The full list of the Olympian Greek Gods:


Zeus was recognized as the father of gods and humans. He regulated the celestial phenomena and defined the laws that govern people. He held the lightning bolt with one hand and the scepter with the other, which had an eagle at the top. He was known as the ‘Lord of Justice’. People respected and feared him at the same time. He was taking care of the families, keeping vigil in the home of every mortal and protecting strangers and passers-by from evil. Zeus' wife was the goddess Hera, to whom he was not always faithful. Greek mythology is full of love stories about Zeus, who liked to transform himself into anything he could think of and mingle with other goddesses or mortals.



Demeter was the Greek goddess of agriculture and protected the trees, plants and grains. She was the first to make the earth fruitful and taught people how to grow wheat, barley and other plants. Demeter is somewhat isolated from the twelve gods in ancient myths and this is because she is an even more ancient goddess herself. The Greeks received her cult from the Pelasgians, who originally lived in Greece. According to Greek mythology, Demeter’s daughter is mentioned as Persephone, who was once abducted by God Hades and became his wife. The most sacred and secret religious rites of ancient Greece, the Eleusinian Mysteries, were held in honor of Demeter.

Goddess Demeter and the return of Persephonepainting by Frederic Leighton (1891) [Public domain]



Poseidon was one of the six children of Cronus and Rhea and brother of Zeus. He was allotted the kingdom of the sea but he was also considered the god of horses and earthquakes. This is why he was called “the earth-shaker”. He rarely lived on Olympus, preferring the depths of the ocean. He was sitting on a famous chariot drawn by immortal horses and holding in his hand the famous trident, forged by the Cyclops. When Poseidon was angry, he plunged the trident into the sea and shook it whole from end to end. The sailors prayed to Poseidon so that he spares them from his wrath.

The dispute between the Greek Gods Athena and Poseidon over the naming of the city of Athenspainting by René-Antoine Houasse (1689) [Public Domain]



Hades was the brother of Zeus and Poseidon and the god of the Underworld. He was allotted this kingdom when the three brothers took a draw to decide who will take each of three (heavens, sea and the Underworld). He liked to live in the dark and shadowed world of the dead and was rarely seen on Olympus. This is why, although he is one of the most important gods, some lists do not include him in the 12 Olympians. He was also known as Pluto. “Plutos” in Greek means wealth. The Earth is giving us a lot of treasures and since Hades’ kingdom is underneath it, the ancient Greeks believed that he was the one delivering the wealth to them. They actually preferred to call him Pluto because the name Hades was another name for the Underworld and they did not like the idea of death. The entrance to the Underworld is guarded by a monstrous dog, Hades’ favorite pet, the three-headed Cerberus. In order for your soul to cross the silent river, you need to pay the ferryman, Charon, to carry you to the other side on his boat.



Goddess Hera was the sister of Zeus, daughter of the Titans Cronus and Rhea, and at the same time Zeus’ wife. Hera symbolized and protected the sacred institution of marriage. She blessed and helped the women in labor. Greek mythology presents Hera as a modest, measured and faithful woman, but at the same time very jealous. There are almost no myths that refer exclusively to Hera. Her name is almost always associated with the myths about Zeus. However, Hera does not present herself as a goddess submissive to her sovereign husband. She had a strong female personality and she was the only one that dared to object to him.

Greek goddess Hera in the 'Golden Apple of Discord'painting by Jacob Jordaens (1633) [Public domain]



Apollo and Artemis were siblings, twins actually, children of Zeus and Leto, a Titan goddess. According to tradition, the two children were born on the island of Delos. Apollo is one of the most important and complex Greek gods. He is the god of light, music and poetry, healing and prophecy. He was the one that established the great Oracle of Delphi, which was considered the center of the ancient world. He was the teacher of the nine Muses and when they sang he accompanied them with his famous lyre.

Greek god Apollo with Urania, the Muse of Poetrypainting by Charles Meynier (1789-1800) [Public domain]



Artemis, Apollo's twin sister, was the goddess of hunting, wild animals and the wilderness. She spent her time in the woods, accompanied by the Nymphs, hunting, with her bow and arrows. She was a virgin goddess and protector of young girls. She was also worshipped as one of the primary goddesses of childbirth and midwifery, relieving the women in labor from diseases. She was sometimes associated with the goddess of the moon.

Greek goddess Artemis surrounded by her followerspainting by Louis Devedeux (1820–1874) [Public domain]



Aphrodite, the most beautiful among mortals and immortals, was born from the foam of the sea when Uranus’ blood fell on it after his defeat by Cronus. This fact makes her the eldest among the Olympian Gods. Her name literally means “risen from the foam”. Aphrodite was worshipped as the goddess of beauty and passion. She could inspire love in the hearts of men and women. Most myths generally present Aphrodite as a vengeful woman. Aphrodite was worshiped in all parts of Greece and many priestesses were serving her. According to Greek mythology, she married the god of fire and blacksmiths, Hephaestus, but she was in love with the god of war, Ares, with whom she bared many children among which the winged god of love, Eros.

The birth of Aphroditepainting by Sandro Botticelli (1485) [Public domain]



Ares, the god of war, was the son of the Greek gods Zeus and Hera. He was always followed by two of his faithful sons and followers, the gods Deimos and Phobos. Ares was handsome and strong, young and well-armed. He loved war and battles so he was hated by people and his worship was limited. Only in Sparta he was particularly worshipped and had a statue dedicated to him. Ares was tried, according to tradition, for his many war crimes, in one of Athens’ hills, the Areopagus Hill, which later became the seat of the criminal court of ancient Athens.



