard Hunter, Theocritus: A Selection (Cambridge University Press, 1999), p. 277, noting that "the association of lush vegetation … with female 'otherness' and sexuality has a long history."
- Riddle, Contraception and Abortion, pp. 31, 82, 180 (note 5).
- Samuel Beckett, "Jusque dans la caverne ciel et sol", the last of twelve poems in the cycle Poèmes 38–39 (1946); C.J. Ackerley and S.E. Gontarski, The Grove Companion to Samuel Beckett (Grove Press, 2004), pp. 293, 443, 599.
- Bernabé and Jiménez San Cristóbal, Instructions for the Netherworld, p. 25.
- Servius, note to Aeneid 3.680.
- Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae 17.7.34.
- Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.106ff.; Servius, note to Virgil's Georgics 1.20.
- Bernabé and Jiménez San Cristóbal, Instructions for the Netherworld, pp. 25–28.
- The nymph Minthē, a rival for the attentions of Hades (not named as Pluto), was transformed by Persephone into the mint plant, a major ingredient in the ritual drink of the mysteries (Strabo 8.3.14).
- Servius, note to Virgil's Eclogue 7.61. Persephone is not mentioned.
- Bernabé and Jiménez San Cristóbal, Instructions for the Netherworld, pp. 93 and 124–125, citing Harpocration.
- Arthur Calvert, P. Vergili Maronis. Aeneidos Liber V (Cambridge University Press, 1879), p. 48. This was a particular custom of the Rhodians; the heroine Polyxo awarded white poplar wreaths to child athletes at the games she presented in honor of her husband; Pierre Grimal, The Dictionary of Classical Mythology (Blackwell, 1986, 1996), p. 385.
- Riddle, Contraception and Abortion, p. 33.
- Arthur Bernard Cook, Zeus: A Study in Ancient Religion (Cambridge University Press, 1925), pp. 420–422; Bernabé and Jiménez San Cristóbal, Instructions for the Netherworld, pp. 25–26; W.K.C. Guthrie, Orpheus and Greek Religion (Princeton University Press, 1952, 1993), p. 182.
- Sources used to prepare this article uniformly refer to the Library of Apollodorus. Recent scholarship prefers to view the authorship of this work as anonymous; see Bibliotheca (Pseudo-Apollodorus.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus, The Library 1.1–2, 1911 Loeb Classical Library edition, translation and notes by J.G. Frazer.
- Hansen, Classical Mythology, p. 182. Apparent references to the "helmet of Pluto" in other authors, such as Irenaeus (Against Heresies), are misleading; "Pluto" is substituted by the English translator for "Hades."
- Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel Book 5, Chapter 8.
- Erasmus, Adagia 2.10.74 (Orci galea).
- Francis Bacon, Essays Civil and Moral 21, "Of Delays."
- Farnell, The Cults of the Greek States, p. 281.
- A.M. Bowie, Aristophanes: Myth, Ritual and Comedy (Cambridge University Press, 1993, 1996), p. 229.
- As summarized by Benjamin Bickley Rogers, The Comedies of Aristophanes (London, 1902), pp. xvii and 214 (note to line 1414).
- Bowie, Aristophanes, pp. 231–233, 269–271.
- Bernabé and Jiménez San Cristóbal, Instructions for the Netherworld, pp. 127–128.
- Morrow, Plato's Cretan City, pp. 452–453.
- Translation by Benjamin Jowett, The Dialogues of Plato (London, 1873), vol. 1.
- Plato, Laws 828d, translation from Long, The Twelve Gods, p. 69.
- Walter Burkert, Greek Religion (Harvard University Press, 1985, originally published 1977 in German), pp. 231, 336. See also Homo Necans (University of California Press, 1983, originally published 1972 in German), p. 143.
- Hesychius of Alexandria, entry on Ἰσοδαίτης, 778 in the 1867 edition of Schmidt, as translated and discussed by Richard Seaford, Money and the Early Greek Mind: Homer, Philosophy, Tragedy (Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 51. Hesychius notes that Isodaites may alternatively refer to a son of Pluto as well as Pluto himself.
- H.S. Versnel, Inconsistencies in Greek and Roman Religion: Transition and Reversal in Myth and Ritual (Brill, 1993, 1994), p. 119, especially note 93.
- Plato, Laws 828 B-D; Morrow, Plato's Cretan City p. 452; Long, The Twelve Gods, p. 179.
