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Gods of Greece

For discussion and questions about Gods and Goddesses.

Gods of Greece

Postby Symandinome » Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:30 am

Adonis- handsome young hunter, beloved by Aphrodite

When Adonis was an infant, Aphrodite put him in a chest and gave him to the Greek goddess of the Underworld, Persephone, to be taken care of.

Persephone, however, was so much charmed by the extraordinary beauty of Adonis that, when he had reached manhood, she refused to give him back to Aphrodite.

In order to judge fairly, Zeus (or the Muse Calliope) allowed Persephone to keep Adonis in the Underworld for four months every year. Four months Adonis should also spend with Aphrodite and the remaining four months he could stay with whomever his heart longed for. Adonis opted for Aphrodite.

Aphrodite- Goddess of Love, Beauty, and Eternal Youth

Birth and Family of Aphrodite:

As her name implies, Aphrodite (aphro="foam"+dite="arisen"), was created from the foam of the crystal waters of Paphos in the fragrant island of Cyprus, when the Titan Cronos slew his father, the major Titan Ouranos, and threw then his genitals into the sea.

Aphrodite was married to the lame smith Hephaestus, who was the Olympian God of the Iron, but her heart was devoted to Ares, the God of War, with whom Aphrodite was having a passionate, but secret love affair.

According to a myth, Aphrodite gave birth to Eros, the winged cupid of love and was often accompanied by him. Other children of Aphrodite were Hemeros, Pothos(desire), Phobos(fear), Demos, Harmonia and Rhodes.

The Role of Aphrodite as a Goddess:

Aphrodite was the most attractive goddess of Mount Olympus. She was the goddess of Love, Beauty and Eternal Youth, arousing desire to gods and humans as well as birds and beasts. In addition, she was connected with the death/rebirth of nature and human beings. Nevertheless, Aphrodite was a rather weak, frightful goddess, according to the Iliad.

Appearance and Sacred Symbols:

Aphrodite was a highly attractive young woman who dressed elegantly and loved to wear jewellery. Her eyelashes were curled and she had a constant smile on her lovely face, since she was a lover of smiles. Aphrodite had a tender neck, tender breasts, and beautiful buttocks.

Aphrodite's symbols were the girdle, which she was using to compel love, the seashell and the mirror. Her sacred animal was the dove.

Myths and Fables about Aphrodite:

The Birthplace of Aphrodite in Cyprus
Aphrodite and Adonis
Behind the Trojan War-Aphrodite, Paris and the Golden Apple
Aphrodite and the Weasel

Monuments related to Aphrodite:

Temple of Aphrodite in Delos, Greece
Temple of Aphrodite in Paphos, Cyprus

Festivals of Aphrodite Festivals in honour of Aphrodite:

"Aphrodisia" A festival in honour of Aphrodite celebrated mainly in the island of Cyprus

Titles of Aphrodite:

Aphrodite was referred to with the epithet(s):

Cypria("from Cyprus")
Cytherea("from the Greek island of Cythera")
genetyllis("capable of reproduction")
kallipygos("of the beautiful buttocks")
Nomios("of the flocks")

Apollo- the Olympian God of the Sun, the Light, the Music and the Prophecy

Family Tree of Apollo:

Apollo was born by the King of the Gods Zeus and the mortal Leto in the divine Greek island of Delos. He was the younger twin of Artemis, the goddess of the hunt.

Apollo and the Music:

Apollo was the Greek god of the Music. He invented the lute(a plucked string instrument with a body shaped like a pear), but most popular he was for his playing the lyre, which was invented by Hermes, the messenger of the gods. Apollo excelled in important music contests, competing against Greek god Hermes and the Satyr Pan as well as other deities.

Apollo, the god of Prophecy:

In addition, Apollo owned the precious gift of prophecy, given to him by his father Zeus in his infacy, and was the patron of the ancient city of Delphi, where the first oracle in Ancient Greece was located. The disctrict was considered to be the Navel of the World (the "Omphalus") in Ancient times.

Appearance and Sacred Symbols:

Apollo was a handsome, strong and youthful god with impressive golden hair.

His symbols were the lyre, the tripod, the laurel tree and the navelstone.

Myths and Fables about Apollo:

The Birth of the Siblings Apollo and Artemis
Apollo's Fight with the monstrous Python
Apollo, Daphne and the Laurel Tree
Apollo and Hyacinth

Monuments related to Apollo:

Temple of Apollo Delphinus in Delphi, Greece
Temple of Apollo in Ancient Athens, Greece

Titles of Apollo:

alexikakos("keeping away the bad")
Delphinios("from Delphi")
lyceus("guide of the wolves")
musagetes("leader of the Muses")

Ares- the Olympian God of War and the figure behind all kind of violence

Ares, the God of War:

Ares, the Greek god of War, was the son of Zeus and Hera. The half-sister of Ares was Athena, the goddess of Wisdom and Skill. Athena also was a goddess of War but approached war solely for the purposes of justice.

Reputation of Ares:

Just like his mother Hera, Ares had a very difficult character to deal with and was therefore rather unpopular among the other deities and mankind. For this reason, no Greek city wanted to have him as its patron. He often had conflicts and fights with Artemis, the goddess of the Hunt and also with his sister Athena, especially during the Trojan War.

Ares' Way of Life:

Ares had his residence up on Mount Olympus and his throne was upholstered with human skin. Usually he was accompanied by Eris, the goddess of discord. Ares' secret mistress was Aphrodite, the goddess of Love and Beauty; their union resulted to the birth of Armonia (Harmony), which was seen as a blend of two opposing powers.

Sacred symbols of Ares:

The spear and the dogs

Titles of Ares:

Ares was referred to with the epithet(s):

Enualios("resempling war")

Artemis- the Greek goddess of the Hunt and the Moon and protector of expectant women and the young.

Family of Artemis:

Greek goddess Artemis was born in Mount Cynthus at the island of Delos in Greece as a daughter of Zeus, the Ruler of the Greek gods and the mortal Leto. Artemis' twin brother was Apollo, the god of the Sun, whereas Artemis' cult was connected with the Moon. She had been born before Apollo and had helped her mother Leto to give birth to her little brother.

Artemis, the Virgin Huntress:

As a child, Artemis had asked from her father Zeus to remain an eternal virgin and therefore became one of the three Virgin Goddesses in Greek mythology. Artemis had absolute sovereignty over nature and was said to bring fertility to all places that worshipped her. Usually accompanied by Nymphs and Oceanids, Artemis loved to hunt with arrows dipped in poison.

Oddly enough, Artemis was both a killer of wild animals and their protector.

Appearance and Sacred Symbols:

Artemis was usually armed with bow and arrows and was wearing a knee-high chiton

Her symbol was the bow and her sacred animals were the snake and the deer

Myths of Artemis:

Goddess Artemis, the Protector of Animals
Bathing Artemis and Actaeon
Artemis, Apollo and the Tears of Niobe

Monuments related to Artemis:

Temple of Artemis in Brauron, Greece
Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, Turkey

Titles of Artemis:

Artemis was referred to with the epithet(s):

caryatis("of the walnut tree")
Cynthia("of Mount Cynthus in Delos, Greece")
daphnia("of the laurel tree")
Ephesian("from Ephesus")
hymnia("of the songs/hymns")
kourotrophos("upbringer of young children")
lochia("patron of pregnant women")
potnia theron("lover/mistress of the animals")

Asclepius- the god of healing and medicine and posessed also the power to raise dead people

Asclepius was the son of the Olympian god Apollo and the beautiful mortal Coronis and one of the youngest gods in Greek Mythology. According to the ancient Greek belief, Asclepius was the personification of the ideal physician, alleviating mortals from their pains.

Athena- the Greek goddess of wisdom, skill and war

Athena's extraordinary Birth:

Athena was a child of Zeus and Metis, Zeus' first wife, who was keeping inside herself all the world's wisdom. She was born during the battle of the Giants, when she suddenly sprang out of the head of Zeus fully grown.

"Athena is believed to have been born in the ancient Arcadian city of Alipheira in Greece. While Zeus was married to his first wife, the Oceanid Metis, Metis soon became pregnant. According to a prophecy at that time, Metis would bear a son who would pose a severe threat to Zeus, so right after Metis revealed her pregnancy, Zeus fearfully swallowed her in order to protect his kingdom.

Nine months passed by and then suddenly Zeus started feeling a strong pain in his head and asked the Gods' smith Hephaestus to comfort him. Hephaestus obeyed and opened Zeus' head with an axe, without hurting him though and out of Zeus' head sprang goddess Athena. She was already an adult and in panoply, holding a shield in her hands and uttering warlike cries!

