Body of stories concerning the gods, heroes, and rituals of the ancient Greeks.
That the myths contained a considerable element of fiction the more critical
Greeks, such as the philosopher Plato in the 5th–4th centuries BC, recognized.
In general, however, the myths were viewed in the popular piety of the Greeks as
trueaccounts. Greek mythology has subsequently had extensive influence on the
arts and literature of Western civilization, which fell heir to much of Greek
Although people of all countries, eras, and stages of civilization have
developed myths that explain the existence and workings of natural phenomena,
recount the deeds of godsor heroes, or seek to justify social or political
institutions, the myths of the Greeks have remained unrivaled in the Western
world as sources of imaginative and appealing ideas. Poets and artists from
ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and
have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in classical
The Homeric poems: the
Iliad and the Odyssey
Herodotus remarked that Homer and Hesiod gave to the Olympian gods their
familiar characteristics. Few today would accept this literally. In the
first book of the Iliad, the son of Zeus and Leto is as instantly
identifiable by his patronymic as are the sons of Atreus . In both cases,
the audience is expected to have knowledge of the myths that preceded their
literary rendering. Most scholars hold that Homer's tone is light and
humorous and that the audience is not expected to take the gods seriously.
Others reply that little is known to suggest that the Greeks treated Homer,
or any other source of Greek myths, as mere entertainment, whereas there are
prominent Greeks from Pindar to the later Stoa for whom myths, and those
from Homer in particular, are so serious as to warrant bowdlerization or
The works of Hesiod:
Theogony and Works and Days
The fullest and most important source of myths about the origin of the gods
is the Theogony of Hesiod. The elaborate genealogies mentioned above are
accompanied by folktalesand etiological myths. The Works and Days shares
some of these in the context of a farmer's calendar and an extensive
harangue on the subject of justice addressed to Hesiod's possibly fictitious
brother Perses. The orthodox view treats the two poems as quite different in
theme and treats the Works and Days as a theodicy (a natural theology). It
is possible, however, to treat the two poems as a diptych, each part
dependent on the other. The Theogony declares the identities and alliances
of the gods, while the Works and Days gives advice on the best way to
succeed in a dangerous world rendered yet more dangerous by its gods; and
Hesiod urges that the most reliable—though by no means certain—way is to be
Other literary works
Fragmentary post-Homeric epics, of varying date and authorship, filled the
gaps in the accounts of the Trojan War recorded in the Iliad and Odyssey;
the so-called Homeric Hymns (shorter surviving poems) are the source of
several important religious myths. Many of the lyric poets preserved various
myths, but the odes of Pindar of Thebes (flourished 6th–5th century BC) are
particularly rich in myth and legend. The works of the three
tragedians—Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, all of the 5th century
BC—are remarkable for the variety of the traditions they preserve. In
Hellenistic times (323–30 BC) Callimachus, a 3rd-century-BC poet and scholar
in Alexandria, recorded many obscure myths; his contemporary, the
mythographer Euhemerus, suggested that the gods were originally human, a
view known as Euhemerism. Apollonius of Rhodes, another scholar of the 3rd
century BC, preserved the fullest account of the Argonauts in search of the
Golden Fleece. In the periodof the Roman Empire, the Library of the pseudo-Apollodorus
(attributed to a 2nd-century-AD scholar), the antiquarian writings of the
Greek biographer Plutarch, and the works of Pausanias, a 2nd-century-AD
geographer, as well as the Genealogies of Hyginus, a 2nd-century-AD
mythographer, have provided valuable sources in Latin of later Greek
Forms of myth in Greek culture
To distinguish among myth, legend, and folktale can be useful, provided it
is remembered that the Greeks themselves did not do so.
Greek religious myths are concerned with gods or heroes in their more
serious aspects or are connected with ritual. They include cosmogonical
tales of the genesis of the gods and the world out of Chaos, the successions
of divine rulers, and the internecine struggles that culminated in the
supremacy of Zeus, the ruling god of Olympus. They also include the long
tale of Zeus's amours with goddesses and mortal women, which usually
resulted in the births of younger deities and heroes. The goddess Athena's
unique status is implicit in the story of her motherless birth (she was born
directly from Zeus); and the myths of Apollo explain that god's sacral
associations, describe his remarkable victories over monsters and giants,
and stress his jealousy and the dangers inherent in immortal alliances.
