The Gods of Olymbus
Supreme ruler of the Olympians. Father of gods. He was born in Crete. His mother Rea being in great despair, since Crones ate his newborn children, hid Zeus in an isolated cave, up in the Dikti Mountains. Then she wrapped a stone in cloth, so Crones would eat it. Zeus was later taken to another cave, called Ideon Andron, in the Ida Mountains and was raised by a nymph, Amalthea. He took over the supremacy after a long war with the Titans.
Goddess of marriage and family, wife of Zeus. People all over Greece worshipped her and many ancient temples were consecrated to her.
God of the sea and natural disasters, like earthquakes and storms, brother of Zeus. He lived in his watery palace with his wife, the nymph Amphitrite. Holding his trident, he would gallop away upon his chariot, which was pulled by two white horses, causing wild tempest. Once Athena and Poseidon disputed about who would become patron deity of Athens. The city would belong to the one who would give the most useful gift to the citizens. Poseidon, then struck the earth with his trident and out popped a horse. Athena, on the other hand, made an olive tree sprout from the earth, laden with olives. This made the Athenians vote in favour of Athena.
Goddess of wisdom, patron of crafts and arts, daughter of Zeus. She was believed to have been born from the head of Zeus, therefore she was wise and just. Because she would protect the cities against their enemies and would lead the warriors to victory, she was considered protector of peace. She assisted various heroes such as Perseus, Jason,and Cadmious achieve their feats. She was patron deity of Athens and helped the city become famous all over the world.
Virgin goddess of hunting, daughter of Zeus. She hunted together with the giant Orion. Apollo, her brother, annoyed at their relationship, dared her to an archery contest. He showed her the target, which was floating in the sea. Artemis succeeded with the first cast. Unfortunately, the target proved to be her beloved Orion.
God of light, music, prophecy and music. Apollo and his sister Artemis were children of Lito and Zeus. They were very close to each other. Apollo would play his lyre and Artemis would dance with the nine muses. Once, he was crossing the Thessalian Tempi and met Daphne, daughter of the river Pinios and Earth. He fell in love with her and tried to take her to the Mount Olympus. Daphne cried for help from her parents. Her mother the Earth, opened her arms and swallowed Daphne. Now, in her place one could see a beautiful plant. It was the laurel, which, from that day on became the sacred plant for Apollo, since it reminded him of his beloved Daphne. Apollo spent most of his time in Delphi. It was there that he killed the dreadful dragon Python, which was the terror of the villagers nearby. Where the beast was buried, people built a temple to honour the god. This temple was known as the oracle at Delphi. There lived Pythia, a priestess, who would pronounce the prophecies and would give people advice.
Messenger of the gods, son of Zeus and Mea, known as Mercury by the Romans. He was the courier of Zeus and god of commerce. He wore winged sandals and travelled swiftly everywhere. He also led the souls of the dead to the Underworld. When he was a young boy, he found an empty shell of a tortoise, put strings around it and made this way the first lyre, which he then gave as a gift to his beloved brother Apollo.
Goddess of agriculture, sister of Zeus. She brought good harvest to the people. She had a daughter, Persephone. One day Persephone was playing in a valley when she saw a beautiful flower, a narcissus and tried to pick it. But at that very moment, the earth opened up and Pluto, the ruler of Hades, enchanted by her beauty, took her to the Underworld. Demeter tried in vain to find her. She, then started mourning and as a result there was poor harvest. Famine spread all over the country. The people asked from Zeus to help them. He then decided that Persephone should live most of the time with her mother. When Demeter had her daughter with her, she was happy and the plants would blossom. But when Persephone was away, Demeter was unhappy and the crops withered. With the presence of Persephone on earth, spring, summer and autumn came. When she was absent, winter came. This is how the ancient Greeks explained the changes of the seasons.
Ares or Mars as he was known to the Romans, god of war
Humans and gods loathed him, but Athena detested him the most. Even Zeus told him: “Of all the gods you are the most hateful because it pleases you to bring division between men.
God of fire and crafts, son of Zeus and Hera, patron of blacksmiths. He was very ugly and was walking with a limp. The gods believed that his disability was caused after he had intervened in a fight between Zeus and Hera, where Hephaestus had supported his mother. Zeus got so upset that he grabbed him by the foot and threw him out of the palace, in the space. Hephaestus was wandering all day long and by sunset, he fell onto the island of Limnos, where he got injured. He taught men how to use fire and make beautiful things to decorate their houses. He married Venus, the goddess of beauty and love.
Estia or Hestia
Goddess of hearth, place near the fireplace where the whole family sat. She was also goddess of home and family. Every city had an altar in the square, which was dedicated to Hestia. The emigrants, the exiles, the chased and the beseechers asked for mercy and protection from the goddess. When a family moved, one of the first things they took with them, was the statue of the goddess.
God of wine, vineyard and spree, son of Zeus and Semeli. The ancient Greeks pictured him in a long robe, with a wreath of laurel and ivy around his head, wandering around in the feasts, spreading laughter and joy. He was also called “Liberator” , since he freed people from the coldness of winter and kept sorrow away. To honour him the people of Athens celebrated the “Dionysia”, a holiday dedicated to the god.
Daughter of Minos. She helped Theseus kill the carnivorous monster Minotaur. She gave Theseus a ball of string, so that the hero could reel it off once he entered the Labyrinth, and reeled it back on, to find his way out. After successfully killing the monster, Theseus fled away with Ariadne. They stopped to rest in the island of Naxos, and it was there that Ariadne was abducted by god Dionysus.
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