Thanatos

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In Greek mythology, Thánatos (in Greek, Θάνατος—"Death") was the daemon personification of death. He was a minor figure in Greek mythology, often referred to but rarely appearing in person. His name is transliterated in Latin as Thanatus, but his equivalent in Roman mythology is Mors or Letus/Letum, and he is sometimes identified erroneously with Orcus (Orcus himself had a Greek equivalent in the form of Horkos, God of the Oath).

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In myth and poetry

The Greek poet Hesiod established in his Theogony that Thánatos is a son of Nyx (Night) and Erebos (Darkness) and twin of Hypnos (Sleep).

Homer also confirmed Hypnos and Thanatos as twin brothers in his epic poem, the Iliad, where they were charged by Zeus via Apollo with the swift delivery of the slain hero Sarpedon to his homeland of Lycia.

Counted among Thanatos' siblings were other negative personifications such as Geras (Old Age), Oizys (Suffering), Moros (Doom), Apate (Deception), Momus (Blame), Eris (Strife), Nemesis (Retribution) and even the Acherousian/Stygian boatman Kharon. Thanatos was loosely associated with the three Moirai (for Hesiod, also daughters of Night), particularly Atropos, who was a goddess of death in her own right. He is also occasionally specified as being exclusive to peaceful death, while the bloodthirsty Keres embodied violent death. His duties as a Guide of the Dead were sometimes superseded by Hermes Psychopompos. Conversely, Thanatos may have originated as a mere aspect of Hermes before later becoming distinct from him.

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