Hephaestus was the god of fire and blacksmiths. He was born ugly and that is why his mother, the goddess Hera, unable to nourish him, threw him out of Olympus. Since then he has been limping. Hephaestus fell into the sea, where he was picked up by the Nereids and raised by them. Growing up, he became a famous craftsman and set up his workshop on Mount Etna in Sicily. With his various metals, he made works of art of incomparable beauty. He once made a golden throne and sent it to his mother Hera. As soon as Hera sat down, invisible chains bound her without anyone being able to untie them. They tried to persuade Hephaestus, but they only succeeded after they got him drunk first. Hephaestus, the god of fire, gave his name to the volcanoes in the Greek language. It was from him, that the Titan Prometheus took the fire and gave it to the people. Hephaestus was also the one who built the brass and gold palaces of Olympus.

God Hephaestus presenting Aphrodite with Arms for Aeneaspainting by François Boucher (1757) [Public domain]



Hermes was the god of wealth, trade, thieves and travelers. He was also known as the Messenger God, being the herald of the Olympians and carrying messages between them. He was the son of Zeus and Maia, daughter of Titan Atlas. He was a clever, inventive and arrogant god. As soon as he was born, Hermes saw a turtle. He took her shell, placed seven strings in it and invented the lyre. He once stole the oxen guarded by god Apollo and locked them in a cave. He wouldn’t admit the theft, but in the end, he confessed. To avoid punishment, he gifted the lyre to Apollo. Hermes wore winged sandals and held the caduceus, his wand which had two serpents twined around it. He was the one who accompanied the souls of the dead to Hades and for that, he was known as the “soul-bearer”.



Athena, according to Greek mythology, was the goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare. Athena was the beloved daughter of Zeus. Her mother was the Titaness Metis, the first wife of Zeus. Zeus received a prophecy informing him that Metis would give birth to the child who would overthrow his father. To escape the prophecy, Zeus swallowed Metis while she was pregnant in Athena. Later, Zeus began to suffer from headaches and called on Hephaestus to help him. Hephaestus hit the head of Zeus with his hammer and Athena sprang out in full armor. She is always pictured to be armed, never as a child, always a virgin. She won the battle for the patronage of Athens over Poseidon. The Parthenon in Athens is the most famous temple dedicated to her. Protector of heroes and wisest among the Gods, Athena was considered one of the most powerful and important Olympian Gods.



Although a demi-god, Dionysus managed to win the heart of the gods and his place on Mount Olympus! As a god of wine, viticulture ritual madness and religious ecstasy, he was very beloved among the people and was considered a very important god. He was the son of god Zeus and the mortal Semele. He was the patron god of theater and taught people how to make wine. The Athenians, to honor Dionysus, held a famous celebration, characteristic of his merriment. Any use of force was prohibited during such holidays.


Goddess Hestia

Hestia was the goddess of domestic life, home and hearth, the flame that kept a family’s home warm. She was the eldest daughter of Cronus and Rhea, and the eldest sister of Zeus. In the middle of the ancient Greeks’ home, there was an altar in her honor. The women of the house had as a responsibility to keep Hestia’s flame burning. The worship of Hestia was connected with the worship of Zeus who protected the strangers-travelers. Goddess Hestia was the first to invent the construction of houses, taught it to people and became the protector of family peace and happiness. She was always staying on Mount Olympus, keeping the sacred flame going.


Other Greek Gods

In addition to the above, there were other, lesser gods that people also honored and respected. The Greeks often offered sacrifices to request their help or gain their favor and built beautiful temples to honor them. Some honorary mentions are:

    • Hecate: the goddess of magic and necromancy. She was the one that helped the goddess Demeter in search of her daughter. Dogs were closely associated with her. The ancient Greeks believed that when dogs suddenly barked at night, Hecate was passing by.
    • Aeolus: the god of the winds. He was supervising the eight Wind Gods (each wind direction was personified by ancient Greeks).
    • Asclepius: the god of medicine. He was the son of god Apollo who taught him the science of medicine.
    • Eris: the goddess of jealousy and discord. She was the one that threw the golden apple at the wedding of Thetis and Peleus because they did not invite her. Her action was the starting point that would later lead to the epic Trojan war.
    • Pan: the god of wild, shepherds and rustic music. He is considered to be one of the oldest Greek gods and was especially beloved among the people.

But there are so many other Greek gods! There are of course deities who, although great, remained secondary or never exceeded their local character. Eileithyia, goddess of childbirth; the war god Enyalios and his companion Enyos; Lefkothea and Evrynomi, Mothers and Ladies of the Sea Animals, Lords of the Sea Animals by the names Glaucus, Proteus, Nireus, Forkis; and so many more.

Other deities are organized in groups according to their gender and age. The youthful forms are considered more important because they are always in motion, dancing, singing. The Graces, the Muses, the Nereids, the Oceanids are some of the most popular groups of deities.

Many of these lesser Greek gods and goddesses are forces of nature. Cities honor their rivers and springs with a special altar or temple, personifying them. The cult of the winds and the sun were also very popular. The Moon and Eos, the goddess of dawn, also appear in some myths, while the worship of the Earth in the traditional religion never stopped existing.

The existence of such deities has led to the idea that gods are personifications of natural phenomena and nature itself. The Greeks, for example, considered the rivers gods, children of the great gods. The Nymphs could be found in springs and fountains that were considered sacred places; waters from certain springs were considered fertile, therefore they were related to the ritual bath of the groom before the wedding; newborns were thrown into the water of a specific sacred source to be blessed and have a good life.


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