Siberia is an extensive geographical region spanning much of Eurasia and North Asia. Siberia has been a part of modern Russia since the 17th century; the territory of Siberia extends eastwards from the Ural Mountains to the watershed between the Pacific and Arctic drainage basins. The Yenisei River conditionally divides Siberia into two parts and Eastern. Siberia stretches southwards from the Arctic Ocean to the hills of north-central Kazakhstan and to the national borders of Mongolia and China. With an area of 13.1 million square kilometres, Siberia accounts for 77% of Russia's land area, but it is home to 36 million people—27% of the country's population. This is equivalent to an average population density of about 3 inhabitants per square kilometre, making Siberia one of the most sparsely populated regions on Earth. If it were a country by itself, it would still be the largest country in area, but in population it would be the world's 35th-largest and Asia's 14th-largest. Worldwide, Siberia is well known for its long, harsh winters, with a January average of −25 °C, as well as its extensive history of use by Russian and Soviet administrations as a place for prisons, labor camps, exile.
The origin of the name is unknown. Some sources say that "Siberia" originates from the Siberian Tatar word for "sleeping land". Another account sees the name as the ancient tribal ethnonym of the Sirtya, an ethnic group which spoke a Paleosiberian language; the Sirtya people were assimilated into the Siberian Tatars. The modern usage of the name was recorded in the Russian language after the Empire's conquest of the Siberian Khanate. A further variant claims; the Polish historian Chyliczkowski has proposed that the name derives from the proto-Slavic word for "north", but Anatole Baikaloff has dismissed this explanation. He said that the neighbouring Chinese and Mongolians, who have similar names for the region, would not have known Russian, he suggests that the name might be a combination of two words with Turkic origin, "su" and "bir". The region has paleontological significance, as it contains bodies of prehistoric animals from the Pleistocene Epoch, preserved in ice or in permafrost. Specimens of Goldfuss cave lion cubs and another woolly mammoth from Oymyakon, a woolly rhinoceros from the Kolyma River, bison and horses from Yukagir have been found.
The Siberian Traps were formed by one of the largest-known volcanic events of the last 500 million years of Earth's geological history. Their activity continued for a million years and some scientists consider it a possible cause of the "Great Dying" about 250 million years ago, – estimated to have killed 90% of species existing at the time. At least three species of human lived in Southern Siberia around 40,000 years ago: H. sapiens, H. neanderthalensis, the Denisovans. In 2010 DNA evidence identified the last as a separate species. Siberia was inhabited by different groups of nomads such as the Enets, the Nenets, the Huns, the Scythians and the Uyghurs; the Khan of Sibir in the vicinity of modern Tobolsk was known as a prominent figure who endorsed Kubrat as Khagan of Old Great Bulgaria in 630. The Mongols conquered a large part of this area early in the 13th century. With the breakup of the Golden Horde, the autonomous Khanate of Sibir was established in the late 15th century. Turkic-speaking Yakut migrated north from the Lake Baikal region under pressure from the Mongol tribes during the 13th to 15th century.
Siberia remained a sparsely populated area. Historian John F. Richards wrote: "... it is doubtful that the total early modern Siberian population exceeded 300,000 persons."The growing power of Russia in the West began to undermine the Siberian Khanate in the 16th century. First, groups of traders and Cossacks began to enter the area; the Russian Army was directed to establish forts farther and farther east to protect new settlers from European Russia. Towns such as Mangazeya, Tara and Tobolsk were developed, the last being declared the capital of Siberia. At this time, Sibir was the name of a fortress at Qashlik, near Tobolsk. Gerardus Mercator, in a map published in 1595, marks Sibier both as the name of a settlement and of the surrounding territory along a left tributary of the Ob. Other sources contend that the Xibe, an indigenous Tungusic people, offered fierce resistance to Russian expansion beyond the Urals; some suggest. By the mid-17th century, Russia had established areas of control; some 230,000 Russians had settled in Siberia by 1709.