- Morrow, Plato's Cretan City, p. 453; Long, The Twelve Gods, p. 179.
- Lactantius, Divine Institutes 1.14; Brian P. Copenhaver, Polydore Vergil: On Discovery (Harvard University Press, 2002), p. 564.
- This parenthetical remark is part of the original text. Several manuscripts of Lactantius read Diespiter, which is usually a title of Jupiter, but Dis pater is regarded as the more likely reading. See Katherine Nell MacFarlane, "Isidore of Seville on the Pagan Gods (Origines VIII. 11)," Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 70 (1980), p. 20, citing Jacques Paul Migne, Patrologia Latina vol. VI, col. 190. The relation of the title Dis Pater to Diespiter in Latin is debated.
- "Titan" usually refers to a class or race of deities, but sometimes means Helios or other divine personifications of the sun.
- Cicero, De natura deorum 3.58: "Likewise, there are multiple Dianas. The first is said to have been born as a winged Cupid, with Jove and Proserpina [as parents]. The second, whom we regard as the daughter of the third Jove and Latona, is better known. A tradition holds that Upis is the father and Glauca the mother of the third [Diana]" (Dianae item plures: prima Iovis et Proserpinae, quae pinnatum Cupidinem genuisse dicitur; secunda notior, quam Iove tertio et Latona natam accepimus; tertiae pater Upis traditur, Glauce mater: eam saepe Graeci Upim paterno nomine appellant); Copenhaver, Polydore Vergil: On Discovery, p. 564.
- Boccaccio's Expositions on Dante's Comedy, translated by Michael Papio (University of Toronto Press, 2009), pp. 332–333, 355.
- Rieuwerd Buitenwerf, Book III of the Sibylline Oracles and Its Social Setting (Brill, 2003), p. 157.
- Gábor Betegh, The Derveni Papyrus: Cosmology, Theology and Interpretations (Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 151, has noted that "one cannot establish a linear descent between the different versions"; though efforts to do so have been made, "we cannot find a single mytheme which would occur invariably in all the accounts and could thus create the core of all Orphic theogonies."
- J. van Amersfoort, "Traces of an Alexandrian Orphic Theogony in the Pseudo-Clementines," in Studies in Gnosticism and Hellenistic Religions, Presented to Gilles Quispel on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday (Brill, 1981), p. 13.
- Van Amersfoort, "Traces of an Alexandrian Orphic Theogony," pp. 16–17.
- Van Amersfoort, "Traces of an Alexandrian Orphic Theogony," pp. 17–18. Betegh, The Derveni Papyrus, p. 151, summarizes this version as follows: "The story starts with Chaos; then comes the egg; the bottom part of the egg submerges and becomes Pluton, and Kronos — not a separate god but identified with Chronos — swallows this heavy matter. The middle part, covering the first sediment, becomes Poseidon. The upper part of the egg, being purer and lighter, fiery in nature, goes upward and is called Zeus, and so forth."
- Van Amersfoort, "Traces of an Alexandrian Orphic Theogony," p. 23; Betegh, The Derveni Papyrus, p. 150.
- Arthur Bernard Cook, Zeus: A Study in Ancient Religion (Cambridge University Press, 1925), p. 746.
- Cornutus 5; Varro, De lingua latina 5.66 (on Dis); Seneca, Consolatio ad Marciam 25; all as cited by Joseph B. Mayor, De natura deorum libri tres (Cambridge University Press, 1883), vol. 2, p. 175, note to 2.26.66.
- R.M. van den Berg, Proclus' Commentary on the Cratylus in Context: Ancient Theories of Language and Naming (Brill, 2008), pp. 34–35.
- David Dawson, Allegorical Readers and Cultural Revision in Ancient Alexandria (University of California Press, 1992), p. 33, citing Epidrome 5.5.7–9.
- Plutarch, The Face of the Moon, LacusCurtius edition of the Loeb Classical Library translation online, as discussed by Leonard L. Thompson, "ISmyrna 753: Gods and the One God," in Reading Religions in the Ancient World: Essays Presented to Robert McQueen Grant on His 90th Birthday (Brill, 2007), p. 113, with reference also to Iamblichus. See also Van den Berg, Proclus' Commentary, p. 49, with reference to Plutarch, On the E at Delphi.
