The Greek Gods
The Greek gods lived onMOUNT OLYMPE,a very high mountain, from where they could see the men. The gods were immortal, fed on ambrosia and drank nectar.
The Greek gods, however, had qualities and defects, like humans. They fell in love and had the same feelings as men.
12 Gods make up Olympus:
-ZEUS: the KING of gods and men. He holds in his hand a weapon called "LIGHTNING", in the shape of lightning. He is also able to gather clouds and cause thunderstorms. Near him, two jars, one containing GOOD, and the other EVIL. ZEUS was feared by both men and gods.
-HERA: the very beautiful wife of Zeus, crowned with rays of the sun. She holds a pomegranate in her hand, her favorite animal is the peacock. Many temples were built in honor of Hera. Argos is one of the cities where she was particularly venerated.
-ATHENA : daughter of Zeus and Metis. Athena came out of the head of Zeus, in order to respect the omen of the oracle which said that Metis should first give birth to a boy. Very strong pains have assailed Zeus during this birth and it was Hephaistos who delivered his father with an axe. Athena is the goddess of wisdom, she is however armed with a helmet and a spear. She is the protector of the city of Athens and has donated the olive tree to its inhabitants. He is the symbol of peace. The Parthenon was built in honor of the olive tree, and so began the feasts called Panathenaic. His favorite animal: the owl.
-POSEIDON : brother of Zeus, Poseidon is the god of the sea. He lives in the depths. He likes to travel the seas, a trident in his hand, followed by dolphins. He can get angry and wake up the waves: they will then jostle humans and punish them... But when he hits the sea, he can also shake the earth. His wife, Amphitrite, is the daughter of Oceanos. It was Poseidon who gifted the horse to humans, who then held horse races in his honor, called Poseidonia.
-DEMETER : she is the goddess of the earth, wheat and fertility. She travels through Greece, torch in hand, to find her daughter, Persephone, kidnapped by Pluto. Arrived at Eleusis, the palace of King Celeos, she was welcomed and celebrated. In gratitude, she taught humans to cultivate their wheat, their cereals and to domesticate wild animals. Demeter threatened Zeus to dry up the earth if she did not find her daughter...Pluto agreed to return Persephone eight months a year to her mother and to keep her four months in the world of the dead (Hades).
-APOLLON : God of the sun, divination and music, son of Zeus and the mortal Leto. The most beautiful of the gods. His sister was named Artemis. Hera, furious, pursued Leto, who took refuge on Delos, which then became the sacred island where all the gods were born. Apollo was venerated at Delphi where a sanctuary was erected to him. The Pythia rendered her oracles there (transmitting the will of the gods to men).
-HERMES : Son of Zeus and Maia. He was born in Arcadia. He is the Messenger of Olympus, god of gain and commerce. He is often called: Hermès aus peids ailés, because wings adorn his sandals and his helmet.
Small, Hermès made a Lyre, with a tortoise shell. He was smart and creative. One day he stole Apollo's oxen... Which made him also the king of thieves. But Zeus put an end to the dispute between the two brothers. Hermes offered the Lyra to Apollo and Apollo offered him the oxen.
-ARTEMIS : the goddess of the hunt, is always armed with a bow and arrows. She is not a warrior: she is a peaceful goddess. She loves animals, spends her time in the countryside, with the nymphs. Its symbol is the deer and the bear. She is invoked during childbirth, to protect the mother and the baby. From her childhood, she had told her father, Zeus, that she did not wish to have a husband in order to be able to run freely in the mountains and thus maintain her freedom.
-ARES : the God of war. Always aggressive and very quarrelsome. Zeus himself did not have too much sympathy for him, because he was always at the origin of quarrels, accompanied by his sister Eris, who always managed to create disputes. He fought alongside the Trojans, against the Greeks. His wife, Aphrodite, preferred him to Hephaistos who had been imposed on him. From the union of Ares and Aphrodite was born: Harmonie.
-APHRODITE : the prettiest of goddesses... She was born from the foam of the waves, near Cyprus. It is often called: the "Cypriot". Goddess of beauty and protector of lovers and orphans. She refused her marriage to Hephaistos, preferred Ares to him, and had a son EROS and a daughter: Harmony.
Humans worshiped Aphrodite very much and built many temples to her.
- HEPHAISTOS : God of fire and blacksmiths. Very ugly from birth, he was banished by his parents Zeus and Hera. With a kick, Zeus sent him to the island of Lemnos. As he fell, he broke his foot. He remained lame. He made the weapons of the gods, including those of Achilles.
- HESTIA : it is in Hestia that the first offerings of the family are made. Goddess protector of the house and the family, her statue was often found near the fireplace. She watched over the palaces of the other gods.