Last updated on July 11th, 2022 at 11:18 am
The 12 Olympian gods are probably the most known deities in Greek Mythology, the oldest Mythology in Europe, and undoubtedly the most famous and the richest of all.
It is not just a bunch of myths about gods’ relationships or true stories, but the very psychology of humanity, it expresses the way of thinking of the people of the bronze age and even before, and it goes back 50 centuries ago.
And it is still alive today since it still expresses the expectations and wishes of the human soul, which is why it has inspired art, painting, and today’s culture. It will surely remain alive as long as humanity exists.
In 5000 CE, after 3000 years, if humanity still talks about myths or ancient events, these will definitely be stories with gods and goddesses meddled with tales of monsters, humanoids, and other creatures from Greek mythology.
What is that?
What today is called Roman mythology is an exact copy of Greek Mythology, after all, not only the gods but all myths and tales are the same. Greek Mythology after all preexisted from the Romans by 1000 years and more.
But even the Roman Alphabet is not Roman at all, is the Greek alphabet that was used in Euboea and that the Euboeans bring to Italy around 800BCE, so the alphabet is in use by most of today’s languages is Greek.
That’s enough with the Romans.
The question is, why all planets of the solar system were named after the Roman names? Don’t ask me but the scientists.
Ancient Myths and The Hellenic(Greek) Mythology
Hellas was and still is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The Hellenes have a long history and an endless culture that created and shaped almost everything that we know today. That is why Hellas is considered the cradle of the so-called western civilization.
Α diverse land shaped by the wild fury of nature and the intense geological activity that is constantly still changing it. That’s why you can find some unbelievable landscapes making you feel they are out of this world, and thousands of islands with distinct characteristics that don’t exist elsewhere.
Only a land of this variety and beauty can inspire its people to imagine and create such fantastic stories!
Stories of Greek mythology are deeply human, with gods, humans, heroes, semi-gods, and good and bad monsters.
All Greek gods are full of passions, defects, and human weaknesses. Greek Mythology was not about a real religion since it interprets everything with humans and not God at its center.
Greek Mythology and the Gods
Greek mythology is the source of most myths borrowed later by monotheistic religions and adapted to different religions’ purposes.
The myth of the flood of Deucalion was borrowed by the Jews to construct the tale of the flood of Noah. The God Sun also is the inspiration of the Jewish God.
In the traditions of the peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean, India, Mesopotamia, Scandinavia, and Central America, there are at least two dozen Gods who experienced the drama of death and redemption of the resurrection. Long before the birth of Jesus Christ.
Osiris, Dionysos, Adonis, Odin of the Vikings, Ganesha and Krishna in India, Leminkaiken, Tamuz, Quetzalcoatl of the Aztecs, Mithras, and dozens of others were killed and resurrected. So say the mythologies and the same says the Bible about Jesus Christ.
But one of the biggest legacies of Greek Mythology is the huge pool of tales that inspire until today. Science still draws names from mythology’s endless names list to name newly discovered planets and other space objects.
The 12 Olympian Gods – The Greek Pantheon
Olympos mountain is in Thessaly, a region north of Thermopylae, and it is the highest mountain in Greece. It was the home of the 12 ruling Gods.
These are the 12 most important gods of the Greek pantheon, the 12 Olympian gods which actually were the following 14!
Note: Hephaestos wasn’t a permanent Olympos resident and Hestia gave up her Olympian throne in favor of Dionysos. God’s tricks!
1- Dias or Zeus (Jupiter in Roman)
The father and leader of the Greek pantheon. He was the son of the Titan Cronos (Saturn in Roman) and Rhea, the daughter of the Gaia(Earth).
He overthrew his father, Cronos, king of the Titans, and became the leader of the Gods comprising mostly of his siblings and children. His wife was Hera known for her jealousy, as Dias was always unfaithful to her.
He could control the thunder and use it as a powerful weapon.
2- Poseidon (Neptune in Roman)
The God of the sea, horses, and earthquakes. He had the trident as a weapon and many strange or monster-like children. Among them were the flying horse Pegasos and the one-eye Cyclop Polyphemos.
3- Hermes (Mercury in Roman)
The winged messenger of the Gods, he was also involved in many spheres. He was the protector of animals and associated with fertility, music, luck, and deception.