Myths of Dionysus, on the other hand, demonstrate the hostility aroused by a
novel faith. Some myths are closely associated with rituals, such as the
account of the drowning of the infant Zeus's cries by the Curetes,
attendants of Zeus, clashing their weapons, or Hera's annual restoration of
her virginity by bathing in the spring Canathus. Some myths about heroes and
heroines also had a religious basis. The tale of man's creation and moral
decline forms part of the myth of the Four Ages (see below Myths of the ages
of the world). His subsequent destruction by flood and regeneration from
stones is partly based on folktale.
Myths were viewed as embodying divine or timeless truths, whereas legends
(or sagas) were quasi historical. Hence, famous events in epics, such as the
Trojan War, were generally regarded as having really happened, and heroes
and heroines were believed to have actually lived. Earlier sagas, such as
the voyage of the Argonauts, were accepted in a similar fashion. Most Greek
legends were embellished with folktales and fiction, but some certainly
contain a historical substratum. Such are the tales of more than one sack of
Troy, which are supported by archaeological evidence, and the labours of
Heracles, which suggest Mycenaean feudalism. Again, the legend of the
Minotaur (a being part human, part bull) could have arisen from exaggerated
accounts of bull leaping in ancient Crete.
In another class of legends, heinous offenses, such as attempting to make
love to a goddess against her will, deceiving the gods grossly by
inculpating them in crime, or assuming their prerogatives, were punished by
everlasting torture in the underworld. The consequences of social crimes,
such as murder or incest, were also described in legend (e.g., the story of
Oedipus, who killed his father and married his mother). Legends were also
sometimes employed to justify existing political systems or to bolster
Folktales, consisting of popular recurring themes and told for amusement,
inevitably found their way into Greek myth. Such is the theme of lost
persons—whether husband, wife, or child (e.g., Odysseus, Helen of Troy, or
Paris of Troy)—found or recovered after long and exciting adventures.
Journeys to the land of the dead were made by Orpheus (a hero who went to
Hades to restore his dead wife, Eurydice, to the realm of the living),
Heracles, Odysseus, and These us (the slayer of the Minotaur). The victory
of the little man by means of cunning against impossible odds, the exploits
of the superman (e.g., Heracles), or the long-delayed victory over enemies
are still as popular with modern writers as they were with the Greeks. The
successful countering of the machinations of cruel sires and stepmothers
(who are often witches), rescues of princesses from monsters, or temporary
forgetfulness at a crucial moment are also familiar themes in Greek myth.
Recognition by tokens, such as Odysseus' scar or peculiarities of dress, is
another common folktale motif. The babes-in-the-wood theme of the exposure
of children and their subsequent recovery is also found in Greek myth. The
Greeks, however, also knew of the exposure of children as a common practice.
Myths of origin
Myths of origin represent an attempt to render the universe comprehensible
in human terms. Greek creation myths (cosmogonies) and views of the universe
(cosmologies) were more systematic and specific than those of other ancient
peoples. Yet their very artistry serves as an impediment to interpretation,
since the Greeks embellished the myths with folktale and fiction told for
its own sake. Thus, though the aim of Hesiod's Theogony is to describe
theascendancy of Zeus (and, incidentally, the rise of the other gods), the
inclusion of such familiar themes as the hostility between the generations,
the enigma of woman (Pandora), the exploits of the friendly trickster
(Prometheus), or struggles against powerful beings or monsters like the
Titans (and, in later tradition, the Giants) enhances the interest of an
According to Hesiod, four primary divine beings first came into existence:
the Gap (Chaos), Earth (Gaea), the Abyss (Tartarus), and Love (Eros). The
creative process began with the forcible separation of Gaea from her doting
consort Heaven (Uranus) in order to allow her progeny to be born. The means
of separation employed, the cutting off of Uranus' genitals by his son Cronus,
bears a certain resemblance to a similar story recorded in Babylonian epic.
The crudity is relieved, however, in characteristic Greek fashion by the
friendly collaboration of Uranus and Gaea, after their divorce, in a plan to
save Zeus from the same Cronus, his cannibalistic sire.
According to Greek cosmological concepts, the Earth was viewed as a flat
disk afloat on the river of Ocean. The Sun (Helios) traversed the heavens
like a charioteer and sailed around the Earth in a golden bowl at night.
Natural fissures were popularly regarded as entrances to the subterranean
house of Hades, home of the dead.
