Nicolas Poussin: Apollo and the Muses / Prado National Museum - credits: wikipedia.org
Nicolas Poussin: Apollo and the Muses / Prado National Museum - credits: wikipedia.org

Every time we think of ancient Greek mythology, we think of terrifying creatures and heroic battles. Additionally, images of idealized figures, and sometimes perversive stories come to mind. This collection of stories was of such pivotal importance for the ancient Greek mindset. It nurtured the development of Greek civilization through the generations.

As the world is aware of, apart from practical and innovative, the minds of the ancient Greeks were incredibly imaginative. As a result, they gifted the world with fascinating tales. Those tales were an attempt to explain the miracle of life and natural phenomena. The Olympian Gods hold the leading roles in most of Greek Mythology. Additionally, the battle between mortals and immortals is usually the core of the tales. The majority of Greek mythology has survived through the works of Homer and Hesiod.

What is Greek Mythology?

The term 'Greek mythology' covers all the myths related to the Greek tradition, as they are presented through the texts of ancient Greek literature. 'Greek mythology' is specifically defined as the telling of mythical stories created by the ancient Greeks and concerned with their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the ritual practices of their worship.

It consists of a rich collection of stories that refer to the origin of the world and narrate the life and adventures of a wide variety of gods, heroes, heroines, and other mythological creatures. These stories were initially shaped through oral and poetic tradition, before being disseminated in writing through works of Greek literature.

Modern researchers refer to myths and study them to understand their symbolism, the religious and political institutions of the ancient Greeks, and the ancient Greek culture in general.

When did Greek Mythology begin?

This question doesn't really have a straightforward answer. It is difficult to know the exact year of birth of Greek mythology, as it is believed to have originated from centuries of oral tradition. It is likely that Greek myths evolved from stories told in the Minoan civilization of Crete, which flourished from about 3000 to 1100 BCE.

History and origin of Greek Mythology

Mythology has changed over time to adapt to the evolution of Greek culture. The first inhabitants of the Balkan Peninsula, who were agricultural populations, had attributed a spirit to every natural phenomenon. Over time, these vague spirits took human form and became part of mythology as gods and goddesses. During the descent of tribes from the north, came a new divine pantheon, based on conquest, strength, bravery in battle, and heroism. Older deities of the agricultural world were assimilated by stronger ones or completely discredited.

Modern scholars attribute interpretations and symbols of our time to the ancient Greek myths. theory of the oedipal complex he formulated, the name of the Theban hero. Others today seek to emphasize the homosexual element in ancient Greece through its myths, believing that in the middle of the archaic period they gradually began to project relations between gods and heroes, with the parallel development of pedophilia, a term introduced around 630 e.g.

By the end of the 5th century BC, it is believed that some poets had attributed at least one lover to every major god, except Mars, to many legendary personalities. Already existing myths, such as that of Achilles and Patroclus, also joined a similar pattern. The adaptation of the stories of Greek mythology was a common phenomenon, first introduced by the Alexandrian poets and continued after all the writers of the early Roman Empire.

The achievement of epic poetry was to create historical circles, and consequently to develop a concept of mythological chronology. Although contradictions in the stories make absolute dating impossible, it is almost possible. The mythological history of the world is divided into 3 or 4 broader periods:

  • The Age of the Gods or Theogony (birth of the Gods): myths about the origin of the world, the Gods, and the human race.
  • The Age of Gods and Men: Stories of Interactions between Gods, Demigods, and Mortals.
  • The era of the Heroes, where the divine activity is limited.
  • The last and greatest of the heroic myths is of the Trojan War (considered by many researchers as a separate fourth period)

Who created Greek mythology?

The stories of Greek mythology were initially shaped through oral and poetic tradition, before being disseminated in writing through the works of Greek literature. The oldest known literary sources are the two epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer (8th century BC), which are dedicated to the events of the Trojan War and the adventures of Odysseus that followed. The poetic works of Hesiod (8th century BC) are also considered to be an extremely valuable source of information: Theogony and the Works and Days, which refer to the ancient Greek conception of the creation of the world, the succession of divine rulers, of human times, the origins of human drama and sacrificial practices. Various myths have also been preserved from Homeric hymns, parts of poems of the epic cycle, lyric poems, works of the tragedy of the 5th century BC, writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic period, and texts by writers of Roman times, such as Plutarch and of Pausanias.

