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Greek Deities


( Acheloos, Akelos )
The most important of the Greek river gods, associated with the modern Aspropotamos, flowing through Boeotia into the Ionian Sea. Traditionally the son of Oceanus and Tethys (as are the other river gods), although other traditions make him the son of Helios and Gaia, or a son of Poseidon. Fathered the Sirens by the Muse Melpomene. Achelous was defeated by Heracles in a fight for the hand of Deianeira.

( none )
"River of Woe". Greek river god of one of the five rivers of Hades. Identified with the Acheron River in Epirus, Greece, which flows underground in several places, and was thought to flow through Hades.

( Achilleus )
Greek hero famous for his deeds and death in the Trojan War. He was later deified, and his worship was particularly prominent in the Black Sea area. Son of Peleus, King of the Myrmidons, and the Nereid Thetis. As a child, Thetis dipped him in the River Styx in an attempt to protect him against harm, leaving only the heel by which she held him vulnerable. Achilles was eventually killed by Paris, whose arrow was guided by Apollo to the vulnerable heel.

( Actaeon )
He was a hunter, son of Aristaeus, the discoverer of honey, who is the son of Apollo & Cyrene. One day while hunting with his dogs he went into the cave of Artemis in the vale of Gargaphia, The goddess of the wild woods was preparing to bathe in the waters of the spring Parthenius together with the nymphs that attended her. She was naked, and although her attendants tried to shield her from sight she was very tall, and they could not do so completely. Enraged at his gall of entering her personal cave she flung water in his face and said

"Now you are free to tell that you have seen me all unrobed -- if you can tell."
[Artemis to Actaeon. Ovid, Metamorphoses 3.192]

With these words Acheon began to turn into a stag. The goddess planted fear within his heart and the stag Acheon fled. His dogs, confused, chased him down and tore him apart. In grief his father migrated to Sardinia, and his mother, Autonoe (daughter of Cadmus) lived the rest of her days in Megra, neither of them able to stay in Thebes as it reminded them too much of their son.

( none )
Gluttony personified had a temple in Sicily where she was worshipped together with Ceres. This is the only place some mention of her has been found.

( none )
Greek goddess of injustice.

( none )
Greek hero and deity of Syro-Phoenician origin (Semitic adon ="lord" or "master"). The Phoenicians knew Adonis as Eshmun. The Adonis cult was especially prominent in the Phoenician town of Byblos, and later spread to the Greek world through commercial contact. According to one Greek tradition Adonis was the result of an incestuous liaison in which Smyrna (Myrrha) deceived her father. Upon discovering the ruse, Theias pursued Smyrna, who was changed by the gods into a myrrh tree, which eventually split open and gave birth to Adonis. (In some versions it was Theias who split the tree open with his sword, in another it was a wild boar which split the tree open with its tusks.) Aphrodite discovered the youth and placed him in a coffer which she entrusted to the underworld goddess Persephone. Acting against Aphrodite's instructions, Persephone opened the coffer and was so smitten by the youth that she refused to return him to Aphrodite. Zeus was called in to arbitrate the dispute and determined that Adonis should spend one third of each year with each goddess, the remaining third left to his own discretion. In the end, Adonis elected to spend the remaining third of the year with Aphrodite. In another tradition, Adonis was said to have been killed by a boar while hunting and forced to spend a portion of each year in the underworld. In either case, Adonis fits the pattern of dying and resurrected vegetation gods in the eastern Mediterranean region such as the Egyptian Osiris, the Phrygian Attis and the Mesopotamian Dumuzi (Tammuz). Both the Phoenician and Greek myths retain this vegetation aspect. In the Greek world, festivals commemorating the death and resurrection of Adonis, known as Adonia, were celebrated after the harvest. A common practice during the Adonia was the planting of 'Adonis gardens' in the spring.

( Adrastea )
Greek mountain deity worshipped in Phrygia, Troy and Thrace - and later in Greece proper. An avenging goddess of righteousness.

( Aiakos, Latin Aeacus )
Greek god of the underworld and judge of the dead. According to Plato, who was the first to mention this god, he is the son of Zeus and Aegina. With Minos and Rhadamanthys, Aeacos was one of the three judges of the souls of the dead in the underworld. A temple was constructed in his honour on the Aegean island of Aegina, and the festival of the Aiakeia was celebrated there in commemoration of his supposed intercession to end a drought. He tried to seduce the Nereid Psamanthe, she changed herself into a seal but still had a son Phocus.

( Aiolos, Aeolus )
Greek god of storms and winds. He is best known from Homer's Odyssey, where he lives as a mortal king on the floating island of Aeolia (Lipari) which is north of Sicily and west of Italy. He gives Odysseus a bag containing all the winds to speed him on his journey. However some of the crew thinks the bag contains gold or precious gems so they cut it open and the escaping winds blow them back to Aeolia. Aeolus is not so nice this time and drives Odysseus away. He was regarded as human in Homer's time, but was later elevated to the status of a god by Roman writers, particularly Ovid. Both Apollodorus and Homer mention how he is mortal but given charge of the winds by Zeus. Aeolus has a huge number of children.

( none )
Greek god of light. One of the primordial cosmic deities, a personification of the upper sky. Hesiod makes him the son of Erebus (darkness) and Nyx (night). The union of Aether and Day (Hemera) resulted in the birth of Earth (Gaia), Sea (Pontus) and Sky (Ouranus, Latin: Uranus) along with many deities including Oceanus, Atlas and the Furies. Some say he is Kronus (Roman: Saturn).

( none )
Daughter of Ouranus and Gaia, who gave her name to the Sicilian volcano after settling a dispute between Hephaestus and Demeter for the ownership of the island.