- This interpretation is attributed to the Greek Neoplatonist Numenius (2nd century CE), by the French scholastic William of Conches, as cited and translated by Peter Dronke, Fabula: Explorations into the Uses of Myth in Medieval Platonism (Brill, 1985), p. 54.
- Thompson, "ISmyrna 753," p. 101ff. The other deities are Helios Apollon, who is paired with Artemis (p. 106); Zeus, who is subordinated to "God Himself"; and Mēn, an Anatolian moon deity sometimes identified with Attis, who had a table before him for ceremonial dining (pp. 106, 109).
- Thompson, "ISmyrna 753," pp. 104–105.
- Thompson, "ISmyrna 753," p. 111.
- Thompson, "ISmyrna 753," pp. 110–111, 114, with reference to the teachings of Ammonius of Athens as recorded by Plutarch, The E at Delphi. The relevant passage (21) is: "This appears from the names, in themselves opposite and contradictory. He is called Apollo, another is called Pluto; he is Delius (apparent), the other Aidoneus (invisible); he is Phoebus (bright), the other Skotios (full of darkness); by his side are the Muses, and Memory, with the other are Oblivion and Silence; he is Theorius and Phanæus, the other is 'King of dim Night and ineffectual Sleep'." See also Frederick E. Brenk, "Plutarch's Middle Platonic God," Gott und die Götter bei Plutarch (Walter de Gruyter, 2005), pp. 37–43, on Plutarch's etymological plays that produce these antitheses.
- Thompson, "ISmyrna 753," passim, conclusion presented on p. 119. Thompson bases his argument on the particular collocation of deities at the sanctuary, and explicating theological details in the inscription through comparative material. See also Neoplatonism and Gnosticism.
- In the Latin dialogue Asclepius sometimes attributed to Apuleius; see B.L. Hijmans, "Apuleius, Philosophus Platonicus," Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt II.36.1 (1987), p. 441, et passim on the question of authorship.
- Terrae vero et mari dominatur Iupiter Plutonius, et hic nutritor est animantium mortalium et fructiferarum (Asclepius 27), noted by G.F. Hildebrand, L. Apuleii Opera Omnia (Leipzig, 1842), p. 314, as equivalent to the Pluto described by Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 1.780, where, however, the god is called Dis and not Pluto. Translation from Brian P. Copenhaver, Hermetica: The Greek Corpus Hermeticum and the Latin Asclepius (Cambridge University Press, 1992, 2002), p. 83; see also note to the passage p. 245. Influence from Roman Africa, particularly the figure of Baal-Hammon, may explain this particular syncretism; Jean-Pierre Mahé, "Le fragment du Discours parfait dans la Bibliothèque de Nag Hammadi," Colloque International sur les textes de Nag hammadi (Québec, 22–25 août 1978) (Éditions Peeters, 1981), p. 310.
- Pseudo-Callisthenes, I.30–33, as cited by Jarl Fossum, "The Myth of the Eternal Rebirth: Critical Notes on G.W. Bowersock, Hellenism in Late Antiquity," Vigiliae Christianae 53.3 (1999), p. 309, note 15. On the oracle and for the passage in which Aion Plutonius is named, see Irad Malkin, Religion and Colonization in Ancient Greece (Brill, 1987), p. 107, especially note 87.
- "On this day and at this hour the Virgin gave birth to Aion": Gilles Quispel, "Hermann Hesse and Gnosis," in Gnostica, Judaica, Catholica: Collected Essays (Brill, 2008), p. 258, noting that this date coincided with Epiphany and was a new year's celebration.
- As at Horace, Carmen 1.4.17, where the domus … Plutonia renders in Latin the Greek phrase "house of Hades."
- Entry on "Demiurge," The Classical Tradition (Harvard University Press, 2010), p. 256.
- Entry on "Orpheus," The Classical Tradition, p. 665. It was even said that the soul of Orpheus had been reborn into Ficino.
- Entry on "Demiurge," in The Classical Tradition p. 256.
- Friedrich Solmsen, "The Powers of Darkness in Prudentius' Contra Symmachum: A Study of His Poetic Imagination," Vigiliae Christianae 19 (1965) 237–257; Margaret English Frazer, "Hades Stabbed by the Cross of Christ," Metropolitan Museum Journal 9 (1974) 153–161.
- K.M. Coleman, "Fatal Charades: Roman Executions Staged as Mythological Enactments," Journal of Roman Studies 80 (1990), p. 67.
