Study Guide

Odysseus (Ulysses) - Underworld Explorers

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Underworld Explorers

This exclusive clique is reserved for the lucky few who manage to go down to the Underworld and make it back out alive. It's not an easy thing to pull off, that's for sure. For Odysseus, making it to the Underworld was absolutely essential. Without the advice of Tiresias, our hero never would have made it home.


The great musician Orpheus headed down to the Land of the Dead to bring back the soul of his dead wife, Eurydice. He didn't manage to get her out of there, but he did make it back himself, which is still pretty impressive. Read up on the whole story.


In Virgil's epic poem, the Aeneid, Aeneas travels to the Underworld and receives a prophecy that his line will found a great empire. You may have heard of it: it was called Rome.


The hero of heroes traveled down to the Underworld and back again while on the last of his Twelve Labors. This time, he wrestled the hellhound, Cerberus, and brought the beast back to the world above.


This famous slayer of the Minotaur traveled down to the Underworld with his pal Pirithous, who wanted to take Persephone as his bride. Hades didn't take too well to somebody trying to steal his wife, so the Lord of the Dead trapped Pirithous and Theseus by freezing their butts to a rock. Only Theseus ever made it out of the Underworld, when he was freed by Heracles while the big guy was on his 12th labor.


Like Orpheus, Psyche made the trek to the Underworld for the sake of love, when she traveled there to borrow some of Persephone's beauty in order to win back the love of Cupid.


The god of wine and revelry traveled down to the Underworld the old-fashioned way—by dying from dismemberment. Dionysus made it back out again by being reborn from the thigh of Zeus.


Just like Dionysus, this Egyptian god was said to have died and come back to life. Also like Dionysus, Osiris was apparently dismembered and then put back together again. (Ouch.)


This god from Japanese mythology traveled down to the Underworld to rescue his wife, Izanami-no-Mikoto, who died in childbirth. When Izanagi-no-Mikoto shined a light on his wife, he saw that she was a rotting corpse covered with maggots. She then went all zombie on him and chased him out of the Underworld. Yowza.

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