Dīs Pater, Rex Infernus

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Dis Pater, also known as Rex Infernus is a Roman god of the underworld.

Dis was initially identified with the chthonic deities Pluto (Hades) and Orcus because he was associated with mineral wealth and lush agricultural land, both of which originated from underground.

Since Dīs Pater‘s name was frequently abbreviated to Dīs, this word has come to be used to refer to Lower Hell, the City of Dis in Dante’s The Divine Comedy, or other areas of the underworld. Because rich metals and stones may be found underground, in the realm of the dead, Pluto’s (Hades’) dominion, D’s Pater gradually came to be connected with death and the underworld.

Being one of the three sons of Saturn (Greek Cronus), Ops (Greek Rhea), and Jupiter (Greek Zeus), along with Neptune (Greek Zeus), Dīs Pater adopted some of Pluto’s mythical characteristics as a result of their confusion (Greek Poseidon). He co-ruled with his wife, Proserpina, over the afterlife and the dead (Greek Persephone). The term Dīs Pater was frequently employed in literature as a lyrical and symbolic method of addressing death itself.

Sometimes, D’s Pater was equated with the Sabine deity Soranus.

Featured image: The Wedding Feast of Cupid and Psyche, 18th century painting showing Mercury (center), Flora (right), and Dīs Pater (left), Galleria Nazionale di Palazzo Spinola, Genoa

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