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Greek mythology

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chassady hebb

on 19 April 2017

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Transcript of Greek mythology

Greek and Roman mythology

In the ancient Greek religion, the Twelve Olympians are the major deities of the Greek pantheon, commonly considered to be Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hermes and either Hestia, or Dionysus. Hades and Persephone were sometimes included as part of the twelve Olympians (primarily due to the influence of the Eleusinian Mysteries), although in general Hades was excluded, because he resided permanently in the underworld and never visited Mount Olympus
Twelve Olympians
The Twelve Olympians, also known as the Dodekatheon (Greek: Δωδεκάθεον,δώδεκα, dōdeka, "twelve" and θεοί, theoi, "gods"), were the principal deities of the Greek pantheon, residing atop a mythical Mount Olympus. The Olympians gained their supremacy in a war of gods in which Zeus led his siblings to victory over the Titans.

The concept of the "Twelve Gods" is older than any extant Greek or Roman sources.[ The gods meet in council in the Homeric epics, but the first ancient reference to religious ceremonies for the Olympians collectively is found in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes. The Greek cult of the Twelve Olympians can be traced to 6th-century BC Athens and probably has no precedent in the Mycenaean period. The altar to the Twelve Olympians at Athens is usually dated to the archonship of the younger Pesistratos, in 522/521 BC.

While the number was fixed at twelve,there was considerable variation as to which deities were included Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hermes and either Hestia, or Dionysus.

Hades, known in the Eleusinian tradition as Pluto, was not usually included among the Olympians because his realm was the underworld. Plato connected the Twelve Olympians with the twelve months, and implies that he considered Pluto one of the twelve in proposing that the final month be devoted to him and the spirits of the dead.In Phaedrus Plato aligns the Twelve with the Zodiac and would exclude Hestia from their rank. But Eudoxus of Cnidus was the first to relate gods and signs

In ancient Greek religion, the "Olympian Gods" and the "Cults of Twelve Gods" were often relatively distinct concepts. The Dodekatheon of Herodorus of Heraclea included Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Hermes, Athena, Apollo, Alpheus, Cronus, Rhea and the Charites. The historian Herodotus states that Heracles was included as one of the Twelve by some.
At Kos, Heracles and Dionysus are added to the Twelve, and Ares and Hephaestus are not. For Pindar, the Bibliotheca, and Herodorus, Heracles is not one of the Twelve Gods, but the one who established their cult.
Lucian (2nd century AD) includes Heracles and Asclepius as members of the Twelve, without explaining which two had to give way for them.

Hebe, Helios, Selene, Eos, Eros and Persephone are other important gods and goddesses who are sometimes included in a group of twelve.[citation needed] Eros is often depicted alongside the other twelve, especially his mother Aphrodite, but not usually counted in their number.

The Roman poet Ennius gives the Roman equivalents (the Dii Consentes) as six male-female complements, preserving the place of Vesta (Greek Hestia), who played a crucial role in Roman religion as a state goddess maintained by the Vestals.

Major Olympians
Greek name
Roman name
Functions and attributes

Zeus Jupiter Jupiter Smyrna Louvre Ma13.jpg King of the gods and ruler of Mount Olympus; god of the sky, and thunder. Youngest child of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. Symbols include the thunderbolt, eagle, oak tree, scepter, and scales. Brother and husband of Hera, although he had many lovers. Brother of Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, and Hestia.

Hera Juno Hera Campana Louvre Ma2283.jpg Queen of the gods and the goddess of marriage and family. Symbols include the peacock, pomegranate, crown, cuckoo, lion, and cow. Youngest daughter of Cronus and Rhea. Wife and sister of Zeus. Being the goddess of marriage, she frequently tried to get revenge on Zeus' lovers and their children.

Poseidon Neptune Poseidon sculpture Copenhagen 2005.jpg God of the seas, earthquakes, and tidal wave. Symbols include the horse, bull, dolphin, and trident. Middle son of Cronus and Rhea. Brother of Zeus and Hades. Married to the Nereid Amphitrite, although, like most male Greek Gods, he had many lovers.

Artemis Diana Diane de Versailles Leochares.jpg Goddess of the hunt, virginity, childbirth, archery, the moon, and all animals. Symbols include the moon, deer, hound, she-bear, snake, cypress tree, and bow and arrow. Daughter of Zeus and Leto and twin sister of Apollo.

Ares Mars Ares villa Hadriana.jpg God of war, violence, and bloodshed. Symbols include the boar, serpent, dog, vulture, spear, and shield. Son of Zeus and Hera, all the other gods (except Aphrodite) despised him. His Latin name, Mars, gave us the word "martial."

Aphrodite Venus NAMA Aphrodite Syracuse.jpg Goddess of love, beauty, and desire. Symbols include the dove, bird, apple, bee, swan, myrtle, and rose. Daughter of Zeus and the Oceanid Dione, or perhaps born from the sea foam after Uranus' semen dripped into the sea after being castrated by his youngest son, Cronus, who then threw his father's genitals into the sea. Married to
Hephaestus, although she had many adulterous affairs, most notably with Ares. Her name gave us the word "aphrodisiac", while her Latin name, Venus, gave us the word "venereal".[B]

Hephaestus Vulcan Vulcan Coustou Louvre MR1814.jpg Master blacksmith and craftsman of the gods; god of fire and the forge. Symbols include fire, anvil, axe, donkey, hammer, tongs, and quail. Son of Hera, either by Zeus or alone. Married to Aphrodite, though unlike most divine husbands, he was rarely ever licentious. His Latin name, Vulcan, gave us the word "volcano."

Hermes Mercury Hermes Ingenui Pio-Clementino Inv544.jpg Messenger of the gods; god of commerce, thieves, and games. Symbols include the caduceus (staff entwined with two snakes), winged sandals and cap, stork, and tortoise (whose shell he used to invent the lyre). Son of Zeus and the nymph Maia. The second-youngest Olympian, just older than Dionysus.

Hestia Vesta Hestia - Wellesley College - DSC09634.JPG Goddess of the hearth and of the right ordering of domesticity and the family; she was born into the first Olympian generation and was one of the original twelve Olympians. Some lists of the Twelve Olympians omit her in favor of Dionysus, but the speculation that she gave her throne to him in order to keep the peace seems to be modern invention. She is the first child of Cronus and Rhea, eldest sister of Hades, Demeter, Poseidon, Hera, and Zeus.

Demeter Ceres Hera Barberini Pio-Clementino Inv254.jpg Goddess of fertility, agriculture, nature, and the seasons. Symbols include the poppy, wheat, torch, and pig. Middle daughter of Cronus and Rhea.

Athena Minerva Mattei Athena Louvre Ma530 n2.jpg Goddess of wisdom, handicrafts, defense, and strategic warfare. Symbols include the owl and the olive tree. Daughter of Zeus and the Oceanid Metis, she rose from her father's head fully grown and in full battle armor after he swallowed her mother.

Apollo Apollo Apollo, lira, dan angsa.jpg God of light, knowledge, healing, plague and darkness, the arts, music, poetry, prophecy, archery, the sun, manly youth, and beauty. Son of Zeus and Leto. Symbols include the sun, lyre, bow and arrow, raven, dolphin, wolf, swan, and mouse. Twin brother of Artemis.

Dionysus Bacchus Dionysos Louvre Ma87 n2.jpg God of wine, celebrations, and ecstasy. Patron god of the art of theatre. Symbols include the grapevine, ivy, cup, tiger, panther, leopard, dolphin, goat and pinecone. Son of Zeus and the mortal Theban princess Semele. Married to the Cretan princess Ariadne. The youngest Olympian, as well as the only one to have a mortal mother
The following gods, goddesses, and demigods were not usually counted as Olympians, although they had close ties to them.
Aeolus – King of the winds, keeper of the Anemoi, master of the seasonal winds.
Amphitrite – Queen of the Sea, mother of Triton and wife of Poseidon.
Anemoi – The personifications of the four wind directions (North, South, East and West).
Aura – Goddess of cool breezes and fresh air.
Bia – Personification of force.
Circe – minor goddess of magic, not to be confused with Hecate.
Deimos – God of terror, son of Ares and brother of Phobos.
Dione – Oceanid; Mother of Aphrodite by Zeus in Homer's version.
Eileithyia – Goddess of childbirth; daughter of Hera and Zeus.
Enyo – A goddess of warfare, companion of Ares. She was also the sister of Ares in some cases. In those cases, her parents are Zeus and Hera.
Eos – Personification of dawn.
Eris – Goddess of discord and strife.
Ganymede – Cupbearer of the gods' palace at Olympus.
Graces – Goddesses of beauty and attendants of Aphrodite and Hera.
Harmonia – Goddess of concord and harmony, opposite of Eris, daughter of Aphrodite.
Hecate – Goddess associated with magic, witches and crossroads.
Helios – Titan; personification of the sun.
Horae – Wardens of Olympus.
Hypnos – God of sleep, father of Morpheus and son of Nyx.
Iris – Personification of the Rainbow, also the messenger of Olympus along with Hermes.

Kratos – Personification of power.
Leto – Titaness of the unseen; the mother of Apollo and Artemis.
Moirai – The 'Fates'. Clotho (the spinner), Lachesis (the allotter) and Atropos (the unturnable).
Momus – God of satire, mockery, satires, and poets.
Morpheus – God of dreams.
Muses – Nine goddesses of science and arts. Their names are Calliope, Urania, Clio, Polyhymnia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Thalia, Euterpe, and Erato.
Nemesis – Greek goddess of retribution and revenge, daughter of Nyx.
Nike – Goddess of victory.
Nyx – Goddess of night.
Paean – Physician of the gods.
Perseus – Son of Zeus, slayer of Medusa, the legendary founder of Mycenae and of the Perseid dynasty.
Phobos – God of fear, son of Ares and brother of Deimos.
Selene – Titaness; personification of the moon.
Styx – Goddess of the River Styx, the river where gods swear oaths on.
Thanatos – God of Death, sometimes a personification of Death.
Theseus – Son of Poseidon, first Hero of Athens and slayer of the Minotaur.
Triton – Messenger of the Seas, son of Poseidon and Amphitrite. He holds a twisted conch shell.
Tyche – Goddess of Luck.
Zelus – Personification of Emulation.

The war originated from a quarrel between the goddesses Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite, after Eris, the goddess of strife and discord, gave them a golden apple, sometimes known as the Apple of Discord, marked "for the fairest". Zeus sent the goddesses to Paris, who judged that Aphrodite, as the "fairest", should receive the apple. In exchange, Aphrodite made Helen, the most beautiful of all women and wife of Menelaus, fall in love with Paris, who took her to Troy. Agamemnon, king of Mycenae and the brother of Helen's husband Menelaus, led an expedition of Achaean troops to Troy and besieged the city for ten years because of Paris' insult. After the deaths of many heroes, including the Achaeans Achilles and Ajax, and the Trojans Hector and Paris, the city fell to the ruse of the Trojan Horse. The Achaeans slaughtered the Trojans (except for some of the women and children whom they kept or sold as slaves) and desecrated the temples, thus earning the gods' wrath. Few of the Achaeans returned safely to their homes and many founded colonies in distant shores. The Romans later traced their origin to Aeneas, one of the Trojans, who was said to have led the surviving Trojans to modern-day Italy.
The following summary of the Trojan War follows the order of events as given in Proclus' summary, along with the Iliad, Odyssey, and Aeneid, supplemented with details drawn from other authors.

