Gods & Heroes



Zeus was the god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods. Zeus overthew his Father Cronus. He then drew lots with his brothers Poseidon and Hades. Zeus won the draw and became the supreme ruler of the gods. He is lord of the sky, the rain god. 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. He is also known to punish those that lie or break oaths.He was the rain god, and the cloud gatherer, who wielded the terrible thunderbolt. His breastplate was the aegis, his bird the eagle, his tree the oak. He is represented as the god of justice and mercy, the protector of the weak,and the punisher of the wicked people


Poseidon was the god of the sea, earthquakes and horses. Although he was officially one of the supreme gods of Mount Olympus, he spent most of his time in his watery domain. Poseidon was brother to Zeus and Hades. These three gods divided creation between them. Zeus became ruler of the sky, Hades got dominion of the Underworld and Poseidon was given all water, both fresh and salt.

Although there were various rivers personified as gods, these would have been technically under Poseidon's sway. Similarly, Nereus, the Old Man of the Sea, wasn't really considered on a par with Poseidon, who was known to drive his chariot through the waves in unquestioned dominance. Poseidon had married Nereus's daughter, the sea-nymph Amphitrite. The Romans called Poseidon Neptune.


Hades is the brother of Zeus. After the overthow of their Father Crouns he drew lots with Zeus and Poesdion, another brother, for shares of the world. 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. Those whose calling increase the number of dead are seen favorably. The Erinnyes are welcomed guests. He is exceedingly disinclined to allow any of his subjects leave.

He is also the god of wealth, due to the precious metals mined from the earth. He has a helmet that makes him invisable. He rarely leaves the underworld. He is unpitying and terrible, but not capricious. His wife is Persephone whom Hades abducted.


All Greeks loved stories about adventures and brave heroes. A hero was someone like Perseus. He killed the Medusa, whose gaze turned people to stone. Perseus used his shield as a mirror, so he saw only her reflection - and was not turned to stone. Perseus also rescued a princess named Andromeda from a sea serpent - by using Medusa's head to turn the monster to stone!

The most famous Greek hero was Heracles (the Romans called him Hercules). Zeus was his father, and he was so strong he could kill a lion with his bare hands. He sailed with Jason and the Argonauts to find the Golden Fleece, and performed 12 "impossible" tasks, and was only killed by a trick - he put on a poisoned robe. Zeus liked Heracles so much he took the dead hero to Mount Olympus to live for ever with the god.


Hercules (more commonly known by the Romanized version of his name, Hercules) is the most illustrious hero from Greek mythology, famous for his extraordinary strength, courage and masculinity. He is characteristically portrayed as carrying an olive club as a weapon and wearing a lion's skin. Hercules was the son of a woman names Alcmene, who was seduced by Zeus when he disguised himself as her husband Amphitryon. As an illegitimate son of Zeus, Hercules was the subject of great hatred from Hear, Zeus' wife, as Heracles' existence was proof of her husband's infidelity.

Heracles was originally named Alcides by his parents, and his name was only changed later in a vain attempt to please Hera (Heracles meaning 'glory of Hera'). Hera supposedly sent two snakes to kill Heracles in his cot, but Heracles strangled a snake in each hand and played with the dead bodies as though they were toys. In his youth Heracles was sent to tend cattle on a mountain after he killed his music tutor, Linus, with a lyre. According to the sophist Prodicus, he was visited here by the nymphs Pleasure and Virtue who offered him a choice of two lives: either comfortable and easy or glorious and brutal. Heracles chose to suffer to achieve great glory


Achilles was the best fighter of the Greeks besieging Troy in the Trojan War. When the hero Odysseus journeyed to the Underworld to seek the advice of the dead prophet Teiresias, he encountered the shade of Achilles. This hero had slain the Trojan hero Hector in single combat and had himself been brought down only by the connivance of Apollo. The god guided the arrow of Hector's brother Paris to the only vulnerable spot on Achilles' body - his heel.

Achilles would not have been vulnerable even in this part of his body had his mother, the sea-goddess Thetis, been allowed to protect him as she intended. When he was an infant, she rubbed him each day with godly ambrosia, and each night she laid him upon the hearth fire. Unfortunately, Achilles' father was unaware that this procedure would make his son immortal. And when he unexpectedly came home one night to find his wife holding their baby in the flames, he cried out in alarm. Thetis was offended and went home to her father, the Old Man of the Sea, leaving Achilles to his mortal fate


Odysseus, a Greek hero, is the leading figure in the epic poem the odyssey, attributed to Homer. Odysseus is the king of Ithaca, normally said to be the son of Laertes and Anticlea, husband of Penelope, and father of Telemachus. The Odyssey is the story of Odysseus' return home at the end of the Trojan War. Odysseus fought for ten years in the Trojan War before coming up with the idea of the wooden horse just one example of why "wily" or "crafty" is attached to his name.

Odysseus incurred the wrath of Poseidon for blinding Poseidon's Cyclops son Polyphemus. In retaliation, it took Odysseus another decade before he could arrive home barely in time to drive out Penelope's suitors. The Odyssey covers a decade's worth of the adventures of Odysseus and his crew on their return to Ithaca from the Trojan War.

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