Greek Myths

We have selected some of the most popular and interesting ancient Greek Myths, which you can see below:

Eros and Psyche

eros and psyche antonio canova statue peacefoo shutterstock 2Statue of Eros and Psyche by Antonio Canova - credits: peacefoo/shutterstock.com

Psyche was the daughter of a royal couple. She had two older sisters and she was so stunning, that she even overshadowed Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love. Men used to lust after her while, during her time, the altars of Aphrodite were being abandoned as they all worshiped the irresistible princess instead of the goddess. The rejection angered Aphrodite, who ordered her son, Eros to make Psyche fall in love with the most inferior and least reputable man he could find.

Then, one day, Psyche’s father received an oracle from God Apollo who instructed him to take Psyche dressed in a bridal dress on a high mountain where he had to wait for the arrival of the groom. Terrified, he did so, and Psyche was taken to a high mountain until Zephyros, the gentle western wind, picked her up and carried her to a valley where she fell asleep on the grass.

When she woke up, she discovered a dazzling palace. Psyche entered the palace reluctantly and was welcomed by invisible servants. That night, an unknown man lied beside her on the bed. Despite Psyche’s fear for her life, the stranger treated her tenderly, though he disappeared before the crack of dawn. From then on, the stranger returned each night. In the meantime, Psyche’s sisters started looking for her.

The stranger warned Psyche that her sisters were approaching and advised her to ignore them. Originally, Psyche agreed to obey his desires but later felt bad for the cruel way she was about to treat her sisters. Eros, who was the secret lover of Psyche, pitied her and allowed her to welcome her sisters, warning her not to disclose his identity.

Psyche welcomed her sisters in her palace, and when one of them insisted on asking for her husband's identity, she simply replied that he was a young handsome man who always spent the day chasing animals. Her sisters got extremely jealous. Their younger sister was suddenly rich and married to an incredibly beautiful man while they had ended up with ugly, old, and sick husbands. Eros repeated his warning and then told her she was pregnant.

By using fraudulent tricks, her sisters managed to make Psyche admit that she did not know who her husband was and ask for their help. They advised her when her husband fell asleep, to bring a candle to his face and see who he was. Psyche did as she was told and discovered that her husband was Eros himself, with his bow and arrows next to the bed. Curious, Psyche touched one of his arrows and was injured by the edge, making her fall in love with Eros. The candle dripped on the shoulder of the sleeping god, who jumped awake and flew away, angry with Psyche for not keeping her word.

At the last moment, Psyche grabbed his foot and was lifted up in the air with him. When exhaustion forced her to leave him, Eros acknowledged that he had been hurt by his arrows, and therefore had desperately fallen in love with Psyche, but flew away leaving her in the wilderness. Psyche took revenge from her sisters by driving them to suicide and continued looking for Eros while he lied wounded on his mother's bed.

Desperate, Psyche approached Aphrodite, who tormented the unfortunate Psyche without knowing she was pregnant and gave her a series of impossible tasks to complete, which she did with the help of superior power. By then, Eros had recovered from his injury.

Filled with a lust for Psyche, he escaped from the room where his mother had imprisoned him,  found his beloved, and flew to Zeus to ask him to approve his marriage with her. Zeus agreed and announced to Aphrodite that Psyche was about to become a goddess. He ordered Hermes to bring the girl to Mount Olympus, where the wedding was celebrated with joy. Eros and Psyche remained married and acquired a son, Voloupta (meaning ‘sensual’ in Greek).

Pandora’s Box; Who was the first woman on earth?

pandoras box Fer Gregory shutterstock 2Pandora's box - credits: Fer Gregory/Shutterstock.com

Zeus, having received an oracle from Prometheus revealing to him that a child of his born by Thetis would outpower him and steal his throne, decided to punish humankind. He instructed Hephaestus, the Greek god of blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, and volcanoes, among others, to create a woman out of clay and give her a human voice. Hephaestus worked hard and created a masterpiece. Goddess Athena liked this clay creature, blew life into her, and taught her how to weave and dress. Aphrodite, the goddess of love, made her beautiful. Hermes taught her how to charm and deceive. Zeus was satisfied when he saw her; he named her Pandora and sent her as a gift to Epimetheus.

