- Concerning, belonging to, or inhabiting the underworld.
“Chthonic stories aren’t all spooky and evil, but they’re about the underworld and death.”
“The stories about Hermes are my favorite of the chthonic tales.”
“The writer coming to the bookstore next week has published a series of novels based on the chthonic figures.”
Greek, late 19th century
Why this word?
In Greek mythology, Hades and Persephone were the chthonic rulers, or the king and queen of the underworld. In Greek, “khthōn” means “earth,” but with the addition of the “-ic” suffix in the late 19th century, “chthonic” describes elements belonging to the underworld. In the Greek tradition, the 12 Olympian gods (Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Demeter, Dionysus, Hephaestus, Hera, Hermes, Poseidon, and Zeus) resided above the Earth in Olympus, while the chthonic gods (Hades, Persephones, Cerberus, Charon, Chronus, Erinyes, Hecate, Hermes, Hypnus, Moirae, Nyx, and Thanatus) were below in the underworld.
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