Cerberus, the Dog of Hades : The History of an Idea
Hermes, the guide of the dead, brings to Pluto's kingdom their psyches, "that gibber like bats, as they fare down the dank ways, past the streams of Okeanos, past the gates of the sun and the land of dreams, to the meadow of asphodel in the dark realm of Hades, where dwell the souls, the phantoms of men outworn." So begins the twenty-fourth book of the Odyssey. Later poets have Charon, a grim boatsman, receive the dead at the River of Woe; he ferries them across, provided the passage money has been placed in their mouths, and their bodies have been duly buried in the world above. Otherwise they are left to gibber on the hither bank. Pluto's house, wide-gated, thronged with guests, has a janitor Kerberos, sometimes friendly, sometimes snarling when new guests arrive, but always hostile to those who would depart. Honey cakes are provided for them that are about to go to Hades-the sop to Cerberus. This dog, nameless and undescribed, Homer mentions simply as the dog of Hades, whom Herakles, as the last and chief test of his strength, snatched from the horrible house of Hades. First Hesiod and next Stesichorus discover his name to be Kerberos. The latter seems to have composed a poem on the dog. Hesiod mentions not only the name but also the genealogy of Kerberos. Of Typhaon and Echidna he was born, the irresistible and ineffable flesh-devourer, the voracious, brazen-voiced, fifty-headed dog of hell.
- Paperback | 34 pages
- 215.9 x 279.4 x 2.03mm | 140.61g
- 08 Feb 2015
- Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
- United States
- Large type / large print
- Large Print
- black & white illustrations
About Maurice Bloomfield
Maurice Bloomfield, Ph.D., LL.D. (February 23, 1855 - June 12, 1928) was an American philologist and Sanskrit scholar. Bloomfield was born in Bielitz (Polish: Bielsko), in what was at that time Austrian Silesia (today it is in Poland) to Jewish parents. His sister was Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler, and the linguist Leonard Bloomfield was his nephew. He went to the United States in 1867, and 10 years later graduated from Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina. He then studied Sanskrit at Yale, under W. D. Whitney, and at Johns Hopkins University, to which university he returned as associate professor in 1881 after a stay of two years in Berlin and Leipzig, and soon afterwards was promoted professor of Sanskrit and comparative philology. In 1896 Princeton University bestowed the LL.D. degree upon him. His papers in the American Journal of Philology number a few in comparative linguistics, such as those on assimilation and adaptation in congeneric classes of words, and many valuable contributions to the interpretation of the Vedas, and he is best known as a student of the Vedas. He translated, for Max Muller's Sacred Books of the East, the Hymns of the Atharva-Veda (1897); contributed to the Buhler-Kielhorn Grundriss der indo-arischen Philologie und Altertumskunde the section The Atharva-Veda and the Gopatha Brahmana (1899); was first to edit the Kauika-Sutra (1890), and in 1907 published, in the Harvard Oriental Series, A Vedic Concordance. In 1905 he published Cerberus, the Dog of Hades, a study in comparative mythology. The Religion of the Veda appeared in 1908; Life and Stories of the Jaina Savior Parasvanatha and a work on the Rig Veda in 1916."