Origins of the war

The plan of Zeus

According to Greek mythology, Zeus had become king of the gods by overthrowing his father Cronus; Cronus in turn had overthrown his father Uranus. Zeus was not faithful to his wife and sister Hera, and had many relationships from which many children were born. Since Zeus believed that there were too many people populating the earth, he envisioned Momus[9] or Themis, who was to use the Trojan War as a means to depopulate the Earth, especially of his demigod descendants

The Judgment of Paris (1904) by Enrique Simonet
Main article: Judgement of Paris

Zeus came to learn from either Themis or Prometheus, after Heracles had released him from Caucasus,that, like his father Cronus, one of his sons would overthrow him. Another prophecy stated that a son of the sea-nymph Thetis, with whom Zeus fell in love after gazing upon her in the oceans off the Greek coast, would become greater than his father.Possibly for one or both of these reasons, Thetis was betrothed to an elderly human king, Peleus son of Aiakos, either upon Zeus' orders, or because she wished to please Hera, who had raised her.
languages, requiring orders to be translated by their individual commanders. It should be noted, however, that the Trojans and Achaeans in the Iliad share the same religion, same culture and the enemy heroes speak to each other in the same language, though this could be dramatic effect.

All of the gods were invited to Peleus and Thetis' wedding and brought many gifts, except Eris (the goddess of discord), who was stopped at the door by Hermes, on Zeus' order.Insulted, she threw from the door a gift of her own:a golden apple on which was inscribed the word κ Kallistēi ("To the fairest"). The apple was claimed by Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. They quarreled bitterly over it, and none of the other gods would venture an opinion favoring one, for fear of earning the enmity of the other two. Eventually, Zeus ordered Hermes to lead the three goddesses to Paris, a prince of Troy, who, unaware of his ancestry, was being raised as a shepherd in Mount Ida,because of a prophecy that he would be the downfall of Troy.After bathing in the spring of Ida, the goddesses appeared to him naked, either for the sake of winning or at Paris' request. Paris was unable to decide between them, so the goddesses resorted to bribes. Athena offered Paris wisdom, skill in battle, and the abilities of the greatest warriors; Hera offered him political power and control of all of Asia; and Aphrodite offered him the love of the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Sparta. Paris awarded the apple to Aphrodite, and, after several adventures, returned to Troy, where he was recognized by his royal family.

Thetis gives her son Achilles weapons forged by Hephaestus (detail of Attic black-figure hydria, 575–550 BC)
Peleus and Thetis bore a son, whom they named Achilles. It was foretold that he would either die of old age after an uneventful life, or die young in a battlefield and gain immortality through poetry.Furthermore, when Achilles was nine years old, Calchas had prophesied that Troy could not again fall without his help. A number of sources credit Thetis with attempting to make Achilles immortal when he was an infant. Some of these state that she held him over fire every night to burn away his mortal parts and rubbed him with ambrosia during the day, but Peleus discovered her actions and stopped her.According to some versions of this story, Thetis had already destroyed several sons in this manner, and Peleus' action therefore saved his son's life. Other sources state that Thetis bathed Achilles in the River Styx, the river that runs to the under world, making him invulnerable wherever he had touched the water. Because she had held him by the heel, it was not immersed during the bathing and thus the heel remained mortal and vulnerable to injury (hence the expression "Achilles heel" for an isolated weakness). He grew up to be the greatest of all mortal warriors. After Calchas' prophesy, Thetis hid Achilles in Skyros at the court of king Lycomedes, where he was disguised as a girl. At a crucial point in the war, she assists her son by providing weapons divinely forged by Hephaestus (see below).

pement of Paris and Helen
The Abduction of Helen (1530–39) by Francesco Primaticcio, with Aphrodite directing
The most beautiful woman in the world was Helen, one of the daughters of Tyndareus, King of Sparta. Her mother was Leda, who had been either raped or seduced by Zeus in the form of a swan. Accounts differ over which of Leda's four children, two pairs of twins, were fathered by Zeus and which by Tyndareus. However, Helen is usually credited as Zeus' daughter, and sometimes Nemesis is credited as her mother. Helen had scores of suitors, and her father was unwilling to choose one for fear the others would retaliate violently.

Finally, one of the suitors, Odysseus of Ithaca, proposed a plan to solve the dilemma. In exchange for Tyndareus' support of his own suit towards Penelope, he suggested that Tyndareus require all of Helen's suitors to promise that they would defend the marriage of Helen, regardless of whom he chose. The suitors duly swore the required oath on the severed pieces of a horse, although not without a certain amount of grumbling.

tyndareus chose Menelaus. Menelaus was a political choice on her father's part. He had wealth and power. He had humbly not petitioned for her himself, but instead sent his brother Agamemnon on his behalf. He had promised Aphrodite a hecatomb, a sacrifice of 100 oxen, if he won Helen, but forgot about it and earned her wrath.Menelaus inherited Tyndareus' throne of Sparta with Helen as his queen when her brothers, Castor and Pollux, became gods and when Agamemnon married Helen's sister Clytemnestra and took back the throne of Mycenae.

paris, under the guise of a supposed diplomatic mission, went to Sparta to get Helen and bring her back to Troy. Before Helen could look up to see him enter the palace, she was shot with an arrow from Eros, otherwise known as Cupid, and fell in love with Paris when she saw him, as promised by Aphrodite. Menelaus had left for Crete[38] to bury his uncle, Crateus. Hera, still jealous over his judgement, sent a storm.The storm caused the lovers to land in Egypt, where the gods replaced Helen with a likeness of her made of clouds, Nephele. The myth of Helen being switched is attributed to the 6th century BC Sicilian poet Stesichorus. For Homer the true Helen was in Troy. The ship then landed in Sidon before reaching Troy. Paris, fearful of getting caught, spent some time there and then sailed to Troy.

Map of Homeric Greece
Paris' abduction of Helen had several precedents. Io was taken from Mycenae, Europa was taken from Phoenicia, Jason took Medea from Colchis, and the Trojan princess Hesione had been taken by Heracles, who gave her to Telamon of Salamis. According to Herodotus, Paris was emboldened by these examples to steal himself a wife from Greece, and expected no retribution, since there had been none in the other cases.

he gathering of Achaean forces and the first expedition

According to Homer, Menelaus and his ally, Odysseus, traveled to Troy, where they unsuccessfully sought to recover Helen by diplomatic means.

Menelaus then asked Agamemnon to uphold his oath. He agreed and sent emissaries to all the Achaean kings and princes to call them to observe their oaths and retrieve Helen.[46]

Odysseus and Achilles

Since Menelaus's wedding, Odysseus had married Penelope and fathered a son, Telemachus. In order to avoid the war, he feigned madness and sowed his fields with salt. Palamedes outwitted him by placing his infant son in front of the plough's path, and Odysseus turned aside, unwilling to kill his son, so revealing his sanity and forcing him to join the war.

According to Homer, however, Odysseus supported the military adventure from the beginning, and traveled the region with Pylos' king, Nestor, to recruit forces.

At Skyros, Achilles had an affair with the king's daughter Deidamia, resulting in a child, Neoptolemus.Odysseus, Telamonian Ajax, and Achilles' tutor Phoenix went to retrieve Achilles. Achilles' mother disguised him as a woman so that he would not have to go to war, but, according to one story, they blew a horn, and Achilles revealed himself by seizing a spear to fight intruders, rather than fleeing. According to another story, they disguised themselves as merchants bearing trinkets and weaponry, and Achilles was marked out from the other women for admiring weaponry instead of clothes and jewelry.
Pausanias said that, according to Homer, Achilles did not hide in Skyros, but rather conquered the island, as part of the Trojan War.

Trojan war

The Discovery of Achilles among the Daughters of Lycomedes (1664) by Jan de Bray
First gathering at Aulis

The Achaean forces first gathered at Aulis. All the suitors sent their forces except King Cinyras of Cyprus. Though he sent breastplates to Agamemnon and promised to send 50 ships, he sent only one real ship, led by the son of Mygdalion, and 49 ships made of clay. Idomeneus was willing to lead the Cretan contingent in Mycenae's war against Troy, but only as a co-commander, which he was granted. The last commander to arrive was Achilles, who was then 15 years old.

Following a sacrifice to Apollo, a snake slithered from the altar to a sparrow's nest in a plane tree nearby. It ate the mother and her nine babies, then was turned to stone. Calchas interpreted this as a sign that Troy would fall in the tenth year of the war.


When the Achaeans left for the war, they did not know the way, and accidentally landed in Mysia, ruled by King Telephus, son of Heracles, who had led a contingent of Arcadians to settle there.[55] In the battle, Achilles wounded Telephus,[56] who had killed Thersander.[57] Because the wound would not heal, Telephus asked an oracle, "What will happen to the wound?". The oracle responded, "he that wounded shall heal". The Achaean fleet then set sail and was scattered by a storm. Achilles landed in Scyros and married Deidamia. A new gathering was set again in Aulis.[38]

Telephus went to Aulis, and either pretended to be a beggar, asking Agamemnon to help heal his wound,[58] or kidnapped Orestes and held him for ransom, demanding the wound be healed.[59] Achilles refused, claiming to have no medical knowledge. Odysseus reasoned that the spear that had inflicted the wound must be able to heal it. Pieces of the spear were scraped off onto the wound, and Telephus was healed.[60] Telephus then showed the Achaeans the route to Troy.[58]

Some scholars have regarded the expedition against Telephus and its resolution as a derivative reworking of elements from the main story of the Trojan War, but it has also been seen as fitting the story-pattern of the "preliminary adventure" that anticipates events and themes from the main narrative, and therefore as likely to be "early and integral".[61]

The second gathering

Map of the Troad (Troas)
Eight years after the storm had scattered them,[62] the fleet of more than a thousand ships was gathered again. But when they had all reached Aulis, the winds ceased. The prophet Calchas stated that the goddess Artemis was punishing Agamemnon for killing either a sacred deer or a deer in a sacred grove, and boasting that he was a better hunter than she.[38] The only way to appease Artemis, he said, was to sacrifice Iphigenia, who was either the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra,[63] or of Helen and Theseus entrusted to Clytemnestra when Helen married Menelaus.[64] Agamemnon refused, and the other commanders threatened to make Palamedes commander of the expedition.[65] According to some versions, Agamemnon relented, but others claim that he sacrificed a deer in her place, or that at the last moment, Artemis took pity on the girl, and took her to be a maiden in one of her temples, substituting a lamb.[38] Hesiod says that Iphigenia became the goddess Hecate.[66]

The Achaean forces are described in detail in the Catalogue of Ships, in the second book of the Iliad. They consisted of 28 contingents from mainland Greece, the Peloponnese, the Dodecanese islands, Crete, and Ithaca, comprising 1178 pentekontoroi, ships with 50 rowers. Thucydides says that according to tradition there were about 1200 ships, and that the Boeotian ships had 120 men, while Philoctetes' ships only had the fifty rowers, these probably being maximum and minimum. These numbers would mean a total force of 70,000 to 130,000 men. Another catalogue of ships is given by the Bibliotheca that differs somewhat but agrees in numbers. Some scholars have claimed that Homer's catalogue is an original Bronze Age document, possibly the Achaean commander's order of operations.[68][69][70] Others believe it was a fabrication of Homer.

The second book of the Iliad also lists the Trojan allies, consisting of the Trojans themselves, led by Hector, and various allies listed as Dardanians led by Aeneas, Zeleians, Adrasteians, Percotians, Pelasgians, Thracians, Ciconian spearmen, Paionian archers, Halizones, Mysians, Phrygians, Maeonians, Miletians, Lycians led by Sarpedon and Carians. Nothing is said of the Trojan language; the Carians are specifically said to be barbarian-speaking, and the allied contingents are said to have spoken multiple
Zeus (Ancient Greek: Ζεύς, Zeús; Modern Greek: Δίας, Días; English pronunciation /ˈzjuːs/[3] or /ˈzuːs/) is the "Father of Gods and men" (πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε, patḕr andrōn te theōn te)[4] who rules the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father rules the family according to the ancient Greek religion. He is the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. Zeus is etymologically cognate with and, under Hellenic influence, became particularly closely identified with Roman Jupiter.