Despite Epimetheus having been warned by his brother, Prometheus, that he should never accept gifts from Zeus because there would always be a trap, Epimetheus ignored his brother's warning, fell in love with Pandora, and married her. Zeus, as a gift for their wedding, gave Pandora a beautiful box, on the condition that she would never open it.

For a while, Epimetheus and Pandora were very happy. As time passed, however, Pandora became increasingly curious about what was in the box. She could not understand why someone would send her a box if she could not see what was in it, and one day, defeated by her curiosity, she decided to open it. She took the key, put it in the lock, turned it around, and carefully opened the lid to take a quick look.

Before realizing what was going on, the room was filled with terrible things: illness, despair, evil, greed, aging, death, hatred, violence, cruelty, and war. Terrified, she closed the lid with force leaving only the spirit of hope in the box.

The myth of Pandora’s Box is preserved in various versions with the ones from Hesiod, Aesopus, and Aeschylus, being the most popular. According to one variation, probably the oldest one, Zeus had filled the box with real gifts ordering Pandora to never open it. Curious as she was, Pandora disobeyed Zeus, opened the box, and as a result, all of the good it contained, all the things Zeus had given to the people, except for Hope, flew back to heaven. Despite its many variants, it is not clear whether Zeus wanted to punish people with what was released from the box or whether the punishment was the woman herself, with many comparing Pandora's box with the apple of Eve.

Theseus and the Minotaur

Theseas and minotaur statue by Etienne Jules Ramey meunierd shutterstock 2Sculpture of Theseus the Minotaur fighting by Etienne Jules Ramey - credits: meunierd/Shutterstock.com 

According to Greek Mythology, Minos, King of Crete and son of Zeus and Europa, once asked god Poseidon to give him a sign whether he or his brother, Rhadamanthus, should take the throne of Knossos from King Asterios. Poseidon sent him a beautiful white bull and asked him to sacrifice it in his honor.

Minos, however, dazzled by the beauty of the animal, decided to mislead Poseidon and sacrifice another bull in its place. Of course, Poseidon realized what had happened and, outraged, made King Minos’ wife, Pasiphae, to fall in love with the bull. Desperate, Pasiphae sought the help of a skillful craftsman and artist, Daedalus, who built a wooden cow dummy, Damalis, covered in true cowhide. Pasiphae entered the dummy and, fooled, the bull mated with her. From this, the famous Minotaur was born, a monster with a human body and a bull’s head that fed with human blood.

When King Minos saw the monster, he asked Daedalus to build a dark building with endless corridors to imprison the Minotaur. Thus, Daedalus constructed the Labyrinth, a complex network in which anyone who entered, couldn’t find the way out. At one point in history, Minos’ son, Androgeus, took part in the Panathenaic Games, where he won several times. Driven by envy, the people of Athens killed the young athlete, and Minos declared war on the Athenians, defeating them with ease. As a punishment, Minos forced Athenians to send to Crete, every nine years, seven young men and seven young women to be devoured by the Minotaur.

Theseus, son of Aegeus, the king of Athens, did not endure this humiliation and asked that he be one of the seven young men sent to Crete, with a special mission; to kill the Minotaur in the dark labyrinth. Upon his arrival, he met with the daughter of Minos, Ariadne, and they both fell in love. Ariadne then gave Theseus a threaded rope -known as Ariadne's thread- and advised him to tie its end to the entrance of the labyrinth and unroll it as he moves inside the labyrinth so that, when he killed the Minotaur, he could find the exit. Theseus entered the dark arcades holding the thread and managed to kill the Minotaur by cutting his head, thus giving a definitive end to Minos’ cruelty. Then, he managed to return to the exit, following the thread.

Theseus took Ariadne with him and, along with the rest of the Athenians, they began the trip back home. They made a stop at Naxos, where god Dionysus appeared in Theseus’ dream and told him that they had to leave the island without Ariadne since she was meant to stay there and become his wife. Ariadne stayed in Naxos, married Dionysus, and was later brought to Mount Olympus to become immortal.