Myths of the ages of
From a very early period, Greek myths seem open to criticism and alteration
on grounds of morality or of misrepresentation of known facts. In the Works
and Days, Hesiod makes use of a scheme of Four Ages (or Races): Golden,
Silver, Bronze, and Iron. “Race” is the more accurate translation, but
“Golden Age” has become so established in English that both terms should be
mentioned. These races or ages are separate creations of the gods, the
Golden Age belonging to the reign of Cronus, the subsequent races the
creation of Zeus. Those of the Golden Age never grew old, were free from
toil, and passed their time in jollity and feasting. When they died, they
became guardian spirits on Earth.
Why the Golden Age came to an end Hesiod failed to explain, but it was
succeeded by the Silver Age. After an inordinately prolonged childhood, the
men of the Silver Age began to act presumptuously and neglected the gods.
Consequently, Zeus hid them in the Earth, where they became spirits among
Zeus next created the men of the Bronze Age, men of violence who perished by
mutual destruction. At this point the poet intercalates the Age (or Race) of
Heroes. He thereby destroys the symmetry of the myth, in the interests of
history: what is now known as the Minoan–Mycenaean period was generally
believed in antiquity to have been a good time to live. (This subjection of
myth to history is not universal in Greece, but it is found in writers such
as Hesiod, Xenophanes, Pindar, Aeschylus, and Plato.) Of these heroes the
more favoured (who were related to the gods) reverted to a kind of restored
Golden Age existence under the rule of Cronus (forced into honourable exile
by his son Zeus) in the Isles of the Blessed.
The final age, the antithesis of the Golden Age, was the Iron Age, during
which the poet himself had the misfortune to live. But even that was not the
worst, for he believed that a time would come when infants would be born
old, and there would be no recourse left against the universal moral
decline. The presence of evil was explained by Pandora's rash action in
opening the fatal urn.
Elsewhere in Greek and Roman literature, the belief in successive periods or
races is found with the belief that by some means, when the worst is
reached, the system gradually (Plato, Politikos) or quickly (Virgil, Fourth
Eclogue) returns to the Golden Age. Hesiod may have known this version; he
wishes to have been born either earlier or later. There is also a myth of
progress, associated with Prometheus, god of craftsmen; but the progress is
limited, for the 19th-century concept of eternal advancement is absent from
Myths of the gods
Myths about the gods described their births, victories over monsters or
rivals, love affairs, special powers, or connections with a cultic site or
ritual. As these powers tended to be wide, the myths of many gods were
correspondingly complex. Thus, the Homeric Hymns to Demeter, a goddess of
agriculture, and to the Delian and Pythian Apollo describe how these deities
came to be associated with sites at Eleusis, Delos, and Delphi,
respectively. Similarly, myths about Athena, the patroness of Athens, tend
to emphasize the goddess' love of war and her affection for heroes and the
city of Athens; and those concerning Hermes (the messenger of the gods),
Aphrodite (goddess of love), or Dionysus describe Hermes' proclivities as a
god of thieves, Aphrodite's lovemaking, and Dionysus' association with wine,
frenzy, miracles, and even ritual death. Poseidon (god of the sea) was
unusually atavistic, in that his union with Earth and his equine adventures
appear to hark back to his pre-marine status as a horse or earthquake god.
Many myths are treated as trivial and lighthearted; but, as was said above,
this judgment rests on the suppressed premise that any divine behaviour that
seems inappropriate for a major religion must have seemed absurd and
fictitious to the Greeks. It is uncertain whether Homer knew of the judgment
of Paris; but he knew the far from trivial consequences for Troy of the
favour of Aphroditeand the bitter enmity of Hera and Athena, which the
judgment of Paris was composed to explain.
As time went on, an accretion of minor myths continued to supplement the
older and more authentic ones. Thus, the loves of Apollo, virtually ignored
by Homer and Hesiod, explained why the bay (or laurel) became Apollo's
sacred tree and how he came to father Asclepius, a healing god. Similarly,
the presence of the cuckoo on Hera's sceptre at Hermione or the invention of
the panpipe were explained by fables. Such etiological myths proliferated
during the Hellenistic era, though in the earlier periods genuine examples
are harder to detect.
Of folk deities, the nymphs (nature goddesses) personified nature or the
life in water or trees and were said to punish unfaithful lovers. Water
nymphs (Naiads) were reputed to drown those with whom they fell in love,
such as Hylas, a companion of Heracles. Even the gentle Muses (goddesses of
the arts and sciences) blinded their human rivals, such as the bard Thamyris.