- Tertullian, Ad nationes 1.10. Augustine regularly calls the Roman ruler of the underworld Pluto in 'De civitate Dei; see 2.15, where Pluto and Neptune are described as the brothers of Jove; 4.10, in noting their three-way division of sovereignty over the earth and with Proserpina as Pluto's spouse (coniunx); 4.11, in deriding the allegorizing of divinity in physical cosmogony; and 6.7, in denouncing the mysteries (sacra) as obscene.
- Daniel P. Harmon, "The Religious Significance of Games in the Roman Age," in The Archaeology of the Olympics: The Olympics and Other Festivals in Antiquity (University of Wisconsin Press, 1988), p. 242; Paul-Marie Duval, "Sucellus, the God with a Hammer," in American, African, and Old European Mythologies (University of Chicago Press, 1993), p. 222.
- Prudentius, Contra Symmachum 1.379–398; Donald G. Kyle, Spectacles of Death in Ancient Rome (Routledge, 1998, 2001), p. 59.
- Solmsen, "The Powers of Darkness," pp. 237–257; Frazer, "Hades Stabbed by the Cross of Christ,", pp. 153–161.
- Dic igitur, praepulchra polis, quod Danea munus / Libavit tibimet soboles Plutonis amica, Bella Parisiacae urbis 1.21, as noted by Nirmal Dass, "Temporary Otherness and Homiletic History in the Late Carolingian Age: A Reading of the Bella Parisiacae urbis of Abbo of Stain-Germain-des-Prés," in Difference and Identity in Francia and Medieval France (Ashgate Publishing, 2010), p. 106. In his earlier edition, translation, and commentary of the work, Dass gives "Speak, most wondrous of cities, of the gift the Danes brought for you, / Those friends of Pluto", in Viking Attacks on Paris: The 'Bella Parisiacae Urbis' of Abbo of Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Peeters, 2007), pp. 28–29, but soboles (classical Latin suboles) means "progency, offspring," modified by amica, "dear, beloved."
- De deorum imaginibus libellus, chapter 6, "De Plutone": homo terribilis in solio sulphureo sedens, sceptrum regni in manu tenens dextra: sinistra, animam constringes, cui tricipitem Cerberum sub pedibus collocabant, & iuxta se tres Harpyias habebat. De throno aurê eius sulphureo quatuor flumina manabunt, quae scilicet Lethum, Cocytû, Phlegethontem, & Acherontem appellabant, & Stygem paludem iuxta flumina assignabant.
- The questions of authorship involving the De deorum imaginibus libellus and the Liber Ymaginum deorum ("Book of Images of the Gods") are vexed; Ronald E. Pepin, The Vatican Mythographers (Fordham University Press, 2008), pp. 7–9.
- Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Canto VII.
- For instance, Peter Bondanella in his note to the translation of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Inferno: Dante Alighieri (Barnes & Noble Classics, 2003), pp. 202–203. Dante may simply be preserving the longstanding conflation of Greek Plouton and Ploutos; see Allen Mandelbaum, note to his translation of the The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Inferno (Bantam Dell, 2004, originally published 1980), p. 357. In modern Italian, the name of the classical ruler of the underworld is Plutone.
- The tormented souls wail "Perché tieni? e "Perché burli?" ("'Why do you hoard?' 'Why do you squander?'"): Inferno, Canto VII, line 30.
- Il gran nemico, Inferno, Canto VI, line 115.
- Bondanella, The Inferno p. 206; Mandelbaum, Inferno p. 69.
- Ralph Nash, Jerusalem Delivered: An English Prose Version (Wayne State University Press, 1987), pp. xi and 475.
- Tasso, Jerusalem Delivered, Canto 13.7, translated by Edward Fairfax (1907).
- In The House of Fame (lines 1510–1511), Chaucer explicitly acknowledges his debt to Claudian "That bar up al the fame of helle, / Of Pluto, and of Proserpyne," as noted by Radford, The Lost Girls, p. 25.
- In Troilus and Criseyde (lines 590–503), as noted by Rosalyn Rossignol, Critical Companion to Chaucer: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work (Facts on File, 2006), p. 540.
- Chaucer, "The Knight's Tale" 2082 and 2299.
- Rossignol, Critical Companion pp. 432, 540.
- John M. Fyler, "Pagan Survivals," in A Companion to Chaucer (Blackwell, 2000, 2002), p. 351.
