T is for Tartarus

Tartarus is the lowest region of the world, and one of the first entities to exist in the universe (along with Chaos, Earth and Eros). It is dark and gloomy, a pit surrounded by a wall of bronze and a three-fold layer of night.

Hades is the main realm of the dead in Greek Mythology, but Tartarus is also used for the same purpose, usually a prison for gods. The Titans were condemned to Tartarus after they lost their battle with the Olympian gods, as was Typhus when Zeus overcame him.

In later myths, Tartarus is known as a place of punishment for sinners. It resembles Hell and is the opposite of Elysium (for the blessed). The punishment often fit the crime; for example, the story of Tantalus.
By AnĂ´nimo (Pesquisa de Imagens Google) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Tantalus was favoured by the gods, and one day he held a banquet for them. However, he didn't have anything that he considered fine enough to feed them, so he cut up his son and made a stew from him. Demeter ate part of it and immediately recognised what it was, telling all of the other gods. Zeus was angry, and restored Tantalus' son back to life, with a piece of ivory on his shoulder to replace what Demeter had eaten.

Tantalus was sent to Tartarus, and given a punishment to fit his crime: he was made eternally hungry and thirsty and put in a pool of water below a fruit tree. Whenever he tried to pick fruit the branches receded, and when he tried to drink from the pool the water level lessened.


  1. They certainly knew how to have a party back then, you just don't see these things these days....

    Strangely my own tale is very similar today.

    Rob Z Tobor

  2. This is so macabre when it comes to the son thing, pretty sick to be honest but that's why we love these stories so much.

  3. GAH! That's horrifying. These are some crazy tales.

  4. I'm glad Tantalus was sent to Tartarus! Thank the gods for that one.

  5. I spent so long studying the Ancient Egyptian vision of Hell that I neglected other civilizations - thanks for the intro to Tartarus :)

    Jamie @ Mithril Wisdom

  6. Awesome. Luckily it was only a bit of shoulder that she ate! O_O

  7. Gruesome tale, but we do love to see justice served.

  8. At least he got what he deserved!

  9. Hmmm, stewing children... I haven't even eaten breakfast yet! Not sure I want to now...


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