Siberia was a destination for sending exiles. The first great modern change in Siberia was the Trans-Siberian Railway, constructed during 1891–1916, it linked Siberia more to the industrialising Russia of Nicholas II. Around seven million people moved to Siberia from European Russia between 1801 and 1914. From 1859 to 1917, more than half a million people migrated to the Russian Far East. Siberia has extensive natural resources. During the 20th century, large-scale exploitation of these was developed, industrial towns cropped up throughout the region. At 7:15 a.m. on 30 June 1908, millions of trees were felled near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in central Siberia in the Tunguska Event. Most scientists believe this resulted from the air burst of a comet. Though no crater has been found, the landscape in the area still bears the scars of this event. In the early decades of the Soviet Union (
Serfdom in Russia
The term serf, in the sense of an unfree peasant of the Russian Empire, is the usual translation of krepostnoi krestyanin and stands for an unfree person who, unlike a slave, can be sold only with the land he or she is "attached" to. Historic legal documents of the epoch, such as Russkaya Pravda, distinguished several degrees of feudal dependency of peasants. Serfdom became the dominant form of relation between peasants and nobility in the 17th century. Serfdom most existed in the central and southern areas of the Russian Empire. Serfdom in the Urals and Siberia was unseen until, during the reign of Catherine the Great, businesses began to send serfs into those areas in an attempt to harvest their large amount of untapped natural resources Tsar Alexander I wanted to reform the system but was thwarted in this ambition. New laws allowed all classes to own land, a privilege, confined to the nobility. Russian serfdom was abolished in the emancipation reform of 1861 by Tsar Alexander II. Scholars have proposed multiple overlapping reasons to account for the abolition, including fear of a large-scale revolt by the serfs, the government's financial needs, changing cultural sensibilities, the military's need for soldiers.
The term muzhik. This word was borrowed from Russian into Western languages through translations of 19th-century Russian literature, describing Russian rural life of those times, where the word muzhik was used to mean the most common rural dweller - a peasant - but this was only a narrow contextual meaning; the origins of serfdom in Russia may be traced to the 12th century, when the exploitation of the so-called zakups on arable lands and corvée smerds was the closest to what is now known as serfdom. According to the Russkaya Pravda, a princely smerd had limited personal rights, his escheat was given to the prince and his life was equated with that of the kholop, meaning his murder was punishable by a fine of five grivnas. In the 13th to 15th centuries, feudal dependency applied to a significant number of peasants, but serfdom as we know it was still not a widespread phenomenon. In the mid-15th century the right of certain categories of peasants in some votchinas to leave their master was limited to a period of one week before and after Yuri's Day.
The Sudebnik of 1497 confirmed this time limit as universal for everybody and established the amount of the "break-away" fee called pozhiloye. The legal code of Ivan III of Russia, strengthened the dependency of peasants and restricted their mobility; the Russians persistently battled against the successor states of the Golden Horde, chiefly the Khanate of Crimea. Annually the Russian population of the borderland suffered from Tatar invasions and tens of thousands of noblemen protected the southern borderland, which slowed its social and economic development and expanded the taxation of peasantry; the Sudebnik of 1550 increased the amount of pozhiloye and introduced an additional tax called za povoz, in case a peasant refused to bring the harvest from the fields to his master. A temporary and an open-ended prohibition for peasants to leave their masters was introduced by the ukase of 1597 under the reign of Boris Godunov, which took away the peasants' right to free movement around Yuri's Day, binding the vast majority of the Russian peasantry in full serfdom.
These defined the so-called fixed years, or the 5-year time frame for search of the runaway peasants. In 1607, a new ukase defined sanctions for hiding and keeping the runaways: the fine had to be paid to the state and pozhiloye – to the previous owner of the peasant; the Sobornoye Ulozhenie of 1649 gave serfs to estates, in 1658, flight was made a criminal offense. Russian landowners gained unlimited ownership over Russian serfs; the landowner could transfer the serf without land to another landowner while keeping the serf's personal property and family. About four-fifths of Russian peasants were serfs according to the censuses of 1678 and 1719. Most of the dvoryane were content with the long time frame for search of the runaway peasants; the major landowners of the country, together with the dvoryane of the south, were interested in a short-term persecution due to the fact that many runaways would flee to the southern parts of Russia. During the first half of the 17th century the dvoryane sent their collective petitions to the authorities, asking for the extension of the "fixed years".
