Welcome To Olympus By: K. Benuska
Introduction The ancient Greek people worshipped many different gods and goddesses. Each was thought to have certain powers or control over many different aspects of life. Whether it be the sky, the ocean, agriculture, war or love, there is a Greek god or goddess for just about everything! In this lesson, you are going to learn about the twelve Olympians, the most important of all the mythological beings. Each god or goddess has their specified interest (what they watched over or protected), a story, and a symbolic creature (if they have a specific one) that they favored to represent themselves. So sit back, pay attention and enjoy, because there is a review at the end!
Greek Mythology The Twelve Olympians were the supreme rulers of all of the gods, goddesses, and all of the mortals on earth. All of the twelve are immortal, this means that they can live forever. Each watched over certain aspects of live, known by everyone who was in need of help. Whenever a person was experiencing any trouble, or just wanted help or protection, they would pray to the god or goddess that was the patron of the specific thing they needed. Mythology is like a religion. Some people still believe today, and ancient mythological ideas are still influencing society through architecture and they ways that people live their every day lives. So here are the most famous of the Greek gods and goddess, the Olympians, the ones who ruled over all from atop their thrones on Mount Olympus.
The Twelve Olympians Now, let’s meet the rulers of Mount Olympus!
Zeus Zeus is the supreme ruler of all the gods. He is god of the sky, son of Cronus and Rhea. Zeus had control over the earth, including the sky, and his favored weapon of choice, the thunderbolt. Zeus is also known for his womanizing traits, with a life full of affairs and unfaithfulness to his wife, Hera. When Zeus was born, his father had intended to swallow him, as he had all of his other children. His mother Rhea hid him away, and once he was grown, he came to overthrow his father, and make him vomit up all of his other siblings. Zeus’ sacred animal was the eagle, the symbol of power, glory, and freedom. Supreme God of the Sky
Hera Hera was a very jealous goddess. Known as the queen of the gods, she was married to Zeus, her unfaithful husband and also brother, for they had the same father. She was the goddess of marriage and childbirth, but was also known for her hateful attitude, especially towards the women (mortal and immortal) that Zeus has affairs with. A mythological tale of Hera’s jealousy is that of Hercules. When he was born, son of a mortal woman and her husband Zeus, she sent snakes after him to kill him. His strength helped him survive and defeat the snakes, only increasing her jealous streak even more. Hera’s sacred animals were the cow and the peacock. Queen of the Gods and Goddess of Marriage and Childbirth
Ares Ares is the son of Zeus and Hera, and was greatly hated by both his parents. Many Greek Gods did not believe in going to war without a reason, and since Ares is the god of war, he wasn’t very popular. His thrown on Mount Olympus is said to be covered in human skin, while he carried a bloodstained spear. His worshippers were not considered to be in the best crowd either, all of them being vicious and war-seeking. Ares is said to have had fellow Olympian Aphrodite as a lover, however this doesn’t say much, considering she was not very concerned with personality. Ares’ animals were the dog and vulture, both very symbolic of his persona. The God Of War
Artemis Artemis is the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and twin sister to Apollo. Artemis is known for being a virgin goddess, which may seem odd since she is the goddess of childbirth. This is because when she was born, her mother felt absolutely no pain, and she is also said to have been born first, then helped her mother while Apollo was being born. One of Artemis’ stories is that one of the other gods was spying on her while she was bathing, upon her notice; she turned him into a stag (or a deer) for punishment. All wild creatures are precious to her, especially the deer. Goddess of hunting and Childbirth.
Dionysus Dionysus was revived by Zeus after Hera killed his mother, Semele, before giving birth to her son. One story that is familiar to most about Dionysus is that of King Midas. It was Dionysus that granted him the power to turn everything he touched to gold; he also took the power away after the King learned his lesson. God of Wine and celebration
Poseidon Poseidon was son of Cronus and Rhea, and second in power only to Zeus. He had complete control over the ocean, and is worshiped by many who traveled on his seas. Poseidon once had a passion for fellow Olympian Demeter. To try to change his mind, she asked him to create the most beautiful animal she had ever seen. In is attempts, he created many animals, but eventually created the horse, the most beautiful creature any had ever seen. By this time, his passion for Demeter had cooled off, and all of his interest was focused on his horse. Thus, Poseidon’s sacred animal, is his own creation, the horse. God of the Sea
Aphrodite Aphrodite does not have a definite birth story. The two different accounts are that she is the daughter of Zeus and Dione, the other is the mythological story that she was born and rose from the foam of the sea. She is known for her unfaithfulness to her husband Hephaestus with her many lovers (her favorite was Ares). It is said that she has a magical girdle that allows her to make others do anything for her. Aphrodite’s representative birds are the swan, sparrow and the dove. Goddess of Love and Desire
Hephaestus Hephaestus was the son of Zeus and Hera, but is sometimes said to not have a father at all. Hephaestus was born deformed and crippled. One myth says that Hera was upset by his ugliness and threw him off of Mount Olympus. He landed among the mer-people and crafted them beautiful jewelry and apparatuses. These works of beauty were heard of from all around the world, and Hera decided that she wanted her son back, and accepted his return to Mount Olympus, but still detested his ugliness. Blacksmith of the gods
Demeter Demeter is the daughter of Cronus and Rhea, and is also older than Poseidon, Hera, and Zeus. She is the goddess of wheat and grain, with many gifts in the agricultural area. When her daughter Persephone was kidnapped by Hades, she was heartbroken. Demeter wandered the earth in search of her, causing all of the crops to die, and everything to become cold. It is said that Hades takes Persephone every year, thus giving us the season of winter, when Demeter travels around trying to find her daughter. Every summer when her daughter returns, the world flourishes in life from the happiness Demeter feels to have her child back. Goddess of Earth
Hermes Hermes was the messenger of the gods, especially his father Zeus. He is most known for wearing his winged sandals, and for his part in leading the dead to Hades in the underworld. Hermes carries a staff covered in snakes, which is also the symbol of modern medicine. Hermes was the happiest of all the gods, liked by everyone for his joyous attitude. He invented the lyre, which he gave to Apollo, the god of light and truth. Though he had a lighthearted personality, Hermes was also very cunning. He was known as the master of thieves, and was the fastest of all immortals and mortals. Messenger of the Gods
Apollo Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and twin brother to sister Artemis. He is the god of sun and archery, but is also very well known for his musical and poetical attributes. Apollo is known as the god of truth and light, never being able to tell a lie. He also took up the place of the Delphi Oracle, which is a place where mortals came to have their questions answers and prophecies told. The most common picture of Apollo is of him playing beautiful music on his golden lyre. He is also said to harness up his horses and chariot each morning, and drag the sun across the sky. God of Truth and Light
Athena Athena is said to have been born from her father Zeus’ head fully grown and covered in armor, and is also his favorite child. Zeus gave his daughter permission to use any of his weapons (including his thunderbolt) and gave her a protective shield for battle. Athena was the virgin goddess of wisdom and war with reason. Her bird is the owl, which is also known as a symbol of wisdom. Goddess of Wisdom
Check Out These Sites Myth Web Greek Mythology Poseidon's Mythology Olympian Mythology Web quest Grose Education Greek Mythology
Review Time! After you read over the presentation, check out a few websites, and explore the world of Greek mythology on your own, check out these resources to help you remember all you need to know about the ancient Greek gods and goddesses! Review Worksheet 1 Greek Mythology Project Website Resources