In ancient Greek religion and mythology, the twelve Olympians are the major deities of the Greek pantheon, commonly considered to be Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hermes, and either Hestia or Dionysus.They were called Olympians because, according to tradition, they resided on Mount Olympus. Although Hades was a major ancient Greek god, and was the brother of the first generation of Olympians (Zeus, Poseidon, Hera, Demeter, and Hestia), his realm was the underworld, far from Olympus, and thus was not usually considered to be one of the Olympians. Besides the twelve Olympians, there were many other cultic groupings of twelve gods.
The Olympians were a race of deities, primarily consisting of a third and fourth generation of immortal beings, worshipped as the principal gods of the Greek pantheon and so named because of their residency atop Mount Olympus. They gained their supremacy in a ten-year-long war of
gods, in which Zeus led his siblings to victory over the previous generation of ruling gods, the Titans. They were a family of gods, the most important consisting of the first generation of Olympians, offspring of the Titans Cronus and Rhea: Zeus, Poseidon, Hera, Demeter and Hestia, along with the principal offspring of Zeus: Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hermes, and Dionysus. Although Hades was a major deity in the Greek pantheon, and was the brother of Zeus and the other first generation of Olympians, his realm was far away from Olympus in the underworld, and thus he was not usually considered to be one of the Olympians. Olympic gods can be contrasted to chthonic gods including Hades, by mode of sacrifice, the latter receiving sacrifices in a bothros or megaron (μέγαρον, “sunken chamber”) rather than at an altar.
The canonical number of Olympian gods was twelve, but besides the (thirteen) principal Olympians listed above, there were many other residents of Olympus, who thus might be considered to be Olympians. Heracles became a resident of Olympus after his apotheosis and married another Olympian resident Hebe. According to Hesiod, the children of Styx: Zelus (Envy), Nike (Victory), Cratos (Power), and Bia (Force), “have no house apart from Zeus, nor any dwelling nor path except that wherein God leads them, but they dwell always with Zeus.” Some others who might be considered Olympians, include the Muses, the Graces, Iris, Dione, Eileithyia, the Horae, and Ganymede.
The Mythical Mount Olympus
Mount Olympus is the mythical home of the god
s in Greek mythology. According to authors, the mountain was created after the Titanomachy, the epic battle between the young gods, the Olympians and the older gods, the Titans. As a result of this battle, the Olympian victors created their new majestic home – Mount Olympus. It was shrouded from human eyes by clouds which constantly obscured its peaks. In Greece, you will also find a Mount Olympus, the tallest mountain in the country.
The sacred mount was believed to have a temperate climate all year round, and mountain gorges lush with forests. The gods did not always reside in their paradise, however, and would depart or return from there via a gate of clouds guarded by the Horae, the goddesses of the seasons. Authors claim the tables in Zeus’ palace on Olympus were made of go
ld and were actually automatons, created by Hephaestus! They moved in and out of the rooms as required by the gods. Zeus’ throne was situated in the Pantheon, the meeting hall of the gods. It was also designed by Hephaestus and was constructed from black marble, inlaid with gold. Each of the gods had their own palace on the mountain, usually constructed of gold and marble, and situated in a gorge in the mountain peaks.
All 12 Olympian gods resided at Mount Olympus: Zeus and his wife Hera, Athena, Poseidon, Artemis, Apollo, Demeter, Hester, Aphrodite, Hermes, Hephaestus and Ares. Since Hades resided in the underworld, he was not considered an Olympian god and did not visit the great mount often.
e muses, the daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, resided at the foot of the mountain. According to some sources, the goddesses were water nymphs and were responsible for the following: Clio – history; Calliope – epic poetry; Thalia – comedy; Euterpe – lyric poetry; Terpsichore – dance; Melpomene – tragedy; Erato – love poetry; Urania – astronomy; and Polyhymnia – sacred poetry.
The Olympians ruled Olympus until the monster Typhon attacked their stronghold. Typhon was allegedly a 100-headed fire-breathing dragon. When he attacked Olympus, the majority of the gods chose to flee, except for Zeus, Athena and Dionysus. Zeus was able to eventually defeat the giant monster with 100 lightning bolts, and banished him to Tartarus.
The gods met daily at Zeus’ palace in the Pantheon, where they held feasts and discussed the fate of the mortals. There, they drank nectar and ate ambrosia, which perpetuated their immortality. Allegedly, when the gods drank ambrosia, the blood in their veins was replaced by ichor, a substance toxic to humans. Ichor also ran through the veins of Talos, the Greek giant automaton.
