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Greek Gods and Goddess

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Shaniah Robinson

on 6 February 2014

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Transcript of Greek Gods and Goddess

Hermes (known to Rome as Mercury) is the Greek god of many things, including messengers and travel. He was born to Zeus and Maia, daughter of Atlas.
Hermes had two different types of kids; divine and hero. His divine children consist of Pan (god of goats, herbs, hunting and nature), whose mother is greatly disputed, and Hermaphroditos (who was half male, half female) by Aphrodite. His demigod children are too numerous to record here, but they include Autoiykos (a thief who could change the shape of objects with a touch), Aethalides (an Argonaut and hero who had an unfailing memory).
His attendants include his son, Pan, the Oreiades, who were mountains nymphs, and followers of Pan, including satyrs (half man, half goat mountain spirits).
Hermes had a reputation as a clever trickster. He loved pulling pranks, but he also enjoyed inventing new things (most notably the lyre). He was renowned as being one of the more helpful gods towards humans. Though his physical appearance is the subject of much debate, he is generally depicted as a young, bearded man with winged sandals. He carried a magic staff known as a caduceus, which is now a widely recognized symbol of medicine.
Creation Myth
Because of who Hermes' father was (and who his father was married to), Hermes was born while his mother was hiding out in a cave in Mount Cyllene. When he was only a few hours old, he ran off to look around, and came upon some cattle. Being the trickster he was, he took the cattle and led them back to his cave. As it turned out, the cattle belonged to Apollo, god of Olympus and Hermes' older half-brother. Furious, Apollo set off to find the thief, but he could only find a nymph and the infant Hermes. The nymph knew nothing, and Apollo's anger was building, when he began to hear the soft strains of music. Startled, he looked over to the infant, and found him playing what appeared to be cow intestines strung over a tortoise shell. Amazed, he told Hermes that as long as he could have the lyre, Hermes could keep the cows.
Winged Sandals:
One of the best known
symbols of Hermes, he
used these to fly around
delivering messages for
the other gods.
Winged Helmet:
Also used in flight, this
helmet was mainly a
symbol of Hermes'
status as messenger
of the gods.
Hermes' "magic wand" of a sort. It's healing ability leads to it still being used as a symbol for modern medicine.
Athena, sometimes known as Athene, was recognized as goddess of wisdom, war strategy, and crafts, among other things. Romans equated her to their goddess, Minerva. Her parents were Zeus and his first wife, Metis.
Creation Myth
It was prophesied unto Zeus that any child his wife, Metis, bore him would be more powerful than he. In particular, their second child would be a son, and that child would overthrow Zeus just as Zeus did to his father, and his father did to his grandfather. Zeus, who quite liked being king, tricked Metis into becoming a fly, and swallowed her. Unfortunately for him, she was already pregnant, and Zeus began to get horrible headaches. Eventually, they got to be unbearable, so he ordered Hephaestus to chop his head open. As the axe split Zeus' skull, out popped Athena, entirely grown and in a full suit of armor. It turned out that Metis, trapped in his stomach, still gave birth to her child, and had crafted for her a full suit of warriors' armor.
Athena had no full siblings. Half siblings through Zeus were Ares, Hermes, Apollo, Artemis, Dionysus, Hephaestus, and many,
She had a strong relationship with her father, and is generally considered to be his favorite of his many children. As one of the few virgin goddesses, she did not marry or have children.
As with most goddesses, Athena's main downfalls were her jealousy and vanity. She also hungered for justice, but this desire for vengeance was not always a good thing.
Hermes was also sometimes known as Argeiphontes, which means "the slayer of Argos." Hermes became famous for killing a giant known as called Argos Phanoptes ("all seeing"). Argos Phanoptes had eyes all over his body, the better to guard his flocks with. Zeus, known for his infidelities, fell in love with the fair maiden Io. To cover up his affair from his wife, he turned the young maid into a cow, so as to hide his new love. Hera, however, saw through her husband’s sham at once. To deter her unfaithful husband, Hera assigned Argos to guard the cow Io. Zeus was angered he could not meet with his new love anymore, and asked Hermes for help. Hermes tricked Argos into falling asleep, then killed him, though Io's curse was not broken.
Myth: "The Slayer of Argos"
Crocus and Hermes were good friends. One day, the two friends were playing around throwing the disc to each other, when Hermes accidentally hit Crocus on the head. This proved to be a fatal blow. Three drops of his, blood spilled on the earth and it is said that they transformed into a small flower with shiny stamens. Hermes named the flower Crocus, to honor his fallen friend.
Myth: "Hermes and the Crocus Flower"
Though it could sometimes come in handy, Hermes' habit of deceit and characteristic cunning resulted in the other gods not quite trusting him. He also had trouble staying still for long periods of time.
Athena was known as a goddess of war. She had many traits. For example, she exhibited powers of war, peace, protection, and healing. During war, she was an inspiration to others by giving them courage and cautiousness. For this, she was much respected and revered. Her war skills and leadership granted her the title Athena Nike, (meaning "Athena Victory"), as well as Akraia, meaning "at the edge." Besides her war traits, she was also recognized as goddess of wisdom and protectress of domestic arts (for example, weaving and embroidery).
Myth: "The Origin of Athens"
When the town of Athens was founded, it did not have a name. There were two gods contending for naming rights: Poseidon, and Athena. With judgement granted to the city, the immortals both set out to impress the citizens. Poseidon, as god of the sea, decided to utilize his native element, and crafted the first horse out of sea foam. Though the mortals were thoroughly pleased with his creation, Athena's invention was, in their eyes, even better; she created the olive tree. The soon-to-be Athenites thought this was the greatest thing ever (a sentiment echoed through history; olive branches have been used as victory symbols all the way from the first Olympics to today) and the was town named Athens, after Athena.
Athena created the olive tree as a gift to the humans. It gave them oil, olive fruit, and wood.
The owl was Athena's pet. It symbolizes deep-thinking and wisdom.
The spider symbolizes Athena's victory over Arachne, who she transformed into a spider.
Athena's Armor, helmet, and spear. These were her war tools, and represented her status as a warrior.
Myth: "The Tale of Arachne"
Arachne was a mortal weaver of great skill. One day, she boasted that she was a better weaver than even the great Athena. Affronted, Athena challenged the human to a weaving contest. Though Athena was clearly winning the contest, Arachne's tapestry depicted the gods in an unfavorable light. Athena, enraged, tears the pieces to shreds, and Arachne is so upset she hangs herself. Athena shows mercy to Arachne, sparing her life, but turns her into a spider, cursing Arachne and all her future descendants to weave forever. This, of course, is where we get the term
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