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|Traditional Greek religion and Modern Hellenism|
The Greeks created images of their deities for many purposes. A temple would house the statue of a god or goddess, or multiple deities, and might be decorated with relief scenes depicting myths. Divine images were common on coins. Drinking cups and other vessels were painted with scenes from Greek myths.
|Aphrodite (Ἀφροδίτη, Aphroditē) |
Goddess of love, beauty, desire, and pleasure. Although married to Hephaestus she had many lovers, most notably Ares, Adonis, and Anchises. She was depicted as a beautiful woman and of all the goddesses most likely to appear nude or seminude. Poets praise the radiance of her smile and her laughter. Her symbols include roses and other flowers, the scallop shell, and myrtle wreath. Her sacred animals are doves and sparrows. Her Roman counterpart was Venus.
|Apollo (Ἀπόλλων, Apóllōn) |
God of light, music, arts, knowledge, healing, plague and darkness, prophecy, poetry, purity, athletism, manly beauty, and enlightenment. He is the son of Zeus and Leto, and the twin brother of Artemis. As brother and sister, they were identified with the sun and moon; both use a bow and arrow. In the earliest myths, Apollo contends with his half-brother Hermes. In sculpture, Apollo was depicted as a very handsome, beardless young man with long hair and an ideal physique. As the embodiment of perfectionism, he could be cruel and destructive, and his love affairs were rarely happy. His attributes include the laurel wreath and lyre. He often appears in the company of the Muses. Animals sacred to Apollo include roe deer, swans, cicadas, hawks, ravens, crows, foxes, mice, and snakes.
|Ares (Ἄρης, Árēs) |
God of war, bloodshed, and violence. The son of Zeus and Hera, he was depicted as a beardless youth, either nude with a helmet and spear or sword, or as an armed warrior. Homer portrays him as moody and unreliable, and he generally represents the chaos of war in contrast to Athena, a goddess of military strategy and skill. Ares' sacred animals are the vulture, venomous snakes, dogs, and boars. His Roman counterpart Mars by contrast was regarded as the dignified ancestor of the Roman people.
|Artemis (Ἄρτεμις, Ártemis) |
Virgin goddess of the hunt, wilderness, animals, young girls, childbirth and plague. In later times she became associated with the moon. She is the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and twin sister of Apollo. In art she was often depicted as a young woman dressed in a short knee-length chiton and equipped with a hunting bow and a quiver of arrows. Her attributes include hunting spears, animal pelts, deer and other wild animals. Her sacred animals are deer, bears, and wild boars. Diana was her Roman counterpart.
|Athena (Ἀθηνᾶ, Athēnâ) |
Goddess of intelligence and skill, warfare, battle strategy, handicrafts, and wisdom. According to most traditions, she was born from Zeus's head fully formed and armored. She was depicted crowned with a crested helm, armed with shield and a spear, and wearing the aegis over a long dress. Poets describe her as "grey-eyed" or having especially bright, keen eyes. She was a special patron of heroes such as Odysseus. She was also the patron of the city Athens (which was named after her) Her symbol is the olive tree. She is commonly shown accompanied by her sacred animal, the owl. The Romans identified her with Minerva.
|Demeter (Δημήτηρ, Dēmētēr) |
Goddess of grain, agriculture and the harvest, growth and nourishment. Demeter is a daughter of Cronus and Rhea and sister of Zeus, by whom she bore Persephone. She was one of the main deities of the Eleusinian Mysteries, in which her power over the life cycle of plants symbolized the passage of the human soul through its life course and into the afterlife. She was depicted as a mature woman, often crowned and holding sheafs of wheat and a torch. Her symbols are the cornucopia, wheat-ears, the winged serpent, and the lotus staff. Her sacred animals are pigs and snakes. Ceres was her Roman counterpart.
|Dionysus (Διόνυσος, Diónysos) |
God of wine, parties and festivals, madness, chaos, drunkenness, drugs, and ecstasy. He was depicted in art as either an older bearded god or a pretty effeminate, long-haired youth. His attributes include the thyrsus (a pinecone-tipped staff), drinking cup, grape vine, and a crown of ivy. He is often in the company of his thiasos, a posse of attendants including satyrs, maenads, and his old tutor Silenus. The consort of Dionysus was Ariadne. Animals sacred to him include dolphins, serpents, tigers, and donkeys. A later addition to the Olympians, in some accounts he replaced Hestia. Bacchus was another name for him in Greek, and came into common usage among the Romans.
|Hades (ᾍδης, Hádēs) or Pluto (Πλούτων, Ploutōn) |
King of the underworld and the dead, and god of the earth's hidden wealth, both agricultural produce and precious metals. His consort is Persephone. His attributes are the drinking horn or cornucopia, key, sceptre, and the three-headed dog Cerberus. The screech owl was sacred to him. He was one of three sons of Cronus and Rhea, and thus sovereign over one of the three realms of the universe, the underworld. As a chthonic god, however, his place among the Olympians is ambiguous. In the mystery religions and Athenian literature, Pluto (Plouton, "the Rich") was his preferred name, with Hades more common for the underworld as a place. The Romans translated Plouton as Dis Pater ("the Rich Father") or Pluto.