From the first moment goddess Athena came into the world, she won the heart of Zeus and for ever became his favorite child. However, since she never received a mother's care, she inevitably possessed more masculine than feminine attributes."

Athena's precious Skills:

Athena was the goddess who taught mankind various skills such as weaving and sewing to the women and agriculture and metallurgy to men and was always giving precious advice and stood by on any danger.

Athena and the City of Athens:

After competing against the Greek god Poseidon, Athena officially became the patron deity of the city of ancient Athens and the Parthenon was built in her honour. She was known as "Athena Nike" (Athena the victorious), as she was believed to have given the Athenians the victory during the Persian War.

Appearance and Sacred Symbols:

A tall, slim woman with glaucous eyes trickling light, wearing a suit of armour and a golden helmet

Athena's symbols were the distaff and the aegis- a goat-like shield, to which the head of the Gorgon Medusa was fastened in order to terrify the opponents.
Athena's sacred animal was the owl, the symbol of wisdom.

Myths of Athena:

The Creation of the Lycabettus Hill in Athens
Athena's Birth out of the Head of Zeus
Athena, Poseidon and the Patronage of Athens
Athena, Arachne and the Weaving Contest
Athena and the Price of Impiety

Monuments related to Athena:

Parthenon on the Acropolis in Ancient Athens, Greece

Titles of Athena:

Athena was referred to with the epithet(s):

Anemotis("protector of the winds")
Hippia("guide of the horses")
Nike("bringer of victory")
Polios("defender/guardian of the city")
Promachos("leader of the battle")

Charites/The Graces- were three lovely goddesses of Joy, Charm and Beauty

According to a myth, the Charites were daughters of King Zeus and the Oceanid Eurynome.

There were three Charites in Greek Mythology: Aglaia, the Grace that symbolized Beauty, Euphrosyne, the Grace of Delight and Thalia, the Grace of Blossom. According to Greek poet Pindar, these enchanting goddesses were created to fill the world with pleasant moments and goodwill.

Usually the Graces were attending the Greek goddess of Beauty Aphrodite and her companion Eros and loved dancing around in a circle to Apollo's divine music, together with the Nymphs and the Muses.

Demeter- the Greek goddess of agriculture and vegetation

Family of Demeter:

Demeter was the second daughter of the major Titans Rhea and Cronus, after Hestia, the goddess of the hearth.

Demeter's Personality and her Role as a Goddess:

Demeter was a peace-loving deity and the source of all growth and life; she was the goddess who provided all nutrition on the earth and taught mortals how to cultivate the earth and ease life. Demeter was most appreciated for introducing wheat to mankind, making man different from animals.

Appearance and Sacred Symbols:

A rich haired woman with golden tresses and slender feet, usually wearing a dark cloak [1].

Her symbols were the ear of wheat and the grains.

Myths of Demeter:

Goddess Demeter and her Mates
Goddess Demeter and the Wrath of Nature
Demeter and the Abduction of Persephone
Triptolemus and the Cultivation of Land

Monuments related to Demeter:

Temple of Demeter in Eleusis, Greece

Titles of Demeter:

Demeter was referred to with the epithet(s):


Dionysus- the Greek God of Wine, Joy and Theatre and a Lover of Peace

Family of Dionysus:

Dionysus was born in Thebes as the son of Zeus, the King of the Gods and the beautiful princess Semele. Because of his mortal mother, his birthplace Thebes refused to acknowledge him as an immortal at first.

Personality and Style of Dionysus:

Dionysus was a god known for his lightheartness and always offered his help to anyone in need. He was therefore very popular among gods and mortals and many festivals were being held every year in his honor. Nevertheless, Dionysus was many times misunderstood.

Dionysus was one of the Olympian gods who actually did not live in Mount Olympus but was constantly travelling around the world together with Satyrs and Maenads in order to discover the secrets of winemaking.

Appearance and Sacred Symbols:

A handsome young man with impressive hair (usually tresses falling below his shoulders) and a wreath of ivy on his head. In his hand he was holding a "thyrsos", which was a light staff wrapped with leaves of ivy and a pine cone on its top.

The sacred animal of Dionysos was the panther.

Myths of Dionysus:

The Birth of Dionysus
Midas and the Touch of Gold

Monuments related to Dionysus:

Theater of Dionysus in Ancient Athens, Greece

Titles of Dionysus:

Dionysus was referred to with the epithet(s):

Charidotes("giver of charm")

Eilithyia- the Greek goddess of Childbirth

Eilithyia was the goddess of childbirth. Her main concern was to help women on child delivery and moderate the pain.

Eilithyia was the daughter of the Olympian gods Zeus and Hera and also served as the assistant of Hera. Her siblings were Ares and Hebe.

Eilithyia was constantly accompanied by the three Fates, especially during childbirth.

Eileithyia's cult goes back to Minoan times and was first noted on the island of Crete. There was a sanctuary of the goddess in the area of the river Ilisos in Ancient Athens, where special dedications to the goddess were made in the form of child sculptures. Eilithyia was also worshiped as a symbol of fertility in the Greek island of Delos in thanks for successful deliveries.

Erinyes/Furies- were three goddesses of revenge and retribution

The Erinyes (also known as Furies) were cruel earth goddesses who symbolized the divine vengeance. The Furies were created from the blood of the Titan Uranus, when his son Cronus castrated him to take revenge on the loss of his siblings.
According to another legend, the Furies were the daughters of Nyx, who was the symbolization of the night and a daughter of Chaos.

The Erinyes were dreadful creatures with appalling features. They had a burning breath and poisonous blood was dripping from their eyes. Their heads were wreathed with serpents.

The Erinyes were persecuting crimes such as disrespect, injustice, perjury or arrogance and-first and foremost- murder, especially the murder inside a family. Their lust of punishment knew no bounds, for they kept punishing a sinner even after his death, until he finally would show remorse.

The Erinyes were 3 sisters in Greek mythology: Alecto("the angry"), Megaera("the grudging") and Tisiphone("the avenger").

Eros- the winged god of Love in Ancient Greece

Eros was a beautiful and very cunning small boy with wings. Eros was said to be born out of Chaos; according to another legend, though, Eros was the son of Ares, the god of War and Aphrodite, the goddess of Beauty, of whom Eros was the steady companion.

Eros was the Greek symbol of love and desire. He was shooting magic, golden arrows into the hearts of both mortals and immortals, spreading physical desire but also numbness and pain.

Eros himself was deeply in love with the Greek goddess Psyche, the goddess who incorporated human emotions.

Fates(Moirae)- were the spinners of the thread of life and personification of destiny

Genealogy of the Fates

The Fates were among the eldest goddesses in ancient Greek mythology. The Fates were either daughters of Zeus, the Lord of the gods, and Themis, the goddess of justice, or were created by goddess Nyx without the intervention of man.

The three Fates: Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos:

There were three Fates in Greek mythology: Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. Clotho, the spinner, was the youngest of the three Fates; she spun the thread of destiny with a distaff, determining the time of birth of an individual; Lachesis measured the thread length to determine the length of life; finally, cruel Atropos cut the thread of life, determining this way the time of death.

The Role of the Fates:

The Fates (Moirae) were the spinners of the thread of life, determining the span of human life of every mortal from birth to death. No other god had the right or the means to alter their decisions.
The Fates were the personifications of destiny; nevertheless, no human could blame the fates, since there were times he was the only one responsible for his failures.

Gaia-from Ancient Greek Γαῖα "land" or "earth;" also Gæa, Gaea, or Gea;[1] Koine Greek: Γῆ) was the primal Greek goddess personifying the Earth, the Greek version of "Mother Nature," or the Earth Mother, of which the earliest reference to the term is the Mycenaean Greek ma-ka (transliterated as ma-ga), "Mother Gaia," written in Linear B syllabic script.[2]

Gaia is a primordial deity in the Ancient Greek pantheon and considered a Mother Titan or Great Titan.

Gaia is the titan personifying Earth and these are her offspring as related in various myths. Some are related consistently, some are mentioned only in minor variants of myths, and others are related in variants that are considered to reflect a confusion of the subject or association.

Through parthenogenesis


With Uranus

Elder Muses

Some say that children marked with a * were born from Uranus' blood when Cronus defeated him.

With Pontus


With Poseidon


With Tartarus

Echidna (more commonly held to be child of Phorcys and Ceto)
Campe (presumably)

With Zeus


With Hephaestus

Erichthonius of Athens

With Aether


Unknown father or through parthenogenesis


Hades- the ruler of the Underworld

Family of Hades:

Greek god Hades was a son of the titans Cronus and Rhea. Hades' wife was Persephone, whom he abducted from her divine mother Demeter and took with him down to the Underworld.

