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Hierarchy Of The Gods

At the top of the hierarchy of the gods sat Zeus, the spiritual father of gods, and man. his wife was Hera, Queen of Heaven and guardian of the Sanctity of marraige. Associated with them as the cheif divinities of Heaven were Hephaestus, god of fire and the patron of metal workers; Athena, the virgin goddess of wisdom and war, preeminent as a civic goddess; Apollo, deity of light, poetry, and music, and his sister Artemis, goddess of wildlife and, later, of the moon; Ares, god of war, and his consort, Aphrodite, godess of love; Hermes, the divine messenger, later, god of the hearth. Around these greater gods and goddesses were grouped a host of lesser deities, some of whom enjoyed particular distinction in ceratin localities. Among them were Helios, the sun; Selene, the moon (antedating Artemis); the attendants of the Olympians, such as the Graces; the Muses; Iris, godess of the rainbow; Hebe, goddes of youth and cupbearer of the gods; and Ganymede, the male counter part of Hebes. The sea was ruled Poseidon, the worship of whom was often accompanied by worship of his wife, Amphitrite. In their train were the Nereids, Tritons, and other minor sea deities. The cheif Chthonic deities were Hades, ruler of the underworld, and his wife Persephone, the daughter of Demeter. Demeter herself was usually accounted an Olympian, but as the bestower of grain and the knowledge of agriculture, she was closely connecte with the earth. Another Olympian whose tutelary functions were like wise of an earthly character was Dionysus, god of the grape and wine. He was accompanied by bands of satyrs, the horse tailed sylvan demigods; Sileni, the plump, bald vintage deities; and maenads, nymphs who celebrated the orgiastic rights of Dionysus. Also among the more important divinities of the Greek pantheon were Gaea, the earth mother; Asclepius, the god of healing; and Pan, the great Arcadian god of flocks, pastures, and forests.

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