No human could ever come near Mount Olympus, yet authors relay the story of Bellerophon, the son of Eurynome and Poseidon, who tried to reach the top of the mountain! One day he captured
Pegasus when the horse was about to drink from a fountain in his town.
Bellerophon was later exiled from his home town and supposed to be put to death, but he was given a second chance. Instead, he had to conquer a Chimera, a fire-breathing monster! He managed to kill the bea
st by driving a spear with a lead tip into the monster’s throat. After winning at two further tough challenges, he was finally recognized as the son of a god, but Bellerophon wanted more! He decided to fly Pegasus up to Mount Olympus, the home of the gods! Zeus was furious at his actions and sent a vicious fly to bite Pegasus. The fly did as required, causing the horse to throw its rider from its back, sending Bellerophon tumbling back to Earth.
The Twelve Olympians
Greek Name Roman Name
King of the gods and ruler of Mount Olympus; god of the sky, lightning, thunder, law, order and justice. Youngest child of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. Symbols include the thunderbolt, eagle, oak tree, bull, scepter, and scales. Brother and husband of Hera, although he had many lovers, also brother of Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, and Hestia.
Queen of the gods and the goddess of marriage, women, childbirth and family. Symbols include the peacock, cuckoo, and cow. Youngest daughter of Cronus and Rhea. Wife and sister of Zeus. Being the goddess of marriage, she frequently tried to get revenge on Zeus’ lovers and their children.
God of the seas, water, storms, hurricanes, earthquakes and horses. Symbols include the horse, bull, dolphin, and trident. Middle son of Cronus and Rhea. Brother of Zeus and Hades. Married to the Nereid Amphitrite, although, like most male Greek gods, he had many lovers.
Goddess of the harvest, fertility, agriculture, nature and the seasons. She presided over grains and the fertility of the earth. Symbols include the poppy, wheat, torch, cornucopia, and pig. Middle daughter of Cronus and Rhea. Also the lover of Zeus and Poseidon, and the mother of Persephone.
Goddess of wisdom, handicraft, and warfare. Symbols include the owl and the olive tree. Daughter of Zeus and the Oceanid Metis, she rose from her father’s head fully grown and in full battle armor.
God of light, the sun, prophecy, philosophy, truth, inspiration, poetry, music, arts, medicine, healing, and plague. Symbols include the sun, bow and arrow, lyre, swan, and mouse. Son of Zeus and Leto, and twin brother of Artemis.
Goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, virginity, the moon, archery, childbirth, protection and plague. Symbols include the moon, horse, deer, hound, she-bear, snake, cypress tree, and bow and arrow. Daughter of Zeus and Leto and twin sister of Apollo.
God of war, violence, bloodshed and manly virtues. Symbols include the boar, serpent, dog, vulture, spear, and shield. Son of Zeus and Hera, all the other gods despised him except Aphrodite. His Latin name, Mars, gave us the word “martial.”
Goddess of love, pleasure, passion, procreation, fertility, beauty and desire. Symbols include the dove, bird, apple, bee, swan, myrtle, and rose. Daughter of Zeus and the Oceanid Dione, or perhaps born from the sea foam after Uranus’ blood dripped into the sea after being castrated by his youngest son, Cronus, who then threw his father’s genitals into the sea. Married to Hephaestus, although she had many adulterous affairs, most notably with Ares. Her name gave us the word “aphrodisiac”, while her Latin name, Venus, gave us the word “venereal”.
Master blacksmith and craftsman of the gods; god of the forge, craftsmanship, invention, fire and volcanoes. Symbols include fire, anvil, axe, donkey, hammer, tongs, and quail. Son of Hera, either by Zeus or alone. Married to Aphrodite, though unlike most divine husbands, he was rarely ever licentious. His Latin name, Vulcan, gave us the word “volcano.”
Messenger of the gods; god of travel, commerce, communication, borders, eloquence, diplomacy, thieves and games. Symbols include the caduceus (staff entwined with two snakes), winged sandals and cap, stork, and tortoise (whose shell he used to invent the lyre). Son of Zeus and the nymph Maia. The second-youngest Olympian, just older than Dionysus.