Satyrs (youthful folk deities with bestial features) and Sileni (old and
drunken folk deities) were the nymphs' male counterparts. Like sea deities,
Sileni possessed secret knowledge that they would reveal only under duress.
Charon, the grisly ferryman of the dead, was also a popular figure of
Myths of heroes
Hero myths included elements from tradition, folktale, and fiction. The saga
of the Argonauts, for example, is highly complex and includes elements from
folktale and fiction, butthe information that the fleet mustered at Colchis
may be regarded as genuine legend. Episodes in the Trojan cycle, such as the
departure of the Greek fleet from Aulis or Theseus' Cretan expedition and
death on Scyros, may belongto traditions dating from the Minoan–Mycenaean
world. On the other hand, events described in the Iliad probably owe far
more to Homer's creative ability than to genuine tradition. Even heroes like
Achilles, Hector, or Diomedes are largely fictional, though doubtlessly
based on legendary prototypes. The Odyssey is the prime example of the
wholesale importation of folktales into epic. All the best-known Greek hero
myths, such as the labours of Heracles and the adventures of Perseus, Cadmus,
Pelops, or Oedipus, depend more for their interest on folktales than legend.
Certain heroes—Heracles, the Dioscuri (the twins Castor and Pollux),
Amphiaraus (one of the Argonauts), or Hyacinthus (a youth loved by Apollo
and accidentally killed)—may be regarded as partly legend and partly
religious myth. Thus, whereas Heracles, a man of Tiryns, may originally have
been a historical character, the myth of his demise on Oeta and subsequent
elevation to full divinity is closely linked with a cult. In time, Heracles'
popularity was responsible for connecting his story with the Argonauts, an
earlier attack on Troy, and with Theban myth. Similarly, the exploits of the
Dioscuri are those of typical heroes: fighting, carrying off women, and
cattle rustling. After their death theypassed six months alternately beneath
the Earth and in the world above, which suggests that their worship, like
that of Persephone (the daughter of Zeus and Demeter), was connected with
fertility or seasonal change.
Myths of seasonal
Certain myths, in which goddesses or heroes were temporarily incarcerated in
the underworld, were allegories of seasonal renewal. Perhaps the best-known
myth of this type is the one telling how Hades (Latin Pluto), the god of
the underworld, carried Persephone off to be his consort, causing her mother
Demeter, the goddess of grain, to allow the earth to grow barren out of
grief. Because of her mother's grief, Zeus permitted Persephone to spend
four months of the year in the house of Hades and eight in the light of day.
In less benign climates, she was said to spend six months of the year in
each. Some scholars hold that Persephone's time below ground represents the
summer months, when Greek fields are parched and bare; but the Hymn to
Demeter, the earliest source, states explicitly that Persephone returns when
the spring flowers are flourishing (line 401). Myths of seasonal renewal, in
which the deity dies and returns to life at particular times of the year,
are plentiful. An important Greek example is the Cretan Zeus, mentioned
Many Greek myths involve animal transformations, though there is no proof
that theriolatry (animal worship) was ever practiced by the Greeks. Gods
sometimes assumed the form of beasts in order to deceive goddesses or women.
Zeus, for example, assumed the form of a bull when he carried off Europa, a
Phoenician princess, and appeared in the guise of a swan in order to attract
Leda, wife of a king of Sparta. Poseidon took the shape of a stallion to
beget the wonder horses Arion and Pegasus.
These myths do not suggest theriolatry. No worship is offered to the deity
concerned. The animals serve other purposes in the narratives. Bulls were
the most powerful animals known to the Greeks and may have been worshiped in
the remote past. But for the Greeks in even the earliest sources, there is
no indication that Zeus or Poseidon were once bulls or horses, or that Hera
was ever “ox-eyed” other than metaphorically, or that “gray-eyed” Athena was
Other types of myth exemplified the belief that the gods sometimes appeared
on Earth disguised as men and women and rewarded any help or hospitality
offered them. Baucis, an old Phrygian woman, and Philemon, her husband, for
example, were saved from the flood by offering hospitality to Zeus and
Hermes, both of whom were in human form. The punishment of men's presumption
in claiming to be the gods'superiors, whether in musical skill or even the
number of their children, is described in several myths. The gods' jealousy
of their musical talents appears in the beating and flaying of the
flute-playing Satyr, Marsyas, by Athena and Apollo, as well as in the
attaching of ass's ears to King Midas for failing to appreciate the
superiority of Apollo's music to that of the god Pan. Jealousy was the
motive for the slaying of Niobe's many children, because of Niobe's
flaunting her fecundity to the goddess Leto, who had only two offspring.
