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Greek Gods and
Goddesses
The 12 Olympians and their legends
Learning Target
• Standard 4.2.3 I can understand and analyze
how ideas have impacted world history.
• Learning Target: I can explain how religion and
mythology shaped life for people in Ancient
Greece.
Ancient Greek Religion
• Greeks were Polytheistic
• Polytheism- belief in more than one god.
• Greeks believed the Olympians were real and
could/did intervene in the lives of mortals.
• Gods could even marry/have children with
mortals.
– Heracles (Hercules), Achilles, Perseus.
Uranus and Gaia
• Uranus- the Sky
and the
Heavens
• Gaia- the Earth
–Gave birth to
the Titans
The Titans
• Ruled the universe
before the Gods were
born
• Rhea- “Mother of the
Gods”
• Cronus- Leader of the
Titans, brother and
consort to Rhea
The First Olympians
• Children of Rhea and Cronus
• Cronus feared his children would one day
overthrow him, so he ate them
• Rhea hid away Zeus, replacing him with a
boulder wrapped in swaddling clothes.
• Cronus ate the stone instead, Zeus overthrows
the Titans and frees his siblings.
The Gods
• Lived atop Mount Olympus
• Immortal
• Ate Ambrosia and Nectar
– Helped keep the gods immortal
• Had the power to both help and hinder
mortals.
– Ex: Hephaestus made armor for Achilles during
the Trojan War.
Zeus
• King of the Gods, Lord of
the Heavens
• Youngest of the original 6
• Wielded lightning bolts as
a weapon
• Had many lovers, fathered
over 100 children
– Ares, Hephaestus, Hermes,
Aphrodite, Heracles, Perseus,
etc.
Zeus’ Children
Hades
• Brother of Zeus
• Lord of the Underworld
– The Underworld was where
the souls of the dead went.
• Not an evil god, but rather
a caretaker of the
deceased
• Underworld guarded by
his three-headed dog.
Poseidon
• Brother of Zeus
• Lord of the Ocean
• Poseidon vs. Athena
– Athena wins
• Partly responsible for
Medusa becoming a
monster
Hera
• Sister/Wife of Zeus
• Goddess of Women
and Marriage
• Often depicted as
bitter, holding
grudges
• Mother of
Hephaestus and Ares
Demeter and Persephone
•
•
•
•
Demeter: Sister/Lover of Zeus
Goddess of the Harvest
Persephone: their daughter
Goddess of Vegetation,
Queen of the Underworld
• Married to Hades
– He tricks/kidnaps her
• Changing of the Seasons
Hestia
• Sister to Zeus
• Goddess of the Hearth
and Hospitality
– Had to keep the fire
burning on Olympus
• Chose to be celibate
Ares
• Son of Zeus and Hera
• God of War, Combat,
Violence
• Fear and Terror (Phobos
and Deimos) pulled his
Chariot
• Best known for love affair
with Aphrodite
Hephaestus
• Son of Zeus and Hera
• God of smithing, fire,
metalwork
• Married to Aphrodite
• The only ugly god,
Hephaestus made up
for it by crafting the
most beautiful things.
Dionysus
• Son of Zeus
• God of wine,
celebrations, ritual
madness.
– Party-Hardy god.
• Unique god
– Mother was mortal
Semele
Athena
• Daughter of Zeus
– Popped out of his head
• Goddess of Bravery,
Wisdom, Military
Tactics
• Patron Goddess of
Athens
• Virgin
Apollo and Artemis
• Twins
• Children of Zeus and
Leto
• Apollo: Sun God
– Carried the sun across
the sky in his chariot
• Artemis: Goddess of
the Hunt (Katniss ain’t
got nothing on her)
Hermes
• Son of Zeus and Maia
• Messenger of the Gods
• God of travelers,
herdsmen, athletics,
sports, invention, and
trade.
• Conducted souls to the
Underworld as well
• “The intern”
Aphrodite
• Goddess of Beauty, Love,
Pleasure, and
Procreation.
• Married to Hephaestus
– Often cheated on him with
Ares
• When Cronus cut off the
genitals of Uranus and
threw them into the sea,
she rose from the sea
foam.