When the rest of the Athenians sailed to Athens, they forgot to change the black sails on their ships, symbolizing the mourning for the loss of young people. When Aegeas saw the black sails, thinking that Theseus was killed, he fell from the cliffs of Cape Sounio, giving the sea in which he drowned the name it holds to this day: the Aegean Sea.

Tip: discover more of Crete’s fascinating history and mythology with a Knossos Palace And Archaeological Museum Tour!

Greek Mythology is an integral part of the Greek culture, even today. It has exceedingly influenced Western civilization, its philosophy, history, politics, art, and literature and has served as an inspiration to poets and artists from across the world. Don’t skip on learning the deepest secrets of antiquity and the  hundreds of myths to be found under every rock you turn. If you’re visiting Greece with your kids, treat them to a captivating adventure that will unveil the gems of Greek mythology through our Percy Jackson tours, where they will get the chance to trace Percy Jackson’s footsteps and witness the famous book come to life!

Greek Mythology in our daily life

By developing, adapting, and thus evolving through the centuries, and the expanse of Greek culture by the conquest of Alexander the Great and Rome’s Greek affiliation, ancient Greek mythology managed to break the chains of locality and became a universal heritage of humankind. Its power and attraction are evident through the findings that have surfaced, with scenes from Greek Mythology being found on mosaics, depicted as marble statues, and decorating the vessels of everyday life.

Today, we think of these stories as either dead remnants of the ancient world or  themes for a box-office action movie. Is that, however, the extent to which Greek mythology has affected the modern world? How often are we surrounded by those stories during our day and refer to them inadvertently? Here, we present you with some examples that will help you realize what a big part of your life Greek Mythology really is.

Get hypnotized

Bronze head of Hypnos - credits: en.wikipedia.org

Hypnosis, hypnotherapy, hypnotize, hypnopompia, etc. are words directly associated with Hypnos, the god of sleep. During Roman times, he was known as Somnus (e.g. insomnia). According to mythology, Hypnos was the son of Nyx (the night) and Erebus (the darkness), always close to his twin brother Thanatos (death).

He was thought to be a benevolent deity, that controlled half of people’s lives. Homer reveals that the entrance to the Underworld where he lived, could be found on the island of Lemnos, at the northern part of modern Greece. The entrance of his cave is said to be filled with poppies and other hypnotic plants, watered from the river of Lethe (forgetfulness). The sunlight never showers his cave, and the concept of sound is unknown in his territory. He was a god of great power, even among the rest of the Olympian gods.

With Pasithea, the youngest of the Graces (goddess of relaxation and hallucination) he had his three sons Morpheus (meaning Shape), the god that can intrude and take human form in dreams, Phobetor the one responsible for nightmares and Phantasos, the maker of illusions and hallucinations.

Hypnos is found in many myths of the Greeks with the most famous one found in Homer’s Iliad. During the battles of Troy’s siege, Patroclus the dearest friend of Achilles and the son of the Argonaut Menoetius encountered the son of Zeus, Sarpedon. When he witnessed Patroclus being on a rampage, slaying one Trojan after the other, he stood against him.

The two men starting fighting with every mean they had, with Zeus closely observing the situation, anxious about the fate of his son. At one point, he tried to interfere only to be stopped by Hera, who reminded him that his actions might provoke terrible consequences. With a final blow, Patroclus hit Sarpedon on his chest, killing him on site. Before he died though, he begged Glaucus to protect his body from the Greeks. The armies of the Greeks and Trojans engaged in a battle around the fully-armored dead body of Sarpedon. The battle ended with the victory of the Greeks and the order of Patroclus to take the armor of Sarpedon.

Then, Zeus covered the naked body of Sarpedon with darkness and sent  Apollo to retrieve it, clean it from blood and dust, cover it with ointments and perfume and give it to Hypnos and Thanatos to: ”...carry him away, until they come with him to the countryside of broad Lykia (Lycia) where his brothers and countrymen shall give him due to burial with tomb and gravestone.”

