Overview of Greek Gods and Goddesses

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Greek Gods and Goddesses

The Ancient Greeks were polytheistic, meaning they believed in multiple gods and goddesses. Throughout modern day Greece there are remnants of these beliefs in the many temples that are still standing, such as the Parthenon in Athens and the Temple of Poseidon in Sounion.

Though most modern Greeks no longer hold to these beliefs because most of them are Orthodox Christians, learning about the past is very much a part of their present.

Gods and Goddesses of Mount Olympus

The twelve Olympic gods and goddesses are looked at as the principal deities. Note that the Ancient Romans eventually adopted and renamed these same gods and goddesses into their own mythology, which eventually made the stories very popular in European culture in general.

  • Zeus. He is the king of the gods and the son of Cronus and Rhea. He is most known for his erotic side where he fathered many children such as Perseus, Heracles (Hercules), Athena, Apollo, Hermes, and others.
  • Hera. In most stories, she is depicted as being Zeus’s wife and sister. She is most known for her vengeful attitude against Zeus’s lovers. She is also queen of the gods.
  • Aphrodite. She is the goddess of love, desire, and beauty. It was said that her beauty was legendary and she could make any man fall for her. Her husband is Hephaestus.
  • Apollo. He is the god of the sun, the arts, and medicine. He was also considered to be the very standard of male beauty. Apollo is Zeus’s son from one of his escapades. He is twin to the goddess Artemis.
  • Ares. He is the son of Hera and Zeus and also the god of war. He is always depicted as wearing his battle gear. Also, he had an affair with Aphrodite.
  • Artemis. She is most known as being the goddess of the hunt and for being a virgin. She is Apollo’s twin sister. She is usually depicted as wearing a loose dress suitable for hunting, called a chiton, and usually carries a bow and quiver filled with arrows.
  • Athena. She is the goddess of wisdom and knowledge. She is said to have been born fully clothed and armed and is always wearing a long dress in her depictions.
  • Demeter. She is the goddess of grain, farming, and the earth. Demeter is Zeus’s brother and the mother of Persephone who eventually became queen of the underworld.
  • Hephaestus. He is the god of fire and also Aphrodite’s husband. He is often looked at as being weak because of Aphrodite’s many adulteress affairs.
  • Hermes. He is the Greek messenger god. He is often shown as having sandals with wings so that he can deliver his messages swiftly.
  • Hestia. She is the virgin goddess of hearth and home and is also Zeus’s sister. She was depicted as being modest and veiled to help preserve her chastity.
  • Poseidon. He was the god of the sea and also Zeus’s brother. He is depicted as having long hair and sporting a trident as his weapon.

Greek Mythology is highly diverse and filled with stories about gods, goddesses, demigods, monsters, creatures, and heroes. These gods often behave like people and the stories take place over the varied Greek landscape including Mount Olympus and the Underworld, or Hades. These gods and goddesses are at the core of most of the stories.

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