In the myths of the gods of Greece and Rome were part of everyday life: they can steal your daughter or be your lover, to help you win the war or get rid of the disease. Legendary Heroes, even down to the underground world of the dead — the Greek Hades and the Roman Pluto.
The gods of ancient not lived in a parallel world, and next to a man. At the very real Mount Olympus was the palace of Zeus, ruler, and the entrance to the underworld to be found among the many underground caves, of which due to the active geology of the Mediterranean drawn gray.
These gates and found the Italian archaeologists leading the excavation Greco-Roman Hierapolis (modern Pamukkale in Turkey). The once pilgrims from all over the classical world flocked there to bathe in its hot springs and worship the gods of the underworld in Plutonione — church built over the cave.
Reconstruction Plutoniona (Image Francesco D'Andria).
Employees Salentskogo University led by Francesco D'Andria traced the path of the hot springs and opened the entrance to the cave. Engraved dedication Pluto confirmed their suspicions.
The Greek geographer Strabo, talking about his travels through Asia Minor in the last years BC. e., mentioned that under Plutonionom hole is big enough so that she could squeeze a man and behind it — a great depth, filled with dense steam, which you can barely discern the bottom. Animals which are lowered there died instantly. Even the bulls once there, could not withstand.
Castration Pluto ministers demonstrated their power, entering into the cleft of gassy and out alive (apparently holding his breath and a known, secure areas of air in the cave), while the bird was enough to fly past to fall lifeless. Indeed, excavations found the remains of many birds.
In the future, archaeologists plan to devote his time to the study of the temple itself.
It should be noted that the ancients imagined the hell not as Christians. This is the place where get all the dead, not just sinners. The ancient Egyptians believed that the body is properly prepared (to reunite all the parts of the soul) guarantees the deceased stay in a beautiful river valley, very similar to the banks of the Nile. Only to those over whom had not been committed ritual ugotovleno dark and gloomy place full of obstacles.
The first extant text of visiting the underworld dates back to about 1900 BC. e. The Sumerian cuneiform tablet tells about the visit of the death of the goddess Inanna (Ishtar). This is not just a tour: the Greeks of a deity journey to the underworld, or through it marked the changing of the seasons, the Egyptians — day and night, the Maya — the creation of the world.
Plutoniony existed throughout the Greek eastern Mediterranean, especially in places where the underground gases on the surface (as in Eleusis). It was believed that the river Acheron in north-western Greece occasionally descends straight to Hades.
In Sicily, near Mount Etna, is a cleft through which the god Hades, according to legend, made Persephone in the Underworld, where she ate six pomegranate seeds, thereby dooming the ground for six months of winter each year. It was said that the Roman hero Aeneas went into tartar across the lake Averno (or close to it) in the vicinity of Naples. Another legend relates to this place journey of Odysseus.
In the Judean hills near Jerusalem, found traces of pagan rituals, committed in the Cave of the twins. This location is also considered one of the many entrances to the "dark kingdom of Hades."
In Central America, the Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua in the XVI century, was named by the Spanish hellish throat. And numerous caves of the Yucatan Peninsula Mayan fascinated that brought people there to sacrifice to the gods of the underworld. Mayan myth about the creation of the world talks about the twins, who defeated the evil gods of the underworld, Xibalba, and brought to the surface of the younger gods, which ushered in our world.
Adapted from National Geographic.
See also: Features of Antarctica, mysterious archaeological finds.