Hades meaning "the unseen" was the ancient Greek god of the underworld. In Greek mythology, Hades is the oldest male child of Cronus and Rhea. According to myth, he and his brothers Zeus and Poseidon defeated the Titans and claimed rulership over the cosmos, ruling the underworld, air, and sea, respectively.
Hades decided to appoint a guardian for the Underworld. This guardian was Cerberus, the three headed dog that would tear apart anyone that was not supposed to be in the Underworld. Cerberus was one of the mythological creatures associated with the God of the Dead, along with the cypress tree. A common attribute to the God was Narcissus and the Key of Hades, which implied that he was guarding carefully anyone who would enter his domains and that no one could escape without his permission.
[Hades] spent most of his time [in the underworld], only emerging to ask for permission to marry Persephone, the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Zeus knew Demeter would not approve, so encouraged his brother to carry Persephone off by force. He gathered her up into his chariot as she was picking flowers. Demeter insisted that the girl be returned, but first Hades induced her to eat some pomegranate seeds. Having eaten the food of Hades she had to return and spend four or six months of each year in the Underworld. During this time Demeter, goddess of corn, mourned and the earth was bare.
Ancient Romans had another name for Hades. They called him Pluto […], which means "god of wealth." Pluto was thought to be very rich. He owned the treasures, such as gold and gems, gowned under the earth.
[Hades] is a greedy god who is greatly concerned with increasing his subjects. Those whose calling increase the number of dead are seen favorably. The Erinnyes are welcomed guests. He is exceedingly disinclined to allow any of his subjects leave. He is also the god of wealth, due to the precious metals mined from the earth. He has a helmet that makes him invisable.
It is said that just once Hades showed some mercy, and it was to Orpheus: Trying to save the soul of his wife Eurydice, Orpheus traveled to the Underworld to speak to the Lord of the Dead itself. He asked for a second chance for his wife, and he got it when he played the most beautiful piece of music to Hades. He left Eurydice go with only one condition, that once Orpheus and his wife were on the way back to the surface, Orpheus should walk in front and never look back to see if Eurydice was behind him. After some distance walked, Orpheus started to doubt of Hades' word and he gave a quick glance back, only to see how Eurydice was pulled back into the Underworld.
Though he supervised the trial and punishment of the wicked after death, he was not normally one of the judges in the underworld; nor did he personally torture the guilty, a task assigned to the Furies (Erinyes). Hades was depicted as stern and pitiless, unmoved (like death itself) by prayer or sacrifice. Forbidding and aloof, he never quite emerges as a distinct personality from the shadowy darkness of his realm, not even in the myth of his abduction of Persephone.
Hades was one of the greatest of the twelve Olympians, but he was rarely acknowledged by the other gods due to the fact that his dominion was the underworld, commonly associated with evil. As a result he grew bitter and was jealous of the other gods. Even though he was rarely admitted onto Olympus and wasn’t recognized by the other Olympians, he would always judge people objectively. He was altruistically inclined in Greek mythology despite the general belief that he was an evil and cruel god.
Because of his dark and morbid personality [Hades] was not especially liked by either the gods nor the mortals. His character is described as "fierce and inexorable", and of all the gods he was by far most hated by mortals. He was not, however, an evil god, for although he was stern, cruel, and unpitying, he was still just. Hades ruled the Underworld and therefore most often associated with death and was feared by men, but he was not Death itself — the actual embodiment of Death was Thanatos.
Sometimes the Greeks saw Hades as the alter ego of Zeus and called him Zeus-Chthonios, a title that reinforced Hades' earthy qualities since chthonian deities were associated with both the dead and he fertility of the earth. The linking of Hades to more benign deities may have represented an attempt by the Greeks to harmonize dying with living. However, most Greeks did not make sacrifices to Hades because it did no good to plead with death. No hymns were sung to him, and few images of the god exist in Greek art.
The god Hades was a dread figure to the living, who were quite careful how they swore oaths in his name. To many people, simply to utter the word "Hades" was a frightening proposition. So they made up a euphemism, a word that meant the same thing but with a more pleasant sound.
Hades is a son of Cronus and Rhea, and a brother of Zeus and Poseidon. He was married to Persephone, the daughter of Demeter. In the division of the world among the three brothers, Hades obtained "the darkness of night," the abode of the shades, over which he rules.