In 1642, the Russian government established a 10-year limit for search of the runaways and 15-year limit for search for peasants taken away by their new owners. The Sobornoye Ulozhenie introduced an open-ended search for those on the run, meaning that all of the peasants who had fled from their masters after the census of 1626 or 1646–1647 had to be returned; the government would still introduce new time frames and grounds for search of the runaways after 1649, which applied to the peasants who had fled to the outlying districts of the country, such as regions along the border abatises called zasechniye linii, Don (1
Catherine the Great
Catherine II known as Catherine the Great, born Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, was Empress of Russia from 1762 until 1796, the country's longest-ruling female leader. She came to power following a coup d'état which she organized—resulting in her husband, Peter III, being overthrown. Under her reign, Russia was revitalized; that said, she was a usurper of the Russian throne because her son, Paul I, should have been the Tsar following Peter III’s death. In her accession to power and her rule of the empire, Catherine relied on her noble favourites, most notably Grigory Orlov and Grigory Potemkin. Assisted by successful generals such as Alexander Suvorov and Pyotr Rumyantsev, admirals such as Fyodor Ushakov, she governed at a time when the Russian Empire was expanding by conquest and diplomacy. In the south, the Crimean Khanate was crushed following victories over the Ottoman Empire in the Russo–Turkish wars, Russia colonised the territories of Novorossiya along the coasts of the Black and Azov Seas.
In the west, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, ruled by Catherine's former lover, king Stanisław August Poniatowski, was partitioned, with the Russian Empire gaining the largest share. In the east, Russia started establishing Russian America. Catherine reformed the administration of Russian guberniyas, many new cities and towns were founded on her orders. An admirer of Peter the Great, Catherine continued to modernise Russia along Western European lines. However, military conscription and the economy continued to depend on serfdom, the increasing demands of the state and private landowners led to increased levels of reliance on serfs; this was one of the chief reasons behind several rebellions, including the large-scale Pugachev's Rebellion of cossacks and peasants. Catherine decided to have herself inoculated against smallpox by Thomas Dimsdale. While this was considered a controversial method at the time, she succeeded, her son Pavel was inoculated as well. Catherine sought to have inoculations throughout her empire stating: "My objective was, through my example, to save from death the multitude of my subjects who, not knowing the value of this technique, frightened of it, were left in danger."
By 1800 2 million inoculations were administered in the Russian Empire. The period of Catherine the Great's rule, the Catherinian Era, is considered the Golden Age of Russia; the Manifesto on Freedom of the Nobility, issued during the short reign of Peter III and confirmed by Catherine, freed Russian nobles from compulsory military or state service. Construction of many mansions of the nobility, in the classical style endorsed by the Empress, changed the face of the country, she enthusiastically supported the ideals of the Enlightenment and is regarded as an enlightened despot. As a patron of the arts she presided over the age of the Russian Enlightenment, a period when the Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens, the first state-financed higher education institution for women in Europe, was established. Catherine was born in Stettin, Kingdom of Prussia as Princess Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg, her father, Christian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst, belonged to the ruling German family of Anhalt, but held the rank of a Prussian general in his capacity as governor of the city of Stettin.
Two of her first cousins became Kings of Sweden: Gustav III and Charles XIII. In accordance with the custom prevailing in the ruling dynasties of Germany, she received her education chiefly from a French governess and from tutors. Catherine was known by the nickname Fike, her childhood was quite uneventful. She once wrote to her correspondent Baron Grimm: "I see nothing of interest in it." Although Catherine was born a princess, her family had little money. Catherine's rise to power was supported by her mother's wealthy relatives who were both wealthy nobles and royal relations; the choice of Sophie as wife of her second cousin, the prospective tsar Peter of Holstein-Gottorp, resulted from some amount of diplomatic management in which Count Lestocq, Peter's aunt Elizabeth and Frederick II of Prussia took part. Lestocq and Frederick wanted to strengthen the friendship between Prussia and Russia to weaken Austria's influence and ruin the Russian chancellor Bestuzhev, on whom Empress Elizabeth relied, who acted as a known partisan of Russo-Austrian co-operation.
