The Olympians: God and Goddesses of Ancient Greece Greeks and their gods Heaven and Earth were the parents of the first gods, the Titans. The Titans possessed enormous strength and were also physically enormous. Cronus ruled the Titans, until his son Zeus dethroned him.** Zeus became the leader of the Olympian gods, who resided at Mount Olympus. Mt. Olympus was a place not quite on earth, but not exactly heaven. It was untouched by weather, and its protected by the Seasons. However, unlike many belief systems, the Greek gods have many faults: they are prone to fits of jealousy, vanity and temper tantrums. Zeus – The Sky: Roman name: Jupiter Symbols: Thunderbolt, eagle, and oak tree. Family: Zeus is married to Hera, his sister. Zeus rules the Sky, clouds, thunderbolts and has more power than all other gods combined. Zeus has numerous famous children including many of the Olympians, but he is also the father of Perseus and Persephone. The Notorious : He is infamous for his many love affairs and bad temper. Hera – Marriage: Roman Name: Juno Symbols: Cow and Peacock Family: Hera is married to Zeus. Her children are Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus and a daughter, Ilithyia. Woman Scorned: Hera is the protector of marriage, particularly married women. Hera was used to an unfaithful husband and her jealousy was well known throughout Greece. She would torment Zeus’s other women, many of whom were unaware they had wronged Hera Aphrodite - Love and Beauty Roman name: Venus Symbols: dove and swan Family: Aphrodite is said to have been born from the foam of the sea. Cupid is her son. Legend has it: That Aphrodite’s beauty awe-struck all men, no matter how wise. Although often depicted in art for her beauty and charm, she was also known to be manipulative. She was married to Hephaestus, but it was rumored to have had an affair with her husband’s brother, Ares. Ares - War Roman Name: Mars Symbols: The vulture and dog Family: He is definitely the son of Hera, and Zeus is his father; Zeus and Hera did not like Ares. Ares has a tendency to be very easily angered and immature. Often he is the laughingstock of the gods, especially when he and Aphrodite were caught together. On a planet of his own: Ares does not have the glorious tales of the other Gods and Goddesses. He is more a symbol of war than anything else. Athena - Wisdom Roman Name: Minerva Symbols: The olive tree and owl Family: Some say she was born of Zeus alone, others that her mother was Metis, the wife Zeus had to swallow. Either way, she was born fully grown and in armor from her father’s head. Athena never married and had no children. Where in Greece? Athens was named after Athena. She was in competition with Poseidon, her uncle, for claim of the city. Each presented the people with a gift and Athena gave the beautiful, practical gift of the olive tree. Needless to say, she won and Athens is hers. Dionysus: the Vine and Revelry Roman Name: Bacchus Symbol: the grape vine, wine Family: The son of Zeus and the mortal princess Semele Dionysus is the youngest of the Gods. Hera discovered this affair of Zeus’s and tricked the sweet princess into her own death. Zeus was able to rescue his son and sewed him into his thigh until he was ready to be born. Party Time: Dionysus liked to party, especially in the woodlands with forest nymphs and satyrs. Artemis - the Hunt and the Moon Roman name: Diane Symbols: Cypress tree and deer. Family: The twin sister of Apollo. Artemis is the daughter of Zeus and Leto – a goddess. Arrow’d? If you died a quick and painless death it was probably a silver arrow shot by this Goddess. Artemis was known for hiding in the woodlands with nymphs, remaining chaste and shooting hunters if they happened to spot her. Apollo –Truth, The Sun, and the Arts Roman Name: Apollo Symbols: Laurel and lyre Family: Apollo is Artemis’s twin brother and son of Zeus and Leto. The Greekiest Greek of them all: Apollo is a prominent figure in the arts including poetry and music. He has a golden lyre which he plays to entertain the gods. Apollo also never told a lie and is the master of the 9 Muses. Hermes: Messenger of the Gods Roman Name: Mercury Symbols: Winged sandals and Caduceus (his wand). Family: Hermes is the son of Zeus and Maia, Atlas’s daughter. It’s Getting’ Hot in Here: One of his chief duties was to guide people to the underworld. He was also a master thief and stole many of Apollo’s cows when only one day old! No surprise, he is the god of cleverness and knowledge. Poseidon - the Sea Roman Name: Neptune Symbols: The trident, bulls, and horses. Family: Poseidon is second in power to his brother Zeus. Poseidon has many kids, most of which are sea monsters. Something smells fishy: Poseidon had a beautiful palace beneath the sea. Poseidon was an important God to the Greeks because they relied on the sea for much of their welfare. It was Poseidon’s choice for the sea to be calm or enraged with a storm. Poseidon is also well known for giving man the horse. Demeter: Harvest and Seasons Roman Name: Ceres Symbols: Cornucopia and plants Family: Demeter is the sister of Zeus and company. She is also the mother of Persephone whom she never let out of her sight. Lost daughter: Demeter was devastated when her daughter, Persephone, was kidnapped by Hades. Each spring, Demeter would greet her daughter at the entrance from the underworld and bring an end to winter. Hephaestus - Fire and Smithing Roman Name: Vulcan Symbols: The hammer and forge Family: He is the son of Hera and Zeus. He married Aphrodite at Zeus’s order. Odd man out: Hephaestus did not have the outer beauty of the other Gods, but was noted for his kindness. Adding to his outer appearance is his noticeable limp. This limp was caused by Zeus, who threw him off of Mount Olympus for siding with Hera over Zeus in a fight. (Some versions have Hera throwing him!) Hephaestus is the patron of smiths, and he makes enchanted armor and weapons. HESTIA – the Hearth and Home Roman Name: Vesta Symbols: The hearth and veils Family: The first born of Cronus’ children. The missing goddess: Hestia has few stories about her. She just “is”. She is a private goddess who is the root of the home and the flame that warms home. She tends the living sacred fire of Olympus. HADES – The Underworld Roman Name: Pluto Symbols: Invisible helmet and threeheaded dog Cerberus Family: Sibling of Zeus. He drew the “shortest straw” when the three brothers split up their kingdoms, leaving him with the Underworld. Lost daughter: Lonely Hades fell in love with Demeter’s daughter Persephone. He stole her away to the underworld to be his wife. He is forced to give her back to her mother for part of each year, and it is winter in the world above when she is with Hades.