Thanatos Picture

Evan Peters as Thanatos

Spirit of death and minister of Hades

Thanatos was the ancient god of the ancient Greeks who carried the spirits of the dead to the shores of the Styx where they waited to be ferried across by Charon.

In Ancient Greece, death was a relatively dark concept, and as such Thanatos is described as being the son of Nyx (Night), or the offspring of Nyx and Erebus (Darkness). This parentage also makes Thanatos notably the twin brother of Hypnos (Sleep), although Hesiod, in the Theogony, also mentions other siblings including the Moirai (Fates), Keres (the Death Fates), Geras (Old Age) and Eris (Strife). The role of Thanatos was to collect the spirit of the deceased mortal when the Fates, and in particular Atropos, decided that the time of the individual was up. The spirit was then transported to the edge of the underworld, where from the journey for the deceased would continue. Thanatos is normally said to be associated with peaceful death, whilst violent death was more closely linked with the Keres, the “Hounds of Hades”. With death being predestined, Thanatos was not thought of as being necessarily evil, although his arrival was something to be feared, as he could come when an individual was young or old.

The most famous story of Thanatos is one where he crosses the path of Sisyphus, the king of Corinth. Zeus angered by Sisyphus revealing his secrets, sent Thanatos to take the king to the underworld in chains. Sisyphus, being quick-witted, tricked Thanatos into showing him how the chains worked; and so Thanatos put the chains upon himself, and of course Sisyphus would not release him. With Thanatos in chains, death did not come to anyone, and Ares was especially exasperated as battles with no death, meant no victor. Ares therefore came to release Thanatos, and Sisyphus died. Sisyphus though thought ahead, and ordered his wife not to provide proper funeral rites for him, and so, once the king was in the underworld, he convinced Persephone to let him leave to scold his wife. Hermes eventually brought Sisyphus back to the underworld, and commenced his eternal punishment in Tartarus.

Sisyphus showed that death could be outwitted, but Heracles also showed he could be out fought. King Admetos had been an amiable host to both Apollo and Heracles, and Apollo had arranged with the Fates that Admetos should not die at his allotted time if someone volunteered to take his place. When Thanatos came for Admetos, the king’s wife, Alcestis willingly took his place. Heracles though went to the aid of his hosts, and so wrestled with Thanatos, until death relented, so that Admetos and Alcestis could go on living together. Thanatos also appeared in Homer’s Iliad, where the god is noted for having transported, along with Hypnos, the body of Sarpedon back to Lycia, after the Trojan hero had fallen in battle. The personification of death was in keeping with the beliefs of Ancient Greece, which saw events explained due to the actions of a deity.


Merciless - Thanatos was believed to be merciless and undiscriminating, sharing a mutual hatred for both the other gods as well as mortals.

Quiet - Thanatos is known to have a quiet nature, and although he is the God of Death, he possess a gentle soul.

Sacred Symbols and Animals

Wreath of Flowers - A Wreath of Flowers were associated with birth and life after death.

Torch - The inverted torch symbolizes death

Wings - His wings symbolized his role as the god of death, the power of flight and his role in escorting souls to the Underworld.

Sword - The symbol of the sheaved sword represents the role of Thanatos to bring a non-violent death to mortals.

Butterfly - The butterfly is associated with the Greek goddess Psyche and was the name given by the ancient Greeks to the soul.

None of this information belongs to me or has been written by me, expect for the casting face claim. The information collected belongs to these sources:

Greek Mythology Wiki/Thanatos
Camp Half blood Wiki/Thanatos

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