https://www.britannica.com/topic/Tartarus, Ancient Origins - The Hell of Tartarus, Ancient Greek Prison of the Damned. For his role in the affairs of the gods, Tartarus was a prominent figure in the myths. When people had committed unspeakable and horrible crimes, the judges sent them to Tartarus, where the Erinyes and other creatures of the underworld would punish their souls for all eternity. Tartarus was an indispensable part of the world in Greek mythology, for it held the most dangerous creatures of the universe and those who committed awful crimes. According to the myths, Tartarus was one of the primordial deities, also called Protogenoi. As a god, Tartarus was the beginning of a long line of monsters who would roam the earth and influence Ancient Greece. Uranus was a gigantic bronze dome which represented the skies, and Tartarus was an inverted dome, which matched with Uranus and completed the egg-shaped form. From fruits to winged sandals, test your knowledge in this study of Greek and Roman mythology. Some accounts say that the distance between Tartarus and Hades was the same as between the earth and the heaven. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Our latest podcast episode features popular TED speaker Mara Mintzer. The three judges deliberated on each person, considering what people had done in life. As Symbol Sage editors, we write about things that we love and we think you'll like too. We have affiliate partnerships and sponsorship and may generate some revenue from these at no cost to you. Jewish Symbols – History, Meaning and Importance, Star of David Symbol – Origins and Meanings, Celtic Shield Knot – History and Symbolism, Endless Knot – Meaning, Symbolism and History, The Nine Muses – Greek Goddesses of the Arts and Sciences, Medea – The Enchantress (Greek Mythology), Izanami and Izanagi – Japanese Gods of Creation and Death, Delphinium Flower – Symbolism and Meaning, Lisianthus Flower – Symbolism and Meaning. It gradually came to mean the entire underworld. They judged if the souls could remain in the underworld or had to be banished. In Greek mythology, there was an abyss worse than the underworld. Tartarus, the infernal regions of ancient Greek mythology. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. In the myths, the monster Typhon was the son of Tartarus and Gaia. As a place, it was far below than where Hades resided and it was used as the most horrible prison. The poet Virgil described the Tartarus in one of his tragedies. According to those accounts, Tartarus and Gaea produced the monster Typhon. As a deity, Tartarus does not appear in many myths and tragedies. The Tartarus was as old as the world itself, and is both a location and a personification. Echidna and Typhon were the parents of several Greek monsters, making Tartarus the ancestor of most of the monsters that existed in Greek mythology. The Tartarus became an essential part of Greek mythology for the horrible criminals, the dangerous monsters, and the war prisoners who had to spend their lives there. He was one of the first gods to exist along with Chaos and Gaia, the primordial goddess of the earth. Tartarus was an indispensable part of the world in Greek mythology, for it held the most dangerous creatures of the universe and those who committed awful crimes. As a god, Tartarus was the beginning of a long line of monsters who would roam the earth and influence Ancient Greece. Moreover, Cronus, the king of the Titans, imprisoned the Cyclopes and the Hecatonchires in Tartarus, but Zeus released them in order to help him defeat the Titans. It gradually came to mean the entire underworld. You can disable footer widget area in theme options - footer options. His depictions as the abyss of the universe are the most prominent. As such it was the opposite of Elysium, where happy souls lived after death. Most authors mention him as the deity of the pit or just as a sheer force, but he does not have an active role. Here’s a closer look. When Cronus was the ruler of the universe, he imprisoned the three original Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires in the abyss. No widgets added. Although Hades was the god of the underworld, three spirit judges of the underworld decided over the destinies of the souls of the dead.