Zeus is the child of Cronus and Rhea, and the youngest of his siblings. In most traditions he is married to Hera, although, at the oracle of Dodona, his consort is Dione: according to the Iliad, he is the father of Aphrodite by Dione.[5] He is known for his erotic escapades. These resulted in many godly and heroic offspring, including Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hermes, Persephone (by Demeter), Dionysus, Perseus, Heracles, Helen of Troy, Minos, and the Muses (by Mnemosyne); by Hera, he is usually said to have fathered Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus.[6]

As Walter Burkert points out in his book, Greek Religion, "Even the gods who are not his natural children address him as Father, and all the gods rise in his presence."[7] For the Greeks, he was the King of the Gods, who oversaw the universe. As Pausanias observed, "That Zeus is king in heaven is a saying common to all men".[8] In Hesiod's Theogony Zeus assigns the various gods their roles. In the Homeric Hymns he is referred to as the chieftain of the gods.

His symbols are the thunderbolt, eagle, bull, and oak. In addition to his Indo-European inheritance, the classical "cloud-gatherer" (Greek: Νεφεληγερέτα, Nephelēgereta)[9] also derives certain iconographic traits from the cultures of the Ancient Near East, such as the scepter. Zeus is frequently depicted by Greek artists in one of two poses: standing, striding forward, with a thunderbolt leveled in his raised right hand, or seated in majesty

The god's name in the nominative is Ζεύς Zeús /zdeús/. It is inflected as follows: vocative: Ζεῦ Zeû; accusative: Δία Día; genitive: Διός Diós; dative: Διί Dií. Diogenes Laertius quotes Pherecydes of Syros as spelling the name, Ζάς.[10]

Zeus is the Greek continuation of *Di̯ēus, the name of the Proto-Indo-European god of the daytime sky, also called *Dyeus ph2tēr ("Sky Father").[11][12] The god is known under this name in the Rigveda (Vedic Sanskrit Dyaus/Dyaus Pita), Latin (compare Jupiter, from Iuppiter, deriving from the Proto-Indo-European vocative *dyeu-ph2tēr),[13] deriving from the root *dyeu- ("to shine", and in its many derivatives, "sky, heaven, god").[11] Zeus is the only deity in the Olympic pantheon whose name has such a transparent Indo-European etymology.[14]

The earliest attested forms of the name are the Mycenaean Greek 𐀇𐀸, di-we and 𐀇𐀺, di-wo, written in the Linear B syllabic script.[15]

Zeus in myth
Cronus sired several children by Rhea: Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon, but swallowed them all as soon as they were born, since he had learned from Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be overcome by his own son as he had overthrown his own father, an oracle that Rhea heard and wished to avert.

When Zeus was about to be born, Rhea sought Gaia to devise a plan to save him, so that Cronus would get his retribution for his acts against Uranus and his own children. Rhea gave birth to Zeus in Crete, handing Cronus a rock wrapped in swaddling clothes, which he promptly swallowed.[16]


Rhea hid Zeus in a cave on Mount Ida in Crete. According to varying versions of the story:
1.He was then raised by Gaia.
2.He was raised by a goat named Amalthea, while a company of Kouretes— soldiers, or smaller gods— danced, shouted and clashed their spears against their shields so that Cronus would not hear the baby's cry (see cornucopia). According to some versions of this story he was reared by Amalthea in a cave called Dictaeon Andron (Psychro Cave) in Lasithi plateau.
3.He was raised by a nymph named Adamanthea. Since Cronus ruled over the Earth, the heavens and the sea, she hid him by dangling him on a rope from a tree so he was suspended between earth, sea and sky and thus, invisible to his father.
4.He was raised by a nymph named Cynosura. In gratitude, Zeus placed her among the stars.
5.He was raised by Melissa, who nursed him with goat's-milk and honey.
6.He was raised by a shepherd family under the promise that their sheep would be saved from wolves.

King of the gods

Colossal seated Marnas from Gaza portrayed in the style of Zeus. Roman period Marnas[17] was the chief divinity of Gaza (Istanbul Archaeology Museum).
After reaching manhood, Zeus forced Cronus to disgorge first the stone (which was set down at Pytho under the glens of Parnassus to be a sign to mortal men, the Omphalos) then his siblings in reverse order of swallowing. In some versions, Metis gave Cronus an emetic to force him to disgorge the babies, or Zeus cut Cronus' stomach open. Then Zeus released the brothers of Cronus, the Gigantes, the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes, from their dungeon in Tartarus, killing their guard, Campe.

As a token of their appreciation, the Cyclopes gave him thunder and the thunderbolt, or lightning, which had previously been hidden by Gaia. Together, Zeus and his brothers and sisters, along with the Gigantes, Hecatonchires and Cyclopes overthrew Cronus and the other Titans, in the combat called the Titanomachy. The defeated Titans were then cast into a shadowy underworld region known as Tartarus. Atlas, one of the titans that fought against Zeus, was punished by having to hold up the sky.

After the battle with the Titans, Zeus shared the world with his elder brothers, Poseidon and Hades, by drawing lots: Zeus got the sky and air, Poseidon the waters, and Hades the world of the dead (the underworld). The ancient Earth, Gaia, could not be claimed; she was left to all three, each according to their capabilities, which explains why Poseidon was the "earth-shaker" (the god of earthquakes) and Hades claimed the humans that died (see also Penthus).

Gaia resented the way Zeus had treated the Titans, because they were her children. Soon after taking the throne as king of the gods, Zeus had to fight some of Gaia's other children, the monsters Typhon and Echidna. He vanquished Typhon and trapped him under Mount Etna, but left Echidna and her children alive

Zeus and Hera

Main article: Hera

Zeus was brother and consort of Hera. By Hera, Zeus sired Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus, though some accounts say that Hera produced these offspring alone. Some also include Eileithyia and Eris as their daughters. The conquests of Zeus among nymphs and the mythic mortal progenitors of Hellenic dynasties are famous. Olympian mythography even credits him with unions with Leto, Demeter, Dione and Maia. Among mortals were Semele, Io, Europa and Leda (for more details, see below) and with the young Ganymede (although he was mortal Zeus granted him eternal youth and immortality).

Many myths render Hera as jealous of his amorous conquests and a consistent enemy of Zeus' mistresses and their children by him. For a time, a nymph named Echo had the job of distracting Hera from his affairs by talking incessantly, and when Hera discovered the deception, she cursed Echo to repeat the words of others.

Zeus is sometimes depicted as a middle-aged man with strong muscular arms. His facial hair can be a full beard and mustache to just stubble.
Zeus turned Pandareus to stone for stealing the golden dog which had guarded him as an infant in the holy Dictaeon Cave of Crete.
Zeus killed Salmoneus with a thunderbolt for attempting to impersonate him, riding around in a bronze chariot and loudly imitating thunder.
Zeus turned Periphas into an eagle, making him the king of birds.
At the marriage of Zeus and Hera, a nymph named Chelone refused to attend. Zeus transformed her into a tortoise (chelone in Greek).
Zeus, with Hera, turned King Haemus and Queen Rhodope into mountains (the Balkan mountains, or Stara Planina, and Rhodope mountains, respectively) for their vanity.
Zeus condemned Tantalus to eternal torture in Tartarus for trying to trick the gods into eating the flesh of his butchered son Pelops.
Zeus condemned Ixion to be tied to a fiery wheel for eternity as punishment for attempting to violate Hera.
Zeus sank the Telchines beneath the sea.
Zeus blinded the seer Phineus and sent the Harpies to plague him as punishment for revealing the secrets of the gods.
Zeus rewarded Tiresias with a life three times the norm as reward for ruling in his favour when he and Hera contested which of the sexes gained the most pleasure from the act of love.
Zeus punished Hera by having her hung upside down from the sky when she attempted to drown Heracles in a storm.
Of all the children Zeus spawned, Heracles was often described as his favorite. Indeed, Heracles was often called by various gods and people as "the favorite son of Zeus", Zeus and Heracles were very close and in one story, where a tribe of earth-born Giants threatened Olympus and the Oracle at Delphi decreed that only the combined efforts of a lone god and mortal could stop the creature, Zeus chose Heracles to fight by his side. They proceeded to defeat the monsters.
Athena has at times been called his favorite daughter and adviser.[55]
His sacred bird was the Golden Eagle, which he kept by his side at all times. Like him, the eagle was a symbol of strength, courage, and justice.
His favourite tree was the oak, symbol of strength. Olive trees were also sacred to him.
Zelus, Nike, Cratos and Bia were Zeus' retinue.
Zeus condemned Prometheus to having his liver eaten by a giant eagle for giving the Flames of Olympus to the mortals.
When Hera gave birth to Hephaestus, Zeus threw him off the top of Mount Olympus because of his repulsive appearance
Hera (/ˈhɛrə/, Greek Ἥρα, Hēra, equivalently Ἥρη, Hērē, in Ionic and Homer) is the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon of Greek mythology and religion. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. Her counterpart in the religion of ancient Rome was Juno.[1] The cow, lion and the peacock were considered sacred to her. Hera's mother is Rhea and her father Cronus.

Portrayed as majestic and solemn, often enthroned, and crowned with the polos (a high cylindrical crown worn by several of the Great Goddesses), Hera may bear a pomegranate in her hand, emblem of fertile blood and death and a substitute for the narcotic capsule of the opium poppy.[2] Scholar of Greek mythology Walter Burkert writes in Greek Religion, "Nevertheless, there are memories of an earlier aniconic representation, as a pillar in Argos and as a plank in Samos."[3]

Hera was known for her jealous and vengeful nature against Zeus's lovers and offspring, but also against mortals who crossed her, such as Pelias. Paris also earned Hera's hatred by choosing Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess

The name of Hera admits a variety of mutually exclusive etymologies; one possibility is to connect it with Greek ὥρα hōra, season, and to interpret it as ripe for marriage and according to Plato ἐρατή eratē, "beloved"[4] as Zeus is said to have married her for love.[5] According to Plutarch, Hera was an allegorical name and an anagram of aēr (ἀήρ, "air").[6] So begins the section on Hera in Walter Burkert's Greek Religion.[7] In a note, he records other scholars' arguments "for the meaning Mistress as a feminine to Heros, Master." John Chadwick, a decipherer of Linear B, remarks "her name may be connected with hērōs, ἥρως, 'hero', but that is no help, since it too is etymologically obscure."[8] A. J. van Windekens,[9] offers "young cow, heifer", which is consonant with Hera's common epithet βοῶπις (boōpis, "cow-eyed"). R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin.[10] Her name is attested in Mycenaean Greek written in the Linear B syllabic script as 𐀁𐀨, e-ra, appearing on tablets found in Pylos and Thebes.[11]
According to Walter Burkert, both Hera and Demeter have many characteristic attributes of Pre-Greek Great Goddesses.[16]

According to the Homeric Hymn III to Delian Apollo, Hera detained Eileithyia to already prevent Leto from going into labor with Artemis and Apollo, since the father was Zeus. The other goddesses present at the birthing on Delos sent Iris to bring her. As she stepped upon the island, the divine birth began. In the myth of the birth of Heracles, it is Hera herself who sits at the door instead, delaying the birth of Heracles until her protégé, Eurystheus, had been born first.