Hades, the Ruler of the Underworld:

Hades was the Greek god of the Dead and, according to Plato, he should be considered as one of the Olympian gods.Hades was the supreme ruler of the Underworld. Almost never did he leave his gloomy kingdom but was residing there instead, surrounded by darkness and silence...

Hades' helper was Charos, the angel of dead. Charos had the duty to transfer the dead people 's souls with a boat over the River Acheron from the world of the living to the world of the dead. Furthermore, Hades had a dog with three heads which was named Cerberus.

Appearance and Sacred Symbols:

Hades had gloomy features. He had a beard and dark hair falling over his brow. His sacred symbol was the helmet, which helped him stay invisible.

Myths of Hades:

Drawing Lots with Zeus and Poseidon for the Share of the World
Hades and Menthe

Titles of Hades:

Hades was referred to with the epithet(s):

Polydectes("acceptor of many")

Hebe- the goddess of youth and the cupbearer of the gods. Hebe was the wife of the semi-god Heracles.

Hebe was the daughter of Zeus and Hera. However, according to a myth of that time, Hera had been impregnated solely by wild lettuce, while having dinner with the Greek god Apollo.

Hebe was the sister of Ares and Hephaestus and Eilythia, the goddess of childbirth.

Hebe was residing on Mount Olympus and was acting as a servant to the Olympian Gods, pouring sweet nectar into their glasses, until Ganymede, the lover of Zeus, was brought to Mount Olympus and replaced the goddess.

Hebe married Heracles just after he had obtained immortality, and the couple gave birth to two sons. Through Hebe, Heracles also gained eternal youth which was much to the dislike of Hebe's mother, Hera, who was fighting against Heracles constantly.

Appearance of Hebe

A youthful woman with a golden wreath

Hecate/Hekate- is a chthonic Greco-Roman goddess associated with magic, witchcraft, necromancy, and crossroads.

Regarding the nature of her cult, it has been remarked, "she is more at home on the fringes than in the center of Greek polytheism. Intrinsically ambivalent and polymorphous, she straddles conventional boundaries and eludes definition."[4] She has been associated with childbirth, nurturing the young, gates and walls, doorways, crossroads, magic, lunar lore, torches and dogs. William Berg observes, "Since children are not called after spooks, it is safe to assume that Carian theophoric names involving hekat- refer to a major deity free from the dark and unsavoury ties to the underworld and to witchcraft associated with the Hecate of classical Athens."[5] But he cautions, "The Laginetan goddess may have had a more infernal character than scholars have been willing to assume."[6] In Ptolemaic Alexandria and elsewhere during the Hellenistic period, she appears as a three-faced goddess associated with magic, witchcraft, and curses. Today she is claimed as a goddess of witches and in the context of Hellenic Polytheistic Reconstructionism. Some neo-pagans refer to her as a "crone goddess",[7] though this characterization appears to conflict with her frequent characterization as a virgin in late antiquity.


The earliest Greek depictions of Hecate are single faced, not triplicate. Lewis Richard Farnell states:

The evidence of the monuments as to the character and significance of Hecate is almost as full as that of the literature. But it is only in the later period that they come to express her manifold and mystic nature. Before the fifth century there is little doubt that she was usually represented as of single form like any other divinity, and it was thus that the Boeotian poet imagined her, as nothing in his verses contains any allusion to a triple formed goddess.[17] Hecate was, in some legends, an invisible figure, appearing only as a glimpse of light, possibly a connection to her status as a “moon goddess”. [18] Hecate has been depicted as a gigantic woman, holding a torch and a sword. Snakes make up her feet and hair. Thunder, shrieks, yells, and the barking of dogs is heard throughout her passage

The earliest known monument is a small terracotta found in Athens, with a dedication to Hecate, in writing of the style of the 6th century. The goddess is seated on a throne with a chaplet bound round her head; she is altogether without attributes and character, and the only value of this work, which is evidently of quite a general type and gets a special reference and name merely from the inscription, is that it proves the single shape to be her earlier form, and her recognition at Athens to be earlier than the Persian invasion.


Hecate has been characterized as a pre-Olympian chthonic goddess. She appears in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and in Hesiod's Theogony, where she is promoted strongly as a great goddess. The place of origin of her following is uncertain, but it is thought that she had popular followings in Thrace.[26] Her most important sanctuary was Lagina, a theocratic city-state in which the goddess was served by eunuchs.[26] Lagina, where the famous temple of Hecate drew great festal assemblies every year, lay close to the originally Macedonian colony of Stratonikeia, where she was the city's patroness.[27] In Thrace she played a role similar to that of lesser-Hermes, namely a governess of liminal regions (particularly gates) and the wilderness, bearing little resemblance to the night-walking crone she became. Additionally, this led to her role of aiding women in childbirth and the raising of young men.

Whom she will she greatly aids and advances: she sits by worshipful kings in judgement, and in the assembly whom she will is distinguished among the people. And when men arm themselves for the battle that destroys men, then the goddess is at hand to give victory and grant glory readily to whom she will. Good is she also when men contend at the games, for there too the goddess is with them and profits them: and he who by might and strength gets the victory wins the rich prize easily with joy, and brings glory to his parents. And she is good to stand by horsemen, whom she will: and to those whose business is in the grey discomfortable sea, and who pray to Hecate and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker, easily the glorious goddess gives great catch, and easily she takes it away as soon as seen, if so she will. She is good in the byre with Hermes to increase the stock. The droves of kine and wide herds of goats and flocks of fleecy sheep, if she will, she increases from a few, or makes many to be less. So, then, albeit her mother's only child, she is honored amongst all the deathless gods. And the son of Cronos made her a nurse of the young who after that day saw with their eyes the light of all-seeing Dawn. So from the beginning she is a nurse of the young, and these are her honors.[28]

Hesiod emphasizes that Hecate was an only child, the daughter of Perses and Asteria, a star-goddess who was the sister of Leto (the mother of Artemis and Apollo). Grandmother of the three cousins was Phoebe the ancient Titaness who personified the moon.

Hesiod's inclusion and praise of Hecate in the Theogony has been troublesome for scholars, in that he seems to hold her in high regard, while the testimony of other writers, and surviving evidence, suggests that this was probably somewhat exceptional. It is theorized that Hesiod's original village had a substantial Hecate following and that his inclusion of her in the Theogony was a way of adding to her prestige by spreading word of her among his readers.[29]

Hecate possibly originated among the Carians of Anatolia,[26] the region where most theophoric names invoking Hecate, such as Hecataeus or Hecatomnus, the father of Mausolus, are attested,[30] and where Hecate remained a Great Goddess into historical times, at her unrivalled[31] cult site in Lagina. While many researchers favor the idea that she has Anatolian origins, it has been argued that "Hecate must have been a Greek goddess."[32] The monuments to Hecate in Phrygia and Caria are numerous but of late date.[33]

If Hecate's cult spread from Anatolia into Greece, it is possible it presented a conflict, as her role was already filled by other more prominent deities in the Greek pantheon, above all by Artemis and Selene. This line of reasoning lies behind the widely accepted hypothesis that she was a foreign deity who was incorporated into the Greek pantheon. Other than in the Theogony, the Greek sources do not offer a consistent story of her parentage, or of her relations in the Greek pantheon: sometimes Hecate is related as a Titaness, and a mighty helper and protector of humans. Her continued presence was explained by asserting that, because she was the only Titan who aided Zeus in the battle of gods and Titans, she was not banished into the underworld realms after their defeat by the Olympians.[citation needed]

One surviving group of stories suggests how Hecate might have come to be incorporated into the Greek pantheon without affecting the privileged position of Artemis.[29] Here, Hecate is a mortal priestess often associated with Iphigeneia. She scorns and insults Artemis, who in retribution eventually brings about the mortal's suicide. Artemis then adorns the dead body with jewelry and commands the spirit to rise and become her Hecate, who subsequently performs a role similar to Nemesis as an avenging spirit, but solely for injured women. Such myths in which a native deity 'sponsors' or ‘creates’ a foreign one were widespread in ancient cultures as a way of integrating foreign cults. If this interpretation is correct, as Hecate's cult grew, she was inserted into the later myth of the birth of Zeus as one of the midwives that hid the child,[29] while Cronus consumed the deceiving rock handed to him by Rhea. There was an area sacred to Hecate in the precincts of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, where the priests, megabyzi, officiated.[34]

