Greek Mythology is the set of stories about the gods, goddesses, heroes and rituals of Ancient Greeks.
Greek Mythology was part of the religion in Ancient Greece. The most popular Greek Mythology figures include Greek Gods like Zeus, Poseidon & Apollo, Greek Goddesses like Aphrodite, Hera & Athena and Titans like Atlas.
In Greek mythology, the Olympians were the major deities who Ancient Greeks believed in. The Olympians were twelve and comprised of Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hermes and either Hestia or Dionysus. Their name, Olympians, originates from Mount Olympus, which was their place of residence; therefore, although sometimes Hades and Persephone were included in the Olympians, they should be excluded in the sense that they lived in the underworld. The Twelve Olympians came into power after dethroning the Titans, which resulted after the end of the great war between the Olympians and the Titans, called the Titanomachy.
Titans : The Original Greek Gods
The Titans were the deities in Greek mythology that preceded the Olympians. They were the children of the primordial deities Uranus (heaven) and Gaea (earth). The Titans included Oceanus, Tethys, Hyperion, Theia, Coeus, Phoebe, Cronus, Rhea, Mnemosyne, Themis, Crius and Iapetus. Cronus was the leader of the Titans, after he managed to overthrow his tyrant father Uranus from the throne. Cronus later learned of a prophecy that said his son would eventually overthrow him and did everything he could to prevent it. However, the prophecy came true and Zeus managed to dethrone him and end the age of the Titans, after the Titanomachy, the great war between Titans and Olympians.
Aphrodite : Greek Goddess Of Love & Beauty
Aphrodite is the Olympian goddess of love, beauty, sexual pleasure, and fertility. She is regularly attended by few of her children, the Erotes, who are capable of stirring up passion in both mortals and gods at the goddess’ will. Portrayed as both insatiable and unattainable, Aphrodite was born near the coast of Cythera out of the foam (aphros) Uranus' castrated genitals created when they fell into the sea. Even though married to Hephaestus, she had affairs with all Olympians except Zeus and Hades, most famously with Ares, the god of war. She also had famous romances with two mortals, Anchises and Adonis.
If Apollo represented the ideal of the perfect male body to the Greeks, Aphrodite was certainly his most appropriate female counterpart. Beautiful and enchanting, she was frequently depicted nude, as a symmetrically perfect maiden, infinitely desirable and as infinitely out of reach. She was sometimes represented alongside Eros and with some of her major attributes and symbols: a magical girdle and a shell, a dove or a sparrow, roses, and myrtles.
Once, during an important religious festival, the hetaera Phryne decided to swim naked in the sea. The famous painter Apelles was so overwhelmed by the exquisite sight that he drew the most famous (now lost) painting of the Ancient World: “Aphrodite Rising from the Sea.” Many artists have tried recreating it during the centuries past. The sculptor Praxiteles had a bit more luck than Apelles: he also modeled his most celebrated sculpture of Aphrodite after Phryne, but a copy of that sculpture has survived to this day. It is one of the first life-sized female nudes in history. Plato says that when Aphrodite saw the sculpture, "Alas!" said she, "where did Praxiteles see me naked?"
Worshipped by basically everybody, Aphrodite, “the One who rises from the sea” was appropriately called Pandemos, “of all the people.” However, she was also called Ourania or “heavenly,” so some Greek moralists tried to make a distinction between these two Aphrodites, claiming that Aphrodite Pandemos is the goddess of sexual desire and Aphrodite Ourania, the one of “platonic love.” Now we know that this was the same goddess, called by numerous other contradictory epithets as well, which often describe the complex nature of love: “smile-loving,” “merciful,” and the “One who postpones old age,” but also “unholy,” “the dark one,” “the killer of men.”
Apollo : Greek God Of The Sun And Light
Apollo is the Olympian god of the sun and light, music and poetry, healing and plagues, prophecy and knowledge, order and beauty, archery and agriculture. An embodiment of the Hellenic ideal of kalokagathia, he is harmony, reason and moderation personified, a perfect blend of physical superiority and moral virtue. A complex deity who turns up in art and literature possibly as often as Zeus himself, Apollo is the only major god who appears with the same name in both Greek and Roman mythology.
Ares : Greek War God
Ares is the Olympian god of war. However, unlike Athena, he represents merely its destructive capacity and is typically the personification of sheer violence and brutality. Consequently, he was loved neither by gods nor by men. That is, with the exception of Aphrodite, who bore him many children out of wedlock.
Zeus : Greek God Of The Sky And Thunder, King Of The Gods
Zeus is the Olympian god of the sky and the thunder, the king of all other gods and men, and, consequently, the chief figure in Greek mythology. The son of Cronus and Rhea, he is probably most famous for his infidelity to his sister and wife, Hera. Athena, Apollo and Artemis, Hermes, Dionysus, Heracles, Helen of Troy, and the Muses are all children of his numerous erotic affairs. Hephaestus, Hebe, and Ares are his legitimate children.
Usually, Zeus is portrayed with a scepter in one hand and a thunderbolt in the other – both symbols of his authority. Sometimes he wears a crown of oak leaves – the oak was deemed to be his sacred tree. Homer repeatedly describes him as “aegis-bearing”: the Aegis was an enormous shield which Zeus frequently carried with him, lending it to his daughter Athena from time to time. In addition, he owns a pet: a giant golden eagle called Aetos Dios.
Paradoxically, Zeus is both the youngest and the oldest son of Cronus and Rhea. Namely, soon after the Creation of the world, the then-ruler of the Gods Cronus – who had learned that one of his children would overthrow him – swallowed Zeus’ three sisters and two brothers at birth: Demeter, Hera, Hestia, Hades, and Poseidon. Zeus would have been eaten himself if Rhea hadn’t slipped Cronus a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes in his place, hiding her youngest child in a cave on the Cretan Mount Ida.