We all have been watching films of Greek mythology characters in our childhood, and perhaps we have thought of some of the qualities of the gods we find ourselves. Ancient Greek culture has such a wide range that it is impossible to get out when you get inside. Even if you are not interested in Greek gods in any respect, you have heard Zeus, Hercules, Zeyna, Apollo, Hera, Poseidon, Athena and ofcourse 300 Spartans, Alexander, Clash of the Titans, Troy ect.
Greek Mythology – Discover in Greece Holidays
The Greek mythology is one of the most fascinating mythological accounts of the ancient world. The Greek myths were actually efforts of the people to explain the creation of the world, the nature around them, weather conditions and generally any superhuman that was happening in their daily life. At first, Greek mythology stories were transmitted orally and they were usually narrated in the form of songs. Only in the 5th century BC was the Greek Mythology written down in plays. Note that these myths constituted the main theme of the ancient plays written by famous play writers, like Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides.
The Greek mythology says that the Greek gods were living in Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece. As all gods, they were immortal. The imagination of the people would not picture them as eternally young, but each god had a different age. For example, Zeus and Hera were middle-aged, while Apollo and Aphrodite were for ever young. To keep their eternal life, the Olympian Gods would eat ambrosia and drink nectar.
The Olympian Gods were 12 in number. However, in Greek mythology stories, there were also many other smaller gods and deities that lived in the earth. For example, nymps of the sea lived in the waves and nymphs of the forest lived inside the boles of the trees.
12 Gods of Mount Olympus
Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Hades, Hephaestus, Hera, Hermes, Hestia, Poseidon, Zeus
After the Titanomachy between the gods of new and older generation for the rule of the world, Gods chose Mount Olympus as their residence, the highest mountain in Greece. Zeus was their leader and Hera was his sister-wife. The twelve Olympian Gods actually consisted of Zeus and his siblings, as well as few children of Zeus who were born later. People gave the gods special domains of rule and also attributed them human characteristics.
Zeus was the god of the earth and the sky. His symbols were the thunderbolt, the eagle, the bull and the oak. Although he was married to Hera, his elder sister, he would frequently cheat on her with many mortal women, other goddesses and nymphs. He is usually depicted in statues and paintings as a middle-aged man seating on his throne or throwing a thunderbolt, the symbol of punishment.
Hera was the queen of the Gods. Pictured as a middle-aged still charming woman, Hera was the protector of women and marriage. She was jealous in character and when she knew about the infidelity of Zeus, his mistresses would suffer a lot. The peacock was her symbol. According to the myth, Hera was also the protector of the Amazons.
Poseidon, the god of the sea and the earthquakes, was much adored in ancient Greece. As many cities had a strong naval power, Poseidon was the protector of these cities. He usually mated with nymphs of the water and had many children. His symbols were the trident, the dolphin, the fish and the horse. He was seen as an old man riding his horse-carriage out of the waves.
Hades, another brother of Zeus, was the ruler of the Underworld, the world of the dead. The ancient people depicted him as an old man with white hair and beard. His kingdom was found under the earth. Using a trick, this old man married a beautiful young girl, Persephone, the beloved daughter of goddess Demeter.
Hestia was the goddess of the hearth and the household. She was the noblest and most lovable goddesses for the ancient Greeks and she symbolized harmony in the family and the city. Every household and public building in ancient Greece had an altar dedicated to Hestia in the centre of a room where fire would burn all day and night. Hestia was never married or had children. Not being able to bear the continuous quarrels between the gods, Hestia left Olympus and went to live somewhere quieter, giving her place in Olympus to Dionysus.
Aphrodite was the goddess of beauty. She was forever beautiful and young. Shallow in nature, Aphrodite has a lot of affairs with mortals. Her son was Cupid, the familiar young boy with wings who played with his arrows and made people fall in love. Aphrodite was no directly connected to Zeus. She was probably a generation older than the other Olympian Gods. The myth says that she was born out of the foam of the sea either near Paphos Cyrpus or near Kythira island.
Demeter was the goddess of nature and fertility. She maintained the circle of life on the earth (the circle of young and old, life and death), alternating the seasons and reviving nature in spring. She is depicted in statues holding a tuft of grain. A very important festival, the Elefsenian Mysteries, was held every year dedicated to Demeter and her daughter Persephone.
