Greek Mythology - Springfield Public Schools

Greek Mythology - Springfield Public Schools

Greek Mythology Gods and Goddesses Did you ever wonder why there are stars in the sky? Or why the sun comes and goes? Did you ever wonder why there is fire on earth? If you do, then you are not alone. The ancient Greeks and Romans were puzzled by these questions. To answer them, they invented what we know today to be myths. 3000 yeas ago, the Greeks and Romans created and passed on stories about gods and goddesses to answer their

questions. These gods and goddesses were their idols and were worshiped. What is Mythology? Mythology is the study of Myths Myths are stories made up by Greeks and Romans to explain things that happened in the world In Mythology, there are certain gods and goddesses that have special talents and are in charge of certain areas of the world.

Lets begin our journey! The Titans The Titans, also known as the elder gods, ruled the earth before the Olympians overthrew them. The ruler of the Titans was Cronus who was dethroned by his son Zeus. Cronus Cronus was the ruling Titan who came to power by castrating his Father Uranus.

Their offspring were the first of the Olympians. To insure his safety Cronus ate each of the children as they were born. This worked until Rhea, his wife, unhappy at the loss of her children, tricked Cronus into swallowing a rock, instead of Zeus. The Olympians The Olympians are a group of 12 gods who ruled after the overthrow of the Titans. All the Olympians are related in some way. They are named after their

dwelling place Mount Olympus. Mount Olympus Mount Olympus towers up from the center of the earth. Here the major gods live and hold court. The myths are somewhat vague on weather it is an actual mountain or a region of the heavens.

Zeus (Jupiter) Zeus was the god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods. Zeus overthrew his Father Cronus. He then drew straws with his brothers Poseidon and Hades Zeus won the draw and became the supreme ruler of the gods.

Zeus (continued) He is lord of the sky. His weapon is a thunderbolt which he hurls at those who displease him. He is married to Hera but, Is famous for his many affairs Poseidon (Neptune) God of the sea, protector

of all waters. Poseidon is the brother of Zeus. His prize was to become lord of the sea. He was widely worshiped by seamen. Poseidon (cont.) At one point he desired Demeter. To put him off, Demeter asked him to make the most beautiful

animal that the world had ever seen. So to impress her, Poseidon created the first horse. His weapon is a trident, which can shake the earth, and shatter any object. Hades (Pluto) Hades is the brother of Zeus. He had the worst draw and was made lord of the

underworld, ruling over the dead. He is a greedy god who is greatly concerned with increasing his subjects. Hades (cont.) He has a helmet that makes him invisible. He rarely leaves the underworld. His wife is Persephone whom Hades abducted.

Hestia (Vesta) Hestia is Zeus sister. She is a virgin goddess. She does not have a distinct personality. She plays no part in myths. She is the goddess of the Hearth, the symbol of the house around which a new born child is carried before it is received into the family.

Hera (Juno) Hera is Zeus wife and sister. She is the supreme goddess, goddess of marriage and childbirth and takes special care of married women. Zeus courted her unsuccessfully. He then turned to trickery, changing himself into disheveled cuckoo (bird). Hera feeling sorry for the bird held it to her breast to warm it.

Zeus then resumed his normal form and taking advantage of the surprise he gained, raped her. Hera (cont.) She then married him to cover her shame. Most stories concerning Hera have to do with her jealous revenge for Zeus's infidelities.

Ares (Mars) Ares is the son of Zeus and Hera. He was disliked by both parents. He is the god of war. He is considered murderous and bloodstained but, also a coward. Athena (Minerva) Athena is the Greek virgin goddess of reason,

intelligent activity, arts and literature. Athena is the daughter of Zeus. She sprang full grown in armor from his forehead, thus has no mother. She is fierce and brave in battle Athena (cont.) She was Zeus's favorite child and was allowed

to use his weapons including his thunderbolt. Her favorite city is Athens. Apollo (Apollo) Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto. His twin sister is Artemis. He is the god of music, playing a golden lyre. The Archer, far shooting with

a silver bow. The god of healing who taught man medicine. The god of light. Apollo (cont.) One of Apollo's more important daily tasks is to harness his chariot with four horses an drive the Sun across the sky.

Aphrodite (Venus) Aphrodite is the goddess of love, desire and beauty. In addition to her natural gifts she has a magical girdle that compels anyone she wishes to desire her. She is the daughter of Zeus and Dione. She is the wife of Hephaestus. Her favorite lover is the god of war, Ares. She represented sex, affection, and the attraction that binds people

together. Hermes (Mercury) He was the cleverest of the Olympian gods, and messenger to all the other gods. Hermes is the son of Zeus and Maia.

He is Zeus messenger. He is the fastest of the gods. He wears winged sandals, a winged hat, and carries a magic wand.

He is the guide for the dead to go to the underworld. Artemis (Diana) Artemis was goddess of chastity, virginity, the hunt, the moon, and the natural environment. She is the daughter of Zeus and Leto. Her twin brother is Apollo.

She is the lady of the wild things. She is the huntsman of the gods. She is the protector of the young. Like Apollo she hunts with silver arrows. Hephaestus (Vulcan)

Hephaestus is the son of Zeus and Hera. Sometimes it is said that Hera alone produced him and that he has no father. He is the only god to be physically ugly. He is also lame (moving with pain or difficult.)

Accounts as to how he became lame vary. Some say that Hera, upset by having an ugly child, flung him from Mount Olympus into the sea, breaking his legs. Hephaestus (cont.) Others accounts said that he took Hera's side in an argument with Zeus and Zeus flung him off Mount Olympus. He is the god of fire and the

forge. He is the smith and fitter of armor of the gods. His wife is Aphrodite.

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