Of myth and mysteries, of stigmas and seduction, of glamor and passion, of love and hate - from Hades to Hera, and from Apollo to Aphrodite, Greek Gods have enthralled all. Greek mythology says that before the Gods appeared, there was nothing but chaos and darkness. Then Love - the creator of all - started the creation of the world. Love opened her heart for light, and day was born. From this love, light and day appeared Gaea, the earth. And it all began.
The Greek Pantheon is an amalgamation of:
- The Olympians
- The Primordial Divinities
- The Titans
- The Gigantes or Giants
I. The Olympians
Back in the days, when Gods were responsible for everything good or bad, the Greeks believed in the simple concept of worshipping Gods and making sacrifices to appease them. Of all the Ancient Greek Gods, the most popular ones are the Olympians. These are the fourteen supreme beings that lived on Mount Olympus.
- Aphrodite: Love, beauty and passion - these are the words that best describe Aphrodite. She is who is also called Venus by the Romans, was created from the crystal waters of Paphos in Cyprus. She was considered the most beautiful Goddess and always carried with her a girdle, the seashell and a mirror. Her vanity was of utmost importance to her, and she was very amorous. Her romantic escapades with Ares, the God of war despite being married to Hephaestus is the stuff of legends.
- Apollo: Like most women want to be compared to Aphrodite, most men want to be compared to Apollo, the most beautiful God. He was the God of light, medicine and music. Apollo also had a gift of prophecy, which was given to him by his father Zeus at birth. The handsome Apollo carried with him a lyre, tripod and navel stone.
- Ares: the God of all things dark, the God of war, Ares was Aphrodite's lover and father to many children. He was the son of Zeus and Hera. Ares was always surrounded by dogs and carried a spear.
- Artemis: Also called Diana, Artemis was the Goddess of moon, forest, childbirth and hunting. Ironically Artemis was a virgin and yet was associated with childbirth. She is the daughter of Zeus and the mortal Leto.
- Athena: This Goddess born of Zeus, like Artemis was a virgin. She was the patron Goddess of Athens and the Goddess of wisdom, courage, civilization, law and justice, just warfare, strength, mathematics, strategy, inspiration, the arts, crafts and skill.
- Demeter: The Goddess of agricultural bounty and fertility, she was the sister of Zeus and the mother of Persephonē. Some accounts describe her as the deity who upheld the sanctity of marriage.
- Dionysus: This deity of grape harvest, the art of winemaking and wine, of ecstasy and ritual madness, was the only Olympian who was mothered by a mortal called Semele. His father was Zeus. He was known for his ability to fill a man's heart with instant ecstasy one moment and then drive him crazy the very next. This reflected the duality of his nature.
- Hades: The ruler of the underworld and of the dead, Hades was always surrounded by darkness, death, silence and gloom.
- Hephaestus: This God of fire and forge was given the Roman name of Vulcan. He was the son of Zeus and Hera and was rumoured to be conceived before their nuptials. He was husband to Aphrodite but never her true lover because he lacked what Aphrodite prized - beauty.
- Hera: She was the Queen of the Gods and Goddesses, and wife to the King of the Gods, Zeus. She was the Goddess of marriage and family. Hera hated her husband Zeus's love child Hercules by a mortal woman.
- Hermes: He was the messenger of the Gods and quite naturally the Greek God of trade.
- Hestia: This Goddess of home and hearth was the eldest daughter of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. She is also called Vesta by the Romans and was one of the three virgin Goddesses.
- Poseidon: He was the most feared God of the sea and earthquakes. Every time there was a storm, a quick prayer was sent to calm the wrath of Poseidon. He was named Neptune by the Romans.
- Zeus: King of the Gods, Zeus was the Greek God of the sky and was invincible. He was the ultimate authority on Mount Olympus and has the most power. He was called Jupiter by the Romans and was born of the Titans Cronus and Rhea.
II. The Primordial Divinities
The Primordial Divinities from whom all Gods and Goddesses are believed to have descended.
|Aether||The elemental God of "the bright, glowing upper air of heaven - the substance of light"|
|Ananke||Goddess of inevitability; fate, necessity and destiny personified|
|Chaos||Symbolizes vacuum, void or emptiness|
|Erebus||God of darkness and the creatures within|
|Gaia/Gaea||Anthropomorphic form of mother Earth|
|Hemera||Goddess of light|
|Nesoi||Guardian Goddesses of the islands|
|Phanes||Deity of procreation and generation of new life|
|Pontus||Father of marine life|
|Tartarus||Refers to the underworld|
III. The Titans
The first generation of giants parented by Gaia and Ouranos. They are called the Titans. They were considered to be the older set of Gods who were defeated by the Olympians.
|Atlas||Titan who was made to carry the universe on his shoulders|
|Aura||Titan of breeze|
|Cronus||King of the Titans|
|Eos||Goddess of daybreak|
|Helios||Anthropomorphic form of the Sun|
|Mnemosyne||Deity of memory and recollection|
|Oceanus||God of the rivers/fresh-water|
|Perses||Representative of both peace and pandemonium|
|Phoebe||Titan of astrology and prophecies|
|Prometheus||One who created the human race|
|Selene||Archaic Goddess of the Moon|
|Styx||Personification of Hatred and Evil|
|Themis||Titan of stability, law and order of the universe|
IV. The Gigantes
The second generation of Gigantes or Giants were also the children of Gaia and Ouranos. However, they were born with severe deformities when the blood of Ouranos fecundated Gaia after he was castrated.
|Alkyoneus||Eldest of the Thracian Gigantes|
|Antaeus||A half-giant parented by Poseidon and Gaia|
|Geryon||Medusa's grandson, a monster with a human face|
|Orion||A giant hunter whom Zeus placed among the stars as the constellation of Orion|
|Polyphemus||One-eyed son of Thoösa and Poseidon|
|Porphyrion||King of giants|
|Talos||The giant appointed by Zeus to protect Europa|
|Tityos||Son of Elara and Zeus|
|Typhon||Father of all monsters|
Besides these divinities, the Greeks worshipped a number of other elemental deities along with certain mortals who had been elevated to godly heights owing to their extraordinary feats. Almost everything - tangible or intangible - had a deity associated with it, making the list formidably long.