There were two types of Olympic Gods: Celestial Deities and Earth Deities. The Celestial Deities dwelled on Mount Olympus while the Earth Deities resided on, or under, Earth. There were twelve Olympic Gods; however, because the tales of these gods started out orally, the gods and goddesses classified as Olympians are not totally clear. Because the Twelve Olympians are not totally clear, there are a possible fourteen gods and goddesses that could be classified as Olympians. The gods and goddesses all had their place in Ancient Greece and were either worshipped or hated because of their responsibilities and talents. The Greek Gods and Goddesses all had a great influence and importance to Greek culture.
When Zeus, Jupiter in Roman Mythology, was young, he overthrew his father, Cronus, to become the Supreme Ruler and Protector God. Zeus's power, which included him as the Lord of the Sky, Rain God, God of Thunder, God of the Winds, and Cloud-Gatherer, was greater than that of all of the other gods and goddesses ascendancy combined.(Guirand 105; Hamilton 25-26) Zeus married and made mistresses of many women. Metis was his first wife. Gaea and Uranus warned Zeus that if Metis had the child she was pregnant with at the time, the child would be more powerful than he and overthrow him just as he overthrew his father. Zeus swallowed Metis when she was about to give birth to prevent this. A few of Zeus's wives included: Themis, Uranus and Gaea's daughter, Mnemosyne, which gave birth to the nine muses with Zeus, Oceanid Eurynome, who gave birth to the three graces with Zeus, and Hera. Many of Zeus's children were given birth by his mistresses, some of which were mortals.(Guirand 105-106)
"The god was normally depicted as a man in the fullness of maturity, of robust body, a grave countenance and a broad forehead jutting out above his deeply set eyes. His face is framed by thick waving hair and a finely curled beard
He usually wears a long mantle which leaves his chest and right arm free. His attributes are the sceptre in his left hand, in his right hand the thunderbolt and at his feet the eagle. Often he wears a crown of oak-leaves." (Guirand 105)
Hera, or Juno in Roman mythology, was Zeus's "main" wife and was his sister. Although her parents were Cronus and Rhea, Titans Oceans and Tethys brought her up. (Hamilton 26-27) She was the Celestial Virgin, Queen of the Sky, the Protector of Marriage, especially married women, Goddess of maternity, and presided over all of the phases of women's existence. (Guirand 113; Hamilton 26-27) Hera was very jealous of Zeus's many other women, and revenged on them with some sort of a punishment. (Hamilton 26-27) In her favorite city of Argos, there were five temples to her. In Stymphalus, there were three temples to her: child-goddess, wife-goddess, and widow-goddess. (Guirand 113-114; Hamilton 27)
"Hera was depicted as a young woman, fully developed, or a chaste and severe beauty. Her forehead is normally crowned with a diadem or with a high crown of cylindrical shape, the polos. She wears a long tunic of chiton and is enveloped in a veil which adds to her bearing of nobility, reserved and full of modesty. Her attributes are a sceptre surmounted by a cuckoo (in allusion to the circumstances of her nuptials) and a pomegranate, symbol of conjugal love and fruitfulness." (Guirand 113)
Hera and Zeus's brother Poseidon, Neptune in Roman mythology, was second, only to Zeus, in power and importance. Poseidon was the Ruler of the Sea and gave the first horse to man. His nickname, "The Earth-Shaker," was given to him because of his ability to shake and shatter what he pleased with his trident that he always carried. (Hamilton 27-28) He was portrayed as a man with less serene features, a thick beard, and disorderly hair. (Guirand 151)
Hades was also the son of Cronus and Rhea. When Zeus took over as...
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Guirand F. "Greek Mythology." Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology. 1959 ed.
"Hades." Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia. 1996 ed.
Hamilton, Edith. Mythology. Boston: Little, Brown and Company; 1942.
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