Hecate also came to be associated with ghosts, infernal spirits, the dead and sorcery. Like the totems of Hermes—herms placed at borders as a ward against danger—images of Hecate (like Artemis and Diana, often referred to as a "liminal" goddess) were also placed at the gates of cities, and eventually domestic doorways. Over time, the association with keeping out evil spirits could have led to the belief that if offended, Hecate could also allow the evil spirits in. According to one view, this accounts for invocations to Hecate as the supreme governess of the borders between the normal world and the spirit world, and hence as one with mastery over spirits of the dead.[29] Whatever the reasons, Hecate's power certainly came to be closely associated with sorcery. One interesting passage exists suggesting that the word "jinx" might have originated in a cult object associated with Hecate. "The Byzantine polymath Michael Psellus [...] speaks of a bullroarer, consisting of a golden sphere, decorated throughout with symbols and whirled on an oxhide thong. He adds that such an instrument is called a iunx (hence "jinx"), but as for the significance says only that it is ineffable and that the ritual is sacred to Hecate."[35]

Hecate is one of the most important figures in the so-called Chaldaean Oracles (2nd-3rd century CE),[36] where she is associated in fragment 194 with a strophalos (usually translated as a spinning top, or wheel, used in magic) "Labour thou around the Strophalos of Hecate."[37] This appears to refer to a variant of the device mentioned by Psellus.[38]

Variations in interpretations of Hecate's role or roles can be traced in 5th-century Athens. In two fragments of Aeschylus she appears as a great goddess. In Sophocles and Euripides she is characterized as the mistress of witchcraft and the Keres.

In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Hecate is called the "tender-hearted", a euphemism perhaps intended to emphasize her concern with the disappearance of Persephone, when she addressed Demeter with sweet words at a time when the goddess was distressed. She later became Persephone's minister and close companion in the Underworld. But Hecate was never fully incorporated among the Olympian deities.

The modern understanding of Hecate has been strongly influenced by syncretic Hellenistic interpretations. Many of the attributes she was assigned in this period appear to have an older basis. For example, in the magical papyri of Ptolemaic Egypt, she is called the 'she-dog' or 'bitch', and her presence is signified by the barking of dogs. In late imagery she also has two ghostly dogs as servants by her side. However, her association with dogs predates the conquests of Alexander the Great and the emergence of the Hellenistic world. When Philip II laid siege to Byzantium she had already been associated with dogs for some time; the light in the sky and the barking of dogs that warned the citizens of a night time attack, saving the city, were attributed to Hecate Lampadephoros (the tale is preserved in the Suda). In gratitude the Byzantines erected a statue in her honor.[39]

As a virgin goddess, she remained unmarried and had no regular consort, though some traditions named her as the mother of Scylla.[40]

Although associated with other moon goddesses such as Selene, she ruled over three kingdoms; the earth, the sea, and the sky. She had the power to create or hold back storms, which influenced her patronage of shepherds and sailors. [41]

Other names and epithets:

Apotropaia (that turns away/protects)[42]
Chthonia (of the earth/underworld)[43]
Enodia (on the way)[44]
Klêidouchos (holding the keys)[45]
Kourotrophos (nurse of children)[45]
Phosphoros (bringing or giving light)[45]
Propolos (who serves/attends)[45]
Propulaia/Propylaia (before the gate)[46]
Soteira (savior)[47]
Trimorphe (three-formed)[45]
Triodia/Trioditis (who frequents crossroads)[45]

The Triple Hecate, 1795
William Blake

Dogs were closely associated with Hecate in the Classical world. "In art and in literature Hecate is constantly represented as dog-shaped or as accompanied by a dog. Her approach was heralded by the howling of a dog. The dog was Hecate's regular sacrificial animal, and was often eaten in solemn sacrament."[51] The sacrifice of dogs to Hecate is attested for Thrace, Samothrace, Colophon, and Athens.[52]

It has been claimed that her association with dogs is "suggestive of her connection with birth, for the dog was sacred to Eileithyia, Genetyllis, and other birth goddesses. Although in later times Hecate's dog came to be thought of as a manifestation of restless souls or demons who accompanied her, its docile appearance and its accompaniment of a Hecate who looks completely friendly in many pieces of ancient art suggests that its original signification was positive and thus likelier to have arisen from the dog's connection with birth than the dog's demonic associations."[53]

Athenaeus (writing in the 1st or 2nd century BCE, and drawing on the etymological speculation of Apollodorus) notes that the red mullet is sacred to Hecate, "on account of the resemblance of their names; for that the goddess is trimorphos, of a triple form". The Greek word for mullet was trigle and later trigla. He goes on to quote a fragment of verse "O mistress Hecate, Trioditis / With three forms and three faces / Propitiated with mullets".[54] In relation to Greek concepts of pollution, Parker observes, "The fish that was most commonly banned was the red mullet (trigle), which fits neatly into the pattern. It 'delighted in polluted things,' and 'would eat the corpse of a fish or a man'. Blood-coloured itself, it was sacred to the blood-eating goddess Hecate. It seems a symbolic summation of all the negative characteristics of the creatures of the deep."[55] At Athens, it is said there stood a statue of Hecate Triglathena, to whom the red mullet was offered in sacrifice.[56] After mentioning that this fish was sacred to Hecate, Alan Davidson writes, "Cicero, Horace, Juvenal, Martial, Pliny, Seneca and Suetonius have left abundant and interesting testimony to the red mullet fever which began to affect wealthy Romans during the last years of the Republic and really gripped them in the early Empire. The main symptoms were a preoccupation with size, the consequent rise to absurd heights of the prices of large specimens, a habit of keeping red mullet in captivity, and the enjoyment of the highly specialized aesthetic experience induced by watching the color of the dying fish change." [57]

The frog, significantly a creature that can cross between two elements, also is sacred to Hecate.[58]

In her three-headed representations, discussed above, Hecate often has one or more animal heads, including cow, dog, boar, serpent and horse.[59]
[edit] Plants

Hecate was closely associated with plant lore and the concoction of medicines and poisons. In particular she was thought to give instruction in these closely related arts. Apollonius of Rhodes, in the Argonautica mentions that Medea was taught by Hecate, "I have mentioned to you before a certain young girl whom Hecate, daughter of Perses, has taught to work in drugs."[60]

The goddess is described as wearing oak in fragments of Sophocles' lost play The Root Diggers (or The Root Cutters), and an ancient commentary on Apollonius of Rhodes' Argonautica (3.1214) describes her as having a head surrounded by serpents, twining through branches of oak.[61]

The yew in particular was sacred to Hecate.

"Greeks held the yew to be sacred to Hecate, queen of the underworld, crone aspect of the Triple Goddess. Her attendants draped wreathes of yew around the necks of black bulls which they slaughtered in her honor and yew boughs were burned on funeral pyres. The yew was associated with the alphabet and the scientific name for yew today, taxus, was probably derived from the Greek word for yew, toxos, which is hauntingly similar to toxon, their word for bow and toxicon, their word for poison. It is presumed that the latter were named after the tree because of its superiority for both bows and poison."[62]

Hecate was said to favor offerings of garlic, which was closely associated with her cult.[63] She is also sometimes associated with cypress, a tree symbolic of death and the underworld, and hence sacred to a number of chthonic deities.[64]

A number of other plants (often poisonous, medicinal and/or psychoactive) are associated with Hecate.[65] These include aconite (also called hecateis),[66] belladonna, dittany, and mandrake. It has been suggested that the use of dogs for digging up mandrake is further corroboration of the association of this plant with Hecate; indeed, since at least as early as the 1st century CE, there are a number of attestations to the apparently widespread practice of using dogs to dig up plants associated with magic.[67]
[edit] Places

Hecate was associated with borders, city walls, doorways, crossroads and, by extension, with realms outside or beyond the world of the living. She appears to have been particularly associated with being 'between' and hence is frequently characterized as a "liminal" goddess. "Hecate mediated between regimes – Olympian and Titan - but also between mortal and divine spheres."[68] This liminal role is reflected in a number of her cult titles: Apotropaia (that turns away/protects); Enodia (on the way); Propulaia/Propylaia (before the gate); Triodia/Trioditis (who frequents crossroads); Klêidouchos (holding the keys), etc.

