THANATOS (Θάνατος) is the god of Death, the son of Nyx and Erebus, and the brother of Hypnos, Nemesis, Eris, Keres, Oneiroi, and many others. He is often shown as the Grim Reaper. He is often confused with Charon the ferryman. His Roman form is known as Mors.
He was seen as the God of peaceful death whilst his sisters, the Keres, were seen as the goddesses of violent deaths. In saying that, however, Thanatos was seen to have presided over all death.
There is no fairness in Death. If you free me, I will do my duty.
–Thanatos; Rick Riordan
History and Myths
Thanatos was the Greek god of nonviolent deaths. His name literally translates to “death” in Greek. In some myths, he’s considered to be a personified spirit of death rather than a god. The touch of Thanatos was gentle, often compared to the touch of Hypnos, who was the god of sleep. Thanatos and Hypnos are twins; this is where the saying, “Death, and his brother, sleep,” comes from.
Thanatos was believed to be merciless and indiscriminate, and both mortals and gods hated him.
Thanatos was once tricked by Sisyphus which was one of the reasons why he (Sisyphus) was punished in the Fields of Punishment. When Thanatos came to take Sisyphus to the Underworld, Sisyphus chained Thanatos to a rock which greatly angered him. Due to this Thanatos could no longer take souls of people. Ares was annoyed because everyone whom he killed would not die so it took the thrill out of kills. He then released Thanatos and death went on.
Thanatos is the harbinger of peaceful death while the others bring the complete opposite of it. He is depicted as a young man with an inverted torch and wreath of butterflies in his hands.
God of Death Lord of Peaceful Death Lieutenant of Hades