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Greek Mythology


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Title: Greek Mythology

Greek Mythology
In the beginning . . .


In the beginning, there was only
Chaos, who was not quite a god but a shapeless
and confused mass of elements. This was all there
was for who knows how long. And from Chaos,
eventually, Nyx and Erebus was born. Nyx was
Night, and Erebus the"unfathomable depth were
death dwells."
Then, there came a separate force known as Gaea,
or Mother Earth, who came from somewhere that is
mysterious and unexplained. She was the first of
all the gods. In ancient times, she was honored
as a prophetess and presided over oaths and
marriages. The Greeks believed that because the
Earth and Heavens moved and changed the way
people did, they must be alive. Indeed they were.
Her husband, Uranus, or Father Sky, was also her
son. He was born as Gaea slept, and was equal to
her in all ways.
Together, she and Uranus had their first two
sets of children, who were the Hundred-handed
Ones and the Cyclopes.
They then produced the Titans, who reigned
supreme in the universe for untold ages. Uranus
was very cruel to his children, and he kept the
Hundred-handed Ones locked deep inside the earth.
Gaea was very upset over this and plotted with
Cronus, her Titan son, to overthrow her husband.
She gave him a scythe which he used to castrate
his father, and threw his genitals from the
heavens. From the drops of blood that fell, the
Giants and the Erinnyes were born. And when his
genitals reached the ocean, it created a foam,
and from this foam Aphrodite was born.
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Rhea and Cronus had six children  Hera,
Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, Hestia, and Zeus. 
Because it was prophesized that one of his
children would dethrone him, as he had done his
own father, Cronus swallowed each of his children
immediately after they were born.  With the sixth
child, Rhea tricked him and wrapped a stone in
swaddling clothes, which he swallowed.  Zeus
eventually returned to save his brothers and
The twelve great Olympians were supreme among the
gods who succeeded to the Titans. They lived
on Mt. Olympus where they feasted on ambrosia
and nectar. It was a place of perfect
Mt. Olympus Home of the Olympians
Zeus became the supreme ruler. He was Lord of
the Sky, the Rain-god and the Cloud-gatherer, who
wielded the much feared thunderbolt. His power
was greater than that of all the other divinities
together.-- Hamilton, Mythology
Zeus - pronounced zoos Stats
Facts Zeus is the God of gods and men, the
greatest and most powerful of all
Other names for Zeus are the Lord of the
Sky, the Rain God, and the Cloud Gatherer.
Zeus' bird is the eagle, and his tree, the oak.
Zeus' Roman name is Jupiter.
Master of Disguise
There are a number of stories in which Zeus
changes his form to get something...usually a
lover. In the form of a swan, he seduced
Nemesis who bore the egg that was placed in the
care of Leda. Danae was locked in an underground
room with only a barred window to let in fresh
air and light. Zeus became a shower of gold that
fell into the little room and impregnated Danae.
To get in bed with Alcmene, Heracles' mother,
Zeus took the form of her husand, Amphitryon, and
lay with her for three dayless nights.
Hera - Juno
Hera - pronounced hair-uh Stats Facts
Hera is the protector of marriage
and the goddess married women turned to for
help. Hera was often said to be the
most beautiful of all the Olympians.
Argos was Hera's favorite city. Animals
sacred to Hera are the cow and the peacock.
Hera's Roman name is Juno.
Insanely Jealous Wife
Most of the stories about Hera are
about her jealousy of Zeuss many affairs and
illegitimate children. Her time seemed to be
spent tormenting her husband's lovers and
sometimes the children as well. Heracles, the
son of Zeus and Alcmene, was the one who annoyed
her the most, and she tormented him his entire
mortal life. She was tricked into nursing him as
an infant. When she discovered that he was Zeus'
illigetimate son, she pulled him away, and the
milk still flowing from her breast created the
Milky Way.
The Greek people did not think less of Zeus. On
the contrary,they thought he was amusing.
People did not hold their gods up as perfect
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Poseidon / Neptune He was ruler of the sea,
Zeuss brother and second only to him in
eminence. (Hamilton 27)
He gave the first horse to man. He was commonly
called the Earth-Shaker and was always shown
carrying his trident, a three-pronged spear, with
which he would shake and shatter whatever he
pleased. (Hamilton 28)
Demeter - Ceres
Born by the Titans Demeter was the sister
of Zeus and the other children of Cronus and
Rhea. Demeter Her name means
"barley-mother" or "mother earth" and goddess of
fertility. She is also known as Ceres (Roman) and
sometimes Deo. Demeter is often seen
holding a stalk of grain or corn, sometimes a
torch, crown, or scepter. Sacred to her are
livestock and agricultural products (with the
emphasis on corn), poppy, narcissus and the
Hades - Pluto
Hades - Pluto
Following the defeat of the Titans by the Jovian
gods, Pluto obtained the kingdom of the
underworld. Dead souls were escorted to the
shores of the River Styx by Mercury, where they
were received by the boatman Charon, who rowed
them across the River Styx to Pluto's kingdom.
Drawing by Rei Inamoto.

