In Greek mythology, there were twelve Olympian gods who ruled the universe from atop the Greek Mount Olympus, known as the Olympian gods.
Who were the twelve Gods of Olympus?
These Olympians Gods had come to power after their leader, Zeus, overthrew their father, Cronus, leader of the Titans. All the Olympians are related to each other. The Romans adopted most of these Greek gods and goddesses, but with new names.
In ancient Greek religion and mythology, the twelve Olympians are the principal deities of the Greek pantheon. Commonly considered Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hermes, and Hestia or Dionysus, who were called “Olympians” because, according to tradition, they resided on Mount Olympus.
Although Hades was an important ancient Greek god, and was the brother of the first generation of Olympians (Zeus, Poseidon, Hera, Demeter and Hestia). He resided in the underworld, far from Olympus, and therefore was not normally considered one of the Olympians.
Gods Of Olympus and other groups
In addition to the twelve Olympians, there were many other cult groupings of twelve gods.
The Olympians were a race of deities, composed mainly of a third and fourth generation of immortal beings, worshipped as the chief gods of the Greek pantheon and so named because of their residence on the summit of Mount Olympus. They gained their supremacy in a ten-year war of gods, in which Zeus led his brothers to victory over the previous generation of ruling gods, the Titans.
They were a family of gods, the most essential consisting of the first generation of Olympians, descendants of the Titans Cronus and Rhea: Zeus, Poseidon, Hera, Demeter and Hestia, along with the main descendants of Zeus: Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hermes and Dionysus.
Hades and the Underworld
Although Hades was a major deity in the Greek pantheon, and was the brother of Zeus and the other first generation Olympians. His realm was far removed from Olympus in the underworld, and therefore he was not considered one of the Olympians. The Olympian gods can be contrasted with the tonic gods, including Hades, by the mode of sacrifice; the latter received sacrifices in a bothros (βόθρος, “pit”) or in a megaron (μέγαρον, “sunken chamber”), rather than on an altar.
The canonical number of Olympian gods was twelve, but in addition to the (thirteen) main Olympians mentioned above, there were many other residents of Olympus, who could thus be called Olympians. Herakles became a resident of Olympus after his apotheosis and married another Olympian resident, Hebe. Some others who could be considered Olympians include: the Muses, the Graces, the Iris, Dione, Eileithyia, the Horae, and Ganymede.
The 12 Gods Of Olympus
12 gods of Olympus after the Titanomachy between the gods of the new and older generations for the government of the world, the gods chose Mount Olympus as their residence, the highest mountain in Greece. Zeus was their leader and Hera was his sister-wife.
The twelve gods of Olympus actually consisted of Zeus and his siblings, as well as few children of Zeus who were born later. People gave the gods special domains of rule and also attributed human characteristics to them. Zeus was the god of the earth and sky. His symbols were the thunderbolt, the eagle, the bull and the oak. Although he was married to Hera, his older sister, he often cheated on her with many mortal women, other goddesses and nymphs.
He is usually depicted in statues and paintings as a middle-aged man sitting on his throne or hurling a thunderbolt, the symbol of punishment.
1. Zeus (Roman name: Jupiter)
The most powerful of all the Olympian gods, Zeus was the god of the sky and the king of Olympus. His temper affected the weather, and he threw lightning bolts when he was unhappy. He was married to Hera but had many other lovers. His symbols include the oak tree and the thunderbolt.
2. Hera (Roman name: Juno)
Hera was the goddess of marriage and the queen of Olympus. She was the wife and sister of Zeus; many myths tell that she sought revenge when Zeus betrayed her with his lovers. Her symbols include the peacock and the cow.
3. Poseidon (Roman name: Neptune)
The great Poseidon was the god of the sea. He was the most powerful god except for his brother Zeus. He lived in a beautiful palace under the sea and caused earthquakes when he was in a bad mood. His symbols include the horse and the trident (a three-pronged pitchfork).
4. Hades (Roman name: Pluto)
The god Hades was the king of the dead. He lived in the underworld, the heavily guarded earth, where he ruled over the dead. He was the brother of Zeus and the husband of Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, whom he abducted.
5. Aphrodite (Roman name: Venus)
Aphrodite was the goddess of love and beauty, and the protector of sailors. She may have been the daughter of Zeus and the Titan Dione, or she may have risen from the sea in a shell. Her symbols include the myrtle and the dove.
6. Apollo (Roman name: Phoebus)
Apollo was the god of music and healing. He was also an archer, and hunted with a silver bow. Apollo was the son of Zeus and the Titan Leto, and the twin of Artemis. His symbols include the laurel, raven and dolphin.
7. Ares (Roman name: Mars)
Ares was the god of war. He was both cruel and cowardly. Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, but neither of his parents wanted him. His symbols included the vulture and the dog, and he often carried a bloody spear.
8. Artemis (Roman name: Diana)
Artemis was the goddess of hunting and the protector of women during childbirth. She hunted with silver arrows and loved all wild animals. Artemis was the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and twin of Apollo. Her symbols include the cypress and the deer.
9. Athena (Roman name: Minerva)
Athena was the goddess of wisdom. She was also an expert in the art of war, and helped heroes such as Odysseus and Hercules. Athena sprang from the forehead of Zeus and became his favorite daughter. Her symbols include the owl and the olive tree.
10. Hermes (Roman name: Mercury)
The fast Hermes was the messenger god, a trickster and friend of thieves. He is said to have invented boxing and gymnastics. He was the son of Zeus and the constellation Maia. The fastest of all, he wore winged sandals and a winged hat and carried a magic wand.
11. Demeter (Roman name: Ceres)
Demeter was the goddess of the harvest. The word “cereal” comes from her Roman name. She was the sister of Zeus. Her daughter, Persephone, was forced to live with Hades every winter; at that time Demeter did not allow any crops to grow. Her symbols include wheat.
12. Hephaestus (Roman name: Vulcan)
Hephaestus was the god of fire and forging (a furnace in which metal is heated). Although he made armor and weapons for the gods, he loved peace. He was the son of Zeus and Hera and married Aphrodite. His symbols include the anvil and the forge.
Gods Of Olympus, others important gods on Mount Olympus
Apart from these twelve Gods of Olympus, there are many other deities of lesser importance in Greek mythology, such as the nymphs, or of later generations, such as Dionysus, the protector of wine, festivals and theater.
- Dionysus (Roman name: Bacchus) was the god of wine, which he invented. In Ancient Greece, Dionysus was honored with spring festivals that centered on theater. Dionysus was the son of Zeus and Semele, a mortal. His symbols include the hydra, snake and grapes.
- Hestia (Roman name: Vesta) was the goddess of the hearth (a fireplace in the center of the house). She was the gentlest of the gods, and does not play a role in many myths. Hestia was the sister of Zeus and the eldest of the Olympians. Fire is among her symbols.
Many of these gods were created by the minds of the Greeks and have native characteristics, while other gods, such as Dionysus, have been “imported” by Eastern civilizations. One thing to keep in mind is that the ancient Greek gods were divine because of their supernatural powers and eternity, not their character.
Gods Of Olympus and their weaknesses
They were very different from the modern notion of gods. The Olympian gods were weak in nature and flawed, while they often merged with mortals and interfered with their lives. In reality, the ancient Greek gods were copies of human characters and society. They were obviously immortal, but to maintain their immortality they ate ambrosia and drank nectar. Interestingly, a mortal can also be made immortal by a god.