- Seth Lerer, "The Canterbury Tales," in The Yale Companion to Chaucer (Yale University Press, 2006), p. 270. Pluto and Proserpina in The Merchant's Tale have been seen as Shakespeare's model for Titania and Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream, a view at least as old as Chaucer's editor Thomas Tyrwhitt (see 1798 edition) and reiterated by Walter William Skeat in his edition of The Canterbury Tales (1894 edition).
- William Dunbar, The Goldyn Targe (1503), lines 126–7, as cited by Ian Simpson Ross, William Dunbar (Brill, 1981), p. 252. Compare also Arthur Golding's "elves of hell" to translate Ovid's Avernales … nymphas, "nymphs of Avernus" (Metamorphoses 5.670, in his account of the abduction).
- Shakespeare's references to Pluto are conventional. Pluto is associated with Hell in the "Roman" plays Coriolanus (I.iv, "Pluto and Hell!" as an exclamation) and Titus Andronicus (IV.iii, "Pluto's region," and "Pluto sends you word, / If you will have Revenge from hell, you shall"), as also in Henry IV, Part 2 (II.iv): "I'll see her damn'd first; — to Pluto's damned lake, by this hand, to th' infernal deep, with Erebus and tortures vile also." Pluto's gates are a metaphor for strength in Troilus and Cressida (V.ii), where Pluto is also sworn by (III.iv and V.ii). The performance of Orpheus is referenced in The Rape of Lucrece (line 553): "And moody Pluto winks while Orpheus plays." Shakespeare also uses the name of Roman Dis, as in Perdita's catalogue of flowers in A Winter's Tale (IV.iii): "O Proserpina, / For the flowers now, that, frighted, thou lett'st fall / From Dis's waggon!"
- In Doctor Faustus (III.ii, 1616 quarto), Mephistopheles invokes "Pluto's blue fire" in casting a spell of invisibility on the protaganist. In his translation of Lucan's epic, Marlowe uses Pluto for Dis (First Book of Lucan, lines 449, where "Pluto" refers to the druidic god Julius Caesar identified with Dis, and 576), but uses both names in the mythological narrative Hero and Leander.
- Spenser plays on the conflation of Pluto and Plutus: "but a little stride … did the house of Richesse from hell-mouth divide" and "Here Sleep, there Richesse, and Hel-gate them both betwext" (24.5), as noted by Thomas E. Maresca, entry on "Hell", The Spencer Encyclopedia, p. 352. See Offspring of Pluto (above) on the daughter Spenser invents for Pluto. His favored epithet for Pluto is griesly, an archaism for "grisly" (FG I.iv.11.1, II.vii.24.1, IV.iii.13.2, VI.xii.35.6, applied to Proserpina at I.i.37.4; Pluto named also at FG I.v.14.8, II.viii.24.1, VI.xii.35.6, VII.vii.5.9, and The Shepheardes Calender "October" 29).
- Robert DeMaria Jr. and Robert D. Brown, Classical Literature and Its Reception: An Anthology (Blackwell, 2007), p. 453. Both Dis and Pluto appear in the works of Shakespeare and Marlowe, but Pluto with greater frequency; Spenser prefers the name Pluto.
- Arthur Golding, Ovid's Metamorphoses (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001) passim, with a few instances of Dis; Radford, The Lost Girls, p. 25.
- For instance, at Paradise Lost 4.270, as cited by Radford, The Lost Girls, p. 25, where Proserpine is described as a flower fairer than those she was gathering and "by gloomy Dis / was gathered."
- Ovid's Metamorphosis Translated by Arthur Golding, edited by Madeleine Forey, (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), p. 164. Pluto rules over Hell throughout Spenser's Faerie Queene, as noted by Maresca, The Spenser Encyclopedia, p. 352.
- John Block Friedman, Orpheus in the Middle Ages (Syracuse University Press, 2000), p. 238; Li Tournoiemenz Anticrit (Le tornoiement de l'Antéchrist) text.
- Theresa Lynn Tinkle, Medieval Venuses and Cupids: Sexuality, Hermeneutics, and English Poetry (Stanford University Press, 1996), p. 132.
- The Assembly of Gods, lines 82, 51, 311, 314, in the edition of Oscar Lovell Triggs (London, 1896).
- Entry on "Popular Culture," The Classical Tradition, p. 766.
