Greek _Roman_ Olympian Gods

Document Sample
Greek _Roman_ Olympian Gods Powered By Docstoc
					                              Greek (Roman) Olympian Gods

Zeus (Jupiter)
    Zeus, the leader of the gods was born to Cronus (one of the Titans) and Gaea.
    An oracle had foretold that one of Cronus’ children would overthrow him, so he
       swallowed each as they were born.
    When Zeus was born, his wife hid the child, feeding her husband a rock instead,
       finally allowing the prophecy to be fulfilled and Zeus to kill his father.
    After the defeat of Cronus, Zeus, and his brothers, Poseidon and Hades, drew lots
       for their share of the world.
    Zeus, who became the supreme ruler of the gods, was chosen to be lord of the sky
       (and weather).
    Married to Hera but, is famous for his many affairs with mortal women.
    He is known to appear in various guises, such as a bull, a shower of gold, a swan, a
    Children, i.e. Herakles, Perseus, Sarpedon, Helen, etc.
    His attributes in iconography include the lightning bolt, the eagle, and the sceptre.

Poseidon (Neptune)
    Brother of Zeus.
    After the overthrow of their Father Cronus, he drew lots with Zeus and Hades, for
       shares of the world.
    He became lord of the sea.
    Worshiped by seamen.
    Married Amphitrite, a granddaughter of the Titan Oceanus.
    At one point he desired Athena (Demeter).
    To put him off Demeter asked him to make the most beautiful animal that the world
       had ever seen.
    So to impress her Poseidon created the first horse.
    In some accounts his first attempts were unsuccessful and created a variety of other
       animals in his quest.
    By the time the horse was created his passion for Demeter had cooled.
    His weapon is a trident, which can shake the earth, and shatter any object.
    He is second only to Zeus in power amongst the gods.
    He has a difficult quarrelsome personality. He was greedy and had a series of
       disputes with other gods when he tried to take over their cities.

    Symbols are cornucopia (wealth) and scepter (power)
    King of the Underworld
    Brothers are Zeus and Poseidon
       Is responsible for winter because he kidnapped Persephone, daughter of Demeter
        (aka, Mother Earth)
       He was disliked and avoided by the other gods
       People prayed to Hades for the return of their loved ones by sacrificing black sheep
        and pouring the blood down deep pits while averting their eyes.

Hestia (Vesta)
    Goddess of the hearth and home and was in general pretty boring.
    She’s the gentlest, most forgiving and most loving of the greek gods.
    Both Apollo and Poseidon wanted to marry her but thinking that their courtship of
        her could lead to disaster, she went to Zeus and declared she wanted to remain a
    He was so grateful not to have to deal with her two suitors fighting that he gave her
        one of the highest positions of honor among the gods and made her the recipient of
        all the sacrifices for peace.
    Her symbol is the "sacred fire" and all the pictures I found of her showed her
        holding like a little lit oil lamp. In art she is usually fully draped and sometimes with
        her favorite animal, the donkey.

Hera (Juno)
    Zeus's wife and sister and thus the queen of Heaven.
    Myth suggests they were married in Crete or Euboea.
    She is the mother to Ares, Hebe, Elithyia, and Hephaestus.
    She was originally the goddess of the sky but once she was married she became the
       patron of marriage and maternity, thus controling the detiny of women.
    Ironically, Zeus broke the sacred vows of marriage quite often and thus Hera is most
       often know for her vindictive actions to punish those who had affairs with Zeus
       and/or insulted her.
    Many sources I read said that Hera did not have unique iconography but did have
       common depictions.
    She was depicted in the prime of her life being severely beautiful and young.
    She is often crowned with a diadem or cylindrical crown and wearing a long tunic
       and a wedding veil.
    Her attributes are a sceptre surmounted by a cuckoo and the pomegranate (a symbol
       of love and fruitfulness).
    Her animals are the peacock, the cow, and the cuckoo.

