The Greeks used legends to explain their history. These stories served as a path to understand the dying process and about death. They used these myths and tales to tell the journey of the souls after their death. The dead’s path to the afterlife was described in great detail in the stories.
The ancient Greek God ‘Hades’ was the ruler of the kingdom of the dead world. The souls of the departed moved through the Underworld according to Greek mythology. The Underworld is believed to feature fruit trees, flowers, meadows, and living botanical things. Among the life in the Underworld are the five rivers that have a unique function reflecting emotion or death associated with the Gods.
The Ancient Greeks observed afterlife to in an actual physical location. This location was often described as being located under the earth and at the edge of the sea. They also included recognizable features such as flowing rivers, and some of the rivers included
The Styx, Lethe, Archeron, and Cocytus.
Being described as the sinister of all and the largest river, the Styx circles the Underworld. This river acquired the name Styx after the God Zeus made solemn oaths. The River Styx began its journey at Feneos and was known to have miraculous powers. It is believed that this river circles the world seven times.
The Archeron is often referred to as a lake in Greek Mythology. The Archeron river is well-known as the River of Woe or sometimes referred to as the River of Pain. The river is believed to transport souls into the afterlife and Charon, the ferryman ferries across the Acheron and guides the souls through the afterlife and into the Underworld.
The chief and most significant river in the Underworld is the Lethe, and it denotes forgetfulness. It refers to the goddess Lethe, who is the controller of the river. The word ‘lethe’ in the Greek language means forgetfulness. Lethe leads into the Oblivion river, and on entering this, the dead get to drink waters so that they can completely forget their existence in the living world.
Not all the rivers in the Underworld carry a current. However, the Phlegethon not just has a current but is also known for its violent nature. The river is also called the River of Fire as the fire helps it travel deeper than the other rivers in the Underworld. The river has characterized fire that surrounds the area that the river flows through. This is where the sinister souls are found to rest.
This final and least propagated river is otherwise called the Wailing River. The Cocytus flows into the River Acheron. It transports emotion and is the only river that does not flow directly into the Underworld. Cocytus is the river that carries laments and cries. It is believed that Charon, the ferryman denied passage to the souls who haven’t had a customary burial into the Underworld. These souls are found to be lamenting and crying on the banks of the Cocytus.