The Homeric Hymn to Pythian Apollo makes the monster Typhaon the offspring of archaic Hera in her Minoan form, produced out of herself, like a monstrous version of Hephaestus, and whelped in a cave in Cilicia.[17] She gave the creature to Python to raise.

Roman copy of a Greek 5th century Hera of the "Barberini Hera" type, from the Museo Chiaramonti
In the Temple of Hera at Olympia, Hera's seated cult figure was older than the warrior figure of Zeus that accompanied it. Homer expressed her relationship with Zeus delicately in the Iliad, in which she declares to Zeus, "I am Cronus' eldest daughter, and am honourable not on this ground only, but also because I am your wife, and you are king of the gods."[18] Though Zeus is often called Zeus Heraios 'Zeus, (consort) of Hera', Homer's treatment of Hera is less than respectful, and in late anecdotal versions of the myths (see below) she appeared to spend most of her time plotting revenge on the nymphs seduced by her Consort, for Hera upheld all the old right rules of Hellene society and sorority

Hera was most known as the matron goddess, Hera Teleia; but she presided over weddings as well. In myth and cult, fragmentary references and archaic practices remain of the sacred marriage of Hera and Zeus,[22] and at Plataea, there was a sculpture of Hera seated as a bride by Callimachus, as well as the matronly standing Hera.[23]

Hera was also worshipped as a virgin: there was a tradition in Stymphalia in Arcadia that there had been a triple shrine to Hera the Girl (Παις [Pais]), the Adult Woman (Τελεια [Teleia]), and the Separated (Χήρη [Chḗrē] 'Widowed' or 'Divorced').[24] In the region around Argos, the temple of Hera in Hermione near Argos was to Hera the Virgin.[25] At the spring of Kanathos, close to Nauplia, Hera renewed her virginity annually, in rites that were not to be spoken of (arrheton).[26] The Female figure, showing her "Moon" over the lake is also appropriate, as Hebe, Hera, and Hecate; new moon, full moon, and old moon in that order and otherwise personified as the Virgin of spring, The Mother of Summer, and the destroying Crone of Autumn.[27

In Hellenistic imagery, Hera's chariot was pulled by peacocks, birds not known to Greeks before the conquests of Alexander. Alexander's tutor, Aristotle, refers to it as "the Persian bird." The peacock motif was revived in the Renaissance iconography that unified Hera and Juno, and which European painters focused on.[29] A bird that had been associated with Hera on an archaic level, where most of the Aegean goddesses were associated with "their" bird, was the cuckoo, which appears in mythic fragments concerning the first wooing of a virginal Hera by Zeus.

Her archaic association was primarily with cattle, as a Cow Goddess, who was especially venerated in "cattle-rich" Euboea. On Cyprus, very early archaeological sites contain bull skulls that have been adapted for use as masks (see Bull (mythology)). Her familiar Homeric epithet Boôpis, is always translated "cow-eyed", for, like the Greeks of Classical times, its other natural translation "cow-faced". In this respect, Hera bears some resemblance to the Ancient Egyptian deity Hathor, a maternal goddess associated with cattle.

In Hellenistic imagery, Hera's chariot was pulled by peacocks, birds not known to Greeks before the conquests of Alexander. Alexander's tutor, Aristotle, refers to it as "the Persian bird." The peacock motif was revived in the Renaissance iconography that unified Hera and Juno, and which European painters focused on.[29] A bird that had been associated with Hera on an archaic level, where most of the Aegean goddesses were associated with "their" bird, was the cuckoo, which appears in mythic fragments concerning the first wooing of a virginal Hera by Zeus.

Her archaic association was primarily with cattle, as a Cow Goddess, who was especially venerated in "cattle-rich" Euboea. On Cyprus, very early archaeological sites contain bull skulls that have been adapted for use as masks (see Bull (mythology)). Her familiar Homeric epithet Boôpis, is always translated "cow-eyed", for, like the Greeks of Classical times, its other natural translation "cow-faced". In this respect, Hera bears some resemblance to the Ancient Egyptian deity Hathor, a maternal goddess associated with cattle.

When Hera learned that Semele, daughter of Cadmus King of Thebes, was pregnant by Zeus, she disguised herself as Semele's nurse and persuaded the princess to insist that Zeus show himself to her in his true form. When he was compelled to do so, having sworn by Styx [45] his thunder and lightning destroyed Semele. Zeus took Semele's unborn child, Dionysus and completed its gestation sewn into his own thigh.

In another version, Dionysus was originally the son of Zeus by either Demeter or Persephone. Hera sent her Titans to rip the baby apart, from which he was called Zagreus ("Torn in Pieces"). Zeus rescued the heart; or, the heart was saved, variously, by Athena, Rhea, or Demeter.[46] Zeus used the heart to recreate Dionysus and implant him in the womb of Semele—hence Dionysus became known as "the twice-born". Certain versions imply that Zeus gave Semele the heart to eat to impregnate her. Hera tricked Semele into asking Zeus to reveal his true form, which killed her. Dionysus later managed to rescue his mother from the underworld and have her live on Mount Olympus.

See also Dionysus' birth for other variations

Poseidon (/pɵˈsaɪdən/; Greek: Ποσειδῶν, pronounced [pose͜edɔ́͜ɔn]) is one of the twelve Olympian deities of the pantheon in Greek mythology. His main domain is the ocean, and he is called the "God of the Sea". Additionally, he is referred to as "Earth-Shaker"[1] due to his role in causing earthquakes, and has been called the "tamer of horses".[2] He is usually depicted as an older male with curly hair and beard.

The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology; both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon. Linear B tablets show that Poseidon was venerated at Pylos and Thebes in pre-Olympian Bronze Age Greece as a chief deity, but he was integrated into the Olympian gods as the brother of Zeus and Hades.[2] According to some folklore, he was saved by his mother Rhea, who concealed him among a flock of lambs and pretended to have given birth to a colt, which was devoured by Cronos.[3]

There is a Homeric hymn to Poseidon, who was the protector of many Hellenic cities, although he lost the contest for Athens to Athena. According to the references from Plato in his dialogues Timaeus and Critias, the island of Atlantis was the chosen domain of Poseidon.[4][5][6][7]

The earliest attested occurrence of the name, written in Linear B, is 𐀡𐀮𐀆𐀃 Po-se-da-o or 𐀡𐀮𐀆𐀺𐀚 Po-se-da-wo-ne, which correspond to Poseidaōn and Poseidawonos in Mycenean Greek; in Homeric Greek it appears as Ποσειδάων (Poseidaōn); in Aeolic as Ποτειδάων (Poteidaōn); and in Doric as Ποτειδάν (Poteidan), Ποτειδάων (Poteidaōn), and Ποτειδᾶς (Poteidas).[8] A common epithet of Poseidon is Γαιήοχος Gaiēochos, "Earth-shaker," an epithet which is also identified in Linear B tablets. Another attested word 𐀁𐀚𐀯𐀅𐀃𐀚, E-ne-si-da-o-ne,[9][10] recalls his later epithets Ennosidas and Ennosigaios indicating the chthonic nature of Poseidon.[11]

The origins of the name "Poseidon" are unclear. One theory breaks it down into an element meaning "husband" or "lord" (Greek πόσις (posis), from PIE *pótis) and another element meaning "earth" (δᾶ (da), Doric for γῆ (gē)), producing something like lord or spouse of Da, i.e. of the earth; this would link him with Demeter, "Earth-mother."[12] Walter Burkert finds that "the second element da- remains hopelessly ambiguous" and finds a "husband of Earth" reading "quite impossible to prove."[2]

Another theory interprets the second element as related to the word *δᾶϝον dâwon, "water"; this would make *Posei-dawōn into the master of waters.[13] There is also the possibility that the word has Pre-Greek origin.[14] Plato in his dialogue Cratylus gives two alternative etymologies: either the sea restrained Poseidon when walking as a "foot-bond" (ποσίδεσμον), or he "knew many things" (πολλά εἰδότος or πολλά εἰδῶν).[15]

Bronze Age Greece
Poseidon was the second son of Cronus and Rhea. In most accounts he is swallowed by Cronus at birth but later saved, with his other brothers and sisters, by Zeus. However in some versions of the story, he, like his brother Zeus, did not share the fate of his other brother and sisters who were eaten by Cronus. He was saved by his mother Rhea, who concealed him among a flock of lambs and pretended to have given birth to a colt, which she gave to Cronus to devour.[3]

According to John Tzetzes[23] the kourotrophos, or nurse of Poseidon was Arne, who denied knowing where he was, when Cronus came searching; according to Diodorus Siculus[24] Poseidon was raised by the Telchines on Rhodes, just as Zeus was raised by the Korybantes on Crete.

According to a single reference in the Iliad, when the world was divided by lot in three, Zeus received the sky, Hades the underworld and Poseidon the sea. In the Odyssey (v.398), Poseidon has a home in Aegae.

In ancient Greek religion and myth, Demeter (/diˈmiːtər/; Attic: Δημήτηρ Dēmḗtēr; Doric: Δαμάτηρ Dāmā́tēr) is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth. Her cult titles include Sito (Σιτώ), "she of the Grain",[1] as the giver of food or grain[2] and Thesmophoros (θεσμός, thesmos: divine order, unwritten law; "phoros": bringer, bearer), "Law-Bringer," as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society.[3]

Though Demeter is often described simply as the goddess of the harvest, she presided also over the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon. In the Linear B Mycenean Greek tablets of circa 1400–1200 BC found at Pylos, the "two mistresses and the king" may be related with Demeter, Persephone and Poseidon.[4][5] Her Roman equivalent is Ceres.[6]

is possible that Demeter appears in Linear A as da-ma-te on three documents (AR Zf 1 and 2, and KY Za 2), all three apparently dedicated in religious situations and all three bearing just the name (i-da-ma-te on AR Zf 1 and 2).[7] It is unlikely that Demeter appears as da-ma-te in a Linear B (Mycenean Greek) inscription (PY En 609); the word 𐀅𐀔𐀳, da-ma-te, probably refers to "households".[8][9] On the other hand 𐀯𐀵𐀡𐀴𐀛𐀊, si-to-po-ti-ni-ja, "Potnia of the Grain", is regarded to refer to her Bronze Age predecessor or to one of her epithets.[10]

Demeter's character as mother-goddess is identified in the second element of her name meter (μήτηρ) derived from Proto-Indo-European *méh₂tēr (mother).[11] In antiquity, different explanations were already proffered for the first element of her name. It is possible that Da (Δᾶ),[12] a word which became Ge (Γῆ) in Attic, is the Doric form of De (Δῆ), "earth", the old name of the chthonic earth-goddess, and that Demeter is "Mother-Earth".[13] This root also appears in the Linear B inscription E-ne-si-da-o-ne, "earth-shaker", as an aspect of the god Poseidon.[14][15] However, the dā element in the name of Demeter, is not so simply equated with "earth" according to John Chadwick.[16][17]

The element De- may be connected with Deo, a surname of Demeter[18] probably derived from the Cretan word dea (δηά), Ionic zeia (ζειά) meaning "barley", so that she is the Mother and the giver of food generally.[19] Arcadian cult to Demeter links her to a male deity (Greek: Πάρεδρος, Paredros), who accompanied the Great Goddess and has been interpreted as a possible substitution for Poseidon; Demeter may therefore be related to a Minoan Great Goddess.[20]

An alternative, Proto-Indo-European etymology comes through Potnia and Despoina; where Des- represents a derivative of PIE *dem (house, dome), and Demeter is "mother of the house" (from PIE *dems-méh₂tēr).[21]

Demeter and Persephone[edit]

Demeter drives her horse-drawn chariot containing her daughter Persephone-Kore at Selinunte, Sicily 6th century BC.
Demeter rejoiced, for her daughter was by her side
Demeter's virgin daughter Persephone was abducted to the underworld by Hades. Demeter searched for her ceaselessly, preoccupied with her loss and her grief. The seasons halted; living things ceased their growth, then began to die.[29] Faced with the extinction of all life on earth, Zeus sent his messenger Hermes to the underworld to bring Persephone back. Hades agreed to release her, but gave her a pomegranate. When she ate the pomegranate seeds, she was bound to him for one third of the year, either the dry Mediterranean summer, when plant life is threatened by drought,[30] or the autumn and winter.[31] There are several variations on the basic myth. In the Homeric hymn to Demeter, Hecate assists in the search and later becomes Persephone's underworld attendant.[32] In another, Persephone willingly and secretly eats the pomegranate seeds, thinking to deceive Hades, but is discovered and made to stay. In all versions, Persephone's time in the underworld corresponds with the unfruitful seasons of the ancient Greek calendar, and her return to the upper world with springtime. Demeter's descent to retrieve Persephone from the underworld is connected to the Eleusinian Mysteries.