To tantalize

tantalus Eroshka shutterstock
Isolated vector illustration of Tantalus- credits: Eroshka/Shutterstock.com

According to Oxford Dictionaries, the definition of the verb to tantalize is: to torment or to tease (someone) with the sight or promise of something that is unobtainable.

The origin of that word comes from the horrifying story of the king of Phrygia Tantalus, the son of Zeus and Pluto. By being the son of two major deities, Tantalus was thought to be equal to the rest of the Olympian gods. Having his mind clouded by vanity and greed, he stole ambrosia and nectar, the food and drink of the gods, granting immortality to anyone he wanted. He even went a step further, claiming that the gods could easily be manipulated and deceived. In order to prove his point, he committed a hideous crime.

He murdered his son Pelops, cut him into pieces, cooked him, and offered him as food to the gods. The Olympians (except for Demeter who -distracted by the loss of her daughter- was deceived) quickly realized the sacrilege of Tantalus and repulsed by his action, they decided to punish him in the most brutal way possible. Zeus struck him immediately with his bolts of lightning and his soul was led to the deepest level of the Underworld, the Tartarus. There the gods let his soul retain its earthly needs and put him in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches.

Whenever he reached for the fruit, the branches raised his intended meal from his grasp. Whenever he bent down to get a drink, the water  receded before he could get any. After Tantalus’ punishment, the gods resurrected Pelops as a youthful young man and Poseidon took him under his protection. The story of Tantalus is one of the most brutal stories of ancient Greek mythology. The famous artist of antiquity, Polygnotus depicted Tantalus' punishment in one of his paintings.

Enchanted by the color of your eyes

One of the most charming features of a person is the iris of their eyes. Different cultures around the globe rendered the iris of the eye into the window to a person’s soul, while in olden times, practitioners used to examine them to reveal the future of someone’s life.

The iris took its name from the ancient Greek deity Iris, the daughter of Thaumas and Oceanid Electra. She was the messenger of the gods, just like Hermes, and had a set of golden wings on her back. Iris was always carrying an ewer filled with water from the River Styx, which she used to put to sleep the people that had committed the crime of perjury.

According to ancient Greeks, the rainbow was the only visible sign of the goddess when traveling from one place to another. An obedient follower of Hera, she is often mentioned by Homer in his work Iliad. A passage describes an event of Aphrodite and Iris: “She mounted the chariot  and beside her entering Iris gathered the reins up and whipped them into a run, and they winged their way unreluctant. Now as they came to sheer Olympos, the place of the immortals, there swift Iris the wind-footed reined in her horses and slipped them from the yoke and threw fodder immortal before them.”

Pour some milk on my cereal

Demeter and Kore - credits: en.wikipedia.org

By the time we wake up every day, one of our first impulses is to grab a bowl and fill it with cereal for breakfast. The word 'cereal' derives from the name of the Roman deity Ceres, who is the equivalent of the dearly loved, mother deity of Demeter. According to ancient Greek mythology, Demeter is the older sister of Zeus and the goddess of prosperity, grain, agriculture, harvest, growth, and nourishment.

The myth says that after the sudden and cruel abduction of Demeter's daughter, Persephone, by the almighty god of the underworld Hades, Demeter fell into depression, neglecting her obligations to the land and leading humankind into starvation.

In one of her journeys seeking for her lost daughter, she reached the lands of Eleusis, transformed herself into an old lady, and found refuge at the court of King Celeus. There she felt so welcomed and loved that she became the nanny of Celeus' sons, Triptolemus and Demophon. As a reward, she secretly tried to make Demophon immortal by anointing the infant with divine ambrosia and laying him in the flames of her hearth. Before the completion of her ritual, the mother of the young boys, Metanira stormed into the chambers of the goddess and saw her child in the flames.

Terrified by the sight, she screamed and rushed to  protect Demophon putting an end to the ritual before the completion of his immortality. Demeter though, taught to Triptolemus the craft of agriculture, granting that way to cultivate cereal and every kind of crop to humankind. Next time you will enjoy your bowl of cereal, take some time to remember this priceless gift of Demeter to the world!

Don't panic!

