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Round Trip to Hades in the Eastern Mediterranean Tradition

Visits to the Underworld from Antiquity to Byzantium


Edited by Gunnel Ekroth and Ingela Nilsson

Round Trip to Hades in the Eastern Mediterranean Tradition explores how the theme of visiting the Underworld and returning alive has been treated, transmitted and transformed in the ancient Greek and Byzantine traditions. The journey was usually a descent ( katabasis) into a dark and dull place, where forgetfulness and punishment reigned, but since ‘everyone’ was there, it was also a place that offered opportunities to meet people and socialize. Famous Classical round trips to Hades include those undertaken by Odysseus and Aeneas, but this pagan topic also caught the interest of Christian writers. The contributions of the present volume allow the reader to follow the passage from pagan to Christian representations of Hades–a passage that may seem surprisingly effortless.

Down There and Back Again

Variations on the Katabasis Theme in Lucian


Heinz-Günther Nesselrath


Below the Tree of Life


Eric Cullhed and Sigrid Schottenius Cullhed

Following the Dead to the Underworld

An Archaeological Approach to Graeco-Roman Death Oracles


Wiebke Friese

From Alkestis to Archidike

Thessalian Attitudes to Death and the Afterlife


Sofia Kravaritou and Maria Stamatopoulou

From Hades to Hell

Christian Visions of the Underworld (2nd–5th centuries ce)


Zissis D. Ainalis

Hades, Homer and the Hittites

The Cultic-Cultural Context of Odysseus’ ‘Round Trip’ to the Underworld


Gunnel Ekroth

Hades Meets Lazarus

The Literary Katabasis in Twelfth-Century Byzantium


Ingela Nilsson