Demeter and her daughter Persephone were usually called:[33]
The goddesses, often distinguished as "the older" and "the younger" in Eleusis.
Demeters, in Rhodes and Sparta
The thesmophoroi, "the legislators" in the Thesmophoria.
The Great Goddesses, in Arcadia.
The mistresses in Arcadia.[34]

In Mycenaean Pylos, Demeter and Persephone were probably called "queens" (wa-na-ssoi).[5]

The myth of the capture of Persephone seems to be pre-Greek. In the Greek version Ploutos (πλούτος, wealth) represents the wealth of the corn that was stored in underground silos or ceramic jars (pithoi). Similar subterranean pithoi were used in ancient times for funerary practices is fused with Persephone, the Queen of the underworld. At the beginning of the autumn, when the corn of the old crop is laid on the fields she ascends and is reunited with her mother Demeter, for at this time the old crop and the new meet each other.[35]

According to the personal mythology of Robert Graves,[36] Persephone is not only the younger self of Demeter,[37] she is in turn also one of three guises of the Triple Goddess — Kore (the youngest, the maiden, signifying green young grain), Persephone (in the middle, the nymph, signifying the ripe grain waiting to be harvested), and Hecate (the eldest of the three, the crone, the harvested grain), which to a certain extent reduces the name and role of Demeter to that of group name. Before her abduction, she is called Kore; and once taken

Athena (/əˈθiːnə/; Attic Greek: Ἀθηνᾶ, Athēnā, or Ἀθηναία, Athēnaia; Epic: Ἀθηναίη, Athēnaiē; Doric: Ἀθάνα, Athānā) or Athene (/əˈθiːniː/; Ionic: Ἀθήνη, Athēnē), often given the epithet Pallas (/ˈpæləs/; Παλλὰς), was the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, strategic warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill in ancient Greek religion and mythology. Minerva is the Roman goddess identified with Athena.[2]

Athena is portrayed as a shrewd companion of heroes and is the patron goddess of heroic endeavour. She is the virgin patroness of Athens. The Athenians founded the Parthenon on the Acropolis of her namesake city, Athens (Athena Parthenos), in her honour.[2]

Veneration of Athena was so persistent that archaic myths about her were recast to adapt to cultural changes. In her role as a protector of the city (polis), many people throughout the Greek world worshipped Athena as Athena Polias (Ἀθηνᾶ Πολιάς "Athena of the city"). While the city of Athens and the goddess Athena essentially bear the same name (Athena the goddess, Athenai the city), it is not known which of the two words is derived from the other.[3]

Athena is associated with Athens, a plural name, because it was the place where she presided over her sisterhood, the Athenai, in earliest times. Mycenae was the city where the Goddess was called Mykene, and Mycenae is named in the plural for the sisterhood of females who tended her there. At Thebes she was called Thebe, and the city again a plural, Thebae (or Thebes, where the ‘s’ is the plural formation). Similarly, at Athens she was called Athena, and the city Athenae (or Athens, again a plural).[4]

Athena had a special relationship with Athens, as is shown by the etymological connection of the names of the goddess and the city. According to mythical lore, she competed with Poseidon and she won by creating the olive tree; the Athenians would accept her gift and name the city after her. In history, the citizens of Athens built a statue of Athena as a temple to the goddess, which had piercing eyes, a helmet on her head, attired with an aegis or cuirass, and an extremely long spear. It also had a crystal shield with the head of the Gorgon on it. A large snake accompanied her and she held Nike, the goddess of victory, in her hand.

Image from the temple of Athena at Mycenae, c. 625 BC (National Archaeological Museum of Athens)
In a Mycenean fresco, there is a composition of two women extending their hands towards a central figure who is covered by an enormous figure-eight shield and could also depict the war-goddess with her palladium, or her palladium in an aniconic representation. Therefore Mylonas believes that Athena was a Mycenaean creation.[5] On the other hand, Nilsson claims that she was the goddess of the palace who protected the king, and that the origin of Athena was the Minoan domestic snake-goddess.[6] In the so-called Procession-fresco in Knossos which was reconstructed by the Mycenaeans, two rows of figures carrying vessels, seem to meet in front of a central figure, which is probably the Minoan palace goddess “Atano”.[7]

In Mycenaean Greek, at Knossos a single inscription 𐀀𐀲𐀙𐀡𐀴𐀛𐀊 A-ta-na po-ti-ni-ja /Athana potniya/ appears in the Linear B tablets from the Late Minoan II-era "Room of the Chariot Tablets"; these comprise the earliest Linear B archive anywhere.[8][9] Although Athana potniya often is translated Mistress Athena, it literally means "the Potnia of At(h)ana", which perhaps, means the Lady of Athens;[10] any connection to the city of Athens in the Knossos inscription is uncertain.[11] We also find A-ta-no-dju-wa-ja (KO Za 1 inscription, line 1), in Linear A Minoan; the final part being regarded as the Linear A Minoan equivalent of the Linear B Mycenaean di-u-ja or di-wi-ja (Diwia, "divine"). Divine Athena also was a weaver and the deity of crafts (see dyeus).[12] Whether her name is attested in Eteocretan or not will have to wait for decipherment of Linear A.

Apart from these Creto-Greek attributions, Günther Neumann has suggested that Athena’s name is possibly of Lydian origin;[13] it may be a compound word derived in part from Tyrrhenian ati, meaning mother and the name of the Hurrian goddess Hannahannah shortened in various places to Ana.[citation needed]

In his dialogue Cratylus, the Greek philosopher Plato (428–347 BC), gives the etymology of Athena’s name, based on the views of the ancient Athenians and his own etymological speculations:

That is a graver matter, and there, my friend, the modern interpreters of Homer may, I think, assist in explaining the view of the ancients. For most of these in their explanations of the poet, assert that he meant by Athena “mind” [nous] and “intelligence” [dianoia], and the maker of names appears to have had a singular notion about her; and indeed calls her by a still higher title, “divine intelligence” [θεοῦ νόησις – theou noesis], as though he would say: This is she who has the mind of God (a theonoa – ἁ θεονόα). Perhaps, however, the name Theonoe may mean “she who knows divine things” (ta theia noousa – τὰ θεῖα νοοῦσα) better than others. Nor shall we be far wrong in supposing that the author of it wished to identify this Goddess with moral intelligence (en ethei noesin), and therefore gave her the name Etheonoe; which, however, either he or his successors have altered into what they thought a nicer form, and called her Athena

Thus for Plato her name was to be derived from Greek Ἀθεονόα, Atheonóa — which the later Greeks rationalised as from the deity’s (θεός theos) mind (νοῦς nous).

Plato also noted that the citizens of Sais in Egypt worshipped a goddess whose Egyptian name was Neith,[14] and which was identified with Athena.[15] Neith was the war goddess and huntress deity of the Egyptians since the ancient Pre-Dynastic period, who was also identified with weaving. In addition, als ancient Greek myths reported that Athena had visited many mythological places such as Libya's Triton River in North Africa and the Phlegraean plain.[16] Scholar Martin Bernal created the controversial[17] Black Athena theory to explain this associated origin by claiming that the conception of Neith was brought to Greece from Egypt, along with "an enormous number of features of civilization and culture in the third and second millennia".[18] The connection with Neith was later rejected by other scholars in view of formal difficulties.[19]

R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin of the name.[20]

Some authors[citation needed] believe that, in early times, Athena was either an owl herself or a bird goddess in general: In the third Book of the Odyssey, she takes the form of a sea-eagle. These authors argue that she dropped her prophylactic owl-mask before she lost her wings. “Athena, by the time she appears in art,” Jane Ellen Harrison had remarked, “has completely shed her animal form, has reduced the shapes she once wore of snake and bird to attributes, but occasionally in black-figure vase-paintings she still appears with wings.”[21]

Some Greek authors[who?] have derived natural symbols from the etymological roots of Athena’s names to be aether, air, earth, and moon. This was one of the primary developments of scholarly exploration in the ancient world.[22]
Olympian version
After he swallowed her pregnant mother, Metis, Athena is “born” from Zeus’ forehead as he grasps the clothing of Eileithyia on the right; black-figured amphora, 550–525 BC, Louvre.
Although Athena appears before Zeus at Knossos — in Linear B, as 𐀀𐀲𐀙𐀡𐀴𐀛𐀊, a-ta-na po-ti-ni-ja, “Mistress Athena”[46] — in the Classical Olympian pantheon, Athena was remade as the favorite daughter of Zeus, born fully armed from his forehead.[47] The story of her birth comes in several versions. In the one most commonly cited, Zeus lay with Metis, the goddess of crafty thought and wisdom, but he immediately feared the consequences. It had been prophesied that Metis would bear children more powerful than the sire,[48] even Zeus himself. In order to forestall these dire consequences, after lying with Metis, Zeus “put her away inside his own belly”; he “swallowed her down all of a sudden”.[49] He was too late: Metis had already conceived.
Eventually Zeus experienced an enormous headache; Prometheus, Hephaestus, Hermes, Ares, or Palaemon (depending on the sources examined) cleaved Zeus’ head with the double-headed Minoan axe, the labrys. Athena leaped from Zeus’ head, fully grown and armed, with a shout — “and pealed to the broad sky her clarion cry of war. And Ouranos trembled to hear, and Mother Gaia…” (Pindar, Seventh Olympian Ode). Plato, in the Laws, attributes the cult of Athena to the culture of Crete, introduced, he thought, from Libya during the dawn of Greek culture. Classical myths thereafter note that Hera was so annoyed at Zeus for having produced a child that she conceived and bore Hephaestus by herself.
In accordance with this mythological tradition, Plato, in Cratylus (407B), gave the etymology of her name as signifying “the mind of god”, theou noesis. The Christian apologist of the second century Justin Martyr takes issue with those pagans who erect at springs images of Kore, whom he interprets as Athena:

Other tales[edit]

Some origin stories tell of Athena having been born outside of Olympus and raised by the god Triton. Fragments attributed by the Christian Eusebius of Caesarea to the semi-legendary Phoenician historian Sanchuniathon, which Eusebius thought had been written before the Trojan war, make Athena instead the daughter of Cronus, a king of Byblos who visited 'the inhabitable world' and bequeathed Attica to Athena.[51] Sanchuniathon's account would make Athena the sister of Zeus and Hera, not Zeus' daughter.