The source of this material is
Windows to the Universe, at http// at the University Corporation for
Persephone and the Seasons When
Persephone was out tending her flowers one day,
Hades was struck by one of Aphrodite's arrows and
fell in love with her. He went to Zeus and
requested permission to marry her. Zeus gave
permission and Hades waited for the right moment
to get his bride. He chose a day when she was
out gathering flowers again. When she reached
over to pick a beautiful purple blossom, the
ground split open and out came Hades, kidnapping
her and taking her to the Underworld with him.
Hades would not let her return to the world of
the living. Soon, Demeter found out what happened
to her beloved daughter and went straight to Mt.
Olympus, and plead Zeus to get her daughter out
of the Underworld.
Zeus refused, for he had already been bribed by
Hades, and Demeter left Mt. Olympus threatening
that Zeus would be sorry. Demeter promptly put a
horrible drought over all the crops in the world
and there was no food for mankind to eat.
Seeing the famine and hardship below, Zeus
reconsidered and said that Persephone could come
back as long as she had not eaten any food in the
Underworld. As it turns out, Persephone ate six
seeds, so from then on, Persephone had to spend
six months out of the year with Hades in the
Underworld. Demeter was upset that Persephone
couldn't stay with her all year round, so she
made all of the plants stop growing for the six
months that Persephone is gone. These six months
are now called the season of winter.
The Abduction of Persephone
Hades and Persephone
Hades and Persephone
Return of Persephone
Artemis - Diana
Artemis - Diana pronounced are-tuh-miss Stats
Facts Artemis is the goddess of all wild
things, the protectress of youth, and the
patroness of hunters, childbirth, fisherman, and
unmarried girls. All wild animals,
especially deer are sacred to Artemis. Artemis'
tree is the cypress. Artemis' Roman name is
Birth Artemis is the daughter of Zeus and Leto,
and is the twin sister of Apollo. They were born
on the island of Delos, and in some myths, the
nine-day-old Artemis is said to have assisted in
the delivery of her brother. Both of them were
very protective of their mother.
Thrill of the Hunt
Artemis carried with her a quiver of
silver arrows. Women who died during childbirth
or quick and painless deaths were said to have
been shot by one of her arrows.
Because of her love of hunting, she became
friends with Orion. Apollo was jealous of this
friendship and tricked his sister into killing
Orion. She later set his image among the stars,
known as Orions Belt.

