Before we formally get started, I have a disclaimer. Don't expect too much of the Greek gods. They were based upon facets of humans, not the whole thing, so basically it was like giving each of your attributes insane powers and letting them loose. Also I would like for you to know that most people in Greek art are naked to some degree. We all suffered through 'Health Class',and if you believe in yourself, you can weather this too.
intro to everything
The first thing were the Protogenos gods- Gaia (Earth), Pontos (Sea), Ouranos (Sky), and Aether (Air). Gaia is said to be the mother of everything, and she mothered many beings with the other Protogenos gods, but I'll focus in on the twelve Olympians, and by extent, the main Titan gods. Ouranos sired Kronos with Gaia, along with the majority of the Titans. long story short, Ouranos locked up some of their kids, Gaia told Kronos to rebel, and guess who followed mummy's orders? Yeah, Kronos and the other Titans. Well, Kronos was now the equivalent of God (In the christian sense) without all that wisdom. His parents prophesied that one of Kronos' spawn would overthrow him, so what does Kronos do? Instead of, perhaps, not having children, he eats them. Yum. Well, Rhea, the Titanis he was having kids with, kept one of the the newborns and gave Kronos a stone to gnaw on instead. It worked, and the baby (Zeus) was carted off to grow up elsewhere. Zeus doesn't appreciate his siblings sitting in Kronos' belly, so he gives him a potion that makes him vomit them up. Well, this sparked a war, and long story short, all of the Titans were tossed into Tartarus besides a select few, like Atlas, doomed to hold up the sky, and Prometheus, punished for bringing fire to humans. Well, now we've got the Olympians ruling. This is where I'll be focusing.
other significant greek gods
God: Zeus Poseidon Hades Hera Demeter
Rules Over: Heaven, Seas, Rivers,Horses, Underworld, Heaven,Sky, agriculture,
Sky, Weather, Fate, Earthquakes dead, death women, grain,
Kingship marriage underworld
Icons: lighting bolt, Trident, fish Cornucopia,
eagle, oak wreath bird-tipped Crown, lion Torch, staff grain sheaf
Spouse: Hera Amphitrite Persephone Zeus n/a
God: Apollo Artemis Athena Ares Aphrodite
Rules over: Music, Hunting, Wisdom, War, Beauty, love
prophecy, healing& children council, battle, pleasure
disease olives manliness
Icons: lyre, laurel Lyre, Spear, Helm, Eros, apple, dove
wreath, bow&arrow bow&arrow Greek helm Spear
Spouse: Asklepius n/a n/a Aphrodite Hephaestus, Ares
God: Hermes Hephaestus Dionysus Hestia Persephone
Rules over: Metalworking, Wine,parties Home, Underworld,
Travelers fire madness hearth spring growth
Icons: Hammer, Grapes, head veil, Eleusinian torch,
Travelers' Cap, tongs, anvil, ivy wreath kettle wheat sheaf.
winged boots anvil leopard
Spouse: Aphrodite Ariadne n/a Hades
How are these immortals related
Essentially, Gaia birthed everything, including Ouranos. Gaia and Ouranos birthed Kronos and Rhea, who then birthed Hestia, Demeter, Hades, Poseidon, Zeus, and kind of Aphrodite. Aphrodite was born from sea foam, but only after Ouranos'... castrated 'leftovers' were tossed in. If you don't know what castrated means, don't ask. If you weren't one of the Titans' kids and you were one of the main gods, well, that means your dad was Zeus. Or, you were Hephaestus. Sorry, Hephaestus.
A few important greek stories
One of the most well known Greek stories: Herakles! Well, he had many heroic ventures, so we'll focus on the Twelve Labors.
First off, know that as Herakles was the son of Zeus and a mortal woman, Hera did not like him.
Herakles had married Megara and had two children with her, but a king kidnapped them and Herakles saved them. Well, Hera had conspired with a goddess of madness, and had Herakles driven insane long enough for him to murder his family. He prayed for guidance from the god of Apollo, who said he would have to serve King Eurystheus for twelve years, and in turn complete the Twelve Labors.
I- The Nemean Lion
A lion who's hide was invincible to weapons. Not so much being crushed to death.
II- Lernaean Hydra
Nine-headed beast, and each neck that had a head lopped off regenerated two to replace it. No match for this guy over here. Woo.
III- Cerynitian Hind
A golden-horned deer that was sacred to Artemis. He spent a year tracking that thing and managed snapping one of its horns. A+ Herakles.
IV- Erymanthian Boar
A large boar who destroyed a lot of farmland. Herakles took him home alive, which was a bad idea.
V- Stables of Augeas
Augeas was a king with a massive herd of cattle, who had a really nasty stables that Herky had to clean. Ick.
VI- Stymphalian Birds
A flock of man-eating birds Herakles had to shoot one by one. Efficiency itself.
VII- Cretan Bull
A handsome bull sent from the sea by Poseidon. Herakles was sent to retrieve it. I suppose the king might have wanted a look at it or something.
VIII- Mares of Diomedes
Man eating horsebeasts. Herakles was sent to capture them and left him in the care of his squire, who got eaten. Herakles then fed Diomedes, their master, to them.
IX- The Belt of Hippolyte
A belt belonging to an Amazonian queen, who received it from Ares. It was originally going to be peaceful, but Hera got involved. Enough said.
X- Cattle of Geryon
Red-tinged cattle belonging to the three-bodied Geryon. Herakles killed the herder, Geryon, and a dog. Jerk.
XI- Apples of the Hesperides
The golden apples under guard of the daughters of Titan Atlas. Oh, also a hundred-headed dragon named Ladon. Herakles killed the dragon and made off with the apples, but they were later returned by Athena.
The three-headed giant dog guardian of the underworld. Herakles was sent to retrieve him, and only succeeded thanks to Persephone
Well, what ended up happening was Herakles got to be immortal as well as clearing his conscience. Now the family feud can go on for eternity!
Second great Greek tale: Medusa!
She was the only mortal Gorgon (Creatures so ugly they could turn you to stone), and was thus slain by Perseus, Herakles' grandson. When he chopped off Medusa's head, out of her neck popped Pegasus and the giant Khrysaor. Hard facts, yo.
Next myth: Persephone!
She was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. She was picking flowers one day, da-dee-daaa- when bam, Hades decided that she was gonna be his wife. Well, that happened, and she ate three pomegranate seeds before a very distressed Demeter could find her. Persephone was rescued, but is forever forced to return for three months a year.
Almost done: Hyacnith!
He was a young spartan prince who was loved by both Apollo and the western wind, Zephyros. Zephyros grew jealous of Apollo and one day, while Hyacinth and the god were playing discus, Zephyros blew the discus to hit Hyacinth in the head. Guess what? He died.
Last one: Pandora's Box! (Actually a plithos, or a storage jar)
She was the first woman to be created by the Titans, and was meant to marry Prometheus' fool of a brother, Epimetheus. He left her alone with a jar from the gods, which happened to contain unseen evils, and what does she do? Open the jar. I mean really.
Images found on Google Images and sandara on deviantART
Atsma, Aaron. "Greek Mythology." . Theoi Project, 1 Jan. 2011. Web. 1 Jan. 2014. <http://www.theoi.com/>.
Ibbotson, Lucia. Myths: Tales of the Greek and Roman Gods. 2007. Reprint. New York: Abrams, 2008. Print.