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The word chthonic is derived from the Ancient Greek word χθών, “khthon”, meaning earth or soil. It translates more directly from χθόνιος or “in, under, or beneath the earth”. In Greek mythology, chthonic is a descriptive word for things relating to the underworld and can be used in the context of chthonic gods, chthonic rituals, chthonic cults, and more. This is as compared to the more commonly referenced Olympic gods and their associated rituals and cults. Olympic gods are understood to reference that which exists above the earth, particularly in the sky. Gods that are related to agriculture are also considered to have chthonic associations as planting and growing takes place in part under the earth. Chthonic and ouranic, or olympic, are not completely opposite descriptors. They do not cleanly differentiate types of gods and worship into distinct categories, but represent a cultic spectrum. These terms communicate associations with the underworld and/or agriculture. This makes some deities such as Hades, Persephone, and Erinyes more likely to be considered chthonic due to their proximity to the underworld. While this is the case, virtually any god could be considered chthonic to emphasize different aspects of the god. For example, Demeter and Hermes are categorized within the twelve Olympian gods but are often considered chthonic. Zeus has also been referenced with the surname “chthonios”, demonstrating the situational use of a chthonic description

Greek myth > Underworld gods

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