Lovers Children Artemis never took a
lover, therefore, she never had any children.
She is one of the three virgin goddesses and
she required perfect chastity of her companions,
who were mostly nymphs. In one myth, she turned
her companion, Callisto, into a bear as
punishment for being seduced by Zeus.
In another myth, she and her companions are
bathing when they are spied by Actaeon who is out
hunting. Artemis, who detested the love or
attention of any man, turned him into a stag. His
own hunting dogs chased him down and tore him to
Athena - Minerva
Stats Facts
Athena is the Goddess of War and Wisdom.
Gray-eyed is the word most often used to
describe Athena. Athena's tree, which she
created, is the olive tree. Athena's bird is the
owl. Athena's Roman name is Minerva.
Birth Athena is the daughter of Zeus and Metis.
After hearing a prophesy that any son born to
their union would dethrone him, Zeus swallowed
Metis. Shortly after, he had a headache so Hermes
went to get Hephaestus, who returned and breached
Zeuss skull. Athena sprang from his head in full
armor and was born. She was the only one Zeus
trusted enough to carry his thunderbolt.
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Minerva was the goddess of arts and crafts. She
was particularly good at weaving. Once a woman
named Arachne wove a beautiful picture. Minerva
tried to find something wrong with it. When she
couldn't, she tore it up and turned Arachne into
a spider. The spider still weaves beautiful webs.
Ares - Mars
Ares (Mars) Ares, the God of War, was the son of
Zeus and Hera. He was detested by both of them.
His sister was Eris, which means Discord, and her
son was Strife.
Ares (Mars) Walking beside Ares on the
battlefield was a band of companions. They
included The Goddess of War, Enyo, and Terror,
Trembling, and Panic. He was said to have come
from Thrace, where the rudest and most fierce
people of Greece were found. His bird was the
vulture, and the dog, his animal.
The Romans wrote of him as being magnificent and
invincible in his splendid armor. They wrote how
men rejoiced to die on the battlefield of Ares.
The Greeks were not as favorable towards Mars.
They thought him to be ruthless, murderous and
hateful. They called him a coward who ran away
with the slightest wound. Men were more often to
rejoice after escaping the fury of Ares.
Hephaestus - Vulcan
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Hephaestus is the son of Hera alone, but it is
said that he could have been fathered by Zeus.
When Hera saw that Hephaestus was born deformed,
she was disgusted and threw him from the heavens.
He landed in the sea and was rescued by Thetis
and Eurynome, who raised him. He became a master
craftsman. One day, Hera was admiring a brooch
that Thetis was wearing, and learned that
Hephaestus had made it. She brought him back up
to Olympus and gave him the finest equipment and
Apollo pronounced uh-paul-low Stats
Facts Apollo was considered "the most Greek of
all the Gods." He was also known as the
Archer-god, the Healer, the God of Light, and the
God of Truth. The dolphin and crow were just
two of many animals sacred to Apollo. His tree
is the laurel tree. Apollo's Roman name is the
Apollo is the sun god and also the god of music
and songs which are heard during times when light
triumphs over darkness. He is associated with
youth and strength. Apollo is also known as
Helios or Hyperion.
Apollo is portrayed throwing a discus in this
stamp issued in March 1906 celebrating the tenth
anniversary of the modern Olympic Games.
Apollo is best known for his interest in music,
and received a lyre from Hermes as compensation
for cows Hermes had stolen from him.
Hermes also gave him a
musical pipe in exchange for a golden staff.
Apollo was also a healer. He taught people about
medicine and often cured the afflicted. Those
who lived in cities that he didn't like weren't
as lucky. He was known to bring plagues upon
entire communities.
Apollo was also the God of Truth and Prophecy.
False words never passed through his lips. His
oracle at Delphi was the place people went to
find out true answers to their questions.
Apollo spoke through a priestess at the temple,
who would sit in a three-legged chair over a
vapor rising from the Earth. She would go into a
trance and utter things which were translated by
Hermes - Mercury
56 conf/conf.htm
Hermes was the messenger of Zeus, and wore a
winged cap and winged shoes. He bore in his hand
a rod entwined with two serpents, called the
57 capitalmedia.cfm?category31
"Hermes was the son of Zeus and Maia. He presided
over commerce, wrestling, and other gymnastic
exercises, even over thieving, and everything
that required skill and dexterity.
58 harps/lyres.html
Hermes is said to have invented the lyre. He
found a tortoise shell one day. He made holes in
the opposite edges of it, and drew cords of linen
through them, and the instrument was complete.
There were nine cords, in honor of the nine
Muses. Hermes gave the lyre to Apollo, and
received from him in exchange the caduceus."
from Bulfinch's Mythology
Dionysus - Bacchus
Dionysus is the God of the Vine. He was the
Greek god of wine and intoxication. Dionysus'
name means "twice born" or "child of the double
door." Many ancient city-states outlawed the
wild, orgiastic rites of Dionysus.
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