Thursday, 21 June 2007
05:33:20 PM (GMT)
Tartarus is the lowest region of the world, as far below earth as earth is from
heaven. According to the Greek poet Hesiod, a bronze anvil falling from heaven would
take nine days and nights to reach earth, and an object would take the same amount of
time to fall from earth into Tartarus. Tartarus is described as a dank, gloomy pit,
surrounded by a wall of bronze, and beyond that a three-fold layer of night. Along
with Chaos, Earth, and Eros, it is one of the first entities to exist in the
While Hades is the main realm of the dead in Greek mythology, Tartarus also contains
a number of characters. In early stories, it is primarily the prison for defeated
gods; the Titans were condemned to Tartarus after losing their battle against the
Olympian gods, and the hecatoncheires stood over them as guards at the bronze gates.
When Zeus overcomes the monster Typhus, born from Tartarus and Gaia, he hurls it too
into the same abyss.
However, in later myths Tartarus becomes a place of punishment for sinners. It
resembles Hell and is the opposite of Elysium, the afterlife for the blessed.