Greek12 Olympians – Greek Gods and Goddesses Guide

The Twelve Olympians are the twelve gods and goddesses; the major principalities of the Greek mythology. The Twelve Olympians all lived in the sky on top of a huge mountain called Mount Olympus. The Greeks believed that this mountain was so tall that it touched the sky. These twelve gods were the principal characters in many of the Greek myths and they all played important roles in everyday classical Greek life.

Greek mythology is the body of myths and teachings that belong to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, and the nature and origin of the world. Ancient Greek period is, therefore, the period that lasted from around 800 BCE until about 600AD. Their mythology was a part of the religion in ancient Greece. Modern scholars refer to and study the myths in an attempt to understand the religious and political elements of Ancient Greece and its civilization. Greek mythology is told through a large collection of written texts, and in Greek representation alarts, such as vase-paintings and sculpture. Greek myth attempts to explain the origins of the world, and details the lives and adventures of a wide variety of gods, goddesses, heroes, heroines, and mythological creatures. These accounts initially were spread in an oral-poetic tradition(passed on from generation to generation, by parents telling their children these stories and poems); but today the Greek myths are known primarily from Greek literature.

The Twelve Olympians


Zeus is the King of Gods, father of all gods

Zeus Symbols: are the thunderbolt, eagle, bull, and oak

Zeus is the great presiding deity of the universe, the ruler of earth and Heaven, was regarded by Greeks as the one who could produce storms, tempests, and intense darkness. At his command the thunder rolls, the lighting flashes and the clouds open and pours forth their refreshing streams to fructify the earth. Zeus is vested with the operations of nature, re represent those grand laws of unchanging and harmonious order, by which not only the physical but also the moral word is governed. He regulated time and seasons, day and night. Zeus is also the founder of kingly power, the upholder of all institutions connected with the state, protector of the assembly of people, and general overseer of everything. Perhaps the father of all gods in Greek Mythology.


Hera is the Queen of gods, Goddess of marriage and family

Hera Symbols are the peacock, pomegranate, cuckoo, lion and crown

Hera is regarded as the Queen of Heaven in Greek myth. She was the wife and sister of Zeus. Hera was a jealous wife, and she fought with Zeus frequently over his extramarital affairs and illegitimate children. For this reason, Hera was known for punishing offending husbands. She was the protector of women, presiding over marriages and births. The Titans Ocean and Tethys brought her up. Hera is often described as “cow-faced,” although she was also called the chief among the immortals in beauty. Though she may have been physically attractive, her vindictive personality makes her less so.


Poseidon is the God of the Sea

Poseidon symbols are dolphins and three-pronged fish spears (tridents)

Poseidon was one of the Twelve Olympians in ancient Greek religion and myth . He was god of the Sea and other waters; of earthquakes; and of horses. In pre-Olympian Bronze Age Greece , he was venerated as a chief deity at Pylos and Thebes. Poseidon was protector of seafarers, and of many Hellenic cities and colonies.

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Demeter is the Goddess of the harvest

Demester symbols are the poppy, wheat, torch and pig

Demeter is the goddess of the harvest and agriculture, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth. Her cult titles include Sito (Σιτώ), “she of the Grain”, as the giver of food or grain, and Thesmophoros (θεσμός, thesmos divine order, unwritten law; φόρος, phoros bringer, bearer), “Law-Bringer,” as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society. Though Demeter is often described simply as the goddess of the harvest, she presided also over the sacred law , and the cycle of life and death.


Ares is the God of war

Ares symbols are the spear, the helmet, the dog, the chariot and the bear

Ares was the Olympian god of war, battlelust, courage and civil order. Ares is one o the twelve Olympians, he came from Thrace, home of a fierce people in the northeast of Greece. In ancient Greek art he was depicted as either a mature, bearded warrior armed for battle, or a nude, beardless youth with a helm and spear. Ares embodied the physical aggression necessary for success in war, the Greeks were ambivalent toward him because he was a dangerous, overwhelming force that was insatiable in battle.


