1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Elysium
ELYSIUM, in Greek mythology, the Elysian fields, the abode of the righteous after their removal from earth. In Homer (Od. iv. 563) this region is a plain at the farthest end of the earth on the banks of the river Oceanus, where the fair-haired Rhadamanthys rules, and where the people are vexed by neither snow nor storm, heat nor cold, the air being always tempered by the zephyr wafted from the ocean. It is no dwelling of the dead nor part of the lower world, but distinguished heroes are translated thither without dying, to live a life of perfect happiness. In Hesiod (W. and D. 166) the same description is given of the Islands of the Blessed under the rule of Cronus, which yield three harvests yearly. Here, according to Pindar, Rhadamanthys sits by the side of his father Cronus and administers judgment (Ol. ii. 61, Frag. 95). All who have successfully gone through a triple probation on earth are admitted to share these blessings. In later accounts (Aeneid, vi. 541) Elysium was regarded as part of the underworld, the home of the righteous dead adjudged worthy of it by the tribunal of Minos, Rhadamanthys and Aeacus. Those who had lived evil lives were thrust down into Tartarus, where they suffered endless torments.