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Statue of Greek mythological god Pan talking to a woman - credits: Giorgio G/Shutterstock.com

According to Oxford dictionaries, panic is the “sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behavior”. According to ancient Greek mythology, the god responsible for this emotion is Pan (Pan-ic), a secondary but greatly respected deity of the Greek pantheon, representing the forces of nature and the wild, protector of shepherds and flocks, and companion of the Nymphs.

Son of Hermes and Dryope, Pan had a human form with goat-like legs and horns crowning his head. One of his great powers was his terrifying and ominous roar that provoked the emotion of panic in anyone hearing it. The Athenians paid great respect toPan because they believed that he imbued panic in the hearts of the Persians and helped them win the battle of Marathon.

Many sanctuaries honoring the god were founded in Attica after the battle and just below the Acropolis, a cave was dedicated to the fearless god Pan.

Greek Mythology books

The intricate and wildly imaginative world of Greek Mythology has been a source of inspiration for writers all around the world. There are books that explain the tales of Greek Mythology and books that, stimulated by it, narrate modern adventures. 

Among our top picks for the most ‘serious’ Greek Mythology books, are Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton, The Complete World of Greek Mythology by Richard Buxton, D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire, The Iliad by Homer, translated by Robert Fagles, The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Robert Fagles, Theogony by Hesiod, translated by M.L. West, The Library of Greek Mythology by Apollodorus, translated by Robin Hard, The Penguin Dictionary of Classical Mythology by Pierre Grimal, and Myth and Philosophy: A Contest of Truths by Lawrence J. Hatab.

Apart from the grown-up books, however, there are many children’s’ books that reference or are centered around Greek Mythology. Such an example is the famous Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. These books follow Percy Jackson, a demigod and a son of Poseidon, to his adventures. Through his life, the reader gets a grasp of the intricate connection between characters and stories of Greek Mythology, understanding at the same time the ancient Greek life and culture. 

Greek Mythology Gods

The twelve Olympian Gods are the main gods of Greek mythology who lived at the peak of mount Olympus. The Olympian gods gained power by defeating the Titans in the Battle of Titans. As a matter of fact, the ancient Greeks didn’t have the idea of a specific dozen gods holding the leading role of their religion. Instead, there were big and smaller gods and others that were worshiped locally. The twelve mythological gods is a concept formed by Western scholars in the 16th-17th century.

The deities that make up the twelve gods are the following:

Zeus

The father of the gods and the most important of them. God of the weather, protector of strangers, family, and fertility. He was also the god of lightning and sky. He was worshiped as the wise god who determined the fate of people and regulated the moral order of the world.

Hera

Sister and wife of the god Zeus. She was a protector of marriage and marital fidelity. Queen of gods and people. He was the third child of Saturn and Rhea as well as their last daughter. She was extremely jealous when Zeus cheated on her and that is why she persecuted her rivals and the children they had with her husband. No god dared to object to her or oppose her.

Poseidon

God of the sea, rivers, springs, drinking water, and the liquid element in general. He married Amphitrite, one of the 50 Niri \ ides. He, like his brother Zeus, had many extramarital affairs and therefore many children.

Apollo

God of divination art, music, and dance, moral order, and logic. He was still a healing god. Son of the god Zeus and the goddess Leto, twin brother of the goddess Artemis. He was born in Delos under a palm tree a few minutes after his twin sister. As a god of divination, he was the founder and leader of the famous oracle of Delphi and revealed to the people the will of his father. Also, as the god of music, he was the leader of the nine Muses and he was the one who sang at the banquets of Olympus, together with the Muses.

Athena

Goddess of Wisdom, arts, and sober war. She was the daughter of Zeus and Metis the goddess of wisdom, something that her daughter inherited. She was the beloved daughter of Zeus, he did all the nods to her and never punished her for anything. She was sworn in as a virgin with her half-sister, Artemis, and her aunt, Estia. That is why he never had a lover or married, and he avoided these ideas. Although many wanted her for their wife, she never succumbed.

Aphrodite

Goddess of beauty, love, and intercourse. She was the most beautiful woman of gods and people. He was born from the foam of the sea, when Saturn cut off the genitals of his father, Uranus, and threw them into the sea. According to Homer, however, her father was the god Zeus and Dionysus. When the Hours dressed and cared for her, she appeared on Olympus.