Similar to such stories are the moral tales about the fate of Icarus, who
flew too high on homemade wings, or the myth about Phaethon, the son of
Helios, who failed to perform a task too great for him (controlling the
horses of the Sun).
Transformation into flowers or trees, whether to escape a god's embraces
(such as Daphne, a nymph transformed into a laurel tree), as the result of
an accident (such as Hyacinthus, a friend of Apollo, who was changed into a
flower), or because of pride (e.g., the beautiful youth Narcissus who fell
in love with his own reflection and was changed into a flower), were
familiar themes in Greek myth.
Also popular were myths of fairylands, such as the Garden of the Hesperides
(in the far west) or the land of the Hyperboreans (in the far north), or
encounters with monstrous or outlandish people, such as the Centaurs or
characters and motifs in art and literature
People of all eras have been moved and baffled by the deceptive simplicity
of Greek myths, and Greek mythologyhas had a profound effect on the
development of Western civilization.
The earliest visual representations of mythological characters and motifs
occur in late Mycenaean and sub-Mycenaean art. Though identification is
controversial, Centaurs, a Siren, and even Zeus's lover Europa have been
recognized. Mythological and epic themes are also found in Geometric art of
the 8th century BC, but not until the 7th century did such themes become
popular in both ceramic and sculptured works. During the Classical and
subsequent periods, they became commonplace. The birth of Athena wasthe
subject of the east pediment of the Parthenon in Athens, and the legend of
Pelops and the labours of Heracles was thesubject of the corresponding
pediment and the metopes (a space on a Doric frieze) of the Temple of Zeus
at Olympia. The battles of gods with Giants and of Lapiths (a wild race in
northern Greece) with Centaurs were also favourite motifs. Pompeian frescoes
reveal realistic representations of Theseus and Ariadne, Perseus, the fall
of Icarus, and the death of Pyramus.
The great Renaissance masters added a new dimension to Greek mythology.
Among the best-known subjects of Italian artists are Botticelli's “Birth of
Venus” (see ), the Ledas of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, and
Through the medium of Latin and, above all, the works of Ovid, Greek myth
influenced medieval poets such as Petrarch and Boccaccio in Italy and
Chaucer in England; Dante in Italy during the Renaissance; and, later, the
English Elizabethans and John Milton. Racine in France and Goethe in Germany
revived Greek drama, and nearly all the major English poets from Shakespeare
to Robert Bridges turned for inspiration to Greek mythology. In more recent
times, classical themes have been reinterpreted by such major dramatists as
Jean Anouilh, Jean Cocteau, and Jean Giraudoux in France, Eugene O'Neill in
America, and T.S. Eliot in England and by great novelists such as James
Joyce (Irish) and André Gide (French). The German composers Christoph Gluck
(18th century) and Richard Strauss (20th century), the German-French
composer Jacques Offenbach (19th century), and many others have set Greek
mythological themes to music.
John Richard Thornhill Pollard
Myth and the arts
In principle, the sort of relationship that exists between myth and
literature exists also with respect to the other arts. In the case of
architecture and sculpture, archaeological discoveries confirm the
primacy of mythical representations. Among the earliest known
three-dimensional objects built by man are prehistoric megalithic and
sepulchral structures. Mythological details cannot actually be
discerned, but it is generally believed that such structures express
mythological concerns and that mythical images dictated the shape. An
especially intriguing example is the stone circle at Stonehenge in
southern England. Axes of this construction are aligned with
significant risings and settings of the sun and moon, but the idea
that the circle was built for a religious purpose must remain likely
rather than certain.
Grave monuments of rulers are among the most important remains of
ancient civilizations (e.g., the Egyptian pyramids; and the sepulchral
structures of Chinese rulers since the Chou period, c. 1111–255 BC).
There is worldwide evidence that in archaic cultures man considered
the points of the compass to have mythological affiliations (e.g., the
West and death or the East and a new beginning). Mythological views
even influenced building activity. One architectural feature that can
have mythological significance is the column. In a number of popular
traditions the sky is believed to be supported by one or more columns.
The relatively strict separation between religious and civil
architecture that modern man is perhaps inclined to take for granted
has not existed in most cultures and periods and perhaps is not
universal even in modern times.