4- Hera (Juno in Roman)
The queen goddess, sister, and wife to Dias. She was almost always jealous and not without a reason.
5- Hades (Pluto in Roman)
The lord of the underworld or the world of the dead. Husband of Persephone. Ηe had to give Persephone magic pomegranate seeds so she could manage to stay with him for a part of the year.
6- Dionysos (Bacchus in Roman)
The Son of Zeus was born to a mortal woman. Zeus accidentally killed his mother before Dionysos was born.
In order to save his son Zeus sewed the young infant into his thigh and, when the young Dionysos emerged, passed him to the care of the Maenads.
Dionysos is symbolized by a bull and he is the God of sex, celebrations, and wine.
7- Demeter (Ceres in Roman)
Demeter, the Goddess of agriculture, was the mother of Persephone who was the wife of Hades. Demeter is related to the Eleusinian Mysteries, the most important religious rites in ancient Greece.
Brother of Artemis, Son of Zeus. He is the God of music, light, protector of the arts, and divination.
9- Ares (Mars in Roman)
Ares is the Greek god of war and the son of Zeus and Hera.
10- Artemis (Diana in Roman)
Artemis is one of the oldest, most complex, and most interesting forms of the Greek pantheon.
Daughter of Zeus and Leto. She was the twin sister of Apollo, queen of mountains and forests, goddess of hunting, and protector of children and animals.
11- Athena (Minerva in Roman)
Athena was the goddess of wisdom, olive trees, strategy, and war.
She was the beloved daughter of Zeus. Her mother was Metis, the first wife of Zeus.
Zeus after a prophecy learned that Metis would give birth to a child who would overthrow his father, so he swallowed Metis while she was pregnant in Athena.
Later, Zeus began to suffer from headaches and called on Hephaestos for help. So Hephaestos hit the head of Zeus with a big hammer and Athena came out from Zeus’s head in armor, wearing helmets and holding a shield.
12- Aphrodite (Venus in Roman)
Aphrodite was an old deity born before Zeus, she is the goddess of love, beauty, sexuality, pleasure, and childbearing.
According to Hesiod, in his Theogony, Aphrodite was born from the foam of the sea when Cronos cut off the genitals of Uranos (his father) and threw them into the sea. The foam was pushed by Zephyros to the coast of Cyprus, so Aphrodite came out of the sea naked on the shores of Paphos.
Hence her name is from the word Aphros meaning foam and the verb anadiomai which means appear or emerge. Literally means the One who Emerged from the foam (of the sea).
There are more tales about the birth and later life of Aphrodite, many of them contradictory.
13- Hephaestos (Vulcan in Roman)
God of fire and a great metalworker. He was the son of Zeus and Hera. Despite his ugliness and deformation, he married Aphrodite who frequently cheated on him with her lover Ares, the god of war.
He could visit Olympos, but he didn’t live there, most of the time he stayed at home, on the island of Lemnos where he had his workshop.
14- Hestia (Roman Vesta)
She was the goddess of the house, fireside, and family, she gave up her Olympian throne to Dionysos.
Minor Gods and other Deities
Greek Gods and Goddesses are countless. Ancient Greeks had deities for every natural phenomenon, like rain, night, moon, trees, lakes, rivers, mountains, sea, storms, thunder, love, hate, fear, passion, betrayal, jealousy, literally anything you can think of. The tales behind these deities are thousands as ancient Greeks saw their Gods with all kinds of human defects, human weaknesses, and passions.
We are not going to mention every deity, every monster, every human-form monster, or a human-animal hybrid of Greek mythology here, because they are countless, but keep an eye on our site as we will publish soon more fascinating stories with tales from Greek mythology.
Greek mythology, without a doubt, is the richest of all with the most tales and myths by far. There is no natural thing in this world without a deity behind it. The ancient Greeks left absolutely nothing without a mythological explanation.
The tales are so many that if someone wants to gather them all in books it needs a lifetime to do so.
See some of the nicest Greek myths here. It’s really worth reading some of these beautiful stories as Love, Passion, Terror, Sins, Life, and Death, the unexpected, betrayal, self-sacrifice, remorse, happiness, and misery are all included!