Pallas Athena[edit]

The major competing tradition regarding Athena's parentage involves some of her more mysterious epithets: Pallas, as in the ancient-Greek Παλλάς Ἀθήνη (also Pallantias) and Tritogeneia (also Trito, Tritonis, Tritoneia, Tritogenes). A distant archaic separate entity named Pallas is invoked as Athena's father, sister, foster sister, companion, or opponent in battle. One of these is Pallas a daughter of Triton (a sea god), and a childhood friend of Athena.[52]

In every case, Athena kills Pallas, accidentally, and thereby gains the name for herself. In one telling, they practice the arts of war together until one day they have a falling out. As Pallas is about to strike Athena, Zeus intervenes. With Pallas stunned by a blow from Zeus, Athena takes advantage and kills her. Distraught over what she has done, Athena takes the name Pallas for herself.

When Pallas is Athena's father the events, including her birth, are located near a body of water named Triton or Tritonis. When Pallas is Athena's sister or foster-sister, Athena's father or foster-father is Triton, the son and herald of Poseidon. But Athena may be called the daughter of Poseidon and a nymph named Tritonis, without involving Pallas. Likewise, Pallas may be Athena's father or opponent, without involving Triton.[53] On this topic, Walter Burkert says "she is the Pallas of Athens, Pallas Athenaie, just as Hera of Argos is Here Argeie.[54] For the Athenians, Burkert notes, Athena was simply "the Goddess", hē theós (ἡ θεός), certainly an ancient title

Athena Parthenos: Virgin Athena[edit]

Athena never had a consort or lover and is thus known as Athena Parthenos, "Virgin Athena". Her most famous temple, the Parthenon, on the Acropolis in Athens takes its name from this title. It is not merely an observation of her virginity, but a recognition of her role as enforcer of rules of sexual modesty and ritual mystery. Even beyond recognition, the Athenians allotted the goddess value based on this pureness of virginity as it upheld a rudiment of female behavior in the patriarchal society. Kerenyi's study and theory of Athena accredits her virginal epithet to be a result of the relationship to her father Zeus and a vital, cohesive piece of her character throughout the ages.[55]

This role is expressed in a number of stories about Athena. Marinus of Neapolis reports that when Christians removed the statue of the Goddess from the Parthenon, a beautiful woman appeared in a dream to Proclus, a devotee of Athena, and announced that the "Athenian Lady" wished to dwell with him.[56]

The Athena Giustiniani, a Roman copy of a Greek statue of Pallas Athena with her serpent, Erichthonius

Hephaestus attempted to rape Athena, but she eluded him. His semen fell to the earth and impregnated the soil, and Erichthonius was born from the Earth, Gaia. Athena then raised the baby as a foster mother.[57]

Athena puts the infant Erichthonius into a small box (cista) which she entrusts to the care of three sisters, Herse, Pandrosus, and Aglaulus of Athens. The goddess does not tell them what the box contains, but warns them not to open it until she returns. One or two sisters opens the cista to reveal Erichthonius, in the form (or embrace) of a serpent. The serpent, or insanity induced by the sight, drives Herse and Aglaulus to throw themselves off the Acropolis.[58] Jane Harrison (Prolegomena) finds this to be a simple cautionary tale directed at young girls carrying the cista in the Thesmophoria rituals, to discourage them from opening it outside the proper context.

Another version of the myth of the Athenian maidens is told in Metamorphoses by the Roman poet Ovid (43 BC – 17 AD); in this late variant Hermes falls in love with Herse. Herse, Aglaulus, and Pandrosus go to the temple to offer sacrifices to Athena. Hermes demands help from Aglaulus to seduce Herse. Aglaulus demands money in exchange. Hermes gives her the money the sisters have already offered to Athena. As punishment for Aglaulus's greed, Athena asks the goddess Envy to make Aglaulus jealous of Herse. When Hermes arrives to seduce Herse, Aglaulus stands in his way instead of helping him as she had agreed. He turns her to stone.[59]

With this mythic origin, Erichthonius became the founder-king of Athens, and many beneficial changes to Athenian culture were ascribed to him. During this time, Athena frequently protected him.

Medusa and Tiresias[edit]

In a late myth, Medusa, unlike her sister Gorgons, came to be viewed by the Greeks of the 5th century as a beautiful mortal that served as priestess in Athena's temple. Poseidon liked Medusa, and decided to rape her in the temple of Athena, refusing to allow her vow of chastity to stand in his way.[60] Upon discovering the desecration of her temple, Athena changed Medusa's form to match that of her sister Gorgons as punishment. Medusa's hair turned into snakes, her lower body was transformed also, and meeting her gaze would turn any living man to stone. In the earliest myths, there is only one Gorgon, but there are two snakes that form a belt around her waist.

In one version of the Tiresias myth, Tiresias stumbled upon Athena bathing, and he was struck blind by her to ensure he would never again see what man was not intended to see. But having lost his eyesight, he was given a special gift—to be able to understand the language of the birds (and thus to foretell the future).

Lady of Athens[edit]

Athena competed with Poseidon to be the patron deity of Athens, which was yet unnamed, in a version of one founding myth. They agreed that each would give the Athenians one gift and that the Athenians would choose the gift they preferred. Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and a salt water spring sprang up; this gave them a means of trade and water—Athens at its height was a significant sea power, defeating the Persian fleet at the Battle of Salamis—but the water was salty and not very good for drinking.[61]

Athena, however, offered them the first domesticated olive tree. The Athenians (or their king, Cecrops) accepted the olive tree and with it the patronage of Athena, for the olive tree brought wood, oil, and food. Robert Graves was of the opinion that "Poseidon's attempts to take possession of certain cities are political myths" which reflect the conflict between matriarchal and patriarchal religions.[61]

Other sites of cult[edit]

Athena also was the patron goddess of several other Greek cities, notably Sparta, where the archaic cult of Athena Alea had its sanctuaries in the surrounding villages of Mantineia and, notably, Tegea. In Sparta itself, the temple of Athena Khalkíoikos (Athena "of the Brazen House", often latinized as Chalcioecus) was the grandest and located on the Spartan acropolis; presumably it had a roof of bronze. The forecourt of the Brazen House was the place where the most solemn religious functions in Sparta took place.

Tegea was an important religious center of ancient Greece,[62] containing the Temple of Athena Alea. The temenos was founded by Aleus, Pausanias was informed.[63] Votive bronzes at the site from the Geometric and Archaic periods take the forms of horses and deer; there are sealstone and fibulae. In the Archaic period the nine villages that underlie Tegea banded together in a synoecism to form one city.[64] Tegea was listed in Homer's Catalogue of Ships as one of the cities that contributed ships and men for the Achaean assault on Troy.


Athena and Heracles on an Attic red-figure kylix, 480–470 BC.
Later myths of the Classical Greeks relate that Athena guided Perseus in his quest to behead Medusa. She instructed Heracles to skin the Nemean Lion by using its own claws to cut through its thick hide. She also helped Heracles to defeat the Stymphalian Birds, and to navigate the underworld so as to capture Cerberus.

In The Odyssey, Odysseus' cunning and shrewd nature quickly won Athena's favour. In the realistic epic mode, however, she largely is confined to aiding him only from afar, as by implanting thoughts in his head during his journey home from Troy. Her guiding actions reinforce her role as the "protectress of heroes" or as mythologian Walter Friedrich Otto dubbed her the "goddess of nearness" due to her mentoring and motherly probing.[65] It is not until he washes up on the shore of an island where Nausicaa is washing her clothes that Athena arrives personally to provide more tangible assistance. She appears in Nausicaa's dreams to ensure that the princess rescues Odysseus and plays a role in his eventual escort to Ithaca.

Athena appears in disguise to Odysseus upon his arrival, initially lying and telling him that Penelope, his wife, has remarried and that he is believed to be dead; but Odysseus lies back to her, employing skillful prevarications to protect himself.[66] Impressed by his resolve and shrewdness, she reveals herself and tells him what he needs to know in order to win back his kingdom. She disguises him as an elderly man or beggar so that he cannot be noticed by the suitors or Penelope, and helps him to defeat the suitors.

She also plays a role in ending the resultant feud against the suitors' relatives. She instructs Laertes to throw his spear and to kill the father of Antinous, Eupeithes

Apollo (Attic, Ionic, and Homeric Greek: Ἀπόλλων, Apollōn (GEN Ἀπόλλωνος); Doric: Ἀπέλλων, Apellōn; Arcadocypriot: Ἀπείλων, Apeilōn; Aeolic: Ἄπλουν, Aploun; Latin: Apollō) is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion and Greek and Roman mythology. The ideal of the kouros (a beardless, athletic youth), Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of light and the sun, truth and prophecy, healing, plague, music, poetry, and more. Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis. Apollo is known in Greek-influenced Etruscan mythology as Apulu.

As the patron of Delphi (Pythian Apollo), Apollo was an oracular god—the prophetic deity of the Delphic Oracle. Medicine and healing are associated with Apollo, whether through the god himself or mediated through his son Asclepius, yet Apollo was also seen as a god who could bring ill-health and deadly plague. Amongst the god's custodial charges, Apollo became associated with dominion over colonists, and as the patron defender of herds and flocks. As the leader of the Muses (Apollon Musegetes) and director of their choir, Apollo functioned as the patron god of music and poetry. Hermes created the lyre for him, and the instrument became a common attribute of Apollo. Hymns sung to Apollo were called paeans.

In Hellenistic times, especially during the 3rd century BCE, as Apollo Helios he became identified among Greeks with Helios, Titan god of the sun, and his sister Artemis similarly equated with Selene, Titan goddess of the moon.[1] In Latin texts, on the other hand, Joseph Fontenrose declared himself unable to find any conflation of Apollo with Sol among the Augustan poets of the 1st century, not even in the conjurations of Aeneas and Latinus in Aeneid XII (161–215).[2] Apollo and Helios/Sol remained separate beings in literary and mythological texts until the 3rd century CE

Apollo and Artemis. Brygos (potter signed), tondo of an Attic red-figure cup c. 470 BC, Musée du Louvre.
When Zeus' wife Hera discovered that Leto was pregnant and that Zeus was the father, she banned Leto from giving birth on "terra firma". In her wanderings, Leto found the newly created floating island of Delos, which was neither mainland nor a real island. She gave birth there and was accepted by the people, offering them her promise that her son would be always favourable toward the city. Afterwards, Zeus secured Delos to the bottom of the ocean. This island later became sacred to Apollo.

It is also stated that Hera kidnapped Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth, to prevent Leto from going into labor. The other gods tricked Hera into letting her go by offering her a necklace, nine yards (8 m) long, of amber. Mythographers agree that Artemis was born first and then assisted with the birth of Apollo, or that Artemis was born one day before Apollo, on the island of Ortygia and that she helped Leto cross the sea to Delos the next day to give birth to Apollo. Apollo was born on the seventh day (ἑβδομαγενής, hebdomagenes)[117] of the month Thargelion —according to Delian tradition—or of the month Bysios—according to Delphian tradition. The seventh and twentieth, the days of the new and full moon, were ever afterwards held sacred to him.


Four days after his birth, Apollo killed the chthonic dragon Python, which lived in Delphi beside the Castalian Spring. This was the spring which emitted vapors that caused the oracle at Delphi to give her prophecies. Hera sent the serpent to hunt Leto to her death across the world. To protect his mother, Apollo begged Hephaestus for a bow and arrows. After receiving them, Apollo cornered Python in the sacred cave at Delphi.[118] Apollo killed Python but had to be punished for it, since Python was a child of Gaia.

Hera then sent the giant Tityos to rape Leto. This time Apollo was aided by his sister Artemis in protecting their mother. During the battle Zeus finally relented his aid and hurled Tityos down to Tartarus. There, he was pegged to the rock floor, covering an area of 9 acres (36,000 m2), where a pair of vultures feasted daily on his liver

Apollo shot arrows infected with the plague into the Greek encampment during the Trojan War in retribution for Agamemnon's insult to Chryses, a priest of Apollo whose daughter Chryseis had been captured. He demanded her return, and the Achaeans complied, indirectly causing the anger of Achilles, which is the theme of the Iliad.

