Pluto was the god of the Dead. Romans were afraid to say Pluto's real name because they were afraid he might notice them and they would die.
Pluto sometimes got confused with the Greek god, Plutus, the god of wealth. This is not surprising, since the names sound alike, and also wealth, like gold, silver or jewels, are found underground, where Pluto ruled.
The metal Plutonium is radio-active. It was discovered soon after the planet Pluto. It is not only used for nuclear bombs, it is deadly by itself. It deserves to belong to the god of Death!
When someone died, they travelled down to the Underworld. First, they had to cross the River of the Dead, called the Styx. Everyone was buried with a coin, to pay the ferryman, Charon. Then they had to get past Cerberus, a fierce dog with three heads, which would only let the Dead through. Finally they had to come before the Judges of the Dead. The only living man to fight Cerberus was Hercules, the strongest man in the world. He had to bring Cerberus back from the Underworld. (He let it go afterwards.)
The moon of planet Pluto is called Charon, after the ferryman over the Styx.
© Jo Edkins 2009 - Return to Roman gods index