Greek mythology is so full of fascinating stories that once you dive in, it will be difficult to leave. Have you ever heard the phrase “as strong as Hercules” when someone is powerful? Have you ever wondered why? or who is Hercules, to whom we compare his strength? In Greek mythology, there is a story about the demi-god Hercules and how he completed the 12 labours.
Greek myths tells the stories of legends that were a part of everyday life in the ancient world, such as gods and goddesses, heroes and monsters, and even worriers. Nothing was left out in it; for example, you will find references to everything from religious rituals to the weather.
The characters, stories, themes, and lessons of Greek mythology influenced everything around us, including the Renaissance-era paintings Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Raphael’s Triumph of Galatea. Of course, many of these myths are fictional stories, such as the well-known story of the heroic Hercules. The famous Trojan War is based on historical events.
Let’s talk more in-depth, from the 12 olympian gods to the most famous myth stories and everything else you can think of related to greek myth. Just remember that once you get sucked into the Greek mythology world, it will be challenging to get out because of how interesting their stories are.
The 12 Main Greek Gods
You may have heard of Mount Olympus in most Greek myths, but what is its significance? Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece, where all gods and goddesses live and rule over all aspects of human life. Olympian gods and goddesses resembled men and women and could transform into animals or anything else they desired.
The twelve prominent Olympians are:
Zeus is regarded as the King, guardian, and father of all gods and humans. He controls the weather, which is why his symbol is a light bolt and an eagle.
Hera is Zeus’ wife and the god and goddess’ queen. She is the goddess of marriage and the guardian of women during childbirth.
Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of beauty and love, Aphros is a Greek word that means “foam.”
Apollo was the god of creation, music, poetry, and wisdom. He is the twin brother of Artemis, the Goddess of Hunting.
Ares, the Greek war god. He wasn’t one of the gods you’d hear about because he wasn’t well-known, and his worship was limited in Greece.
The Greek goddess of wild animals, hunting, and plants. Artemis is Apollo’s twin sister. She is also the daughter of Zeus and Leto.
Athena was the Greek goddess of city protection, war, handicraft, and sensible reason.
Demeter is the goddess of farming and grain. Sister of Zeus, the King of the gods.
Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, joy, and celebration.
Hephaestus is the Greek god of tools and weapons, blacksmiths, carpenters, sculptors, metalworking, and fire.
Hermes is the Greek god of travel, hospitality, and trade and Zeus’ messenger. Hermes’s name comes from herma, the Greek word for a pile of stones.
Poseidon is the Greek god of the sea and water in general, as well as earthquakes and horses. Poseidon’s name means either “father of the earth” or “lord of the earth.”
3 Famous Greek Myths
Greek mythology is filled with classical and fictional stories that have given us some known words and phrases commonly used in English and other languages. However, you may have yet to realize it originated from Greek myth, so let us share them with you.
- Persephone and Hades’ Story
The Greeks explained the origin of seasonal change in a fascinating way. The ancient Greeks attributed the change of seasons to Zeus and Demeter’s daughter Persephone, the goddess of greenery. Hades, the underworld’s god, kidnapped her. Crops died, and everyone began to starve due to Persephone’s absence from the land.
Zeus ordered Hades to return Persephone to Demeter above ground, but Hades had another plan. He drugged Persephone with pomegranate seeds so she would stay underground with him. Eventually, an agreement was reached in which Persephone would spend the winter months underground with Hades, which is why the winter season is gloomy, and the rest of the year above ground with Demeter, which is why the summer season is sunny and bright. Persephone and Hades’ Story explains the origins of the seasons.
2. Echo and Narcissus’s Story
Have you ever wondered what the story behind the word echo is? The Greeks wowed us with yet another myth. It started when Narcissus was known as a beautiful young man; he fell in love with his reflection when he saw it one day while drinking and gazing down at the surface of the water.
Echo loved Narcissus, but he avoided her because he was only interested in himself, and echo grieved until her voice was all that remained. In any case, echo found it difficult to express her feelings for Narcissus because she had already been cursed to be unable to speak for herself and could only repeat what others said. That is echo’s story!
3. Hercules’s Story
Hercules was born a demi-god and showed great strength early in his life. Zeus had an affair with Alcmene, a mortal woman who became pregnant with Hercules.
Hera, Zeus’ wife, was jealous of Hercules and sent snakes to kill him when he was a baby still sleeping, but Hercules strangled them to death. Hera’s desire for revenge lasted throughout Hercules’ adult life. Hercules married and had a big family. Hera cast an evil spell on Hercules to take everything from him, causing him to kill his loved one’s wife and children. When Hercules overcame the spell and realized what he had done, he sought forgiveness and asked for advice from his cousin, Eurytheus.
Hera did not give up and convinced Eurytheus to set twelve dangerous and deadly labours for Hercules to face to regret his wrongdoings. Hercules achieved victory over each labour, empowering him to the top of the list of Greek mythology heroes.
Not the End of an Era, but the End of an Article
It’s difficult to stop talking about Greek mythology once you start, but hopefully, the small glimpse of stories made you fall in love and want to know more about it as much as we do!
If you enjoyed this content why not dive into some more historical eras – check out these articles: Ancient Rome, Ancient Egyptians – The First Woman Pharaoh, Greek Mythology – Medusa, Native American History. Victorian Era, Ibn Khaldun or Celts.
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