Even when art ceases to represent mythological matters outright, it is
still usually far from representational. That art has ceased to
represent mythology is challenged by some theorists, who argue that
what seems to be abandonment of mythological forms is really only a
change in mythology. The opposing arguments are analogous to the
favour able or unfavourable attitudes toward myth that religions have
Myth is one of the principal roots of drama. This is particularly
obvious in the earliest Western drama, the tragedies of classical
Greece, not only because of the many mythological subjects treated and
the plays' performance at the festival of Dionysus but also because of
the playwrights' mythlike presentation of events and facts. An example
of such presentation is the story pattern, notably the way retribution
follows transgression. Another feature of Greek drama that is relevant
to the subject of myth is the fact that the role of the chorus was
taken by a group of ordinary citizens. In Greek tragedy the heroic
past was presented and explored by a chorus of nonheroic individuals;
hence the meaning of the inherited myths was examined by a
collectivity that can be seen as standing for the wider collectivity
(more than 10,000 in number) that constituted the audience at the
plays. In its songs the chorus frequently had recourse to expressions
of a proverbial kind, using the distilled wisdom of the community to
account for the strange and often disturbing events represented in the
plays. The origins of drama are obscure, but Theodor Gaster, an
American historian of religion, has suggested that in the ancient
eastern Mediterranean world the interrelationship of myth and ritual
created drama. Elsewhere, dramatic presentations (as in Japanese no
plays and the Javanese wayang) are similarly rooted in myth.
Dance has been a medium for the expression of mythological themes
throughout the world and in all periods for which there is evidence.
Especially common are dances aimed at ensuring the continuity of
fertility or the success of hunting, at curing the sick, or at
achieving shamanistic trance states. An aspect of the decay of ritual
in the modern West is the tendency for dance to lose its close and
direct connection with the life of the community. A further
consequence is that the role of dance in embodying and exploring a
community's myths has often been overlooked, and dance may have become
further removed from myth than any other form of art in the Western
world. There are important and significant exceptions, however. One of
the most notable is the work of the American choreographer Martha
Graham, who frequently used mythical themes—often drawn from Greek
antiquity—as the inspiration for her ballets.
golden goddess of Love; born of the blood of Ouranos (the
Heavens) and the foam of the sea.
Apollon, the son
of Zeus and Leto; the brother of Artemis.
(Apollo, Apollon, Phoibos Apollon, the Striker from Afar)
Ares, the god of
War; the son of Zeus and Hera.
(Ares, Aries, Mars, God of War)
goddess of Wisdom; the daughter of Zeus and Metis; the virgin
goddess of intellect and invention.
(Athene, Athena, Pallas Athene, Tritogeneia, Glaukopis, Minerva)
goddess of the Harvest; the daughter of Kronos (Cronos) and
Dione, the Mother
Goddess of Mount Olympos (Olympus).
Eos, the Dawn;
mother of the Winds.
(Dawn, Eos, Erigeneia)
Enyo, one of the
Graiai (the Gray Sisters); the daughters of Keto (Ceto) and
(Enyo, Bellona, Gray Sisters, Graiai)
wearisome goddess of Hate.
Mist-Walking and the Kindly One; punisher of the unfaithful.
(Erinyes, Erinys, Furiae, Furies, Tisiphone, Megaera, Alecto,
Eris, the goddess
of Discord and Strife.
(Eris, Discordia, Discord)
Eros, the primal
god of Love; using arrows of gold and lead, he would wound the
hearts of mortals and Immortals alike.
Eurynome, one of
the many daughters of Ocean; the mother of the Graces.
The Fates, the
Daughters of Necessity; born of Zeus and Themis.
(Fates, Morae, Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos, Klotho, Lakhesis,
Moiras, Keras, Moirai, Moira)
daughters of Phorkys and Keto (Ceto); with snakes about their
heads and wrists, Medusa, Sthenno and Euryale were so hideous,
the shock of seeing them would turn anyone to stone.
(Gorgon, Medusa, Sthenno, Euryale)
daughters of Zeus and Eurynome; the attendants of Aphrodite
(goddess of Love) and the incarnations of Grace and Charm.
(The Graces, Graces, Aglaia, Euphrosyne, Thalia, The Charities,
Hades, Lord of the
Underworld; the son of Kronos (Cronos) and Rheia (Rhea).
