the 12 Gods of the Greek Pantheon
Zeus, the "Cloud-Gatherer", known to the Romans as Jupiter, is the father of gods and men, supreme ruler of Mount Olympus, lord of the sky, lightning, thunder, law, order, justice. Youngest child of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. Symbols include the thunderbolt, eagle, oak tree, scepter, and scales. He is as unpredictable in his wrath as he is in his storms on earth. Brother and husband of Hera, although he had many lovers, also brother of Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, and Hestia.
Hera is the Queen of the gods, and the goddess of marriage and family. Hera is Zeus' wife and sister, the youngest daughter of Cronus and Rhea. She was raised by the Titans Ocean and Tethys. Her marriage with Zeus was founded in strife and continued in strife. Zeus courted her unsuccessfully and then he turned to trickery, changing himself into a disheveled cuckoo. Hera feeling sorry for the bird held it to her breast to warm it. Zeus then resumed his normal form and taking advantage of the surprise he gained, raped her. She then married him to cover her shame.
Poseidon, or Neptune, is brother of Zeus and Hades, middle son of Cronus and Rhea. After the overthrow of their father, he drew lots with Zeus and Hades, for shares of the world. Poseidon's prize was to become lord of the seas.
Poseidon is God of the seas, earthquakes, and tidal waves. He married the Nereid Amphitrite, a granddaughter of the Titan Oceanos, although, like most male Greek Gods, he had many lovers.
At one point he desired Demeter. To put him off Demeter asked him to make the most beautiful animal that the world had ever seen. So, to impress her, Poseidon created the first horse. In some accounts his first attempts were unsuccessful and created a variety of other animals in his quest. By the time the horse was created his passion for Demeter had cooled. Poseidon has a difficult, quarrelsome personality. He was greedy. He had a series of disputes with other gods when he tried to take over their cities. His weapon is a trident, which can shake the earth, and shatter any object. Symbols include the horse, bull, and the dolphin.
Demeter, or Ceres is the Goddess of fertility, agriculture, nature, and the seasons. Symbols include the poppy, wheat, torch, cornucopia, and pig. Middle daughter of Cronus and Rhea.
One of Apollo's more important daily tasks is to harness his chariot with four horses and drive the Sun across the sky. He also is the god of truth, who can not speak a lie. He is the god of medicine and healing. He is the Archer, far shooting with a silver bow. Symbols include the sun, lyre, swan, and mouse. His plant was the laurel. The crow is his bird and the dolphin is his animal.
Ares, or Mars is the son of Zeus and Hera. All the other gods, with the exception of Aphrodite, despised him. He is considered murderous and bloodstained but, also a coward. When caught in an act of adultery with Aphrodite, her husband Hephaestus publicly ridiculed him. He is the God of war. Symbols include the boar, serpent, dog, vulture, spear, and shield. His Latin name, Mars, gave us the word "martial."
Some say that Hera, upset by having an ugly child, flung him from Mt. Olympus into the sea, breaking his legs. Others that he took Hera's side in an argument with Zeus, and Zeus flung him off Mt. Olympus. He is the patron god of both smiths and weavers. He is kind and peace loving. His wife is Aphrodite. Unlike most divine husbands, he was rarely ever licentious. Symbols include fire, anvil, ax, donkey, hammer, tongs, and quail. His Latin name, Vulcan, gave us the word "volcano," since Hephaestos used a volcano as his forge.
Hermes, or Mercury, is Son of Zeus and the nymph Maia. He is the Messenger of the gods; the fastest of the gods, portrayed wearing winged sandals, a winged hat and carrying the caduceus (a wand entwined with two snakes). Hermes is the god of commerce, and, surprisingly also the protector of thieves. He is the guide for the dead in their final journey to the underworld.
He invented the lyre, the pipes, the musical scale, astronomy, weights and measures, boxing, gymnastics, and the care of olive trees. Hermes is the second-youngest Olympian, just older than Dionyssos.
Hestia, or Vesta, is the first child of Cronus and Rhea, eldest sister of Hades, Demeter, Poseidon, Hera, and Zeus. She is a virgin goddess. She does not have a distinct personality. She plays no part in myths. She is the Goddess of the Hearth, the symbol of the house around which a new born child is carried before it is received into the family. Each city had a public hearth sacred to Hestia, where the fire was never allowed to go out.
Hades is a brother of Zeus. Following the overthrow of their father Cronus he drew lots with brothers Zeus and Poseidon, to share the world. Hades had the worst draw and was made lord of the underworld, ruling over the dead. He is a greedy god who is greatly concerned with increasing his subjects. Those whose calling increase the number of dead are seen favorably. The Erinnyes are welcomed guests. He is exceedingly disinclined to allow any of his subjects leave. He is also the god of wealth, due to the precious metals mined from the earth. His helmet makes him invisible. He rarely leaves the underworld. His wife is Persephone whom Hades abducted. He is the King of the dead but, death itself is another god, Thanatos.
|Athens Legends: Gods and Myths Private Tour |
Uncover the myths & legends that shaped Athens’ history on a private tour. Follow your local guide, stroll through the picturesque streets of the city and hear the tales of mythical gods on this private tour.