|Hephaestus (Ἥφαιστος, Hḗphaistos) |
Crippled god of fire, metalworking, and crafts. The son of Hera by parthenogenesis, he is the smith of the gods and the husband of the adulterous Aphrodite. He was usually depicted as a bearded man with hammer, tongs and anvil—the tools of a smith—and sometimes riding a donkey. His sacred animals are the donkey, the guard dog and the crane. Among his creations was the armor of Achilles. Hephaestus used the fire of the forge as a creative force, but his Roman counterpart Volcanus (Vulcan) was feared for his destructive potential and associated with the volcanic power of the earth.
|Hera (Ἥρα, Hḗra) |
Queen of the heavens and goddess of marriage, women, childbirth, heirs, kings, and empires. She is the wife of Zeus and daughter of Cronus and Rhea. She was usually depicted as a regal woman in the prime of her life, wearing a diadem and veil and holding a lotus-tipped staff. Although she was the goddess of marriage, Zeus's many infidelities drive her to jealousy and vengefulness. Her sacred animals are the heifer, the peacock, and the cuckoo. At Rome she was known as Juno.
|Hermes (Ἑρμῆς, Hērmēs) |
God of boundaries, travel, communication, trade, thievery, trickery, language, writing, diplomacy, athletics, and animal husbandry. The son of Zeus and Maia, Hermes is the messenger of the gods, and a psychopomp who leads the souls of the dead into the afterlife. He was depicted either as a handsome and athletic beardless youth, or as an older bearded man. His attributes include the herald's wand or caduceus, winged sandals, and a traveler's cap. His sacred animals are the tortoise, the ram, and the hawk. The Roman Mercury was more closely identified with trade and commerce.
|Hestia (Ἑστία, Hestía) |
Virgin goddess of the hearth, home and chastity. She is a daughter of Rhea and Cronus and sister of Zeus. Not often identifiable in Greek art, she appeared as a modestly veiled woman. Her symbols are the hearth and kettle. In some accounts, she gave up her seat as one of the Twelve Olympians in favor of Dionysus, and she plays little role in Greek myths. Her counterpart Vesta, however, was a major deity of the Roman state.
|Poseidon (Ποσειδῶν, Poseidōn) |
God of the sea, rivers, floods, droughts, earthquakes, and the creator of horses; known as the "Earth Shaker". He is a son of Cronus and Rhea and brother to Zeus and Hades. He rules one of the three realms of the universe as king of the sea and the waters. In classical artwork, he was depicted as a mature man of sturdy build with an often luxuriant beard, and holding a trident. The horse and the dolphin are sacred to him. His wedding with Amphitrite is often presented as a triumphal procession. His Roman counterpart was Neptune.
|Zeus (Ζεύς, Zeus) |
King of the gods, the ruler of Mount Olympus and the god of the sky, weather, thunder, lightning, law, order, and fate. He is the youngest son of Cronus and Rhea. He overthrew Cronus and gained the sovereignty of heaven for himself. In artwork, he was depicted as a regal, mature man with a sturdy figure and dark beard. His usual attributes are the royal scepter and the lightning bolt, and his sacred animals are the eagle and the bull. His counterpart Jupiter, also known as Jove, was the supreme deity of the Romans.
|Ancient Greek name||English name||Description|
|Αἰθήρ (Aithḗr)||Aether||The god of the upper air and light.|
|Ἀνάγκη (Anánkē)||Ananke||The goddess of inevitability, compulsion, and necessity.|
|Χάος (Cháos)||Chaos||The nothingness from which all else sprang. Described as a void.|
|Χρόνος (Chrónos)||Chronos||The god of time. Not to be confused with the Titan Cronus, the father of Zeus.|
|Ἔρεβος (Érebos)||Erebos or Erebus||The god of darkness and shadow.|
|Ἔρως (Eros)||Eros||The god of love and attraction.|
|Γαῖα (Gaîa)||Gaia or Gaea or Ge||Personification of the Earth (Mother Earth); mother of the Titans.|
|Ἡμέρα (Hēméra)||Hemera||Goddess of daylight.|
|Ὕπνος ("Hypnos")||Hypnos||God of Sleep.|
|Nῆσοι (Nē̂soi)||The Nesoi||The goddesses of the islands and sea.|
|Νύξ (Nýx)||Nyx or Night||The goddess of night.|
|Οὐρανός (Ouranós)||Uranus||The god of the heavens (Father Sky); father of the Titans.|
|Οὔρεα (Oúrea)||The Ourea||The gods of mountains.|
|Φάνης (Phánēs)||Phanes||The god of procreation in the Orphic tradition.|
|Πόντος (Póntos)||Pontus||The god of the sea, father of the fish and other sea creatures.|
|Τάρταρος (Tártaros)||Tartarus||The god of the deepest, darkest part of the underworld, the Tartarean pit (which is also referred to as Tartarus itself).|
|Θάλασσα (Thálassa)||Thalassa||Spirit of the sea and consort of Pontos.|
|Θάνατος ("Thánatos")||Thanatos||God of Death. Brother to Hypnos (Sleep) and in some cases Moros (Doom)|
The Titans are depicted in Greek art less commonly than the Olympians.