All the gods admired her and wanted her as their wife. Although we expected her to have a handsome and husky god, the goddess Aphrodite married the god Hephaestus, who was the ugliest of the gods.

Mars

God of battle and war. He was not at all dear to the other gods who hated him. Specifically, the god Mars and the goddess Athena hated each other to death. Although they were both gods of war, there is a huge difference in what they represent. The god Mars represented the bloodshed, violence, and impulsiveness of war, while the goddess Athena represented strategy in war. That is, a war to be won by the strategy of the mind, and not by force.

Hermes

He was the messenger of the gods, preacher and psychic, protector of trade, travelers, and robbers. He was the son of the god Zeus and Maya. From his birth, he was cunning and he always liked pranks. He kept his cunning for his erotic conquests, and as a result, he had many children. He was the messenger of the gods and Zeus always trusted him for difficult and important missions.

Artemis

Goddess of wildlife, hunting, animals, and fertility. She was proud and demanding, especially a little distant from the other gods since she always wandered in the mountains and forests.

Demeter

Goddess of land, agriculture, flora, food, fertility, and protector of farmers. Together with Zeus, he gave birth to Persephone, her beloved daughter. It was her weakness and she was extremely protective of her, and when Pluto, her brother, kidnapped her daughter and heard her screams, she anxiously put a black bullet in her head and searched for her all day and night. She did not eat, she did not drink, she did not sleep, she was just looking for her daughter. Due to her grief and depression, the whole earth fell into a severe winter, with the result that the plants and the seedlings did not sprout and the animals died. When she learned what her brother was doing, she angrily turned to Zeus. So Zeus decided that Persephone should spend 6 months near her mother - with the result that everything was blooming - and 6 months near her husband, in the Underworld - with the result that the earth fell in a severe winter. This is how the Seasons were created.

Estia

Goddess Estia was the eldest daughter and the first child of Saturn and Rhea, which is why she became the head of all the great Deities. Estia is one of the most remarkable, respected, and modest figures of the Greek Dodecatheon. A benevolent and kind Goddess, who expresses the Sacred Center of everything, meek and just is the personification of the house, the symbol of whose home is the patron saint and consequently of the faithful and strong family.

Greek Mythology Creatures

The creatures of Greek mythology were created entirely by the unbridled human imagination, and usually combine realistic elements of different existing creatures.

Following the intricate paths of Greek mythology, one encounters a large number of mythical creatures, who usually appear in supporting roles, but win the show with their eerie presence. Today we present a few of the idiosyncratic troupe of Greek mythology creatures, in an effort to demonstrate their impressive diversity.

Minotaur

Minotaur was born when Poseidon decided to take revenge on Minos for his disrespect for not sacrificing a beautiful white bull to him. The god made Minos' wife, Pasiphae, come together with a bull and so this terrible child was born, a man with a bull's head. Minotaur spent his entire life imprisoned in Knossos Palace's Labyrinth built by Minos, devouring 7 young men and 7 young women from Athens every year, until Theseus exterminated him.

Centaur

Centaurs had the upper body of a man and the body of a horse and lived in Thessaly. One time. they had the bad idea to steal Hippodameia, on the day of her marriage to Peirithos and to kidnap the other women of Lapithos who also lived in the area. The battle was ambiguous but Theseus judged the result by helping the Lapithes. This battle in ancient Greek art symbolizes the conflict between civilization and barbarism and that is why it was chosen as a theme in the metopes of the Parthenon.

Sirens

The Sirens were bird-shaped with a female head. They were sea creatures, and despite being uncommon in appearance, they were beautiful and had a charming voice. However, they had the bad habit of enticing the sailors passing by their island with their song and devouring them. When Odysseus passed by, warned by Circe, he closed the ears of his sailors with a candle and he himself got tied to the mast to enjoy the beautiful song.

Medusa

Medusa had a horrible shape, instead of hair she had snakes on her head and turned to stone anyone who looked at her. She was one of the three Mermaids - the others were Stheno and Evryali - daughters of Forki and Kito who were sea deities. Polydeuces, king of Serifos, once asked the hero Perseus to bring him Medusa's head, hoping that the young man would fall victim to her. But he managed with the help of Athena to behead her using his shield as a mirror. The moment he cut off her head, Pegasus and Chrysaor jumped out of her. Later Perseus offered Medusa's head to Athena and she fastened it to the aegis on her chest.