Catherine first met Peter III at the age of 10. Based on her writings, she found, she disliked his fondness for alcohol at such a young age. Peter still played with toy soldiers. Catherine wrote that she stayed at one end of the castle, Peter at the other; the diplomatic intrigue failed due to the intervention of Sophie's mother, Johanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp. Historical accounts portray Johanna as a abusive woman who loved gossip and court intrigues, her hunger for fame centred on her daughter's prospects of becoming empress of Russia, but she infuriated Empress Elizabeth, who banned her from the country for spying for King Frederick of Prussia. The Empress Elizabeth knew the family well: she had intended to marry Princess Johanna's brother Charles Augustus, who had died of smallpox in 1727 before the wedding could take place. In spite of Johanna's interference, Empress Elizabeth took a strong liking to the daughter, who, o
Alexander Nikolayevich Radishchev was a Russian author and social critic, arrested and exiled under Catherine the Great. He brought the tradition of radicalism in Russian literature to prominence with his 1790 novel Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow, his depiction of socio-economic conditions in Russia resulted in his exile to Siberia until 1797. He was the grandfather of painter Alexey Bogolyubov. Radishchev was born on an estate just outside Moscow, into a minor noble family of Tatar descent, tracing its roots back to defeated princes who entered into the service of Ivan the Terrible after the conquest of Kazan in 1552, the Tsar offering them, in exchange of baptism, to work for him and being allotted lands of some twenty-two thousand acres, a number their descendants will keep upgrading by serving the Tsars over the generations, his father, Nicholas Afanasevich Radischev, a prominent landowner in Moscow, had a reputation for treating his 3000-plus serfs humanely. Until he was 8 years old he lived on his father's estate in Verkhni Oblyazovo, one hundred miles west of the Volga river with a nurse and tutor.
He went to live with a relative in Moscow, where he was allowed to spend time at the newly established Moscow University. In 1765 his family connections provided him with an opportunity to serve as a page in Catherine's court, which he nonetheless regarded with suspicion for its "contempt for the Orthodox faith, a desire to deliver the homeland into foreign hands"; because of his exceptional academic promise, Radishchev was chosen as of one of a dozen young students to be sent abroad to acquire Western learning. For several years he studied at the University of Leipzig, his foreign education influenced his approach to Russian society, upon his return he hoped to incorporate Enlightenment philosophies such as natural law and the social contract into Russian conditions. As he served as a Titular Councillor, drafting legal protocols, in Catherine's civil service, he lauded revolutionaries like George Washington, praised the early stages of the French Revolution, found himself enamored of the Russian Freemason, Nicholas Ivanovich Novikov, whose publication The Drone offered the first public critiques of the government with regards to serfdom.
Novikov's sharp satire and indignation inspired Radischev's most famous work – Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow – in which he emulates Novikov's harsh and passionate style, he too was critical of serfdom and of the limits to personal freedom imposed by the autocracy. The Empress Catherine the Great read the work, viewed Radishchev's calls for reform as evidence of Jacobin-style radicalism, ordered copies of the text confiscated and destroyed. Out of the 650 copies printed, only 17 had survived by the time the work was reprinted in England fifty years later. In 1790 Radischev was condemned to death, he humbly begged forgiveness of Catherine, publicly disowning his book, his sentence was commuted to exile to Ilimsk in Siberia. En route the writer was treated like a common convict, shackled at the ankles and forced to endure the Russian cold from which he fell ill, his friend, Count Alexander Vorontsov, who held sway with Catherine and managed to secure Radischev more appropriate accommodations, allowing him to return to Moscow to recover and restart his journey with dignity and comfort.
Beginning in October, 1790, Radischev's two-year trip took him through Siberia, stopping in the towns of Ekaterinberg and Irkutsk before reaching the small town of Ilimsk in 1792. Along the way, he began writing a biography of Yermak, the Cossack conqueror of Siberia, pursuing an interest in geology and nature. Settling in Ilimsk for five years with his second wife, Elizabeth Vasilievna Rubanovsky, his two children, Radischev, as the only educated man in the area, became the local doctor and saved several lives, he wrote a long treatise, On Man, His Mortality, His Immortality, revered as one of the few great philosophical works of Russia. In it he addresses man's belief in the afterlife, the corporality of the soul, the ultimate redemption of sinners and the faults of materialism. After Catherine's death her successor Tsar Paul recalled Radishchev from Siberia and confined him to his own estate; when Alexander I became Emperor, Radishchev was employed to help revise Russian law, a realization of his lifelong dream.