As a goddess expected to avert demons from the house or city over which she stood guard and to protect the individual as she or he passed through dangerous liminal places, Hecate would naturally become known as a goddess who could also refuse to avert the demons, or even drive them on against unfortunate individuals.[69]

It was probably her role as guardian of entrances that led to Hecate's identification by the mid fifth century with Enodia, a Thessalian goddess. Enodia's very name ("In-the-Road") suggests that she watched over entrances, for it expresses both the possibility that she stood on the main road into a city, keeping an eye on all who entered, and in the road in front of private houses, protecting their inhabitants.[70]

This function would appear to have some relationship with the iconographic association of Hecate with keys, and might also relate to her appearance with two torches, which when positioned on either side of a gate or door illuminated the immediate area and allowed visitors to be identified. "In Byzantium small temples in her honor were placed close to the gates of the city. Hecate's importance to Byzantium was above all as a deity of protection. When Philip of Macedon was about to attack the city, according to the legend she alerted the townspeople with her ever present torches, and with her pack of dogs, which served as her constant companions."[71] This suggests that Hecate's close association with dogs derived in part from the use of watchdogs, who, particularly at night, raised an alarm when intruders approached. Watchdogs were used extensively by Greeks and Romans.[72]

Like Hecate, "[t]he dog is a creature of the threshold, the guardian of doors and portals, and so it is appropriately associated with the frontier between life and death, and with demons and ghosts which move across the frontier. The yawning gates of Hades were guarded by the monstrous watchdog Cerberus, whose function was to prevent the living from entering the underworld, and the dead from leaving it."[73]
[edit] Festivals

Hecate was worshipped by both the Greeks and the Romans who had their own festivals dedicated to her. According to Ruickbie (2004, p. 19) the Greeks observed two days sacred to Hecate, one on the 13th of August and one on the 30th of November, whilst the Romans observed the 29th of every month as her sacred day. Many sacrifices or offerings used to gain Hecate's favor consisted of black lambs. These festivals were generally at night, with torches as the only light. Every tiny detail had to be perfect, for it was believed that anything that was left out would anger the goddess, and one of the many spirits that accompanied her would enter the worshipers and possess them. When the month ended, food was placed at a crossroads to honor Hecate.

Helios- the personification of the sunlight in Greek Mythology

The ancient Greeks interpreted Helios as a gigantic eye with a halo, observing everything his light could touch.

Birth and Family of Helios:

Helios was born from the union of the Celestial Titan Hyperion and Theia, the Titaness of Sight. Helios’ sisters were Selene, the goddess of the moon, and Eos, the radiant, rosy-fingered goddess of the dawn.

Helios was first married to his sister, Selene, but overall he had many wives, among them the Oceanid Perse; from their union, Helios became the father of king Aeetes, Circe and Pasiphae, the wife of Minos.

Helios and the Island of Rhodes:

Another wife of Helios was the Nymph Rhodes, meaning “Rose” in the Greek language. Rhodes gave her name to the Greek island Rhodes and Helios was the island’s patron deity.
The Rhodians worshipped Helios very much and organized annual festivities in his honour. The Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven world wonders of the World, was also built in Helios' honor. It was a bronze statue, about 32 meters high that was constructed by the famous Chares of Lindos.

The Daily Journey of Helios:

Every morning, Eos was traveling to Mount Olympus to announce her brother’s glorious arrival. As soon as Helios approached the Olympus, with his winged chariot pulled by four horses of fire, the two deities set off for their daily journey across the sky.

While traveling from the land of the dawn to the land of the heavens, Eos gradually transformed into Hemera (Day) and later on to Hespera (evening). Upon arrival, Helios hid himself in his golden cup and night fell upon the earth- this was the moment his wife Selene, the goddess of the moon, departed for her own, nightly journey.

Hemera- the goddess of the Day in Greek mythology

Hemera was a primordial goddess and the female embodiment of daylight. Hemera was created with much love by Erebos, the symbol of Darkness and Nyx, the night, both children of Chaos.

Hemera's sister was Aether, the goddess of the Heaven. Hemera was residing with her mother in Tartarus, in the depths of the Underworld, but the two deities never met each other at home.

Shortly after the break of day, Hemera was making a journey from the land of the dawn to the land of the heavens, gradually taking the place of Eos, the goddess of the dawn. Upon arrival, Helios, the sun god, hid himself in his golden cup and night fell upon the earth, and Hemera returned to her home in the Underworld. That was the moment when her mother Nyx would start her nightly journey.

Hephaestus- the Greek God of Metallurgy and the Smith of the Olympian Gods.

Family Tree of Hephaestus:

Hephaestus was the son of Zeus and Hera , although it was considered by some that he had been conceived prenuptially. Hephaestus was married to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of Beauty, but unfortunately Aphrodite never devoted herself entirely to Hephaestus.

Hephaestus' Disability:

Hephaestus was a very kind and loveable god, but was the only deity who was physically ugly and lame. When his mother Hera saw him for the first time, she was so frustrated that she took her son and threw him from Mount Olympus to the depths of the seas, causing a deformation to his leg. Hephaestus was finally rescued by two Nereids, Thetis and Eurynome, who raised him for nine years inside a cave, far away and hidden from his cruel mother.

The Workshop of Hephaestus:

Hephaestus had his working lay beneath the crater of the volcano of Aetna in Italy. There, he was working together closely with the one-eyed Cyclopes to create strong thunderbolts for his master Zeus. Hephaestus was also famous for having created the first woman of the ancient world, Pandora.

Symbols of Hephaestus:

Fire, the axe, the pincers and the hammer

Myths of Hephaestus:

The Revenge of Hephaestus on Hera

Monuments related to Hephaestus:

Temple of Hephaestus in Ancient Athens, Greece

Titles of Hephaestus:

Hephaestus was referred to with the epithet(s):

polytechnes("of many arts/skills")

Hera- the goddess of Marriage and Family and protector of married women.

The Family of Hera:

Hera was born by the Titans Cronus and Rhea and was one of the three sisters of Zeus and later on became his wife as well.
The royal wedding of Zeus and Hera was celebrated with exceptional splendour and the couple gave birth to four children; Eilithyia, the goddess who was protecting the childbirth, Ares, the Olympian god of war, Hebe, the goddess of youth and Hephaestus, the Olympian god of metallurgy. According to some beliefs, Hephaestus was born without the intervention of Zeus.

Hera's troubled marriage with Zeus:

Although Hera was one of the fairest goddesses in Mount Olympus, Zeus was giving Hera plenty of reason to be suspicious and jealous; Hera therefore used to stay in high places in order to keep an eye on her husband's doings. There were times she would also interfering, causing harm to Zeus' mistresses, since Zeus himself was invincible.

The Creation of the Milky Way:

Most of all, Hera was in conflict with the semi-god and hero Heracles, since he happened to be the son of her husband Zeus and a mortal woman. According to a myth, Zeus once brought the infant to Hera to suckle on her milk while she was asleep, but she suddenly woke up and thrusted him away. The drops of the spurting milk became the Milky Way.

Appearance and Sacred Symbols:

Hera was a beautiful-but not really desirable-, mature woman with big eyes and pierced lobes. She was wearing an ornate crown on her head, elegant clothes woven by Athena and tightened with a belt, and golden sandals were hugging her feet. Hera loved to wear jewellery and pamper her body with divine cosmetics.

Hera's symbol was the pomegranate, a symbol of fertility, and her sacred animal was the peacock.

Myths of Hera:

The Sacred Wedding of Zeus and Hera
Hera and the Peacock

Monuments related to Hera:

Sanctuary of Hera in Argos, Greece

Titles of Hera:

Hera was referred to with the epithet(s):

gamelia("patroness of marriage")

Hermes- the Greek God of the Trade, the god of eloquence and a luck-bringing Messenger of the Gods.

Birth of Hermes:

Hermes was born inside a cave on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia (Peloponnes) as the son Zeus, the King of the Gods, and the mountain Nymph Maea, who was a daughter of the Titan Atlas.

Hermes, the speedy Messenger and Conductor of Souls:

Hermes was wearing wings on his sandals and therefore was the speediest of all Greek gods. Because of his speed, Hermes received the role of the messenger and conductor of souls to the Underworld. Hermes was the only Olympian god who was authorized to visit Heaven, Earth and also the Underworld and enjoyed this way popularity among all the Greek gods and spirits.

Hermes, the God of the Thieves:

It is well known that Ancient Greeks endowed their gods with human weaknesses. Hermes, for instance, felt an irresistible impulse of stealing ever since his infancy and quickly developed as the god of the cheaters and the thieves.

Hermes' special relation to Zeus:

Hermes was a messenger of all gods, but mostly he was known for performing duties for his father Zeus with great pleasure. Zeus appreciated Hermes' wits highly and always asked for Hermes' assistance throughout his decisions, especially when it came to cheating on his wife Hera.

Appearance and Sacred Symbols:

A young man, wearing travelling clothes, a flat hat known as "petasus" and winged sandals on his feet. Oftentimes he was also considered to have wings attached to his shoulders and hat. Hermes usually held a winged staff with snakes wrapped around it in his hands in order to gain access everywhere.

