Writing Research | Πλούτων & χθόνιος

Let’s talk about my favorite kind of deity in mythology. It’s a special Greek-based kind, deriving from χθόνιος or khthonios, which I think should mean “of the earth” and more specifically means “in or under the earth“. What fun, right?

It refers to deities that live under the earth, not to be connected with deities of the earth (or Γῆ). It’s a nice mixture of the plenty of the underworld (riches, wealth) and the somber atmosphere of the underworld (death, graves, souls).

The Greek Πλούτων /Ἅιδης1 is a nice example of this. Even though Hades is better known as Pluto in his Roman guise, the name seems to derive from a Greek word that relates to wealth. Hence it was Hades’ more positive (and wealthier) aspect. Other Greek deities include Persephone, Hecate, and Demeter.

I can’t quite explain it, but I’ve always been very partial to this idea of deities or beings. There’s an edge of danger to them, of course, but there’s also wealth and wonder. I like to picture it as vast sparkling cities under the earth with jeweled flowers or trees, but where there’s still the scent of decay and dirt and maybe the voice of ancestors. It’s important (and central) to my writing.

1 Pluton/Hades


2 thoughts on “Writing Research | Πλούτων & χθόνιος

  1. As a person who gets way too gleeful about exploring all the nuances of a word’s meaning, I completely agree that, yes, this is fun. And something seems, oh, so right about incorporating wealth into the idea of Hades.


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