In the Iliad, when Diomedes injured Aeneas, Apollo rescued him. First, Aphrodite tried to rescue Aeneas but Diomedes injured her as well. Aeneas was then enveloped in a cloud by Apollo, who took him to Pergamos, a sacred spot in Troy.

Apollo aided Paris in the killing of Achilles by guiding the arrow of his bow into Achilles' heel. One interpretation of his motive is that it was in revenge for Achilles' sacrilege in murdering Troilus, the god's own son by Hecuba, on the very altar of the god's own temple.


When Zeus struck down Apollo's son Asclepius with a lightning bolt for resurrecting Hippolytus from the dead (transgressing Themis by stealing Hades's subjects), Apollo in revenge killed the Cyclopes, who had fashioned the bolt for Zeus.[119] Apollo would have been banished to Tartarus forever for this, but was instead sentenced to one year of hard labor, due to the intercession of his mother, Leto. During this time he served as shepherd for King Admetus of Pherae in Thessaly. Admetus treated Apollo well, and, in return, the god conferred great benefits on Admetus.

Apollo helped Admetus win Alcestis, the daughter of King Pelias and later convinced the Fates to let Admetus live past his time, if another took his place. But when it came time for Admetus to die, his parents, whom he had assumed would gladly die for him, refused to cooperate. Instead, Alcestis took his place, but Heracles managed to "persuade" Thanatos, the god of death, to return her to the world of the living

Apollo's lyre

Apollo with his lyre. Statue from Pergamon Museum, Berlin.
Hermes was born on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia. The story is told in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes. His mother, Maia, had been secretly impregnated by Zeus. Maia wrapped the infant in blankets but Hermes escaped while she was asleep.

Hermes ran to Thessaly, where Apollo was grazing his cattle. The infant Hermes stole a number of his cows and took them to a cave in the woods near Pylos, covering their tracks. In the cave, he found a tortoise and killed it, then removed the insides. He used one of the cow's intestines and the tortoise shell and made the first lyre.

Apollo complained to Maia that her son had stolen his cattle, but Hermes had already replaced himself in the blankets she had wrapped him in, so Maia refused to believe Apollo's claim. Zeus intervened and, claiming to have seen the events, sided with Apollo. Hermes then began to play music on the lyre he had invented. Apollo, a god of music, fell in love with the instrument and offered to allow exchange of the cattle for the lyre. Hence, Apollo then became a master of the lyre.

Apollo in the Oresteia

In Aeschylus' Oresteia trilogy, Clytemnestra kills her husband, King Agamemnon because he had sacrificed their daughter Iphigenia to proceed forward with the Trojan war, and Cassandra, a prophetess of Apollo. Apollo gives an order through the Oracle at Delphi that Agamemnon's son, Orestes, is to kill Clytemnestra and Aegisthus, her lover. Orestes and Pylades carry out the revenge, and consequently Orestes is pursued by the Erinyes (Furies, female personifications of vengeance).

Apollo and the Furies argue about whether the matricide was justified; Apollo holds that the bond of marriage is sacred and Orestes was avenging his father, whereas the Erinyes say that the bond of blood between mother and son is more meaningful than the bond of marriage. They invade his temple, and he says that the matter should be brought before Athena. Apollo promises to protect Orestes, as Orestes has become Apollo's supplicant. Apollo advocates Orestes at the trial, and ultimately Athena rules in favor of Apollo.

Other stories

Apollo killed the Aloadae when they attempted to storm Mt. Olympus.

Callimachus sang[165] that Apollo rode on the back of a swan to the land of the Hyperboreans during the winter months.

Apollo turned Cephissus into a sea monster.

Another contender for the birthplace of Apollo is the Cretan islands of Paximadia

Artemis /ˈɑrtɨmɨs/ was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana.[1] Some scholars[2] believe that the name, and indeed the goddess herself, was originally pre-Greek.[3] Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals".[4] The Arcadians believed she was the daughter of Demeter.[5]

In the classical period of Greek mythology, Artemis (Ancient Greek: Ἄρτεμις) was often described as the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo. She was the Hellenic goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth,the moon , virginity and protector of young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women; she often was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows.[6] The deer and the cypress were sacred to her. In later Hellenistic times, she even assumed the ancient role of Eileithyia in aiding childbirth.

Artemis (on the left, with a deer) and Apollo (on the right, holding a lyre) from Myrina, dating to approximately 25 BC
Apollo (left) and Artemis. Brygos (potter, signed), Briseis Painter, Tondo of an Attic red-figure cup, ca. 470 BC, Louvre.
Various conflicting accounts are given in Classical Greek mythology of the birth of Artemis and her twin brother, Apollo. All accounts agree, however, that she was the daughter of Zeus and Leto and that she was the twin sister of Apollo.
An account by Callimachus has it that Hera forbade Leto to give birth on either terra firma (the mainland) or on an island. Hera was angry with Zeus, her husband, because he had impregnated Leto. But the island of Delos (or Ortygia in the Homeric Hymn to Artemis) disobeyed Hera, and Leto gave birth there.[20]

In ancient Cretan history Leto was worshipped at Phaistos and in Cretan mythology Leto gave birth to Apollo and Artemis at the islands known today as the Paximadia.

A scholium of Servius on Aeneid iii. 72 accounts for the island's archaic name Ortygia[21] by asserting that Zeus transformed Leto into a quail (ortux) in order to prevent Hera from finding out his infidelity, and Kenneth McLeish suggested further that in quail form Leto would have given birth with as few birth-pains as a mother quail suffers when it lays an egg.[22]

The myths also differ as to whether Artemis was born first, or Apollo. Most stories depict Artemis as born first, becoming her mother's mid-wife upon the birth of her brother Apollo
As a virgin, Artemis had interested many gods and men, but only her hunting companion, Orion, won her heart. Orion was accidentally killed either by Artemis or by Gaia.

Alpheus, a river god, was in love with Artemis, but he realizes that he can do nothing to win her heart. So he decides to capture her. Artemis, who is with her companions at Letrenoi, goes to Alpheus, but, suspicious of his motives, she covers her face with mud so that the river god does not recognize her. In another story, Alphaeus tries to rape Artemis' attendant Arethusa. Artemis pities Arethusa and saves her by transforming Arethusa into a spring in Artemis' temple, Artemis Alphaea in Letrini, where the goddess and her attendant drink.

Bouphagos, the son of the Titan Iapetos, sees Artemis and thinks about raping her. Reading his sinful thoughts, Artemis strikes him at Mount Pholoe.

Sipriotes is a boy, who, either because he accidentally sees Artemis bathing or because he attempts to rape her, is turned into a girl by the goddess.

Atalanta, Oeneus and the Meleagrids
Artemis pouring a libation, c. 460-450 BC.
Artemis saved the infant Atalanta from dying of exposure after her father abandoned her. She sent a female bear to suckle the baby, who was then raised by hunters. But she later sent a bear to hurt Atalanta because people said Atalanta was a better hunter. This is in some stories.

Among other adventures, Atalanta participated in the hunt for the Calydonian Boar, which Artemis had sent to destroy Calydon because King Oeneus had forgotten her at the harvest sacrifices. In the hunt, Atalanta drew the first blood, and was awarded the prize of the skin. She hung it in a sacred grove at Tegea as a dedication to Artemis.

Meleager was a hero of Aetolia. King Oeneus had him gather heroes from all over Greece to hunt the Calydonian Boar. After the death of Meleager, Artemis turned his grieving sisters, the Meleagrids into guineafowl that Artemis loved very much

Ares /ˈɛəriːz/ (Ancient Greek: Ἄρης [árɛːs], literally "battle") is the Greek god of war. He is one of the Twelve Olympians, and the son of Zeus and Hera.[1] In Greek literature, he often represents the physical or violent and untamed aspect of war, in contrast to the armored Athena, whose functions as a goddess of intelligence include military strategy and generalship.[2]
The Greeks were ambivalent toward Ares: although he embodied the physical valor necessary for success in war, he was a dangerous force, "overwhelming, insatiable in battle, destructive, and man-slaughtering."[3] His sons Fear (Phobos) and Terror (Deimos) and his lover, or sister, Discord (Enyo) accompanied him on his war chariot.[4] In the Iliad, his father Zeus tells him that he is the god most hateful to him.[5] An association with Ares endows places and objects with a savage, dangerous, or militarized quality.[6] His value as a war god is placed in doubt: during the Trojan War, Ares was on the losing side, while Athena, often depicted in Greek art as holding Nike (Victory) in her hand, favored the triumphant Greeks.[7]
Ares plays a relatively limited role in Greek mythology as represented in literary narratives, though his numerous love affairs and abundant offspring are often alluded to.[8] When Ares does appear in myths, he typically faces humiliation.[9] He is well known as the lover of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who was married to Hephaestus, god of craftsmanship.[10] The most famous story related to Ares and Aphrodite shows them exposed to ridicule through the wronged husband's clever device.[11
The counterpart of Ares among the Roman gods is Mars,[12] who as a father of the Roman people was given a more important and dignified place in ancient Roman religion as a guardian deity. During the Hellenization of Latin literature, the myths of Ares were reinterpreted by Roman writers under the name of Mars. Greek writers under Roman rule also recorded cult practices and beliefs pertaining to Mars under the name of Ares. Thus in the classical tradition of later Western art and literature, the mythology of the two figures becomes virtually indistinguishable

Aphrodite (Listeni/æfrəˈdaɪti/ af-rə-DY-tee; Greek: Ἀφροδίτη) is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. Her Roman equivalent is the goddess Venus.[4] She is identified with the planet Venus.

As with many ancient Greek deities, there is more than one story about her origins. According to Hesiod's Theogony, she was born when Cronus cut off Uranus's genitals and threw them into the sea, and she arose from the sea foam (aphros). According to Homer's Iliad, she is the daughter of Zeus and Dione. According to Plato (Symposium, 180e), these two origins were of entirely separate entities: Aphrodite Ourania and Aphrodite Pandemos.

Because of her beauty, other gods feared that their rivalry over her would interrupt the peace among them and lead to war, so Zeus married her to Hephaestus, who, because of his ugliness and deformity, was not seen as a threat. Aphrodite had many lovers—both gods, such as Ares, and men, such as Anchises. She played a role in the Eros and Psyche legend, and later was both Adonis's lover and his surrogate mother. Many lesser beings were said to be children of Aphrodite.

Aphrodite is also known as Cytherea (Lady of Cythera) and Cypris (Lady of Cyprus) after the two cult sites, Cythera and Cyprus, which claimed to be her place of birth. Myrtle, doves, sparrows, horses, and swans were said to be sacred to her. The ancient Greeks identified her with the Ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor.[5]

Aphrodite had many other names, such as Acidalia, Cytherea, and Cerigo, each used by a different local cult of the goddess in Greece. The Greeks recognized all of these names as referring to the single goddess Aphrodite, despite the slight differences in what these local cults believed the goddess demanded of them. The Attic philosophers of the 4th century, however, drew a distinction between a celestial Aphrodite (Aprodite Urania) of transcendent principles, and a separate, "common" Aphrodite who was the goddess of the people (Aphrodite Pandemos).

