In the Odyssey, the underworld was a place of darkness where the shades of the dead wandered unconscious and unknowing. To revive them so Odysseus could talk with them, he had to feed them a libation or offering of blood and milk.
Thanks to the influence of Platonic philosophy in the 4th century BC and the rise of the mystery religions like the Eleusinian Mysteries, this changed over time. When Aeneas made his katabasis in the 1st century BC, he found that the shades were now separated in the good and those who had been evildoers in life. The dead were judged by three judges of the underworld. All these judges were famous during their lifetime for the stern wisdom of their judgements.
The geography of the underworld had changed and clarified since the time of Odysseus. The katabasis of Aeneas told us that those without the fare to pay Charon for a voyage across the Styx remained on this side of the river, unquiet and dangerous. Once across the Styx were the Fields of Mourning where those who had died for love wandered uneasily.
The Asphodel Meadows was where the majority of the dead dwelled. Nearby were the Fields of Dreams whence came dreams, true and false, that haunt men’s sleep. Once judged by the underworld gods, especially distinguished individuals and heroes could be sent to Elysium or the Elysian Fields. This was a paradisiacal afterlife. Elysium was where Aeneas found the shade of his father, Anchises.
Those who had been adjudged evil were condemned to be tortured for all eternity in the fortress prison of Tartarus. Sisyphus, condemned to push a stone uphill for eternity, and Tantalus, condemned to have food and drink just out of reach forever, were two of those tortured in Tartarus.
The Isles of the Blessed were another, higher, place of reward.
Although the early writers like Hesiod and Homer knew of the Isles of the Blessed, over time, and under the influence of the mystery religions, the islands were reserved for those who had chosen to be reincarnated three times, who managed to be judged as especially pure enough to gain entrance to the Elysian Fields all three times.
Sadly, I did not have a class for my intended tour of the underworld. I presume that the pressure of Christmas events claimed their attention.
(Photos to be added shortly)