Myths of Hermes:

Hermes steals the Cattle of Apollo
Hermes and the Crocus Flower

Titles of Hermes:

Hermes was referred to with the epithet(s):

enagonios("guide of the athletics")
eriounios("luck bringer")
psychopompos("guide to the Underworld")

Hestia- the goddess of the hearth, home and family.

Family of Hestia:

Greek goddess Hestia was the eldest daughter of the titans Cronus and Rhea and a senior goddess among the mortals. [1]. She was the first to be swallowed by her father, but the last to be disgorged.

Hestia, the Virgin Goddess:

Hestia was one of the three virgin goddesses, next to Athena and Hera. Both Poseidon and Apollo had wished to marry her; however Hestia had given the oath to Zeus to never enter into a union with a male and to remain forever pure and undefiled.

Worship of Hestia:

Hestia personified the fire hat was burning in the hearth of every home. All families were pouring sweet wine in her name and dedicated her the richest portion. The hearth fire was not allowed to go out by any family unless it was ritually extinguished. Hestia herself was never leaving her residence, the sacred mountain of Olympus.
Hestia may not have had a public cult, but she was always worshipped in any temple, regardless of the god it was dedicated to. All Olympian deities respected and loved Hestia because of her kind, forgiving soul and her discrete character, since Hestia never participated in any disputes or wars.

Appearance and Sacred Symbols:

A bashful woman, usually seated

Hygieia- the goddess of health, tidiness and pureness

Hygieia is many times mentioned as the wife or daughter of Asclepius, the Greek god of Healing.

Muses- nine goddesses presiding over the arts and the sciences

The Birth of the Muses:

The Muses were a group of nine very intelligent, beautiful and careless divinities, They were created by Zeus, the King of the Gods, who secretly lay nine nights with Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory.

The Role of the Muses and Apollo:

The Muses were brought to life to make the world disremember the evil and relieve the sorrows and to praise the gods, and especially the Olympian Gods' victory over their ancestors, the Titans. Apollo was the main teacher of the Muses. They were usually accompanying him and the Graces on their strolls and loved singing and dancing on soft feet on laurel leaves, while Apollo was playing the lyre.

Genealogy of Muses:

It were the Muses who unveiled the Greek shepherd Hesiod the origins and genealogies of the ancient Greek gods and then blessed and inspired him to write his famous epic poem, the Theogony.
The Muses may have had Mnemosyne, the goddess of Memory, as their mother-however, their mission was to make people actually forget their sorrows and don't think about their cares.

The Home of the Muses:

Home of the Muses was Mount Helicon in Central Greece, a mountain that was sacred to the Greek god Apollo, the Greek god of the music, the light and the sun. Their most significant sanctuary was in Pieria.

Nemesis- the spirit of divine retribution and a symbol of justice.

Nemesis was the spirit of divine retribution and a symbol of justice.

Nemesis was the power that was keeping a balance in the universe. She was applying divine justice upon mortals, remorselessly spreading despair to anyone who committed an act of “hubris” by offending the gods with severe crimes like arrogance and greed.

Nemesis was born out of Nyx, the goddess of the night. According to some myths, Nemesis was not a goddess but rather a moral sense closely associated to the Furies and the Titaness Themis. Nemesis’ most significant sanctuary was at Rhamnous of Attica, a place of worship close to Marathon.

Nymphs- young goddesses of Nature-the sea, the land and the woods

The Nymphs were the daughters of Zeus, the King of the gods. They ranged over beautiful groves and dwelled near springs, in mountains through which rivers flowed and in woods.

There were Sea Nymphs, Land Nymphs and Wood Nymphs in Greek mythology.

Because of their close connection to water, a fertilizing element, the nymphs were worshipped as daemons of fertility and vegetation.The nymphs protected the plants and animals and were also playing the role of nurses who occasionaly raised human beings.

The Nymphs were joining the Greek gods Artemis and Apollo and also Acheloos, the river god, and were playing with them. However, most of all, the Nymphs enjoyed playing with Hermes, the messenger of the gods and Hermes' son, the Satyr Pan.

Nyx- the goddess of the Night

The Family of Nyx:

Goddess Nyx was a primeval goddess and the symbol of the night. Nyx was born out of Chaos and was the sister of Erebus, who embodied the dark silence and had fifteen dark children, among them sweet Hypnos (the sleep) and Thanatos (the death).

The Residence of Nyx:

According to the Greek writer Hesiod in his "Theogony", Nyx resided in a gloomy house located in Tartarus, in the depths of Hades' Underworld. Nyx was sharing her residence with her daughter Hemera, the embodiment of the Day, without the two of them ever meeting each other at home.

The Transition from Day to Night:

Nyx was residing in her home all day long, taking care of her dark spirited children. But when the evening set in, Nyx was leaving her home to set off for her nightly jouney. On her way she met Hemera, the Day, who was returning home from her daily trip and they were greeting each other peacefully.

Pan- is the god of shepherds and flocks, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music, as well as the companion of the nymphs

His name originates within the Greek language, from the word paein (Πάειν), meaning "to pasture."[2] He has the hindquarters, legs, and horns of a goat, in the same manner as a faun or satyr. With his homeland in rustic Arcadia, he is recognized as the god of fields, groves, and wooded glens; because of this, Pan is connected to fertility and the season of spring. The ancient Greeks also considered Pan to be the god of theatrical criticism.[3]


In his earliest appearance in literature, Pindar's Pythian Ode iii. 78, Pan is associated with a mother goddess, perhaps Rhea or Cybele; Pindar refers to virgins worshipping Cybele and Pan near the poet's house in Boeotia.[5]

The parentage of Pan is unclear;[6] in some myths he is the son of Zeus, though generally he is the son of Hermes or Dionysus, with whom his mother is said to be a nymph, sometimes Dryope or, in Nonnus, Dionysiaca (14.92), Penelope of Mantineia in Arcadia. This nymph at some point in the tradition became conflated with Penelope, the wife of Odysseus. Pausanias 8.12.5 records the story that Penelope had in fact been unfaithful to her husband, who banished her to Mantineia upon his return. Other sources (Duris of Samos; the Vergilian commentator Servius) report that Penelope slept with all 108 suitors in Odysseus' absence, and gave birth to Pan as a result.[7] This myth reflects the folk etymology that equates Pan's name (Πάν) with the Greek word for "all" (πᾶν).[8] It is more likely to be cognate with paein, "to pasture", and to share an origin with the modern English word "pasture". In 1924, Hermann Collitz suggested that Greek Pan and Indic Pushan might have a common Indo-European origin.[9] In the Mystery cults of the highly syncretic Hellenistic era[10] Pan is made cognate with Phanes/Protogonos, Zeus, Dionysus and Eros.[11]

The Roman Faunus, a god of Indo-European origin, was equated with Pan. However, accounts of Pan's genealogy are so varied that it must lie buried deep in mythic time. Like other nature spirits, Pan appears to be older than the Olympians, if it is true that he gave Artemis her hunting dogs and taught the secret of prophecy to Apollo. Pan might be multiplied as the Panes (Burkert 1985, III.3.2; Ruck and Staples 1994 p 132[12]) or the Paniskoi. Kerenyi (1951 p 174) notes from scholia that Aeschylus in Rhesus distinguished between two Pans, one the son of Zeus and twin of Arcas, and one a son of Cronus. "In the retinue of Dionysos, or in depictions of wild landscapes, there appeared not only a great Pan, but also little Pans, Paniskoi, who played the same part as the Satyrs".


The worship of Pan began in Arcadia which was always the principal seat of his worship. Arcadia was a district of mountain people whom other Greeks disdained. Greek hunters used to scourge the statue of the god if they had been disappointed in the chase (Theocritus. vii. 107).

Pan inspired sudden fear in crowded places, panic (panikon deima). Following the Titans' assault on Olympus, Pan claimed credit for the victory of the gods because he had inspired disorder and fear in the attackers resulting in the word 'panic' to describe these emotions. Of course, Pan was later known for his music, capable of arousing inspiration, sexuality, or panic, depending on his intentions. In the Battle of Marathon (490 BC), it is said that Pan favored the Athenians and so inspired panic in the hearts of their enemies, the Persians.[13][14]


The goat-god Aegipan was nurtured by Amalthea with the infant Zeus in Athens. In Zeus' battle with Gaia, Aegipan and Hermes stole back Zeus' "sinews" that Typhon had hidden away in the Corycian Cave.[15] Pan aided his foster-brother in the battle with the Titans by letting out a horrible screech and scattering them in terror. According to some traditions, Aegipan was the son of Pan, rather than his father.

