Greek Gods and Goddesses
The Greek Gods and Goddesses of the ancient times were also known as the twelve gods of Olympus and the religion based on their worship was called Dodekatheon. The Greek religion wanted the principal gods of the Greek pantheon residing on top of Mount Olympus.
Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Ares, Hermes, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Demeter and Hestia are the 12 Olympians. Heracles, Hebe, Helios, Hades, Dionysus, and Persephone are some other important gods, goddesses, and in Heracles' case, heroes. Persephone used to live in the underworld for three months of the year (causing the barren landscape of winter) and was allowed to return to Mount Olympus for the other nine months in order to be with her mother, Demeter. During this time she would be in woe and not with the other Olympian Gods. Hades was one of the principal Greek gods but his home was in the underworld of the dead and that made his connection to the Olympians more tenuous.
The Twelve Olympians gained their supremacy in the world of gods after Zeus led his siblings to victory in war with the Titans. Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Hestia and Hades were siblings while all the other gods of the Dodekatheon are usually considered the children of Zeus by various mothers, except for Athena, who in some versions of the myth was born of Zeus alone and Aphrodite who was formed from the castrated phallus of the primordial Sky which Cronos threw into the sea when he freed the Titans. Additionally, some versions of the myth state that Hephaestus was born of Hera alone as Hera's revenge for Zeus' solo birth of Athena.
|Zeus||The supreme god|
|Hera||Goddess of marriage, and married women|
|Poseidon||God of the sea|
|Demeter||Goddess of corn, fruit and agriculture in general|
|Apollo||God of the sun, music and poetry|
|Artemis||Goddess of the moon, hunting and chastity|
|Athena||Goddess of wisdom|
|Aphrodite||Goddess of love and beauty|
|Hermes||God of eloquence and speech|
|Ares||God of war|
|Hephaestus||God of fire and the chief workman of the gods|
|Dionysus||God of wine and merrymaking|
As the ancient Greek poet Isiodos is narrating the beginning of everything was Chaos from which came the Earth, the Night and Erebus, the deep darkness which characterizes the depth of the Earth and the Oceans. The Earth gave birth to the Sky because she didn't want to be left alone so he stood above her. The Earth was the woman and the Sky was the man and from this couple many children were born. Pontos and the Ocean were the first having been born and while the ancient Greeks thought of the ocean as a big river circling the earth, Pontos symbolized the sea. Other children of the Earth and Sky were the Sun, Iapetos, Rea, Themis, Mnimosini and the Cyclopes. The first Cyclops was named Vronti, thunder, and the others were Steropis and Argis. They were both huge with only one eye on the forehead, fierce in appearance and very powerful.
Three monsters were also born from Earth and Sky, the Ekatocheires, meaning creatures who had a hundred arms each and fifty heads. They were very powerful and gigantic and their names were Kottos, Vriareos and Giis.
The last son of the earth was Kronos. The Sky named his children Titans and he was a cruel and heartless father and since he was afraid that one of his sons would take his place he imprisoned one by one in a place called Tartara, meaning inside the depths of the earth where there was only darkness. When he finished with the imprisonment of every child he was rest assured that no one would take his place. He didn't pay attention to the Earth who was suffering for the fate of her children caused by their father and had started hating the Sky at the same time that she decided to revenge in order to free her children.
Then, she gave birth to a grey metal which was unknown at the time and with that she created a huge reaping hook and informed her children that if they wanted to be free they should hit their father with this weapon. The only one who wasn't afraid to do it was Kronos, the smallest child. When the night covered the Earth and the Sky came down to hug her Kronos hit him hard. A part of his father's body was cut and from then on he never tried to come down to earth again and Kronos became the ruler.
The cut part of Sky's body fell in the sea near the island of Kithira, the blood became white sea froth and covered it and then the waves led it far away near Cyprus. From the sea froth covering the part of the Sky the most beautiful woman of all made her appearance, the goddess named Aphrodite.