Hades refers both to the ancient Greek underworld, the abode of Hades, and to the god of the underworld. Hades in Homer referred just to the god; Haidou, was an elision to denote locality: “the house/dominion of Hades”. Eventually, the nominative, too, came to designate the abode of the dead.
In Greek mythology, Hades and his brothers Zeus and Poseidon defeated the Titans and claimed rulership over the universe ruling the underworld, air, and sea, respectively; the solid earth, long the province of Gaia, was available to all three concurrently. Because of his association with the underworld, Hades is often interpreted by moderns as the Grim Reaper.
By the Romans Hades was called Pluto, from his Greek epithet Πλο?των Plout?n (πλο?τος, wealth), meaning “Rich One”. In Roman mythology, Hades/Pluto was called Dis Pater and Orcus. The corresponding Etruscan god was Aita. Symbols associated with him are the Helm of Darkness and the three-headed dog, Cerberus.
The deceased entered the underworld by crossing the Acheron, ferried across by Charon (kair’-on), who charged an obolus, a small coin for passage placed in the mouth of the deceased by pious relatives. Paupers and the friendless gathered for a hundred years on the near shore according to Book VI of Vergil’s Aeneid. Greeks offered propitiatory libations to prevent the deceased from returning to the upper world to “haunt” those who had not given them a proper burial. The far side of the river was guarded by Cerberus, the three-headed dog defeated by Heracles (Roman Hercules). Passing beyond Cerberus, the shades of the departed entered the land of the dead to be judged.