One of the famous myths of Pan involves the origin of his pan flute, fashioned from lengths of hollow reed. Syrinx was a lovely water-nymph of Arcadia, daughter of Landon, the river-god. As she was returning from the hunt one day, Pan met her. To escape from his importunities, the fair nymph ran away and didn't stop to hear his compliments. He pursued from Mount Lycaeum until she came to her sisters who immediately changed her into a reed. When the air blew through the reeds, it produced a plaintive melody. The god, still infatuated, took some of the reeds, because he could not identify which reed she became, and cut seven pieces (or according to some versions, nine), joined them side by side in gradually decreasing lengths, and formed the musical instrument bearing the name of his beloved Syrinx. Henceforth Pan was seldom seen without it.

Echo was a nymph who was a great singer and dancer and scorned the love of any man. This angered Pan, a lecherous god, and he instructed his followers to kill her. Echo was torn to pieces and spread all over earth. The goddess of the earth, Gaia, received the pieces of Echo, whose voice remains repeating the last words of others. In some versions, Echo and Pan first had one child: Iambe.

Pan also loved a nymph named Pitys, who was turned into a pine tree to escape him.

Erotic aspects

Pan is famous for his sexual powers, and is often depicted with a phallus. Diogenes of Sinope, speaking in jest, related a myth of Pan learning masturbation from his father, Hermes, and teaching the habit to shepherds.[16]

Pan's greatest conquest was that of the moon goddess Selene. He accomplished this by wrapping himself in a sheepskin[17] to hide his hairy black goat form, and drew her down from the sky into the forest where he seduced her.

Pan and music

In two late, Roman sources, Hyginus[18] and Ovid,[19] Pan is substituted for the satyr Marsyas in the theme of a musical competition (agon) and the punishment by flaying is omitted.

Once Pan had the audacity to compare his music with that of Apollo, and to challenge Apollo, the god of the lyre, to a trial of skill. Tmolus, the mountain-god, was chosen to umpire. Pan blew on his pipes, and with his rustic melody gave great satisfaction to himself and his faithful follower, Midas, who happened to be present. Then Apollo struck the strings of his lyre. Tmolus at once awarded the victory to Apollo, and all but Midas agreed with the judgment. He dissented, and questioned the justice of the award. Apollo would not suffer such a depraved pair of ears any longer, and turned Midas' ears into those of a donkey.

In another version of the myth the first round of the contest was a tie so they were forced to go to a second round. In this round, Apollo demanded that they play their instruments upside-down. Apollo, playing on the lyre, was unaffected. However, Pan's pipe couldn't be played while upside down, so Apollo won the contest.


The constellation Capricornus is traditionally depicted as a sea-goat, a goat with a fish's tail (see "Goatlike" Aigaion called Briareos, one of the Hecatonchires). A myth reported as "Egyptian" in Gaius Julius Hyginus' Poetic Astronomy[20] that would seem to be invented to justify a connection of Pan with Capricorn says that when Aegipan — that is Pan in his goat-god aspect — [17] was attacked by the monster Typhon, he dove into the Nile; the parts above the water remained a goat, but those under the water transformed into a fish.


Aegocerus "goat-horned" was an epithet of Pan descriptive of his figure with the horns of a goat

All of the Pans

Pan could be multiplied into a swarm of Pans, and even be given individual names, as in Nonnus' Dionysiaca, where the god Pan had twelve sons that helped Dionysus in his war against the Indians. Their names were Kelaineus, Argennon, Aigikoros, Eugeneios, Omester, Daphoineus, Phobos, Philamnos, Xanthos, Glaukos, Argos, and Phorbas.

Two other Pans were Agreus and Nomios. Both were the sons of Hermes, Argeus' mother being the nymph Sose, a prophetess: he inherited his mother's gift of prophecy, and was also a skilled hunter. Nomios' mother was Penelope (not the same as the wife of Odysseus). He was an excellent shepherd, seducer of nymphs, and musician upon the shepherd's pipes. Most of the mythological stories about Pan are actually about Nomios, not the god Pan. Although, Agreus and Nomios could have been two different aspects of the prime Pan, reflecting his dual nature as both a wise prophet and a lustful beast.

Aegipan, literally "goat-Pan," was a Pan who was fully goatlike, rather than half-goat and half-man. When the Olympians fled from the monstrous giant Typhoeus and hid themselves in animal form, Aegipan assumed the form of a fish-tailed goat. Later he came to the aid of Zeus in his battle with Typhoeus, by stealing back Zeus' stolen sinews. As a reward the king of the gods placed him amongst the stars as the Constellation Capricorn. The mother of Aegipan, Aix (the goat), was perhaps associated with the constellation Capra.

Sybarios was an Italian Pan who was worshipped in the Greek colony of Sybaris in Italy. The Sybarite Pan was conceived when a Sybarite shepherd boy named Krathis copulated with a pretty she-goat amongst his herds.

The "Death" of Pan

According to the Greek historian Plutarch (in De defectu oraculorum, "The Obsolescence of Oracles"),[22] Pan is the only Greek god (other than Asclepius) who actually dies. During the reign of Tiberius (A.D. 14–37), the news of Pan's death came to one Thamus, a sailor on his way to Italy by way of the island of Paxi. A divine voice hailed him across the salt water, "Thamus, are you there? When you reach Palodes,[23] take care to proclaim that the great god Pan is dead." Which Thamus did, and the news was greeted from shore with groans and laments.

Robert Graves (The Greek Myths) reported a suggestion that had been made by Salomon Reinach[24] and expanded by James S. Van Teslaar[25] that the hearers aboard the ship, including a supposed Egyptian, Thamus, apparently misheard Thamus Panmegas tethneke 'the all-great Tammuz is dead' for 'Thamus, Great Pan is dead!', Thamous, Pan ho megas tethneke. "In its true form the phrase would have probably carried no meaning to those on board who must have been unfamiliar with the worship of Tammuz which was a transplanted, and for those parts, therefore, an exotic custom."[26] Certainly, when Pausanias toured Greece about a century after Plutarch, he found Pan's shrines, sacred caves and sacred mountains still very much frequented. Christian apologists, however, took Plutarch's notice to heart, and repeated and amplified it until the 18th century.[27] It was interpreted with concurrent meanings in all four modes of medieval exegesis: literally as historical fact, and allegorically as the death of the ancient order at the coming of the new. Eusebius of Caesarea in his Praeparatio Evangelica (book V) seems to have been the first Christian apologist to give Plutarch's anecdote, which he identifies as his source, pseudo-historical standing, which Eusebius buttressed with many invented passing details that lent verisimilitude.

The cry "Great Pan is dead" has appealed to poets, such as John Milton, in his ecstatic celebration of Christian peace, On the Morning of Christ's Nativity line 89,[28] Elizabeth Barrett Browning,[29] and the character Grover in the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan as he desperately searches the world for any sign that Pan might still be alive.[3


Pan's goatish image recalls conventional faun-like depictions of Satan. Although Christian use of Plutarch's story is of long standing, Ronald Hutton [32] has argued that this specific association is modern and derives from Pan's popularity in Victorian and Edwardian neopaganism. Medieval and early modern images of Satan tend, by contrast, to show generic semi-human monsters with horns, wings and clawed feet.


In 1933, the Egyptologist Margaret Murray published the book, The God of the Witches, in which she theorised that Pan was merely one form of a horned god who was worshipped across Europe by a witch-cult.[38] This theory influenced the Neopagan notion of the Horned God, as an archetype of male virility and sexuality. In Wicca, the archetype of the Horned God is highly important, as represented by such deities as the Celtic Cernunnos, Indian Pashupati and Greek Pan.

Persephone- the Queen of the Underworld

Persephone was the daughter of Zeus and the Greek goddess of vegetation, Demeter. Often she was defined as "Core", meaning the "maid".

One sunny day, while Persephone was picking flowers for her mother on the Nysian plain, Hades, the god of the Underworld, noticed her and fell strongly in love with her, so he decided to abduct her to the Underworld.

When Demeter realized the loss of her daughter, for nine days and nights she was wandering around in disguise searching for Persephone. When she finally met Helios, the god of the sun, he revealed Demeter all the truth about what had happened. Demeter got so furious that she wanted to have nothing more do with the Gods and left the Olymp and stopped all fertility on earth.

In order to put an end to the world's misery, Zeus decided it would be best to bring Persephone back to her mother. So he sent his herald Hermes down to the Underworld in order to fetch Persephone.

Hades could do nothing else but to obey to his master’s order. However, before releasing Persephone, he gave her seven seeds of pomegranate to eat. This way, Persephone would forever be connected to the Underworld and would stay there for four months every year.

