Aphrodite

Aphrodite is the great Olympian goddess of beauty, love, pleasure and procreation. She was depicted as a beautiful woman usually accompanied by the winged godling Eros (Love). Her attributes include a dove, apple, scallop shell and mirror. In classical sculpture and fresco she was often depicted nude. Her name derivers from the words "
αφρός" (aphros - sea-foam) and "(ανα-)δύομαι" ([ana-]dyomai - ascending [from water]) and literally means "she who ascends from the sea-foam". It is indicating of the myth of her birth.

Apollo

Arollon (or Apollo) is the great Olympian god of prophecy and oracles, healing, plague and disease, music, song and poetry, archery, and the protection of the young. He was depicted as a handsome, beardless youth with long hair and various attributes including:--a wreath and branch of laurel; bow and quiver; raven; and lyre. Later on, his healing attributes passed on to Asclepius, his son according to myth, and to his honour healing temples (a kind of primitive hospital), the Asclepieia (
Ασκληπιεία) were built. Also, he was later attributed with traits of light, which granted him the title of the God of the Sun, a title bore by Helios.

Ares

Ares is the great Olympian god of war, battlelust, civil order and manly courage. In Greek art he was depicted as either a mature, bearded warrior dressed in battle arms, or a nude beardless youth with helm and spear. Because of his lack of distinctive attributes he is often difficult to identify in
classical art.


Artemis

Artemis is the great Olympian goddess of hunting, wilderness and wild animals. She is also a goddess of childbirth, and the protectress of the girl child up to the age of marriage. Her twin brother Apollon is similarly the protector of the boy child. Together the two gods are also bringers of sudden death and disease -- Artemis targets women and girls, and Apollon men and boys.

In ancient art Artemis was usually depicted as a girl dressed in a short knee-length chiton and equipped with a hunting bow and quiver of arrows.

Her secondary "duty" of childbirth was formerly possessed by the less known Goddess Eileithyia (
Ειλείθυια), Goddess of pregnancy and childbirth.

Athena

Athene (or Athena) is the great Olympian goddess of wise counsel, war, the defence of towns, heroic endeavour, weaving, pottery and other crafts. She was depicted crowned with a crested helm, armed with shield and spear, and wearing the snake-trimmed aigis cloak wrapped around her breast and arm, adorned with the monstrous head of the Gorgon. Throughout Greece, but mainly in Athens (the
city-state who revered her as its protector), she was often worshipped alongside Hephaestus due to their leanings towards craftsmanship.

Demeter

Demeter is the great Olympian goddess of agriculture, grain, and bread, the prime sustenance of mankind. She also presided over the foremost of the Mystery Cults which promised its intiates the path to a blessed afterlife. Demeter was depicted as a mature woman, often crowned and holding sheafs of wheat and and a torch. Her Mystery Cult was primarily one of Olympian attributes (way of
worship, rites etc) while that of her daughter, Persephone (or Kore), was more cthonic in nature.

Dionysus

Dionysos (or Dionysus) is the great Olympian god of wine, vegetation, pleasure and festivity. He was depicted as either an older bearded god or a pretty effeminate, long-haired youth. His attributes include the thyrsos (a pine-cone tipped staff), drinking cup, leopard and fruiting vine. He was usually
accompanied by a troop of Satyrs and Mainades (female devotees or nymphs). His cults and celebrations involved orgies, drinking and the dithyrambus, the ancestor of theatre.

Hephaestus

Hephaistos (or Hephaestus) is the great Olympian god of fire, metalworking, stonemasonry and the art of sculpture. He was usually depicted as a bearded man holding hammer and tongs--the tools of a smith -- and riding a donkey. Donkeys symbolize physical labour, even nowadays.

Hera

Hera is the Olympian queen of the gods and the goddess of women and marriage. She is also a goddess of the sky and starry heavens. She was usually depicted as a beautiful woman wearing a crown and holding a royal, lotus-tipped staff. Sometimes she held a royal lion or had a cuckoo or hawk as her familiar.

Hermes

Hermes is the great Olympian God of animal husbandry, roads, travel, hospitality, heralds, diplomacy, trade, thievery, language, writing, persuasion, cunning wiles, athletic contests, gymnasiums, astronomy, and astrology. He is also the personal agent and herald of Zeus, the king of the gods. Hermes was depicted as either a handsome and athletic, beardless youth, or as an older bearded man. His attributes include the herald's wand or kerykeion (Latin caduceus), winged boots, and sometimes a winged travellers cap and chlamys cloak. In later times, he influenced greatly the Hermetic cults and was given the title Trismegistus (thrice-great).

Poseidon

Poseidon is the great Olympian god of the sea, rivers, flood and drought, earthquakes, and horses. He was depicted as a mature man of sturdy build with a dark beard, and holding a trident.

His "duty" as God of Earthquakes, was formerly possessed by the Giant Egkelados (
Εγκέλαδος),
which is another name for earthquake (or tremor) in Greek.

Zeus

Zeus is the king of the gods, the god of sky and weather, law, order and fate. He was depicted as a regal man, mature with sturdy figure and dark beard. His usual attributes are a lightning bolt, royal sceptre, eagle and oak tree. He also presided over the concept of philoksenia (hospitality) and protection of strangers. He was mainly worshipped in Olympia (the Olympic Games were held to his honour) and in the Oracle of Dodoni.

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