Gods and Goddesses Gods and Goddesses Zeus is the god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods. He presides over the gods on Mount Olympus where he wields a terrible thunder bolt in which he uses to discipline those who displease him. Zeus is also known to punish those who lie or break oaths. Zeus was the youngest son of the Titans, Cronus and Rhea. When Zeus grew to maturity he dethroned Cronus.
Zeus henceforth ruled the sky, and his brothers Poseidon and Hades were given power over the sea and the underworld. He is husband to his sister Hera and, he was the father of Ares the god of war; Hebe, the goddess of youth; Hephaestus the god of fire; and Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth. Many of his children were born to goddesses or mortal women after love affairs. Hera, a beautiful and headstrong goddess, is the queen of the gods and the daughter of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. She is the sister and wife of the god Zeus. Though Hera advised Zeus and bore him children, jealousy corupted her.
She hated her husband’s adventures and schemed against his many wives and children. Hera was the goddess of marriage and the protector of married women. Her children were the gods Ares, Hephaestus, Hebe, and Eileithyia. Known for her vindictive nature, Hera never forgot an injury. Poseidon is the son of Cronos & Rhea.
He was known as the earth-shaker and was given the dominion of the sea. The Cyclopes gave Zeus the thunderbolt and Hades a helmet, gave Poseidon his trident. Cronos used to swallow his offspring because he learned that one day one of his children will over throne him. Poseidon was swallowed by his father as were Hestia, Hera, Hades, Demeter, and Zeus was the only one who escaped that fate. He lived in a golden underwater palace with his queen, Amphitrite, a beautiful sea goddess.
Poseidon plays a prominent part in numerous ancient myths and legends. When he and Apollo were cheated by the Trojans, Poseidon’s revenge was endless. He sent a terrible sea monster to ravage the land, and during the Trojan War he helped the Greeks. Aphrodite had no parents and rose out of the sea on a cushion of foam. She was so beautiful that love bloomed all around her. Aphrodite is the wife of Hephaestus, the god of fire.
Aphrodite was not always true to her husband because she made love flare up among the gods. Aphrodite would often help young people in love. Atalanta, a virgin huntress who remained always under arms, used to force her wooers to race before her and if she caught them she would put them to death. If anybody could survive, she would marry him. But Melanion came to the race bringing the golden apples that Aphrodite had given him.
He dropped the apples as he was running, and because Atalanta could not help to pick up the fruit she was beaten in the race. Hephaestus is the god of fire and metalwork. He is the son of the god Zeus and the goddess Hera. Hephaestus was born with bad luck and Hera threw him out of Olympus. He was rescued by the sea goddess Theitis and her sisters where they lived secretly.
Although he could not walk, Hephaestus worked on his strength and his body grew strong. Hephaestus became a wonderful craftsman and made beautiful objects. When Hera heard of the wonderful work Hephaestus had produced, she regreted her actions. She called him back to Olympus and allowed him to marry Aphrodite. He became the worker of the gods and made Zeus his thunderbolts.
Athena is one of the most important goddesses in Greek mythology. She sprang full-grown and armored from the forehead of her father, Zeus, and was his favorite child. He entrusted her with his shield and his principal weapon, the thunderbolt. Athena was a warrior who hated war. She admired courage and fairness and sought peaceful ways to settle fights.
Athena invented the flute, the trumpet, farm tools, and the olive tree. She taught the arts of cooking, spinning and weaving. Hermes is the son of Zeus & Maia, is the messenger of Zeus and the herald of the gods. Maia gave birth to Hermes in a cave in Mount Cyllene in Arcadia. Hermes was born with the dawn and while his mother slept in her cave, he slipped out of his cradle and went looking for adventure.
He was a tortioise, killed it, and invented the lyre from its shell. As he taught himself how to play the lyre, he saw his brother Apollo’s cows and stole them. When Hermes confessedhis trick, Apollo was furious. He knew Apollo loved music, and offered him the lyre for the cows. Apollo gave him the cows and more, and left happily with the lyre.
Heremes promised not to steal or lie again if Zeus gave him a throne on Olympus. He grew up to be Zeus’s personal messenger and helper. He traveled as fast as the wind on winged sandals. He used these sandals to guide souls of the dead to Hades. Hermes led Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite to Mound Ida to be judged by Paris in order to see who would have the Apple of Eris.
Apollo is the son of the god Zeus and Leto. When he was four days old, he asked Hephaestus to make him silver bows and arrows. He then went off to kill the dreaded serpent Python that Hera sent to kill his mother. Apollo was dangerous with his arrows and punished the guilty; with the help of Artemis, his twin sister. He healed the sick, cared for animals, and brought delight with his music.
Apollo was the protector of young men, the god of agriculture, and the god of light and truth. Artemis is one of the principal goddesses. She is the daughter of Leto and the god Zeus. Her twin brother is Apollo; god of the sun, music, poetry, and healing. She was the goddess of hunting, wild animals, childbirth, nature, and the harvest.
As a young child she asked for a bow and arrows like Apollo’s, so they could hunt together. She also asked to stay young forever and never have to marry. As the moon goddess, she was sometimes identified with the goddesses Selene and Hecate. Artemis was traditionally the protector of youth, especially young women.