Aphrodite is usually said to have been born near her chief center of worship, Paphos, on the island of Cyprus, which is why she is sometimes called "Cyprian", especially in the poetic works of Sappho. However, other versions of her myth have her born near the island of Cythera, hence another of her names, "Cytherea".[16] Cythera was a stopping place for trade and culture between Crete and the Peloponesus, so these stories may preserve traces of the migration of Aphrodite's cult from the Middle East to mainland Greece.
In the most famous version of her myth, her birth was the consequence of a castration: Cronus severed Uranus' genitals and threw them behind him into the sea. The foam from his genitals gave rise to Aphrodite (hence her name, meaning "foam-arisen"), while the Erinyes (furies), and the Meliae emerged from the drops of his blood.[17] Hesiod states that the genitals "were carried over the sea a long time, and white foam arose from the immortal flesh; with it a girl grew." The girl, Aphrodite, floated ashore on a scallop shell. This iconic representation of Aphrodite as a mature "Venus rising from the sea" (Venus Anadyomene[18]) was made famous in a much-admired painting by Apelles, now lost, but described in the Natural History of Pliny the Elder.
Petra tou Romiou ("The rock of the Greek"), Aphrodite's legendary birthplace in Paphos, Cyprus.
In another version of her origin,[19] she was considered a daughter of Zeus and Dione, the mother goddess whose oracle was at Dodona. Aphrodite herself was sometimes also referred to as "Dione". "Dione" seems to be a feminine form of "Dios", the genitive form case of Zeus, and could be taken to mean simply "the goddess" in a generic sense. Aphrodite might, then, be an equivalent of Rhea, the Earth Mother, whom Homer relocated to Olympus.

According to one version of Aphrodite's story, because of her immense beauty Zeus fears that the other gods will become violent with each other in their rivalry to possess her. To forestall this, he forces her to marry Hephaestus, the dour, humorless god of smithing. In another version of the story, his mother, Hera casts him off Olympus, deeming him too ugly and deformed to inhabit the home of the gods. His revenge is to trap his mother in a magic throne. In return for her release, he demands to be given Aphrodite's hand in marriage.

Hephaestus is overjoyed to be married to the goddess of beauty, and forges her beautiful jewelry, including the cestus, a girdle that makes her even more irresistible to men. Her unhappiness with her marriage causes Aphrodite to seek other male companionship, most often Ares, but also sometimes Adonis.

Aphrodite's husband Hephaestus is one of the most even-tempered of the Hellenic deities, but in the Odyssey, she is portrayed as preferring Ares, the volatile god of war, because she is attracted to his violent nature.

Aphrodite is a major figure in the Trojan War legend. She is a contestant in the "Judgement of Paris" (see below), which leads to the war. She had been the lover of the Trojan Anchises, and mother of his son Aeneas. Later, during the war, she saves Aeneas from Diomedes, who wounds her.

Aphrodite is consistently portrayed, in every image and story, as having had no childhood, and instead being born as a nubile, infinitely desirable adult. She is often depicted nude. In many of the later myths, she is portrayed as vain, ill-tempered, and easily offended. Although she is married—she is one of the few gods in the Greek Pantheon who is—she is frequently unfaithful to her husband
In one version of the legend of Hippolytus, Aphrodite is the cause of his death. He scorned the worship of Aphrodite, preferring Artemis. Aphrodite caused his stepmother, Phaedra, to fall in love with him, knowing Hippolytus would reject her. This led to Phaedra's suicide, and the death of Hippolytus.

Glaucus of Corinth angered Aphrodite. During the chariot race at the funeral games of King Pelias, she drove his horses mad and they tore him apart.[22]

Aphrodite was jealous of the beauty of Medusa and her two sisters and cursed them, transforming them into the monstrous Gorgons.

Polyphonte was a young woman who chose virginal life with Artemis instead of marriage and children, as favoured by Aphrodite. Aphrodite cursed her, causing her to have children by a bear. The resulting offspring, Agrius and Oreius, were wild cannibals who incurred the hatred of Zeus. Ultimately the whole family were transformed into birds and more specifically ill portents for mankind.[23]

Hephaestus (/hɪˈfiːstəs/, /həˈfɛstəs/ or /hɨˈfɛstəs/; eight spellings; Ancient Greek: Ἥφαιστος Hēphaistos) is the Greek god of blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes.[1] Hephaestus' Roman equivalent is Vulcan. In Greek mythology, Hephaestus was the son of Zeus and Hera, the king and queen of the gods.

As a smithing god, Hephaestus made all the weapons of the gods in Olympus. He served as the blacksmith of the gods, and was worshipped in the manufacturing and industrial centers of Greece, particularly Athens. The cult of Hephaestus was based in Lemnos.[2] Hephaestus' symbols are a smith's hammer, anvil, and a pair of tongs.

The craft of Hephaestus
Vulcan (Roman counterpart of Hephaestus) presenting the arms of Achilles to Thetis. By Peter Paul Rubens.
Hephaestus had his own palace on Olympus, containing his workshop with anvil and twenty bellows that worked at his bidding.[11] Hephaestus crafted much of the magnificent equipment of the gods, and almost any finely-wrought metalwork imbued with powers that appears in Greek myth is said to have been forged by Hephaestus. He designed Hermes' winged helmet and sandals, the Aegis breastplate, Aphrodite's famed girdle, Agamemnon's staff of office,[12] Achilles' armor, Heracles' bronze clappers, Helios' chariot, the shoulder of Pelops, and Eros' bow and arrows. In later accounts, Hephaestus worked with the help of the chthonic Cyclopes—among them his assistants in the forge, Brontes, Steropes and Pyracmon.[13][14]
Hephaestus also built automatons of metal to work for him. This included tripods that walked to and from Mount Olympus. He gave to the blinded Orion his apprentice Cedalion as a guide. Prometheus stole the fire that he gave to man from Hephaestus's forge. Hephaestus also created the gift that the gods gave to man, the woman Pandora and her pithos. Being a skilled blacksmith, Hephaestus created all the thrones in the Palace of Olympus.[15]
The Greek myths and the Homeric poems sanctified in stories that Hephaestus had a special power to produce motion.[16] He made the golden and silver lions and dogs at the entrance of the palace of Alkinoos in such a way that they could bite the invaders.[17] The Greeks maintained in their civilization an animistic idea that statues are in some sense alive. This kind of art and the animistic belief goes back to the Minoan period, when Daedalus, the builder of the labyrinth made images which moved of their own accord.[18] A statue of the god was somehow the god himself, and the image on a man's tomb indicated somehow his presence

Homer's Odyssey and Iliad, as well as some Attic vase paintings, have Hephaestus being born of the union of Zeus and Hera.[20] In another tradition, attested by Hesiod, Hera bore Hephaestus alone.[21] In Hesiod's Zeus-centered cosmology, Hera gave birth to Hephaestus as revenge at Zeus for his asexual birthing of Athena. Several later texts follow Hesiod's account, including Bibliotheke,[22] Hyginus, and the preface to Fabulae. However, in the account of Attic vase-painters, Hephaestus was present at the birth of Athena and wields the axe with which he split Zeus' head to free her. In the latter account, Hephaestus is there represented as older than Athena, so the mythology of Hephaestus is inconsistent in this respect.

Fall from Olympus
In one branch of Greek mythology, Hera ejected Hephaestus from the heavens because he was "shrivelled of foot". He fell into the ocean and was raised by Thetis (mother of Achilles) and the Oceanid Eurynome.[23]
In another account, Hephaestus, attempting to rescue his mother from Zeus' advances, was flung down from the heavens by Zeus. He fell for an entire day and landed on the island of Lemnos, where he was cared for and taught to be a master craftsman by the Sintians—an ancient tribe native to that island.[24] (Hom. Il. i. 590, &c. Val. Flacc. ii. 8.5; Apollod. i. 3. § 5, who, however, confounds the two occasions on which Hephaestus was thrown from Olympus.) Later writers describe his lameness as the consequence of his second fall, while Homer makes him lame and weak from his birth.

Return to Olympus
Hephaestus was the only Olympian to have returned to Olympus after being exiled.
In an archaic story,[25] Hephaestus gained revenge against Hera for rejecting him by making her a magical golden throne, which, when she sat on it, did not allow her to stand up.[26] The other gods begged Hephaestus to return to Olympus to let her go, but he refused, saying "I have no mother".[27]
The western face of the Doric temple of Hephaestus, Agora of Athens.
At last Dionysus, sent to fetch him, shared his wine, intoxicating the smith, and took him back to Olympus on the back of a mule accompanied by revelers—a scene that sometimes appears on painted pottery of Attica and of Corinth.[28] In the painted scenes the padded dancers and phallic figures of the Dionysan throng leading the mule show that the procession was a part of the dithyrambic celebrations that were the forerunners, in Athens, of the satyr plays of the fifth century.[29]
The theme of the return of Hephaestus, popular among the Attic vase-painters whose wares were favored among the Etruscans, may have introduced this theme to Etruria.[30] In the vase-painters' portrayal of the procession, Hephaestus was mounted on a mule or a horse, with Dionysus holding the bridle and carrying Hephaestus' tools (including a double-headed axe).
The traveller Pausanias reported seeing a painting in the temple of Dionysus in Athens, which had been built in the 5th century but may have been decorated at any time before the 2nd century CE. When Pausanias saw it, he said:

Hephaestus and Aphrodite
Hephaestus, being the most unfaltering of the gods, was given Aphrodite’s hand in marriage by Zeus to prevent conflict over her between the other gods. The gods were fighting over her so much, they feared that they would lose their peace with one another and go to war on the other gods.
Hephaestus and Aphrodite had an arranged marriage, and Aphrodite, disliking the idea of being married to the unsightly Hephaestus, began an affair with Ares, the god of war. Eventually, Hephaestus discovers Aphrodite’s promiscuity through Helios, the all-seeing Sun, and planned a trap during one of their trysts. While Aphrodite and Ares lay together in bed, Hephaestus ensnared them in an unbreakable chain-link net so small as to be invisible and dragged them to Mount Olympus to shame them in front of the other gods for retribution.
However, the gods laughed at the sight of these naked lovers, and Poseidon persuaded Hephaestus to free them in return for a guarantee that Ares would pay the adulterer's fine. Hephaestus states in The Odyssey that he would return Aphrodite to her father and demand back his bride price.
The Thebans told that the union of Ares and Aphrodite produced Harmonia. However, of the union of Hephaestus with Aphrodite, there was no issue unless Virgil was serious when he said that Eros was their child.[33] Later authors explain this statement by saying the love-god was sired by Ares but passed off to Hephaestus as his own son.
Hephaestus was somehow connected with the archaic, pre-Greek Phrygian and Thracian mystery cult of the Kabeiroi, who were also called the Hephaistoi, "the Hephaestus-men", in Lemnos. One of the three Lemnian tribes also called themselves Hephaestion and claimed direct descent from the god

Hephaestus and Athena
Hephaestus is to the male gods as Athena is to the females, for he gives skill to mortal artists and was believed to have taught men the arts alongside Athena.[34] He was nevertheless believed to be far inferior to the sublime character of Athena. At Athens they had temples and festivals in common.[note 1] Both were believed to have great healing powers, and Lemnian earth (terra Lemnia) from the spot on which Hephaestus had fallen was believed to cure madness, the bites of snakes, and haemorrhage, and priests of Hephaestus knew how to cure wounds inflicted by snakes.[35]
He was represented in the temple of Athena Chalcioecus (Athena of the Bronze House[36]) at Sparta, in the act of delivering his mother;[37] on the chest of Cypselus, giving Achilles's armour to Thetis;[38] and at Athens there was the famous statue of Hephaestus by Alcamenes, in which his lameness was only subtly portrayed.[39] The Greeks frequently placed small dwarf-like statues of Hephaestus near their hearths, and these figures are the oldest of all his representations.[40] During the best period of Grecian art he was represented as a vigorous man wit
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