The Greek Gods and Goddesses area of this site looks at the relationships between the main characters in Greek mythology.
Although this is a site dedicated to the Goddess and her archetypes, it is important not to view her in isolation. The Greek Gods and Goddesses and their myths were a reflection of ancient Greek society, in much the same way that are modern day soaps dramatise elements of society today.
Many of the Gods were fathers, husbands, lovers and brothers of the Goddesses. These relationships affected the behaviour and values of the Goddesses. By understanding these relationships we can therefore begin to gain a deeper understanding of the roles attributed to the Goddesses.
As there are so many Greek Gods and Goddesses in mythology on this page I am just going to concentrate on the twelve main Olympians.
Below is a brief introduction into who the Olympians were, their areas of influence and the relationships between them.
For more detailed information about the Goddesses please follow the links to their dedicated pages.
Zeus: He was king of the Greek Gods and Goddeses. With the assistance of his siblings, Hades and Poseidon, he waged a successful war against the Titans. His main weapon was his magical thunderbolts. He was also the God of the sky and rain.
Zeus was married to his sister Hera, but had many affairs and illegitimate children including: Ares, Apollo, Athena and Artemis. His other two sisters were Hestia and Demeter.
Goddess of marriage and Queen of Olympus through her marriage to her brother Zeus. Many Greek myths tell of her plots to
get revenge on her husband his lovers and their offspring.
Hera's other siblings were: Poseidon, Hestia, Demeter and Hades.
She was the mother of Ares and Hephaestus.
Poseidon - The God of the sea and earthquakes which he controlled with his mighty trident. He rode a chariot driven by two hippocamps.
He lost out on the position of King when he and his brothers (Zeus and Hades) chose lots to divide up the world after the war against the Titans. Poseidon was a bad loser and picked many quarrels with the other Greek Gods and Goddesses.
In addition to his famous brothers He had three well known sisters: Hera, Hestia and Demeter.
- Lord of the underworld and underdog to his brothers Zeus and Poseidon. He has a special hat that makes him invisible.
He is often not included in the list of the main Olympians as he is not very social and stays in his own domain.
Hades kidnaps and tricks his sister's (Demeter) daughter Persephone, into marrying him.
Athena - She emerged out of her father's head after he swallowed her pregnant mother.
She was Zeus's favourite daughter and the Goddess of war and wisdom. Athena used her diplomacy to prevent conflict where possible and her intellect to devise battle plans when talking failed.
She never married nor had any children.
Apollo - The Son of Zeus and the twin brother of Artemis. He is known as the archer. He was also the God of music, healing and science. His chariot pulls the sun across the skies each day.
Artemis - As Goddess of the Hunt she carried a bow and arrow. Her independent spirit meant she chose not to marry or become a mother. Despite this she was known as the Goddess of childbirth as she helped to deliver her own twin brother, Apollo.
Ares - The unpopular God of war who even Zeus, his father struggled to control. He wasn't unpopular with everyone as he was the most famous of Aphrodite's lovers.
Aphrodite - She was born out of seafoam when Cronus chopped off Uranus genitals and threw them into the sea. Known as Goddess of Love and beauty she used these gifts to her advantage, attracting many lovers including: - Zeus, Dionysus, Hermes and Poseidon.
Her marriage to Hephaestus ended in divorce after he trapped her in bed with her main lover Ares.
Hephaestus - His mother Hera, threw him from Mount Olympus when he was born crippled.
Hephaestus became the God of blacksmiths and volcanoes. On returning to Olympus he marries Aphrodite but soon loses her to Ares.
Hermes - Was one of Zeus's many children and was God of trade and commerce. He is known as the messenger to the Gods as intercedes between the Gods and mortals and travels between the two with his winged sandals and helmet.
Hestia - Goddess of the hearth and home. Although she is one of Zeus's siblings she did not seek personal glory or power. She gave up her seat as one of the Olympians to Dionysus, to allow her to tend the sacred fire on Mount Olympus.
Even just taking the Olympian Goddesses you can begin to see the very complex relationships between the Greek Gods and Goddesses.
Firstly you can notice that some of the Goddesses have very unusual births and that even though Athena and Artemis have Zeus as a father they are not from his marriage with the Goddess Hera.
It was not only the Gods that were famous for their affairs here we can also see that Aphrodite had many lovers.
What may perhaps surprise some readers was the number of Goddesses that did not marry and chose to remain celibate. Unfortunately many of the myths show that this choice was not supported by the Gods who often continues to pursue them.
Nuclear family units were definitely not the norm for these Gods and Goddesses.
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