Goddess of the hearth, fire and of the right ordering of domesticity and the family; she was born into the first Olympian generation and was one of the original twelve Olympians. Some lists of the Twelve Olympians omit her in favor of Dionysus, but the speculation that she gave her throne to him in order to keep the peace seems to be modern invention. She is the first child of Cronus and Rhea, eldest sister of Hades, Demeter, Poseidon, Hera, and Zeus.
In Greek mythology there was also a god ,brother of the primary gods, who is not mentioned as resident of Mt Olympus cause he was the king of underworld and he was not an other but Hades.
Hades in the ancient Greek religion and myth, is the god of the dead and the king of the underworld, with which his name became synonymous. Hades was the eldest son of Cronus and Rhea, although the last son regurgitated by his father. He and his brothers, Zeus and Poseidon, defeated their father’s generation of gods, the Titans, and claimed rulership over the cosmos. Hades received the underworld, Zeus the sky, and Poseidon the sea, with the solid earth, long the province of Gaia, available to all three concurrently. Hades was often portrayed with his three-headed guard dog Cerberus.
NAMES: Genealogy, Definition, Role and Function
Name: Chaos: Chaos was the first of all divinities, who ruled over confusion the void of emptiness within the universe. Chaos was the first of the primordial deities.
Name: Nyx: Nyx was the dark goddess of Night and wife of Chaos. They created a son, Erebus, who supplanted Chaos and married his mother Nyx. Erebus and Nyx created Aether and Hemera
Name: Erebus: Erebus was a primordial deity associated with darkness. Erebus was the son of Chaos and Nyx (Night) who he also married. He was the father of Aether and Hemera. Erebus is associated with the Underworld. Charon the Ferryman who took the dead over the rivers of the infernal region
Name: Aether: Aether was the son of Erebus and Nyx and the primeval god of the shining light of the blue sky. Aether and his sister Hemera dethroned their parents, and seized the supreme power. They created Eros, Tartarus, Pontus and Gaia.
Name: Hemera: Hemera was the daughter of Erebos and Nyx and the primeval goddess of the daytime. Hemera and her brother Aether dethroned their parents, and seized the supreme power. They created Eros, Tartarus, Pontus and Gaia.
Name: Tartarus: Tartarus was a primordial deity who with Chaos, Earth, and Eros, was one of the first entities to exist in the universe. Associated with the abyss used as a dungeon of torment that resides beneath the underworld.
Name: Eros: Eros was the god of procreation, a primordial deity responsible for the union between Gaia and Uranus.
Name: Pontus: Pontus was a primordial deity associated with the sea. The sea-gods were born from his union with Gaia.
Name: Gaia, mother of the Titans: Gaia, or Gaea, was known as Earth or Mother Earth. Gaia was born from Chaos, the great void of emptiness within the universe. The Titans and the Giants or Gigantes were born from her union with Uranus (the sky). The sea-gods were born from her union with Pontus (the sea).
Name: Uranus, father of the Titans: Uranus was a primordial deity, god of the heavens, and the first son of Gaia, who he married. Their union produced the Titans which was the name given to their six sons (Oceanus, Coeus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus and Cronus). The Titanides which was the name given to the six daughters of Uranus and Gaia (Theia, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe and Tethys).
Name: Cronus: Cronus was the youngest son of Gaia and Uranus and one of the Titans. He married his sister Rhea. Their children were Demeter, Hestia, Hera, Hades, Poseidon and Zeus.
Name: Rhea: Rhea was the daughter of Gaia and Uranus and one of the Titanides. She married her brother Cronus. Their children were Demeter, Hestia, Hera, Hades, Poseidon and Zeus.
Name: Coeus: Coeus was a son of Gaia and Uranus and one of the Titans. He was the husband of Phoebe, the father of Leto and Asteria. The grandfather of Apollo and Artemis
Name: Phoebe: Phoebe was a daughter of Gaia and Uranus and one of the Titanides. She was the wife of Coeus, the mother of Leto, and the grandmother of Apollo, Artemis and Asteria.
Name: Oceanus: Oceanus was the eldest son of Gaia and Uranus and one of the Titans. He married his sister Tethys. Their children were the Oceanides (three thousand daughters).
Name: Tethys: Tethys was a daughter of Gaia and Uranus and one of the Titanides. She was the wife of Oceanus. Their children were the Oceanides (three thousand daughters).
Name: Iapetus: Iapetus was a son of Gaia and Uranus and one of the Titans. He married Clymene, one of the Oceanides. The names of their children were Atlas, Epimetheus and Prometheus.