This way, the seasons were created in the upper world. All the time Persephone was with Demeter, Demeter was so delighted, that the sun was shining and everything flowered. All the remaining time where Persephone returned to the Underworld, Persephone was in grief and nothing grew- it was the time winter set off in the world.

Poseidon- the God of the Seas, the horses and the earthquakes.

Family of Poseidon:

Poseidon, the Greek god of the Seas, was born by the major Titans Cronus and Rhea. He was an older brother of Zeus, the King of the gods

Personality of Poseidon

Poseidon was considered to be the bad-tempered, moody and greedy god among the Olympians. Once insulted, he would revenge himself, like he did in the case of Odysseus, who brutally blinded his son, the Cyclopes Polyphemus.

The powers of Poseidon and his way of life:

Poseidon was the Greek god responsible for natural and supernatural events, mainly the ones associated to the sea world. He possessed a trident which was so powerful that it could shake the earth. Poseidon could cause tempests and earthquakes, drown lands, shatter rocks and had the ability to finally bring back peacefulness.
Poseidon possessed two palaces, the one was up in Mount Olympus and the other was located in the depths of the seas and was bejewelled with gold and precious gems. Usually Poseidon preferred to stay with his wife Amphitrite beneath the ocean.

Appearance and Sacred Symbols:

Poseidon was imposing and strong with long, blue hair.

His symbol was the trident and his sacred animals were the dolphin and the horse. According to a tradition, he was the one who breathed life into the first horse on earth.

Selene- Greek Goddess of the Moon

In Greek mythology, Selene (Greek Σελήνη [selɛ́ːnɛː] 'moon'; Doric Σελάνα; Aeolic Σελάννα) was an archaic lunar deity and the daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia.[1] In Roman mythology, the moon goddess is called Luna, Latin for "moon".

Like most moon deities, Selene plays a fairly large role in her pantheon, which preceded the Olympic pantheon. However, Selene, a Titan, was eventually largely supplanted by Artemis, an Olympian; the Romans similarly deemed Luna predecessor to Diana. In the collection known as the Homeric hymns, there is a Hymn to Selene (xxxii), paired with the hymn to Helios. In it, Selene is addressed as "far-winged", an epithet ordinarily applied to birds. Selene is mentioned in Nonnus, Dionysiaca 48.581; Pausanias 5.1.4; and Strabo 14.1.6,

The etymology of Selene is uncertain, but if the word is of Greek origin, it is likely connected to the word selas (σέλας), meaning "brightness".[2] Boreion Selas (Βόρειον Σέλας) is the Greek name for Aurora Borealis, the "northern lights". In modern times, Selene is the root of selenology, the study of the geology of the Moon, and the chemical element selenium.


In the traditional pre-Olympian divine genealogy, Helios, the sun, is Selene's brother: after Helios finishes his journey across the sky, Selene, freshly washed in the waters of Earth-circling Oceanus,[4] begins her own journey as night falls upon the earth, which becomes lit from the radiance of her immortal head and golden crown.[4] When she is increasing after mid-month, it is a "sure token and a sign to mortal men." Her sister, Eos, is goddess of the dawn. Eos also carried off a human lover, Cephalus,[5] which mirrors a myth of Selene and Endymion.

As a result of Selene being conflated with Artemis, later writers sometimes referred to Selene as a daughter of Zeus, like Artemis, or of Pallas the Titan. In the Homeric Hymn to Hermes, with its characteristically insistent patrilineality, she is "bright Selene, daughter of the lord Pallas, Megamedes' son."

Apollonius of Rhodes (4.57ff) refers to Selene, "daughter of Titan", who "madly" loved a mortal, the handsome hunter or shepherd—or, in the version Pausanias knew, a king— of Elis, named Endymion, from Asia Minor. In other Greek references to the myth, he was so handsome that Selene asked Zeus to grant him eternal sleep so that he would stay forever young and thus would never leave her: her asking permission of Zeus reveals itself as an Olympian transformation of an older myth: Cicero (Tusculanae Disputationes) recognized that the moon goddess had acted autonomously. Alternatively, Endymion made the decision to live forever in sleep. Every night, Selene slipped down behind Mount Latmus near Miletus to visit him.[6]

Selene had fifty daughters, the Menae, by Endymion, including Naxos, the nymph of Naxos Island. The sanctuary of Endymion at Heracleia under Latmus on the southern slope of Latmus still exists as a horseshoe-shaped chamber with an entrance hall and pillared forecourt.

Though the story of Endymion is the best-known one today, the Homeric hymn to Selene (xxxii) tells that Selene also bore to Zeus a daughter, Pandia, the "utterly shining" full moon. According to some sources, the Nemean Lion was her offspring as well. According to Virgil[7] she also had a brief tryst with Pan, who seduced her by wrapping himself in a sheepskin[2] and gave her the yoke of white oxen that drew the chariot in which she is represented in sculptured reliefs, with her windblown veil above her head like the arching canopy of sky. In the Homeric hymn, her chariot is drawn by long-maned horses.

Tyche- the Greek Goddess of Fortune , Chance and the non-predictable

According to the Greek poet Hesiod, Goddess Tyche was a daughter of the Sea Titans Oceanus and Tethys.

Goddess Tyche was the personification of Hope, Luck and Wealth. She was a labile, yet virtuous spirit, mediating between gods and mortals and leading human lives. She was therefore extraordinarily worshipped by the ancient Greeks.

The main symbol of goddess Tyche was a huge horn, inside of which she was keeping all wealth and richness; the horn once belonged to Amalthea, the goat who fostered Greek god Zeus during his infacy. Tyche was carrying the horn with her constantly, occasionaly turning it upside down to spread all its goods to anyone who would meet her on his way.

Zeus- the Supreme God in Ancient Greece, father of the Olympian gods and ruler of mankind.

The Family of Zeus:

Zeus was the last child of the Titans Cronus and Rhea and had five older brothers and sisters. All of them had been swallowed by their jealous father; however, Zeus managed to escape the menace and flee. Later on, he would revenge on his father and set his siblings free.
Zeus married his own sister Hera, the goddess of marriage and monogamy, but was giving her plenty of reasons to be jealous, since Zeus was renowned of his numerous love affairs. As a result, Zeus was the father of plenty of children.

Role and Responsibilities:

Zeus had his golden throne on the highest summit of Mount Olympus and was respected and awed by all Gods and mortals. He was the "Lord of Justice", punishing anyone who lied or broke an oath, but was fair and always striving to keep a balance of all things.
Furthermore, Zeus was responsible for the weather and was shaping it according to his temper. When in high spirits, Zeus was blessing the world with fine weather; in case of bad mood, however, he would throw rain, winds, lightnings and thunderbolts to cause disaster to the mortals.

But even Zeus' powers had their limits, for, however powerful as he was, he had neither the right nor the ability to intervene the decisions of the Fates.

The Personality of Zeus:

Zeus was carefree and loved to laugh out loud[1]. He possessed the perfect knowledge and was just, merciful and prudent. However, he was rather unpredictable, since no one could guess the decisions he would make.

Appearance and Sacred Symbols:

Zeus was strong and imposing, with long, oftentimes curly hair

The main symbol of Zeus was the thunderbolt, which was as a gift from the Cyclopes because he liberated them. His sacred animal was the eagle.

Myths of Zeus:

The Birth of Zeus and his Way to the Kingdom
Zeus and his Fight with the Typhoon
Zeus and his Mates
Zeus abducts Europe
Zeus and the Years of Life
Zeus and the Bees
Zeus and the stay-at-home Tortoise

Monuments related to Zeus:

Temple of Zeus Olympios in Ancient Athens, Greece
The Statue of Zeus in Ancient Olympia, Greece

Titles of Zeus:

Zeus was referred to with the epithet(s):

aighiochos("lord of thunderstorms")
erkios("defender of the house")
genethlios("creator of life")
orkios("patron of the oath")
philios("guard of friendship")
polieus("patron of the city ("polis")")
promachos("leader of the battle")
urios("master of the winds")
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Re: Gods of Greece

Postby Greek_Male_Witch » Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:32 am

Symandinome I really loved this post, especially the Goddess Selene part, which I wanted to learn for her, and you brought the info to me! :)

About Hecate I want to share one other theory, its official theory, not mine but Hekate always was Goddess of Witchcraft sometimes though Homer, wrote that she was also Goddess of The Ghosts, not of the dead like Hades, but of Ghosts, so we could also say that she was the Goddess of Mediums as well? I mean if she was the Goddess of Witchcraft and of Ghosts, then she could be Goddess of the Mediums as well....
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Re: Gods of Greece

Postby Bougainvillea » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:07 am

Thank you! This information is really handy :)
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