Ancient Greek mythology contained a small pantheon of gods associated with death and the Underworld. Their ruler was Hades, elder brother of Zeus and Poseidon, who lent his own name to the Underworld (the Greeks often called it simply “Hades”).
In addition to Hades, the Underworld housed several other deities, both revered and dreaded by the ancients. These included Hades’ queen, Persephone; Charon, the ferryman of the dead; the Erinyes, who mercilessly punished sinners; and the Moirae, who ensured that every mortal lived out his life according to his fate.
In ancient Greek religion, the Underworld gods were classed among the “chthonic” gods. Unlike the Olympians, who were associated with the heavens, the chthonic gods were connected with the earth and everything that lurked beneath it. Accordingly, the two categories of deities were worshipped quite differently. For example, while the Olympians regularly received white sacrificial victims, the chthonic gods received black ones.