Orcus mouth in the Gardens of Bomarzo.

Orcus (Latin: Orcus) was a god of the underworld, punisher of broken oaths in Italic and Roman mythology. As with Hades, the name of the god was also used for the underworld itself. In the later tradition, he was conflated with Dis Pater.

Orcus was portrayed in paintings in Etruscan tombs as a hairy, bearded giant. A temple to Orcus may have existed on the Palatine Hill in Rome. It is likely that he was transliterated from the Greek daemon Horkos, the personification of Oaths and a son of Eris.[citation needed]


Fresco of Odysseus (Uθuste) and the Cyclops (Cuclu) in the Tomb of Orcus, Tarquinia, Italy.

The origins of Orcus may have lain in Etruscan religion. The so-called Tomb of Orcus, an Etruscan site at Tarquinia, is a misnomer, resulting from its first discoverers mistaking as Orcus a hairy, bearded giant that was actually a figure of a Cyclops.

The Romans sometimes conflated Orcus with other gods such as Pluto, Hades, and Dis Pater, god of the land of the dead. The name "Orcus" seems to have been given to his evil and punishing side, as the god who tormented evildoers in the afterlife. Like the name Hades (or the Norse Hel, for that matter), "Orcus" could also mean the land of the dead. As such a place, it was believed to be an abode for purification of the souls.[1]

Orcus was chiefly worshipped in rural areas; he had no official cult in the cities.[2] This remoteness allowed for him to survive in the countryside long after the more prevalent gods had ceased to be worshipped. He survived as a folk figure into the Middle Ages, and aspects of his worship were transmuted into the wild man festivals held in rural parts of Europe through modern times.[2] Indeed, much of what is known about the celebrations associated with Orcus come from medieval sources.[2]

Other Languages
беларуская: Оркус (міфалогія)
български: Оркус
brezhoneg: Horkos
Deutsch: Orcus
español: Orcus
Esperanto: Orko
فارسی: ارکوس
hrvatski: Ork
Bahasa Indonesia: Orkus
日本語: オルクス
norsk: Orcus
polski: Orkus
português: Orco
українська: Орк (міфологія)
中文: 奥迦斯