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The Underworld Rivers

In Greek mythology, the underworld was seperated from the land of the living in most part by five primary rivers. They were Acheron, Cocytus, Phlegethon, Lethe, and Styx. Each of them served their own purpose.

  • Acheron - The word Acheron itself means the "river of woe". A fitting name indeed for this river. This is the river that the old ferryman Charon ferried the dead across from the land of the living to the realm of Hades.
  • Cocytus - The word Cocytus means "river of lamentation". Those who died and were not properly buried were stuck walking about the banks of this river for most of their afterlife.
  • Phlegethon - This was the river of fire in Hades. It's said that while the fire burned, it did not consume anything within it's flames.
  • Lethe - The word Lethe means "forgetfulness". This is the river where the dead had to drink from to completely forget about their lives on Earth.
  • Styx - Probably the most famous of the five lakes. The word Styx means "hate". This is the actual river that seperates the land of the living from the realm of the dead. Many accounts say that it wraps around Hades nine times. The river was also a sacred place to both gods and men. Those who broke any oath made upon the river Styx, were made to drink from it by Zeus. By doing this, it made the drinker lose their voice for long period of time.

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