Scylla 

Scylla was also the daughter of Forki and Kito, once a beautiful nymph that Poseidon longed for. The jealous Amphitrite turned her into a monster, poisoning the water she bathed in. Skylla had a fish body, a female upper torso, and dog heads protruding from her chest. In Homer, Scylla and Charybdis guard a strait through which Odysseus must pass with his boat. Scylla devours alive six of his men, but the hero manages to pass unscathed.

Lernaean Hydra

Lernaean Hydra was the daughter of Typhoon and Echidna, a horrible aquatic monster with reptile features and many snakeheads. In fact, when one cut one, two others sprouted in its place. She lived in Lerna, Argolida, and spent her time torturing the world and guarding a gate to the Underworld, until Hercules exterminated her.

Pegasus

Pegasus was a winged horse, the son of Poseidon and Medusa, from which he jumped when she lost her head. When he once went down to Corinth in the Pyrenees fountain to drink water, it was there he was captured and tamed by the hero Bellerophon and together they performed many feats, such as the extermination of Chimera.

Chimera

Chimera was a three-headed creature: it had the body and head of a lion, a tail that ended in the head of a snake, and in the middle of its back came the neck and head of a chamois. Daughter of Typhoon and Echidna, fire came out of her mouth according to Homer and Hesiod. Bellerophon was able to kill her because she was at a safe distance on Pegasus.

Cerberus

Cerberus was a dog with three heads and a snake tail. He was the terrible guard at the entrance of Hades that did not let the souls go out and the living to pass. The extermination of Cerberus is the last feat of Hercules, the most difficult, the one for which the hero was first initiated in the Eleusinian mysteries. Hercules went down to Hades and asked the permission of the ruler of the Underworld to bring Cerberus to Eurystheus, which he did without using weapons.

Titans

The Titans were descendants of primordial deities, descended from the Chaos that ruled the vast universe. The first twelve Titans were a tribe of powerful, giant gods. The elders were Gaia (Mother Earth), Erebus (Darkness and the Underworld), Tartarus (Abyss, under the Underworld), Eros (Birth - not to be confused with the god Eros, son of Aphrodite), Pontus (sea), and Ouranos (sky). The union of Gaia and Uranus gave birth to the Titans and the children of the Titans became known as the Olympian gods. Later the Olympian gods, led by Zeus, opposed the Titans whom they defeated in the famous Battle of Titans.

Greek Mythology for kids

The fascinating tales of Greek Mythology are perfect for sparking the imagination of kids around the world. The aforementioned Percy Jackson books are a great way to introduce Greek Mythology to the younger generations. Additionally, a visit to the homeland of these tales will further help kids grasp the age-old stories that follow Greece since ancient times.

If you plan on visiting Greece with kids, you can join out one of our specially-designed kid-friendly tours that will show them around the most important archaeological sites. Along with the expert, licensed guides, they will have the opportunity to discover the myths and legends hidden under each and every rock.

If you want to discover the secrets of the world-renowned Acropolis rock, the Private Mythology Tour of Acropolis and Acropolis Museum is the one for you. For a kid-oriented exploration, opt for Acropolis for Families Tour. For some fun role-playing that will keep your little ones on their toes, Olympians Unleashed: Mythology Tour Of Acropolis & Acropolis Museum Incl. Entry Fees is ideal! To trace the steps of the kid-favorite fictional character, you can join the Acropolis & Acropolis Museum Tour Inspired By Percy Jackson, or the Percy Jackson Full-day Experience In Athens & Sounio. Last but not least, if you want to explore Greek Mythology outside of Athens, you can choose between From Athens: Delphi Day Trip Inspired By Percy Jackson

From Athens: Epidaurus & Nafplion Day-trip Inspired By Percy Jackson or any of the Percy Jackson trips around Greece.

The previously mentioned are only a few of the many examples of how ancient Greek mythology remains an integral part of everyday life. In case you want to dive into the wealth of Greek Mythology plan your own trip to Greece or check out one of our Greece tours.