Greek Mythology

12 Olympians.500-336 BC

Brief History

The major deities ruled from atop of Mount Olympus in northern Greece. Zeus, king of the gods, preferred this area because it proved to be a visual vantage point to observe the actions of mortals.

Originally there were twelve gods, but the addition of Dionysus forced the complacent goddess Hestia to give up her seat. Hades also is an important deity, but he resided primarily in his realm of the underworld. Below is a brief description of the gods and their functions.

Olympians

Hera

Queen of the Gods logo

Hera, wife of the father of gods Zeus, is often portrayed as a quarrelsome and bitter goddess, and for good reason. She had to constantly keep her husband's libido in check!.

Poseidon

God of the Sea logo

Poseidon drew the sea as his lot when the gods were dividing kingdoms. This suited him just fine, and he quickly took the reigns of his realm. He married the Nereid (sea goddess) Amphitrite by sending an ambassador, Delphinus, to ask her hand. She accepted, and Poseidon put Delphinus's image in the stars (the Dolphin).

Hestia

Goddess of the Hearth logo

Very little is known briefhistory this serene, peaceful goddess other than she was the sister of Zeus and both Poseidon and Apollo sought her hand in marriage. She knew their lustful demeanors and vowed to remain a virgin.

Hermes

Messenger God logo

Hermes was the son of the Zeus and Maia (daughter of the Titan Atlas). A clever young god, he soon wandered from the cave from where he was born and killed some of his brother Apollo's cows, inventing strings for a lyre. He wore his shoes backwards in order to confuse the angry Apollo, who nonetheless discovered it was his new brother who was responsible for the death of his herd. Zeus, however, was amused by the young trickster, and quickly the new god earned his place in Olympus.

Hepheastus

God of Volcanos logo

After Zeus had given birth to his daughter Athena, Hera decided she could do the same. The product of her effort was the devine artificer of the gods, Hephaestus.

Athena

Goddess of Love logo

Athena was the Greek virgin goddess of reason, intelligent activity, arts and literature. She was the daughter of Zeus; her birth is unique in that she did not have a mother. Instead, she sprang full grown and clad in armour from Zeus' forehead.She was fierce and brave in battle; however, she only took part in wars that defended the state and home from outside enemies. She was the patron of the city, handcraft, and agriculture.

Zeus

King of the Gods logo

Zeus, as you have probably already guessed, was the father of the gods. he received this title by defeating his father Cronus, a Titan, and castrating him. This led to the battle with the Titans for control of the earth and heavens, with Zeus and his siblings and children eventually winning.

Hades

God of the Underworld logo

Hades was the god of the underworld, a place he drew after Zeus, Poseidon, and he divided up the kingdoms after the gods defeated the Titans. He is often depicted as a middle-aged, bearded god who closely resembles his brother Zeus.

Artemes

Goddess Of the Wilderness logo

Artemis was the Mistress of Beasts and all things wild. She was the twin sister of Apollo and the daughter of Zeus and Leto, a Titaness. A virgin tomboy, all animals were sacred to her, but the bear and boar were especially significant to her.

Ares

God of War logo

Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, and yes, even his own parents hated him. Zeus even declares such in the Iliad. Of course, Zeus had his own favorite and I believe he does Ares a gross injustice by playing such favorites. Perhaps Ares would not have been as violent as he was if one of his parents would have actually acknowledged his existence other than their disdain for him. Some claim there were no cities where he was worshipped, which is incorrect: Thebes honored him as the father of Harmonia, wife of its founder Cadmus, and in Thrace and Sparta he was particularly popular.

Apollo

God of Light logo

The devine archer, Apollo is said to represent the male ideal of beauty: youthful, muscular, perfect. He and his twin sister Artemis were the children of Zeus and Leto, a Titan. One of his first acts as a god was to kill the giant serpent Python of Delphi, which thus became his city.

Aphrodite

Goddess of Love logo

Aphrodite's name has a strange, almost perverse origin. After Cronos, father of the gods, castrated his own father Uranus, he tossed the genitals into the sea. From the foam—aphros—arose a goddess of such beauty the gods were immediately drawn to her.