Ares (Mars)

       Parents: Zeus and Hera (they didn't like him)
           o born in Thrace
       Symbols: Spear, Burning Torch, Vulture, Dog
       Appearance: Bearded, Gold Helmet, Harnessed in Bronze
       Role: God of War
      Loves: War, Aphrodite
          o Ares and Aphrodite were together one day when Helius saw them. He told
               Hephaistos who set a trap to catch the couple "in the act." Ares and
               Aphrodite were snaged in a net during their next encounter. All the gods
               came to laugh at Ares. *
      Kids: (Ares wasn't married, but had kids)
          o (Mortals)
                    Aeropus, Alcippe, Alcon, Ascalaphus, Cycnus, Diomedes, Dragon,
                      Dryas, Evenus, Ialmenus, Melanippus, Meleager, Molus, Nike, Nisus,
                      Oeagrus, Oenomaus, Oxylus, Parthenopaeus, Phlegyas, Phlegyas,
                      Porthaon, Pylus, Tereus, Thestius, and Thrassa,
          o (Deities)
                    Harmonia--mother of the Amazons
                    Deimos--personification of Panic
                    Phobos--personification of Fear
      Images:
          o Leagros Group, Attic Black-figure neck-amphora with lid, c. 515-500 BC
          o Oltos, Ares and Aphrodite, c. 515-500 BC
          o Ares and Aphrodite, Roman Wall Painting 1st Century AD
          o Courtship of Venus and Mars, House of Marcus Lucretius Fronto, Pompeii,
               c. 30 AD
          o Botticelli, Mars and Venus, 15th Century
          o Heemskerck, Martin Van, Mars and Venus Caught in the Net and Shown by
               Vulcan to Gods, 1536


Athena (Minerva)
    daughter of Metis who was the first wife of Zeus
    Zeus saw Metis pregnant and he was worried that his child would be his
          o doom so he swallowed Metis to prevent the birth of the child, Athena
          o was born anyway right out of the head of Zeus
          o goddess of women and women's crafts, goddess of intellect and invention,
              goddess of virginity
          o one of three gods that can resist the charms and spells of Aphrodite
          o city of Athens named in her honor
          o the owl (the goddess is actually known for taking on this form as well)
          o olive tree: Athena vs. Poseidon gift to Athens, Athena's is the best
          o often wears helmet and carries spear, the helmet and spear represent that
              wisdom and strategy are key to victory in war
           o also has shield on which there are symbols of gorgon heads, the shield is
             fringed with snakes: the gorgon heads represent Athena's appearanc
           o to her enemies and the snakes represent creation, fertility, and regeneration

Apollo (Apollo)
    Apollo - Greek and Latin name
    son of Zeus and Leto
    brother of Artemis (twins?)
    "Phoebus" Apollo -- means "light"
    takes on role of sun god (from Helios)
    plays the lyre
    equated with music
    protection
    god of the shepherds
    many moods and passions (terrifying anger)
    Greek classical restraint
    contrasted with Dionysus as the rational god
    depicted as strong and calm, often with lyre
    most well known tragic love story: Apollo and Daphne
    Oracle at Delphi

Aphrodite (Venus)
    From (
    Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty.
    She was known to the Romans as Venus.
    There were actually two different Aphrodites, one was the daughter of Uranus, the
      other the daughter of Zeus and Dione.
    The first, called Aphrodite Urania, was the goddess of spiritual love.
    The second, Aphrodite Pandemos, was the goddess of physical attraction.
    Aphrodite is the more famous of the two.
    Aphrodite Pandemos could be both very kind and cruel.
    One story in particular concerns Pygmalion.
    The women of Cyprus defied Aphrodite, and so she made them all prostitutes.
    This sickened Pygmalion, and so he decided to create his own lover.
    He formed a woman out of ivory, and loved her as if she was his wife.
    One day Aphrodite heard the prayers of Pygmalion, and she brought the ivory statue
      to life. She watched as they became happily married.
    In a separate story, Aphrodite fell in love with Adonis, a beautiful god that was also a
    Adonis was once hunting a wild boar, but his arrow did not kill the animal. The boar
      raced after Adonis, and killed him.
      Aphrodite mourned her lost love, and a flower grew from nectar she sprinkled on his
      Aphrodite often boasted about her powers to make all gods fall in love with mortals.
      Zeus was angry because she considered herself better than other gods and goddesses
       because she had not slept with any humans.
      Zeus made Aphrodite fall in love with Anchises, preventing her from further