His tenure in this administrative role proved short and unsuccessful. In 1802 a despondent Radishchev - rebuked in a friendly manner, for expressing radical ideas, by Count Zavadovsky who in his reproof spoke of another exile to Siberia - committed suicide by drinking poison. During the author's last years, his Moscow apartment became the center of several literary circles who extolled similar views and most outspokenly mourned his death; the Russian autocracy, managed to prevent A Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow from being published until 1905, during which time it circulated through radical groups and was translated into several languages. Alexander Pushkin, sympathetic to Radischev's views and passion, undertook to write a sequel to his inflammatory book, never finished and early on faced pressure from the censors. Following the 1905 and 1917 revolutions, Radischev was accepted into the radical canon and became read throughout Russia and Europe. Despite the discrepancies between the author's ideal and the Soviet reality, authorities managed
The Russian Empire known as Imperial Russia or Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917. The third largest empire in world history, at its greatest extent stretching over three continents, Europe and North America, the Russian Empire was surpassed in landmass only by the British and Mongol empires; the rise of the Russian Empire coincided with the decline of neighboring rival powers: the Golden Horde, the Swedish Empire, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire. It played a major role in 1812–1814 in defeating Napoleon's ambitions to control Europe and expanded to the west and south; the House of Romanov ruled the Russian Empire from 1721 until 1762, its matrilineal branch of patrilineal German descent the House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov ruled from 1762. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire extended from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea in the south, from the Baltic Sea on the west to the Pacific Ocean, into Alaska and Northern California in America on the east.
With 125.6 million subjects registered by the 1897 census, it had the third-largest population in the world at the time, after Qing China and India. Like all empires, it included a large disparity in terms of economics and religion. There were numerous dissident elements. Economically, the empire had a predominantly agricultural base, with low productivity on large estates worked by serfs, Russian peasants; the economy industrialized with the help of foreign investments in railways and factories. The land was ruled by a nobility from the 10th through the 17th centuries, subsequently by an emperor. Tsar Ivan III laid the groundwork for the empire that emerged, he tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Golden Horde, renovated the Moscow Kremlin, laid the foundations of the Russian state. Emperor Peter the Great fought numerous wars and expanded an huge empire into a major European power, he moved the capital from Moscow to the new model city of St. Petersburg, led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political mores with a modern, Europe-oriented, rationalist system.
Empress Catherine the Great presided over a golden age. Emperor Alexander II promoted numerous reforms, most the emancipation of all 23 million serfs in 1861, his policy in Eastern Europe involved protecting the Orthodox Christians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. That connection by 1914 led to Russia's entry into the First World War on the side of France, the United Kingdom, Serbia, against the German and Ottoman empires; the Russian Empire functioned as an absolute monarchy on principles of Orthodoxy and Nationality until the Revolution of 1905 and became a de jure constitutional monarchy. The empire collapsed during the February Revolution of 1917 as a result of massive failures in its participation in the First World War. Though the Empire was only proclaimed by Tsar Peter I following the Treaty of Nystad, some historians would argue that it was born either when Ivan III of Russia conquered Veliky Novgorod in 1478, or when Ivan the Terrible conquered the Khanate of Kazan in 1552. According to another point of view, the term Tsardom, used after the coronation of Ivan IV in 1547, was a contemporary Russian word for empire.
Much of Russia's expansion occurred in the 17th century, culminating in the first Russian colonization of the Pacific in the mid-17th century, the Russo-Polish War that incorporated left-bank Ukraine, the Russian conquest of Siberia. Poland was divided in the 1790 -- 1815 era, with much of the population going to Russia. Most of the 19th-century growth came from adding territory in Asia, south of Siberia. Peter I the Great played a major role in introducing Russia to the European state system. While the vast land had a population of 14 million, grain yields trailed behind those of agriculture in the West, compelling nearly the entire population to farm. Only a small percentage lived in towns; the class of kholops, close in status to slavery, remained a major institution in Russia until 1723, when Peter converted household kholops into house serfs, thus including them in poll taxation. Russian agricultural kholops were formally converted into serfs earlier in 1679. Peter's first military efforts were directed against the Ottoman Turks.
His attention turned to the North. Peter still lacked a secure northern seaport, except at Archangel on the White Sea, where the harbor was frozen for nine months a year. Access to the Baltic was blocked by Sweden. Peter's ambitions for a "window to the sea" led him to make a secret alliance in 1699 with Saxony, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Denmark against Sweden, resulting in the Great Northern War; the war ended in 1721. Peter acquired four provinces situated east of the Gulf of Finland; the coveted access to the sea was now secured. There he built Russia's new capital, Saint Petersburg, to replace Moscow, which had long been Russia's cultural center. In 1722, he tur
In Greek mythology, Cerberus called the "hound of Hades", is a multi-headed dog that guards the gates of the Underworld to prevent the dead from leaving. Cerberus was the offspring of the monsters Echidna and Typhon, is described as having three heads, a serpent for a tail, snakes protruding from parts of his body. Cerberus is known for his capture by Heracles, one of Heracles' twelve labours. Descriptions of Cerberus vary, including the number of his heads. Cerberus was three-headed, though not always. Cerberus had several multi-headed relatives, his father was the multi snake-headed Typhon, Cerberus was the brother of three other multi-headed monsters, the multi-snake-headed Lernaean Hydra. And, like these close relatives, Cerberus was, with only the rare iconographic exception, multi-headed. In the earliest description of Cerberus, Hesiod's Theogony, Cerberus has fifty heads, while Pindar gave him one hundred heads; however writers universally give Cerberus three heads. An exception is the Latin poet Horace's Cerberus which has a single dog head, one hundred snake heads.