Name: Hyperion: Hyperion was the lord of light, brother of Cronus and the Titan of the east. He married Theia, his wife and sister. Their children were Helios, Eos and Selene. Meaning of his name “he who goes before the sun.”
Name: Mnemosyne: Mnemosyne was the goddess of memory and the inventor of words, a daughter of Gaia and Uranus and the mother of the nine Muses by Zeus
Name: Theia: Theia was a daughter of Gaia and Uranus and the wife and sister of Hyperion. Children – Helios, Eos and Selene
Name: Crius: Crius was the god of the constellations, a son of Uranus and Gaia. His consort was Eurybia, daughter of Gaia and Pontus. Children: Astraeus, Pallas and Perses
Name: Themis: Themis was the god of justice and order. One of the six daughters of Gaia and Uranus, she was the lover of Zeus. Children: the Horae and the Fates
Name: Clymene: Clymene was one of Oceanides, daughters of Tethys and Oceanus. She married the Titan Iapetus and was the mother of Atlas, Epimetheus and Prometheus.
Name: Hestia: Hestia was a daughter of the Titans, Cronus and Rhea. She was the Virgin goddess of the hearth, home and cooking. The sister of Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Hera and Demeter.
Name: Hades: Hades was a son of the Titans, Cronus and Rhea. He was the god of the Underworld and the dead.
Name: Poseidon: Poseidon was a son of the Titans, Cronus and Rhea. He was the god of the sea, rivers, and earthquakes.
Name: Zeus: Zeus was a son of Cronus and Rhea. He was the king of the gods and god of the heavens. He married his sister Hera and together they had three children: Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus.
Name: Hera: Hera was a daughter of the Titans, Cronus and Rhea. She married her brother Zeus and became Queen of the gods and was the goddess of the family. The sister of Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Hesta and Demeter. She and Zeus had three children: Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus.
Name: Demeter: Demeter was a daughter of the Titans, Cronus and Rhea. She was goddess of agriculture, and the harvest. The sister of Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Hera and Hestia. Demeter was also the lover of Zeus they had a daughter named Persephone, the goddess of the underworld.
Name: Athena: Zeus alone was most commonly named as the only parent of Athena however alternative myths give Zeus and Metis as her father and mother.
Name: Leto: Leto was the daughter of the Titans Phoebe and Coeus. Her lover was Zeus by whom she bore the twin gods Artemis and Apollo.
Name: Persephone: Persephone was the goddess of the underworld and the daughter of the gods Zeus and Demeter.
Name: Artemis: Artemis was the daughter of Zeus and Leto and the goddess of the hunt and the moon and the twin sister of Apollo
Name: Apollo: Apollo was the son of Zeus and Leto and the god of the sun and music and the twin brother of Artemis
Name: Atlas: Atlas was the son of the Titan Iapetus and Clymene one of Oceanides. His brothers were Epimetheus and Prometheus. He was the father of the Hesperides (the three goddesses of the evening), the Hyades (five daughters of Atlas and his lover Aethra and goddesses of the rain) and the Pleiades. The ‘Pleiades’ was the name given to the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione.
Name: Prometheus: Prometheus was the was the son of the Titan Iapetus and Clymene one of Oceanides. His brothers were Epimetheus and Atlas.
Name: Epimetheus: Epimetheus was the son of Iapetus and Clymene. His brothers were Atlas and Prometheus.
Name: Menoetius: Menoetius was another son of Iapetus and Clymene and the titan god of violent anger and rash action
Name: Ares: Ares was the son of Hera and Zeus and the god of war. His sister was Hebe and his brother was Hephaestus.
Name: Hebe: Hebe was the daughter of Hera and Zeus and the goddess of youth. Her brothers were Hephaestus and Ares. She married Heracles (Hercules) after he became a god.
Name: Hephaestus: Hephaestus was the the son of Hera and Zeus and he was the god of fire. His sister was Hebe and his brother was Ares.
Name: Maia: Maia was a ‘Pleiades’ one of the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione. Maia was a lover of Zeus and bore him a son, Hermes.
Name: Dione: Dione was one of the Oceanides, a descendent of the Titans, and a lover of Zeus, they had a daughter, Aphrodite the goddess of love.
Name: Hermes: Hermes was the son of Maia and Zeus and the the messenger of the gods.
Name: Aphrodite: Aphrodite was the daughter of Dione and Zeus and the beautiful goddess of love.