(Hades, Underworld, Pluto)
Hebe, the goddess
of Youth; the daughter of Zeus and Hera; the wife of Herakles
Helios, the Sun;
the son of Hyperion and Eryphaesa; he sees everything his light
(Helios, Sun God, the Sun)
god of the Smith; the son of Hera and artificer of the
(Hephaistos, Hephaestus, Vulcan)
Hera, the daughter
of Kronos (Cronos) and Rheia (Rhea); the wife to Zeus; the most
beautiful of the Immortals.
ultimate hero; the son of Zeus and Alkmene (Alcmene).
(Herakles, Hercules, The Twelve Labors)
Hermes, the wing
shod messenger of the Olympians; the son of Zeus and Maia.
(Hermes, Mercury, Argeiphontes)
Hestia, the virgin
goddess of the Hearth and humble domestic joy.
Titan; father of Helios (the Sun), Eos (the Dawn) and Selene
Hypnos, the god of
Sleep; a child of Nix (Night) and the brother of Thanatos
Heifer-Maiden who rejected the love of Zeus.
Wind-Footed messenger of the Immortals.
queenly Nymph and lover of Odysseus.
(Calypso, Kalypso, Nymph, Nymphs)
Kheiron, the most
righteous of the Centaurs; the powerful master of many arts and
(Cheiron, Kheiron, Centaurs, Centaur, Eurytion)
Kirke, the Dread
Goddess; the daughter of Helios and the mistress of potions and
Kronos, the Titan;
father of the Olympians.
(Kronos, Cronos, Cronus, Saturn)
Leto, the consort
of Zeus and mother of Apollon and Artemis.
The Muses attend
the festivals on Olympos and entertain and inspire the other
gods with their wit and charm.
The Nereids, the
fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris.
(The Nereids, Nereids, Thetis, Agaue, Aktaia, Amphinome,
Amphithoe, Apseudes, Dexamene, Doris, Doto, Dynamene, Galateia,
Glauke, Halia, Iaira, Ianassa, Ianeira, Kallianassa,
Kallianeira, Klymene, Kumodoke, Kumothoe, Limnoreia, Maira,
Melite, Nemertes, Nesaie, Oreithyia, Pherousa, Panope, Proto,
Speio, Thaleia, Thoe)
Odysseus, the hero
of the Trojan War and the long suffering traveler in The
Orai, the three
sisters, Eunomia (Harmony), Dyke (Justice) and Eirene (Peace)
assist the Olympians by organizing the Seasons and adding
balance to Nature.
(Hours, The Hours, Eunomia, Dyke, Eiren, Horae, The Horae, Orai)
Pan, the Goat-God;
he prances through the fertile countryside in the company of
Nymphs playing his seven-reed pipe in wild abandon.
(Pan, Faunus, Goat God)
daughter of Demeter and Zeus; the wife of Hades and queen of the
Poseidon, the lord
the Sea; son of Kronos (Cronos) and Rheia (Rhea).
rebel god; in defiance of Zeus, he gave fire and other comforts
to the mortals on the earth.
Rheia, the wife of
devious Kronos (Cronos) and mother to the Olympians.
children of Okeanos (Ocean); Immortals who have chosen rivers as
their earthly bodies.
(Rivers, Acheloios, Akheloios, Aiseopos, Alpheios, Asopos,
Axios, Boagrios, Grenikos, Gyge, Hermos, Hyllos, Hypereia,
Karesos, Kephisos, Lykia, Maiandros, Messeis, Minyeios, Ocean,
Okeanos, Parthenios, Peneios, Rhesos, Rhodios, Sangarious,
Satnioeis, Simoei, Skamandros, Spercheios, Styx, Titaressos,
man-eating she-beast with six heads.
(Skylla, Charybdis, Kharybdis)
Styx, the eldest
daughter of Okeanos (Ocean) and Tethys; any Immortal who pours
the waters of Styx and swears an oath, is solemnly bound to tell
only the truth.
Thanatos, the god
of Death; a child of Nix (Night) and the brother of Hypnos
Thetis, one of the
fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris; the wife of Peleus and the
mother of Akhilleus (Achilles).
The Winds are
Immortals who have chosen the air as their earthly bodies.
(Winds, Eos, Boreas, Eurus, Notus, Zephyros, North Wind, East
Wind, South Wind, West Wind, Kaikias, Caicias, Apeliotes, Lips,
Olympian; the son of Kronos (Cronos) and Rheia (Rhea); lord of