Apollo was another famous god, not a brother but a son of Zeus. Apollo and Artemis were twins that Zeus had with a mortal woman, Leto. Apollo was born in Delos, which later became his sacred island. He was the god of music and light, poetry and the arts, medicine, truth and prophecy. Note that the all oracles in ancient Greece were dedicated to god Apollo and people believed that god was actually speaking to them through the priests. He was pictured as a young, handsome and sensitive man.
Artemis, the twin sister of Apollo, was a fierce female. She enjoyed sports and particularly hunting. Her symbols were the bow and arrows. She used to hide in the forests with her companions. Wild in nature, Artemis had asked her father never to confine her with marriage and she kept her virginity for all her life. Her female companions were also obliged to remain virgins.
Ares, the god of warfare and violence, was son of Zeus and Hera. He was not a likable god in ancient Greece, which is why there are no many temples of Ares. However, people were afraid of his anger and included him in their offerings.
Athena was also a goddess of war, but more of strategic war, not of violence like Ares. She was also the goddess of wisdom and justice. The daughter of Zeus and a mortal woman, Athena was born out of the head of Zeus when her pregnant mother was killed out of Hera’s jealousy. Noble in nature, Athena didn’t match with men and would mostly deal with warfare.
Hermes, also son of Zeus, was the most foxy of all the Olympian Gods. He was the messenger of the Gods, which is why he knew all their secrets. He was also the guide to the Underworld and the protector of thieves, shepherds, orators, road travelers and merchants. He used wear winged sandals to fly and give messages quickly.
The Titans were the deities in Greek mythology that preceded the Olympians. They were the children of the primordial deities Uranus (heaven) and Gaea (earth). The Titans included Oceanus, Tethys, Hyperion, Theia, Coeus, Phoebe, Cronus, Rhea, Mnemosyne, Themis, Crius and Iapetus. Cronus was the leader of the Titans, after he managed to overthrow his tyrant father Uranus from the throne. Cronus later learned of a prophecy that said his son would eventually overthrow him and did everything he could to prevent it. However, the prophecy came true and Zeus managed to dethrone him and end the age of the Titans, after the Titanomachy, the great war between Titans and Olympians.
Asteria, Astraeus, Atlas, Clymene, Coeus, Crius, Cronus, Dione, Eos, Epimetheus, Eurybia, Eurynome, Hyperion, Iapetus, Lelantos, Menoetius, Metis, Mnemosyne, Oceanus, Ophion, Pallas, Perses, Phoebe, Prometheus, Rhea, Selene, Styx, Tethys, Thea, Themis
Achelous, Adonis, Adrestia, Aeolus, Aether, Agathodaemon, Aglaea, Algea, Alpheus, Amphitrite, Ananke, Androktasiai, Anemoi, Anteros, Apate, Aristaeus, Asclepius, Asopus, Astraea, Ate, Atropos, Aura, Bia, Britomartis, Caerus, Calypso, Castalia, Cephissus, Chaos, Chronos, Circe, Clotho, Clytie, Daphne, Deimos, Demeter, Dike, Dionysus, Dysnomia, Echo, Eileithyia, Eirene, Elpis, Endeis, Enyo, Erebus, Eris, Eros, Euphrosyne, Gaea, Geras, Graeae, Harmonia, Hebe, Hecate, Heliadae, Heliades, Helios, Hemera, Hermaphroditus, Hesperides, Hesperus, Horae, Horkos, Hyades, Hyas, Hygeia, Hypnos, Iasion, Iris, Keres, Keto, Kratos, Lachesis, Lethe, Limos, Lyssa, Makhai, Maniae, Melinoe, Minor Gods, Momus, Moros, Morpheus, Nemesis, Nephele, Nike, Nilus, Nysiads, Nyx, Oenone, Oizys, Old Man of the Sea, Oneiroi, Ourea, Paean, Pan, Peneus, Persephone, Pheme, Philotes, Phobos, Phonoi, Phorcys, Phosphorus, Phthonus, Ploutos, Ponos, Pontus, Priapus, Primordial, Proteus, Pseudologoi, Psyche, Rhode, Scamander, Syrinx, Tartarus, Telesto, Thalassa, Thalia, Thanatos, Thaumas, The Erinnyes, The Fates, The Graces, The Muses, Thetis, Tyche, Typhoeus, Uranus, Zagreus, Zelus