The afterlife of Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece

The Greeks had 2 ways of burial: burning at the stake, burial to the ground – burial. Both methods were welcomed and did not cause complaints.

After the body was cremated, the ashes were collected, put into a special urn and buried in the ground or stored in a tomb.

The dead were buried in places specially prepared for this. These were either the basements of their own houses, or crypts.

To prevent epidemics, burial places gradually began to be transferred to nearby uninhabited islands.

In this case, all the values ​​\u200b\u200bthat a person cherished during his lifetime were placed in the grave. It was customary for men to lay down weapons, and for women, precious jewelry and expensive dishes.

In order to prevent the wrath of the gods.

The relatives and friends of the deceased had to look mournful all day.In almost all myths relating to the life of the gods and associated with the kingdom of the dead, Hermes accompanied the dead to the kingdom of Hades.

He led souls through holes in the earth’s crust and brought them to the banks of the Styx.

According to legend, Styx goes around the realm of the dead nine times and is under the protection of Charon.

It is he who melts the souls of the dead on his boat. He takes them to the other side of the river, from where they never return.

The Greeks put a coin in the mouth of the deceased so that the deceased can pay off Charon, who ferries through Acheron, a tributary of the Styx.

Not everyone can get to the other side. If relatives did not bury the body, as expected, Charon does not let the soul into the boat. He pushes her away, dooming her to eternal wanderings.

Some of the main burial customs have been preserved, for example, the Greeks put coins in their mouths for the dead today.

Why souls cannot cross the river without the help of Charon.

The fact is that the river Styx contains poisonous microorganisms, from which the soul dies a painful death.

The exit from the underworld was guarded by the giant dog Cerberus. The living dog did not let the dead into the kingdom of the dead, just as he did not let the dead out of Hades.

The fate of the dead was decided by a vote of 3 judges: Hades, Minos, Rhadamanthus. They decided where the souls would go next: to the island of the Blessed (Elysium) or to Tartarus.

These judges interrogated the dead who came to them in the kingdom. Everything depended on what kind of life a person spent on Earth.


A gloomy space, located in the very depths of space, below Hades, a dark abyss, which is as far from the surface of the earth as the sky is from the earth. Initially,

Tartarus was a prison for the Olympians and the Gods, but later it became a place for punishing people who commit terrible crimes.

“Those who, during their lifetime, persecuted their brothers with enmity of relatives, Who hit their father, or were dishonest with a client,

Or, having acquired riches, he only took care of them for himself and his loved ones. Did not give anything (here there are countless crowds), Or he was killed for dishonoring the marriage bed.

Or he dared to rebel against the king, betraying the oath, Executions are waiting here. But what kind of execution – do not try to find out

Do not ask about their fate and the types of torment. Some roll stones, others have a crucified body, wheels are nailed to the spokes.

There is no sunshine, joy, fulfillment of desires. It is so dark here that “the night surrounds him in three rows, like a collar around his neck, and above him grow the roots of the earth and the unharvested sea.”

It was a little easier for wandering souls, they were sent to the meadows of Asphodel.

Souls were sent here who did not commit any significant crimes, but did not achieve sufficient recognition to enter Elysium.

It was a foggy area with fields of tulips. It was a little easier for such souls if relatives on earth remembered them and performed various ceremonies in their honor.

And finally, the souls who led a righteous life, did not sin, and during their life came as close as possible to God, fall into Elysium.

Elysium is a part of the afterlife, where eternal spring reigns and where heroes spend their days without sadness and worries.It is ruled by Rhadamanthus, and the souls that live there led an easy afterlife.

When a soul enters Elysium, it has the choice to stay there or be reborn and live another life.

If a person enters Elysium 3 times in a row and all 3 times he chooses to be reborn, then he is sent to the Isles of the Blessed to live in eternal paradise.