The Three Judges

The Three Judges of the Underworld were once mortal kings, three brothers: King Rhadhamanthus, King Aeacus, and Kind Minos. They were sons of Zeus and a mortal woman named Europa. Zeus had spied the girl walking on the shoreline into a beautiful white bull, and she was impressed with its gentleness. When she climbed upon the bull, Zeus seized his chance and carried her off into the waves. He eventually carried her to Crete, where she was treated with great reverence. The boys were born soon afterward.

Each of the brothers ruled Crete, and they all gained a reputation for great intelligence coupled with inflexibility. The codes of laws they set in place were firm, fair, and held little compassion.

At some point, Minos seized power from his brothers and exiled them. Little is known of Rhadhamanthus and Aeacus after their exile. Minos, however, features prominently as a villain in a number of stories. This was the King that ordered Daedalus to construct the Labyrinth to hide the Minotaur and sacrificed countless numbers of people. He continued to terrorize Crete and the surrounding countries until he was eventually killed.

Still, Hades decided that the souls of the men had some use. After their deaths, the God of the Underworld had them set aside as Judges. The souls of the dead had to come before them and plead their cases. Each had to explain their ideals and the Gods' morality. It was up to the Judges, then, to decide if they had lived acceptably. If the person had been true, they were sent to the Elysian Fields, to live in contentment. If the person had been evil in life, though, they were sent to Tartarus, where they would suffer without purpose.


No comments:

Post a Comment