Hephaestus, Greek God of blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, fire and volcanoes

Hephaestus symbols are a smith’s hammer, anvil, and a pair of tongs

Hephaestus‘ Roman equivalent is Vulcan. In Greek mythology, Hephaestus was the son of Zeus and Hera, the king and queen of the gods. In another version, he was Hera’s parthenogenous child, rejected by his mother because of his deformity and thrown off Mount Olympus and down to earth. As a smithing god, Hephaestus made all the weapons of the gods in Olympus. He served as the blacksmith of the gods, and was worshipped in the manufacturing and industrial centers of Greece, particularly Athens.


Apollo, Greek God of light and the sun

Apollo symbols are the lyeare, the laurel wreath, the raven, and the bow and arrow.

Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of music, truth and prophecy, healing, the sun and light, plague, poetry, and more. Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto , and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis. Apollo is known in Greek-influenced Etruscan mythology as Apulu. Apollo was an oracular god—the prophetic deity of the Delphic Oracle. Medicine and healing are associated with Apollo, whether through the god himself or mediated through his son Asclepius, yet Apollo was also seen as a god who could bring ill-health and deadly plague. He is very important in Greek Myths and yet complex as different account is recorded about him.


Artemis, Greek Goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity

Artemis symbols are the stag, the cypress tree and the moon

Artemis was the Olympian goddess of hunting, the wilderness and wild animals. She was also a goddess of childbirth, and the protectress of the girl child up to the age of marriage–her twin brother Apollon was similarly the protector of the boy child. Together the two gods were also bringers of sudden death and disease–Artemis targetted women and girls, Apollon men and boys. In ancient art Artemis was usually depicted as a girl or young maiden with a hunting bow and quiver of arrows.

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Dionysus, Greek God of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual and ecstasy

Dionysus symbols are the bull, serpent, ivy, and wine

Dionysus was the god of fertility and wine, later considered a patron of the arts. He created wine and spread the art of viticulture. He had a dual nature; on one hand, he brought joy and divine ecstasy; or he would bring brutal and blinding rage, thus reflecting the dual nature of wine. Dionysus and his followers could not be bound by fetters.


Athena, Greek Goddess of wisdom, courage, civilization, law and justice, strategy and the arts

Athena symbols are the owl, the olive tree, the snake, the helmet and the spear

Athena (also pronounced Athene), also referred to as Pallas Athena, is the goddess of civilization, wisdom, war, strategy, craft, justice, and skill in Greek mythology. Minerva, Athena’s Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is also a shrewd companion of heroes and the goddess of heroic endeavor. She is the virgin patron of Athens. The Athenians built the Parthenon on the Acropolis of her namesake city, Athens, in her honor (Athena Parthenos).


Hermes, Greek God of transitions and boundaries

Hermes symbols are the rooster and the tortoise, purse or pouch, winged sandals and winged cap

Though, his main symbol was the herald’s staff, caduceus which consisted of two snakes wrapped around a winged staff. Hermes is an Olympian god in Greek religion and mythology , the son of Zeus and the Pleiad Maia, and the second youngest of the Olympian gods after Dionysus. He is described as quick and cunning, moving freely between the worlds of the mortal and divine. He is also portrayed as an emissary and messenger of the gods; an intercessor between mortals and the divine, and conductor of souls into the afterlife.


Aphrodite, Greek Goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation

Aphrodite symbols are the dolphin, the rose, the scallop shell; the myeartle tree, the dove, the sparrow, the girdle and the swan

Aphrodite according to Hesiod’s Theogony, was born from the foam in the waters of Paphos, on the island of Cyprus. She supposedly arose from the foam when the Titan Cronus slew his father Uranus and threw his genitals into the sea. Aphrodite was the Olympian goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and procreation. She was depicted as a beautiful woman often accompanied by the winged godling Eros (Love). Her attributes included a dove, apple, scallop shell and mirror. In classical sculpture and fresco she was usually depicted nude.

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