Hermes (Mercury)
    The son of Zeus and the nymph Maia, he is best known for being the messenger or
      herald of the gods.
    He's most often depicted as an athletic young man wearing a broad-brimmed hat or
      winged helmet and winged sandals.
    Often he carries the herald's staff, which is usually depicted as 2 snakes in a figure 8
      around a shaft with wings attached.

Artemis (Diana)
    Complex and often contradictory nature, as is typical of most Greek deities
    Lady of Wild Things, Goddess of the Hunt, protector of the young, Goddess who
       brings swift death (especially to the young--as I said, contradictory)
    Goddess of childbirth and fertility—yet also one of the virginal goddesses (like
       Athena and Hestia); especially in Ephesus she was a fertility goddess
    The cypress and the deer were sacred to her
    Along with Apollo, she is the daughter of Zeus and Leto; Artemis is born first and
       helps with the delivery of her brother, Apollo—hence, her role as a goddess of
    Sudden death of the young (girls brought down by Artemis, boys brought down by
       Apollo) was associated with her and her brother
    Associated with the moon, and the moon goddess Selene, as well as the darker
       goddess of fertility and the underworld, Hecate—she is the “goddess of three
       forms,” Selene in the sky, Artemis on earth, and Hecate in the lower world
       (Mythology, Edith Hamilton, p. 33)
    Often portrayed with a bow and arrow, sometimes a short skirt for the hunt
    “A number of wild animals are sacred to her: hind, bear, boar, goat, zebu, and lion.
       She is often shown with bow and arrow, mural crown, and a torch. In the classical
       period she is shown with the crescent moon in her hair.”
    (

Hephaestus/Hephaistos (Vulcan; Mulsiber)
    Moira:
          o God of the forge and subterranean fire
          o Patron of all craftsmen
    Portrayal: Animated cripple bent over anvil
          o Ugly, carrying a walking stick
          o Holding hammer and tongs
       o Sometimes surrounded by kabeiroi
   Residence:
       o Island of Lemnos where he has his palace and forge under a volcano
   Lineage:
       o Parthenogenetic (fatherless) son of Hera, who was jealous of Zeus' affair
           with Metis (which produced Athena)
   Associated Myths:
       o He was cast off Mt. Olympus for his ugliness, and after falling either 9 days
           and 9 nights or 1 day and 1 night he landed on the Island of Lemnos.
       o He wished to marry Athena, who rejected him, but apparently not before ??
           resulting in Erechtheus, a king of Athens.
       o He created a magic throne for Hera which imprisoned her when she sat on it,
           causing the Olympiads to allow him to return to the realm of the Gods.
       o He was married to Aphrodite, who preferred Ares over him. Therefore, he
           constructed a chain-link net which captured them at an inopportune time.
           Unfortunately this gave the rest of the gods a good laugh but didn't resolve
           any marital issues.
       o He is responsible for the creation of Pandora.
       o He forged the armour of Achilles, the shield of Athena, the arrows of Eros,
           and the chariot of Helios
   Associated festivals:
       o Chalceia
                Celebrated on the 30th day of the Pyanopsion month this festival,
                    held by craftsmen and artisans, also honors Athena.
       o Vulcanilia
                This Roman festival is celebrated on the 23rd of August and is meant
                    for protection from destructive fire.
   Temples:
       o Roman:
                Located outside of the town because of his association with
                    destructive fire.
       o Greek:
                Most famous is the Doric Temple (449 BC) of Hephaestus and
                    Athena. It is located on a hill close to the agora at the foot of the
                    Acropolis in Athens.