The Greek Gods

Gaze at the highest mountain in Greece, Mount Olympus, which rises dramatically from close to the Aegean Sea, and it is easy to understand how it was regarded as the home of the Greek Gods. The full stories of the Greek Gods have inspired many books, one of the standard works being The Greek Myths by English poet and scholar Robert Graves (1895-1985).

The Greek Gods in BattleThe Greek Gods in Battle

The stories of the Gods were originally oral tales, passed on in the way that the Homeric legends of The Iliad and The Odyssey were, by a skilled story-teller to a rapt audience. They were not written down until about the 6th century BC, and subsequently we have been able to compare similarities in the tales of the Greek Gods with tales of Gods from other countries.

In Greece the Gods are not part of the nation’s modern religious beliefs, which are Christian, but they are bound up in the folk tales and legends of the country’s pre-history, in dramatic fashion.

Where the stories came from is uncertain, but it is likely that many different strands were involved. One such was Hesiod, an 8th century BC Greek poet who, at the same time that Homer was relating/creating his own two epic verses, was responsible for Theogeny, a poetic work which tells ‘the origin of the Gods’. This would have been influenced by tales from other cultures which made their way to Greece, particularly from the Near East, and by tales handed down by the Mycenean civilisation which was dominant in Greece in the 2nd Millennium BC.

Zeus

Zeus

The Father of the Gods is Zeus, who ruled over all the Gods from Mount Olympus. Zeus was the youngest son of two of the Titans, Kronos and Rhea, the Titans being the 12 children of Uranus and Gaea, the Heaven and the Earth. It was Zeus who seized control of the universe and became the God of the Sky, the Rain God, and Father of all later Gods and mortals.

Poseidon

Poseidon

One of Zeus’s brothers was Poseidon, who became the God of the Sea and was the father of the winged horse, Pegasus. Poseidon fathered many children, susceptible as he was to the charms of the numerous water nymphs that existed. Another of Zeus’s brothers was Hades, the God of the Underworld, so between them these three brothers took command of the sky, the sea and the land of the dead.

Zeus’s son Apollo was the God of Music, of Agriculture, of Healing and of Prophecy, amongst many other things, while Dionysos is another familiar name in Greece – the God of Wine. To the Romans he was Bacchus, and the Roman Hercules is the Greek Herakles, whose Twelve Labours are among the best-remembered of Greek myths. Finally, amongst these best-known of the Gods, is Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Beauty, who to the Romans was known as Venus.

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Latest Posts

  1. Nobel Foundation Returns Mycenaean Gold Ring to Greece

    An ancient gold ring dating back to Mycenaean times was recently returned to Greece by Sweden’s Nobel Foundation, according to an announcement of the Greek Culture Ministry. The Mycenaean signet ring…

    Read More

  2. Greece’s Kastellorizo to Host 1st Rock Solid Trail Race in June

    Kastellorizo, one of Greece’s smallest islands located in the Dodecanese, is getting ready to host the 1st Rock Solid island trail race, scheduled to take place during June 11-12.

    Read More

  3. EU: Greece Among Winners of Natura 2000 Awards for Nature Protection

    Greece is among the six winners of the 2022 edition of the Natura 2000 Awards, an event that recognises conservation success stories across the EU and raises awareness on the Natura 2000 protected are…

    Read More

  4. Greece Takes First Step to Create Museum of Underwater Antiquities in Piraeus

    The Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) has handed over under a concession deal a 1934 silo on the port of Piraeus and the surrounding space to the Greek Culture Ministry so that it may be converted into a M…

    Read More

  5. Hydra Travel Writing Classic

    Peel Me a Lotus by Charmian Clift is a Hydra travel writing classic, describing her family’s life on this tiny Greek island near Athens in the 1950s.

    Read More

  6. The Churches of Thessaloniki

    The churches of Thessaloniki are remarkable and include UNESCO World Heritage Monuments, Byzantine masterpieces, and a church dating from the 5th century.

    Read More

  7. Blue Flag: Greece 2nd in the World for its Clean Beaches

    Greece’s beaches are among the world’s cleanest with the region of Halkidiki and the island of Rhodes in the lead this year, according to the 2022 Blue Flag quality award list for beaches, marinas and…

    Read More

  8. Lipsi Municipality Says No to Sunbeds on Island’s Beaches

    The Municipality of Lipsi is saying “no” to sunbeds on the island’s beaches and is encouraging travelers to enjoy eco-conscious summer holidays this year in order to live authentic experiences. “We ar…

    Read More

  9. Ioannina to Launch Food Council to Define its Gastronomic Identity

    The Municipality of Ioannina, the capital of the Region of Epirus, northwestern Greece, has launched action to associate the city’s gastronomy with the destination’s brand-name and identity. “Adding t…

    Read More

  10. Athens National Garden Refurbishment is Underway

    The Athens Municipality recently completed the first phase of a 4.2-million-euro refurbishment project aiming to upgrade the National Garden, one of the Greek capital’s landmark sites. The refurbished…

    Read More