Saturday, 7 April 2012

G is for ... Greek Gods/Goddesses

You're just going to have to believe me when I say that I tried really hard to resist the temptation to choose Greek/Greece for the topic of this bloglet. I just couldn't do it: Classics seems to be my default setting.

Some good news which you can at least take comfort in, is the fact that I won't be harping on about the Greek language today and there won't be an alpha or omega in sight.

Anyone who knows anything about the ancient Greeks will no doubt have noticed that they liked their gods and goddesses. They liked them a lot. There were loads of them. Far too many to write about in one little bloglet. So for the purpose of keeping things as concise as possible, I will be focusing on the big guns; the twelve Olympians who you've probably heard of but possibly don't know what they did.

By the way, if anyone loved the Greek gods more than the Greeks, it was the Romans, who just slapped a Latin name on them and worshipped them as their own. Lazy gits. In the brackets are the Roman names for each god.

Zeus (Jupiter)
King of the gods, married to his sister, had sex with anything that moved.
Parents: Cronus and Rhea.
God of: Sky and storms.
Symbols: Eagle, thunderbolt.

Hera (Juno)
Queen of the gods, married to her brother, often punished Zeus' many mistresses.
Parents: Cronus and Rhea.
Goddess of: Marriage (I'm sure the irony of being married to the world's most serial of serial cheaters wasn't lost on her) and the heavens.
Symbols: Peacock, cow, crow.

Demeter (Ceres)
Responsible for the wellbeing of crops. Her Latin name gives us the word 'cereal'.
Parents: Cronus and Rhea.
Goddess of: Harvest and fertility.
Symbols: Sheaf of wheat, torch.

Poseidon (Neptune)
Thought to be a bad-tempered old man. Probably because of deep-seated jealousy of his younger brother being king of the gods. I'd be pissed off if I were him.
Parents: Cronus and Rhea.
God of: Sea and earthquakes.
Symbols: Dolphin, horse, trident.

Athena (Minerva)
Competed against her uncle, Poseidon for patronage of the then unnamed city of Athens. Each god offered a gift to the people of the city, who then chose their preferred gift. They chose Athena's olive tree over Poseidon's spring.
Parents: Zeus and Metis.
Goddess of: Wisdom, crafts and war.
Symbols: Owl.

Artemis (Diana)
Virgin goddess, twin sister of Apollo.
Parents: Zeus and Leto.
Goddess of: Hunting.
Symbols: Deer, hunting dog.

Apollo (Apollo/Phoebus)
Twin brother of Artemis, drove a golden chariot which pulled the sun across the sky each day.
Parents: Zeus and Leto.
God of: Healing, music and poetry.
Symbols: Laurel tree, bow, raven, lyre.

Dionysus (Bacchus)
Party dude.
Parents: Zeus and Semele.
God of: Wine, agriculture and celebrations (aka 'Party Dude').
Symbols: Vines, ivy.

Hermes (Mercury)
Messenger of the gods, liked to travel by winged sandals.
Parents: Zeus and Maia.
God of: Travel and trade.
Symbols: Caduceus (staff twined with snakes), wings.

Ares (Mars)
Despised by most gods except Aphrodite.
Parents: Zeus and Hera.
God of: War and violence.
Symbols: Vulture, dog.

Aphrodite (Venus)
Born from the sea foam after Uranus' blood dripped onto the earth and into the sea. Nice.
Parents: Uranus.
Goddess of: Love and beauty.
Symbols: Dove, apple, seashell.

Hephaestus (Vulcan)
An ugly, lame old man (without meaning to get too personal).
Parents: Zeus and Hera.
God of: Fire, metalwork and building.
Symbols: Donkey, hammer, anvil.

By the way, this is a great little book if you have or know a child interested in Greek mythology.


  1. It's always great to learn new things. I've always thought all the drama of the Greek gods and godesses to be fascinating. Thanks for posting.

  2. Great post.

    My favorite Greek God though was Hecate. I also enjoyed reading about the Norse Gods and Celtic Gods too.

    I am trying to read all the A to Z blogs, but coming back to the ones I really like.
    Looking forward to seeing what you do all month!

    The Other Side
    The Freedom of Nonbelief

  3. When we went to Cyprus, my husband took a photo of me standing on the cliff above the Aphrodite island. Apparently, that's where the goddess of love rose from the sea.

  4. Cool post! Look at all these things I didn't know.

    Good luck with the rest of the challenge!

    Dianna Fielding