Trying to reconcile these competing traditions, Apollodorus's Cerberus has three dog heads and the heads of "all sorts of snakes" along his back, while the Byzantine poet John Tzetzes gives Cerberus fifty heads, three of which were dog heads, the rest being the "heads of other beasts of all sorts". In art Cerberus is most depicted with two dog heads, never more than three, but with only one. On one of the two earliest depictions, a Corinthian cup from Argos, now lost, Cerberus is shown as a normal single-headed dog; the first appearance of a three-headed Cerberus occurs on a mid-sixth-century BC Laconian cup. Horace's many snake-headed Cerberus followed a long tradition of Cerberus being part snake; this is already implied as early as in Hesiod's Theogony, where Cerberus' mother is the half-snake Echidna, his father the snake-headed Typhon. In art Cerberus is shown as being part snake, for example the lost Corinthian cup shows snakes protruding from Cerberus' body, while the mid sixth-century BC Laconian cup gives Cerberus a snake for a tail.
In the literary record, the first certain indication of Cerberus' serpentine nature comes from the rationalized account of Hecataeus of Miletus, who makes Cerberus a large poisonous snake. Plato refers to Cerberus' composite nature, Euphorion of Chalcis describes Cerberus as having multiple snake tails, in connection to his serpentine nature, associates Cerberus with the creation of the poisonous aconite plant. Virgil has snakes writhe around Cerberus' neck, Ovid's Cerberus has a venomous mouth, necks "vile with snakes", "hair inwoven with the threatening snake", while Seneca gives Cerberus a mane consisting of snakes, a single snake tail. Cerberus was given various other traits. According to Euripides, Cerberus not only had three heads but three bodies, according to Virgil he had multiple backs. Cerberus ate raw flesh, had eyes which flashed fire, a three-tongued mouth, acute hearing. Cerberus' only mythology concerns his capture by Heracles; as early as Homer we learn that Heracles was sent by Eurystheus, the king of Tiryns, to bring back Cerberus from Hades the king of the underworld.
According to Apollodorus, this was the final labour imposed on Heracles. In a fragment from a lost play Pirithous, Heracles says that, although Eurystheus commanded him to bring back Cerberus, it was not from any desire to see Cerberus, but only because Eurystheus thought that the task was impossible. Heracles was aided in his mission by his being an initiate of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Euripides has his initiation being "lucky" for Heracles in capturing Cerberus, and both Diodorus Siculus and Apollodorus say that Heracles was initiated into the Mysteries, in preparation for his descent into the underworld. According to Diodorus, Heracles went to Athens, where Musaeus, the son of Orpheus, was in charge of the initiation rites, while according to Apollodorus, he went to Eumolpus at Eleusis. Heracles had the help of Hermes, the usual guide of the underworld, as well as Athena. In the Odyssey, Homer has Athena as his guides, and Hermes and Athena are shown with Heracles on vase paintings depicting Cerberus' capture.
By most accounts, Heracles made his descent into the underworld through an entrance at Tainaron, the most famous of the various Greek entrances to the underworld. The place is first mentioned in connection with the Cerberus story in the rationalized account of Hecataeus of Miletus, Euripides and Apolodorus, all have Heracles descend into the underworld there; however Xenophon reports that Heracles was said to have descended at the Acherusian Chersonese near Heraclea Pontica, on the Black Sea, a place more associated with Heracles' exit from the underworld. Heraclea, founded c. 560 BC took its name from the association of its site with Heracles' Cerberian exploit. While in the underworld, Heracles met the heroes Theseus and Pirithous, where the two companions were being held prisoner by Hades for attempting to carry off Hades' wife Persephone. Along with bringing back Cerberus, Heracles managed to rescue Theseus, in some versions Pirithous as well. Accordi