What are the gods of Olympus? – Names and characteristics of the gods of Olympus
The gods of Olympus are the most powerful and famous deities in Greek mythology. These divine beings lived on Mount Olympus, the highest hill in Greece, from where they ruled the world and the fate of mortals. In this article we are going to learn more about these fascinating characters who have inspired countless works of art and literature throughout history.
What are the gods of Olympus?
As we mentioned earlier, they are the major deities of greek mythologyand it is said that they inhabit the top of Mount Olympus, from where they exercised a government over all aspects of human life, being venerated with temples, festivals and sacrifices.
The Olympic gods were twelvealthough their number and identity varied according to the sources and the times.
Who believed in the gods of Olympus? – Worship
As in the case of the Norse gods, this cult was polytheistic, that is, that various deities with different attributes and functions were worshipped. Each god had its own temple, priests, rituals, and festivals. The faithful offered sacrifices of animals, fruits, wine and other offerings to win the favor of the gods or simply to thank them. were also performed prayers, hymns, oaths and consultations to oracles in order to communicate with them.
The gods of Olympus too they were venerated in the domestic and private spheresince each family had an altar or a sanctuary dedicated to the Lares gods or protectors of the home.
Deceased ancestors and personal geniuses or spirits were also honored. Besides, each city had a god employer who protected her and gave her identity. For example, Athens had Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war; and Rome had Jupiter, the supreme god of heaven and lightning.
It was an essential part of the religious, social and cultural life of the inhabitants of Ancient Greece and Rome, since these entities influenced every aspect of human existence and they were owed respect and obedience. The Greeks and Romans believed that the gods could punish or reward mortals based on their behavior and piety.
What were the gods of Olympus?
According to tradition, there were twelve gods that made up the olympic pantheon, although some names could vary depending on the sources. The twelve classic Olympians were:
- Zeus: The king of the gods, lord of the sky and lightning. He was the husband of Hera and the youngest son of Cronus and Rhea. Furthermore, he was the father of many other gods and heroes.
- Hera: The goddess of marriage and fidelity, mother of Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus. She was jealous and vengeful towards the lovers and children Zeus, her husband.
- athena: the goddess of wisdom, war and the arts. She was Zeus’s favorite daughter, born from his head. She is the protector of Athens and the Greek heroes, her symbol being the owl and the olive tree.
- Ares: The deity of war, brutality and bloodshed. He was the son of Zeus and Hera and the lover of Aphrodite. Hated by others for his cruelty. His symbol was the spear and shield.
- hephaestus: The god of fire, the forge and metallurgy. Son of Hera and Zeus, being Aphrodite’s husband. He was lame and ugly, but very clever and resourceful. His symbol was the hammer and anvil.
- Poseidon: The deity of the ocean, earthquakes and equines. He was the brother of Zeus and Hera. His symbol was the tridentwith which he could stir the waters and cause tremors.
- Hermes: The messenger god of commerce and travelers. Son of Zeus and Maia, a nymph. He was in charge of carrying the messages of the gods to mortals and mediate between them. His symbol was the caduceus and the winged sandals.
- Apollo: The god of the sun, music, poetry and prophecy. He is the son of Leto and Zeus, and the twin of Artemis. He was the leader of the Muses and the owner of the oracle at Delphi. His symbol was the lyre and the bow.
- demeter: the goddess of agriculture, crops and fertility. She was the sister of Zeus, Poseidon, and Hera, and the mother of Persephone. She suffered from the kidnapping of her daughter by Hades, which caused the seasons of the year. Her symbol was a sheaf of wheat.
- Aphrodite: The goddess of love, beauty and sensuality. According to some versions, she was born from the foam of the sea. She was the wife of Hephaestus but she was unfaithful to him with Ares. His symbol was the dove and the rose.
- Sagebrush: The goddess of the moon, hunting and wild animals. She is the daughter of Leto and Zeus, and the twin of Apollo. She was a virgin goddess who rejected men and protected maidens. Her symbol was the bow and arrows.
- Hestia: The goddess of home, family and sacred fire. She was the older sister of Zeus, Poseidon and Hera, being a virgin goddess who resigned her position on Olympus to dedicate herself to the service of mortals.