- Sheila Lindenbaum, "Ceremony and Oligarchy: The London Midsummer Watch," in City and Spectacle in Medieval Europe, (University of Minnesota Press, 1994), p. 171; Maria Hayward, Rich Apparel: Clothing and the Law in Henry VIII's England (Ashgate, 2009), p. 290. The court of Pluto continued to inspire public pageantry into the late 19th century, when floats such as the "blazing 'Palace of Pluto'" were part of the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans; Henri Schindler, Mardi Gras Treasures: Costume Designs of the Golden Age (Pelican, 2002), p. 15.
- Nino Pirrotta, Music and Theatre from Poliziano to Monteverdi (Cambridge University Press, 1992, originally published in Italian 1969), passim, especially p. ix.
- Pirrotta, Music and Theatre from Poliziano to Monteverdi, with Leonardo's drawing (n.p.); Carlo Pedretti, Leonardo: The Machines (Giunti, 1999), p. 72.
- Mark Ringer, Opera's First Master: The Musical Dramas of Claudio Monteverdi (Amadeus Press, 2006), pp. 34, 75, 103–104; Tim Carter, Monteverdi's Musical Theatre (Yale University Press, 2002), p. 95; Enid Welsford, The Court Masque (Cambridge University Press, 1927), pp. 112–113.
- Tim Carter, Monteverdi's Musical Theatre p. 81, quoting Follino, Compendio delle sontuose feste (1608), and p. 152.
- George J. Buelow, A History of Baroque Music (Indiana University Press, 2004), p. 37.
- Kristiaan Aercke, Gods of Play: Baroque Festive Performances as Rhetorical Discourse (SUNY Press, 1994), p. 230.
- Piero Gelli and Filippo Poletti, Dizionario dell'opera 2008 (Baldini Castoldi Dalai, 2005, 2007), p. 36.
- Charpentier's Pluto is a bass-baritone.
- Gelli and Poletti, Dizionario dell'opera 2008, p. 625.
- James R. Anthony, French Baroque Music from Beaujoyeulx to Rameau (Amadeus Press, 1997), p. 115.
- Pluto does not have a singing role in Christoph Willibald Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice (1762).
- Aercke, Gods of Play, p. 250; Ringer, Opera's First Master, p. 71.
- Andrew Trout, City on the Seine: Paris in the Time of Richelieu and Louis XIV (St. Martin's Press, 1996), pp. 189–190; Buelow, A History of Baroque Music, p. 160.
- Daniel Heartz, Music in European Capitals: The Galant Style, 1720–1780 (W.W. Norton, 2003), pp. 488–492.
- Sasha Anawalt, The Joffrey Ballet: Robert Joffrey and the Making of an American Dance Company (University of Chicago Press, 1996), p. 66.
- Frederick Kiefer, Shakespeare's Visual Theatre: Staging the Personified Characters (Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 60–61.
- Amy Golahney, "Rembrandt's Abduction of Proserpina," in The Age of Rembrandt: Studies in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Painting (Penn State University Press, 1988), p. 30; Eric Jan Sluijter, Rembrandt and the Female Nude (Amsterdam University Press, 2006), pp. 109–111.
- M. M. Heaton, The History of the Life of Albrecht Dürer of Nürnberg (London, 1870), p. 187; Walter L. Strauss, The Complete Engravings, Etchings, and Drypoints of Albrecht Dürer (Dover, 1973), p. 178.
- Strauss, The Complete Engravings, p. 178.
- Creighton Gilbert, Caravaggio and His Two Cardinals (Penn State University Press, 1995), pp. 124–125.
- Entry on "Orpheus," The Classical Tradition p. 665.
- Entry on "Sculpture," The Classical Tradition, p. 870.
- Golahny, "Rembrandt's Abduction of Proserpina," p. 30ff.
- Amy Golahny, Rembrandt's Reading: The Artist's Bookshelf of Ancient Poetry and History (Amsterdam University Press, 2003), pp. 102–103.
- Radford, The Lost Girls, pp. 85, 98, 114, citing Chelser, Women and Madness, pp. 240, 266.
- Perhaps a play on the Italian verb chioccia used by Dante to describe Pluto's manner of speaking in Inferno, Canto VII, line 2.
- Radford, The Lost Girls, pp. 247, 252, 254, et passim.
- Radford, The Lost Girls, p. 254.
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