Sleep and his half brother death

Thanatos was the personification for peaceful death and the twin brother of Hypnos (sleep) - unlike their several siblings, who represent painful/violent death. He is the son of Nyx and Erebus.

He only appears in two myths. One in which he comes to collect the soul of King Sisyphus but ends up being captured before being released by Ares, this of course varies, for in some accounts, he is released by Hades. Another time he was trying to take the soul of Queen Alcestis, However Heracles owed them debt of gratitude to her and her husband and wrestled Thanatos in return for their kindness.

Thanatos is often seen as a bearded, winged, man and sometimes as a winged youth, with flowers. He is rarely seen without his twin, Hypnos - the God of Sleep. The two are asscociated with peaceful death as opposed to the Moros, Keres, etc.

According to myth if Thanatos cut your hair with his sword, you will die. His symbols are a sword, an upside down torch (representing the end of life), and a butterfly. ψυχή (psyche), the Greek word for butterfly, can also mean soul, or life.

Thanatos' lineage includes: Nyx, Erebus (in some myths), Ares, Eris, Charon, Hypnos, Momos, and the like. It is unknown who his consort is- as he his a lesser known god- though in some myths his partner is Makaria - daughter of Hades in some myths, representing a blessed death. 


In Popular Culture

Video games

Thanatos appears in the Kid Icarus series and Shin Megami Tensei series of video games:

  • Thanatos appears as Tanatos in the original Kid Icarus. He was originally a snake on Medusa's head. He is Medusa's second in command.
  • He returns in Kid Icarus: Uprising.
  • He made his first appearance in Shin Megami Tensei: Megami Ibunroku Persona, the first of the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series, as a boss on the Snow Queen quest.
  • His most prominent role in the Megami Tensei series was as the Ultimate form of the Death arcana and the first actual persona that the main character summons
  • He is of the Shinigami (God of Death) clan in Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoners 


In Video Games