Who Were the Olympian Gods?

Their story goes back thousands of years, long before writing was invented. The magic of words sung and passed down from generation to generation. It was Hesiod who first told their story in his oratorical piece Theogony; literally translated as “the birth of the gods.” Though some experts suggest he got his inspiration from Homer’s The Iliad and “borrowed” ideas about the gods to create his version. Whether or not that’s true, we have Hesiod and Homer plus other ancient performers to thank for the richness and wonderful mythologies about the Greek Gods.

Thirteen gods made up the Pantheon with Zeus as supreme deity. It wasn’t an easy road to the top, pardon the pun. Zeus, along with his siblings didn’t have an ideal

Kronos devouring his sonFrancisco de Goya c. 1819-1923
Kronos devouring his son
Francisco de Goya c. 1819-1923

childhood. Their father, a Titan, was told a prophecy of a son who would replace him and rule Earth and the Heavens. Kronos fearing patricide (he killed his own father) resorted to eating his own children as soon as they were born. His wife, Rhea, tricked him into devouring a rock swaddled in blankets and hid Zeus. He grew up on Krete and when old enough, gave his father a concoction to regurgitate his siblings.

Then there was a war. Kronos and his Titan brothers, the female Titans remained neutral, fought the Olympian Gods. It lasted ten years. (A bit of correlation here between Hesiod and Homer). Zeus recruited Kyklopes and the Hekatoncheires; he had freed them from Tartaros and with their help defeated the Titans. Zeus imprisoned his father and brothers in Tartaros. They would remain there forever.

The Gods played a pivotal role in the lives of the Ancient Greeks. It was believed they lived on earth until Zeus created the fifth age of man: race of iron. When the gods interacted with humans, which they did a lot, they would disguise themselves. Zeus would often take on an animal form to copulate with women; Hera would pretend to be an old woman; Athene may become an owl or impersonate another human.

Each god had particular strengths and weaknesses, ruled over facets of life and nature. The myths were introduced to provide guidance, a rule book to life.

Stay tuned as I delve in the lives of the goddesses beginning with Hera, Queen of the Gods.

The Curse of Troy available from: Amazon UK
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Aphrodite’s Curse available from: Amazon UK
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    • cav12

      Maybe it was about the mystique! 🙂 He did impersonate a king once when he impregnated Herakles’ mother. It was a unique way of explaining human behaviour. Hmm… we haven’t really evolved that much!
      Thanks for your comment 🙂


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