The ancients Greeks to be polytheistic — that is, lock worshipped countless gods. Their significant gods and goddesses lived at the optimal of mountain Olympus, the greatest mountain in Greece, and myths defined their lives and actions. In myths, god often actively intervened in the day-to-day resides of humans. Myths were used to assist explain the unknown and sometimes teach a lesson.
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For example, Zeus, the king the the gods, brought his favorite weapon, the thunderbolt. As soon as it rained and also there to be thunder and lightning, the ancient Greeks believed that Zeus was venting his anger.
Many stories around how the Greek god behaved and interacted with people are uncovered in the works of Homer. He created two epic poems: the Iliad, which associated the occasions of the Trojan War, and the Odyssey, which comprehensive the travel of the hero Odysseus. These two poems to be passed under orally over countless generations.
Painting © M. Larrinaga
The Statue of Zeus at Olympia (recreated above) was one of the seven Wonders that the ancient World. Zeus to be the ruler of the gods, the lord of the skies, and also the dad of plenty of deities and also demigods that the Greek pantheon.
| Sing, goddess, the rage of Peleus" child Achilleusand the devastation, which put pains thousandfold ~ above the Achaians,|
Aphrodite, the goddess the love, sits v the war god, Ares in this paint by the Renaissance artist Botticelli. Aphrodite is among several Greek goddesses, and also is frequently referred to by her roman name, Venus.
hurled in their multitudes to the home of Hades solid soulsof heroes, however gave their bodies to it is in the delicate feastingof dogs, of all birds, and also the will of Zeus was accomplishedsince that time when first there stood in division of conflictAtreus" kid the mr of men and also brilliant Achilleus.Homer, the Iliad (1951, translate in by Richard Lattimore)
A Soap Opera indigenous Hellas
Courtesy NASA and also Cislunar Aerospace, Inc.
Many Greek myths explained the mysteries that nature. The legend of Apollo, for example, defines how the sun moves across the sky to increase and set each day.
The Greeks developed gods in the image of humans; that is, their gods had numerous human qualities even though they to be gods. The god constantly fought amongst themselves, behaved irrationally and unfairly, and also were regularly jealous of each other. Zeus, the king that the gods, was rarely faithful come his wife Hera. Hera plotted versus Zeus and punished his mistresses.
The Greek gods were very emotional and behaved inconsistently and also sometimes immorally. Greek religious beliefs did not have a standard collection of morals, there to be no Judaic Ten Commandments. The gods, heroes, and humans of Greek mythology to be flawed.
In addition to Zeus and also Hera, there were many other major and minor gods in the Greek religion. At her birth, Athena, the goddess of wisdom, sprang straight from the head the Zeus. Hermes, who had actually winged feet, to be the messenger the the gods and also could fly all over with good speed. Aphrodite, the goddess of love, to be the many beautiful gift in the universe. Her brother, Ares, the god that war, was sinister, mean, and disliked. Poseidon, ruled the sea indigenous his underwater place and also Apollo speak his chariot throughout the sky, pass the sun with him.
Hades was in charge of the dead in the underworld. Nearly all world went come Hades after ~ they died whether they were great or bad. To gain there, the dead had to cross the flow Styx. Charon to be the surname of the boatman who ferried the souls the the dead across the river Styx come Hades.
Typically, the gods punished those who were bad. For example, Tantalus who eliminated his very own son and served him come the gods because that dinner was sent to Hades and also made forever thirsty and hungry. Although there was a pool of clear, fresh drinking water in ~ his feet, anytime Tantalus bent down to drink, the pool would certainly dry up and also disappear.
Likewise, end his head hung the many delicious fruit. However, anytime Tantalus reached for them, a wind would certainly blow them just out the his reach. The English indigenous "tantalize" derives native the name Tantalus.
Pandora"s Box and also Hercules" Labors
Myths helped explain how the world came to be the way it was. In one myth, Zeus created an very beautiful and practically perfect woman called Pandora. She one flaw was the she was very curious and suspicious. Hermes, Zeus"s messenger, provided Pandora a golden box. He warned her never ever to open it because terrible points would occur if she did.
But Pandora might hardly contain she curiosity and eventually damaged down and opened the special box. The end from package flew every the evils that torment humanity: famine, greed, pain, sorrow, etc. Only one thing continued to be in the box — hope — which humans regulated to hold on to. This myth defines the beginnings of human misfortune. At the same time, the teaches a ethical lesson through warning that the dangers of curiosity.
In addition to myths around gods, the old Greeks also told stories around heroes. Among the most famous Greek heroes was Hercules, the world"s the strongest man. Hercules was the illegitimate son of a mortal woman and also Zeus, who tricked the mrs by disguising himself together the woman"s husband. Hera, Zeus"s wife, was angry about Zeus" affair and also sought to punishment Hercules. Hera tricked Hercules into believing that his entire family to be dangerous beasts, which Hercules then proceeded come kill. As soon as Hercules realized that he had killed his whole family, that agreed to execute 12 jobs to atone because that his destructive actions. For one of the tasks, Hercules had to slay the nine-headed monster referred to as the Hydra.
For one more task, he had actually to clean the filth native Augean stable, which had not been attended come in 30 years. To do this, Hercules sail the food of a river the washed away the mess. In the end, he perfect the so-called 12 Labors of Hercules and also made up because that the killing of his family.
|Zeus||King of the gods, Zeus eliminated his father Chronos. That is also the god that thunder.|
|Hera||The mam of Zeus, Hera is the goddess that fertility.|
|Poseidon||The god of the sea.|
|Hades||The god that the underworld.|
|Hestia||A little-known goddess, she is a sister that Zeus and goddess of the hearth.|
|Chronos||The leader the the Titans and father that the Olympians, Chronos ate all his children except for Zeus, who killed him.|
|Demeter||Goddess the the harvest and mother that Persephone.|
|Apollo||God of the sun, music, and art, among the most versatile gods.|
|Artemis||Goddess of the hunt, Moon, and also childbirth. The sister the Apollo, she is additionally a really versatile Olympian.|
|Aphrodite||The goddess that love and also the mom of Eros, recognized to the Romans together Cupid.|
|Ares||The god of War.|
|Athena||Sprang full-grown native Zeus"s head. She is the Goddess of wisdom. The city that Athens is named for her.|
|Haephestos||The god of the forge. Thrown indigenous the peak of mount Olympus through Zeus, Haephestos is likewise crippled. The husband of Aphrodite.|
|Hermes||The messenger god wears a winged helmet and winged sandals.|
|Persephone||The daughter that Demeter, Persephone to be kidnapped by Hades to be his bride. Due to the fact that she ate three pomegranate seeds, she is forced to spend three month of the year in Hades. This duration of time is known as winter.|
|Dionysos||The god that wine and revelry. Dionysos had actually an substantial following transparent the Greek world.|
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|Eros||The god that love. Often shown as a young child, Eros provided magical arrows can to cause people to loss in love.|