Eos (Dawn) and the hero Memnon (490–480 BC)
Helios in his four-horse chariot (3rd century BC)
Oceanus wearing crab-claw horns, with Tethys (Roman-era mosaic)
|Greek name||English name||Description|
|The Twelve Titans|
|Ὑπερίων (Hyperíōn)||Hyperion||Titan of light. With Theia, he is the father of Helios (the sun), Selene (the moon), and Eos (the dawn).|
|Ἰαπετός (Iapetós)||Iapetus||Titan of mortality and father of Prometheus, Epimetheus, Menoetius, and Atlas.|
|Κοῖος (Koîos)||Coeus||Titan of intellect and the axis of heaven around which the constellations revolved.|
|Κρεῖος (Kreîos)||Crius||The least individualized of the Twelve Titans, he is the father of Astraeus, Pallas, and Perses.|
|Κρόνος (Crónos)||Cronus||The leader of the Titans, who overthrew his father Uranus only to be overthrown in turn by his son, Zeus. Not to be confused with Chronos, the god of time.|
|Mνημοσύνη (Mnēmosýnē)||Mnemosyne||Titan of memory and remembrance, and mother of the Nine Muses.|
|Ὠκεανός (Ōceanós)||Oceanus||Titan of the all-encircling river Oceans around the earth, the font of all the Earth's fresh-water.|
|Φοίβη (Phoíbē)||Phoebe||Titan of the "bright" intellect and prophecy, and consort of Koios.|
|Ῥέα (Rhéa)||Rhea||Titan of female fertility, motherhood, and generation. She is the sister and consort of Cronus, and mother of Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Hera, Demeter, and Hestia.|
|Τηθύς (Tēthýs)||Tethys||Wife of Oceanus, and the mother of the rivers, springs, streams, fountains, and clouds.|
|Θεία (Theía)||Theia||Titan of sight and the shining light of the clear blue sky. She is the consort of Hyperion, and mother of Helios, Selene, and Eos.|
|Θέμις (Thémis)||Themis||Titan of divine law and order.|
|Ἀστερία (Astería)||Asteria||Titan of nocturnal oracles and falling stars.|
|Ἀστραῖος (Astraîos)||Astraeus||Titan of dusk, stars, and planets, and the art of astrology.|
|Ἄτλας (Átlas)||Atlas||Titan forced to carry the sky upon his shoulders by Zeus. Also Son of Iapetus.|
|Αὔρα (Aúra)||Aura||Titan of the breeze and the fresh, cool air of early morning.|
|Διώνη (Diṓnē)||Dione||Titan of the oracle of Dodona.|
|Ἠώς (Ēṓs)||Eos||Titan of the dawn.|
|Ἐπιμηθεύς (Epimētheús)||Epimetheus||Titan of afterthought and the father of excuses.|
|Εὐρυβία (Eurybía)||Eurybia||Titan of the mastery of the seas and consort of Krios.|
|Εὐρυνόμη (Eurynómē)||Eurynome||Titan of water-meadows and pasturelands, and mother of the three Charites by Zeus.|
|Ἥλιος (Hḗlios)||Helios||Titan of the sun and guardian of oaths.|
|Κλυμένη (Clyménē)||Clymene or Asia||Titan of renown, fame, and infamy, and wife of Iapetos.|
|Λήλαντος (Lēlantos)||Lelantos||Titan of air and the hunter's skill of stalking prey. He is the male counterpart of Leto.|
|Λητώ (Lētṓ)||Leto||Titan of motherhood and mother of the twin Olympians, Artemis and Apollo.|
|Μενοίτιος (Menoítios)||Menoetius||Titan of violent anger, rash action, and human mortality. Killed by Zeus.|
|Μῆτις (Mē̂tis)||Metis||Titan of good counsel, advice, planning, cunning, craftiness, and wisdom. Mother of Athena.|
|Ὀφίων (Ophíōn)||Ophion||An elder Titan, in some versions of the myth he ruled the Earth with his consort Eurynome before Cronus overthrew him. Another account describes him as a snake, born from the "World Egg"|
|Πάλλας (Pállas)||Pallas||Titan of warcraft. He was killed by Athena during the Titanomachy.|
|Πέρσης (Pérsēs)||Perses||Titan of destruction and peace.|
|Προμηθεύς (Promētheús)||Prometheus||Titan of forethought and crafty counsel, and creator of mankind.|
|Σελήνη (Selḗnē)||Selene||Titan of the moon.|
|Στύξ (Stýx)||Styx||Titan of the Underworld river Styx and personification of hatred.|