Agathos Daimon
( none )
"Good Spirit". Greek guardian spirit of individuals and families. In Hellenistic times he came to be associated with Tyche, the goddess of luck. Portrayed as a serpent or as a young man bearing a cornucopia. Libations of wine were typically made to Aether after meals.

( none )
Mother god of Phrygian origin, often associated with the mother goddess Kybele. In Greek mythology, she was the product of the combination of a rock with the semen of Zeus. Originally a hermaphrodite, Agdistis was made female through castration. The vegetation god Attis was the ultimate product of her severed sexual organs, which became either a pomegranate tree or an almond tree. Attis grew to become a beautiful youth, but ultimately died of self-castration in an effort to avoid the amorous pursuit of Agdistis and/or Kybele.

( Aglaea, Aegle )
One of the Graces, or Charites.

Agnostos Theos
( none )
Greek 'unknown god'. Greek cities made offerings to the 'unknown gods' so that no gods should be overlooked in religious observances.

( none )
Greek personification of time or of a given age in human history. Later adopted by Mithraism and by the Manichaeans.

( The Greater Ajax )
Ajax was the son of Telamon, king of Salamis. After Achilles, Ajax was the mightiest of the Greek heroes in the Trojan War. Ajax is often called "Telemonian Ajax" or "the greater Ajax", to distinguish him from Ajax the Lesser the son of Oileus, who also fought for the Greeks at Troy. Ajax was a huge man, head and shoulders larger than the other Greeks, enormously strong but somewhat slow of speech. In the Iliad, he is often called the "wall" or "bulwark" (herkos) of the Greeks. When Achilles had withdrawn from the fighting at Troy, it was Ajax who went forth to meet Hector in single combat; by the time darkness fell the fight was still a stalemate, but Ajax had wounded Hector without sustaining injury himself. After Achilles' death, Ajax competed with Odysseus for the ownership of Achilles' armour. Both men delivered speeches explaining their own merits, but Odysseus was by far the more eloquent and won the prize. Ajax was driven mad by his disappointment. According to one account, he vowed vengeance on the Greeks and began slaughtering cattle, mistaking them for his former comrades-in-arms. He finally committed suicide.

As submitted via email by a 7th grader identifying himself as Pogy_na_man,
here is some of the translated passages from the Illiad from Bulfinch:
"...Ajax performed prodigies of valour, and at length encountered Hector. Ajax shouted defiance, to which Hector replied, and hurled his lance at the huge warrior. It was well-aimed and struck Ajax, where the belts that bore his sword and shield crossed each other on the breast. The double guard prevented its penetrating and it fell harmless. Then Ajax, seizing a huge stone, one of those that served to prop the ships, hurled it at Hector. It struck him in the neck and stretched him on the plain. His followers instantly seized him and bore him off, stunned and wounded....Thus far Patroclus had succeeded to his utmost wish in repelling the Trojans and relieving his countrymen, but now came a change of fortune. Hector, borne in his chariot, confronted him. Patroclus threw a vast stone at Hector, which missed its aim, but smote Cebriones, the charioteer, and knocked him from the car. Hector leaped from the chariot to rescue his friend, and Patroclus also descended to complete his victory. Thus the two heroes met face to face. At this decisive moment the poet, as if reluctant to give Hector the glory, records that Phoebus took part against Patroclus. He struck the helmet from his head and the lance from his hand. At the same moment an obscure Trojan wounded him in the back, and Hector, pressing forward, pierced him with his spear. He fell mortally wounded. Then arose a tremendous conflict for the body of Patroclus, but his armour was at once taken possession of by Hector, who retiring a short distance divested himself of his own armour and put on that of Achilles, then returned to the fight. Ajax and Menelaus defended the body, and Hector and his bravest warriors struggled to capture it. The battle raged with equal fortunes, when Jove enveloped the whole face of heaven with a dark cloud. The lightning flashed, the thunder roared, and Ajax, looking round for some one whom he might despatch to Achilles to tell him of the death of his friend, and of the imminent danger that his remains would fall into the hands of the enemy, could see no suitable messenger. It was then that he exclaimed in those famous lines so often quoted,

"Father of heaven and earth! deliver thou Achaia's host from darkness; clear the skies; Give day; and, since thy sovereign will is such, Destruction with it; but, O, give us day." Cowper. Or, as rendered by Pope,
"...Lord of earth and air! O king! O father! hear my humble prayer! Dispel this cloud, the light of heaven restore; Give me to see and Ajax asks no more; If Greece must perish we thy will obey, But let us perish in the face of day."

Zeus heard the prayer and dispersed the clouds. Then Ajax sent Antilochus to Achilles with the intelligence of Patroclus's death, and of the conflict raging for his remains. The Greeks at last succeeded in bearing off the body to the ships, closely pursued by Hector and Aeneas and the rest of the Trojans.

...Achilles by chance had seen Polyxena, daughter of King Priam, perhaps on occasion of the truce which was allowed the Trojans for the burial of Hector. He was captivated with her charms, and to win her in marriage agreed to use his influence with the Greeks to grant peace to Troy. While in the temple of Apollo, negotiating the marriage, Paris discharged at him a poisoned arrow, which, guided by Apollo, wounded Achilles in the heel, the only vulnerable part about him. For Thetis his mother had dipped him when an infant in the river Styx, which made every part of him invulnerable except the heel by which she held him. The body of Achilles, so treacherously slain, was rescued by Ajax and Odysseus. Thetis directed the Greeks to bestow her son's armour on the hero who of all the survivors should be judged most deserving of it. Ajax and Odysseus were the only claimants; a select number of the other chiefs were appointed to award the prize. It was awarded to Odysseus, thus placing wisdom before valour, whereupon Ajax slew himself. On the spot where his blood sank into the earth a flower sprang up, called the hyacinth, bearing on its leaves the first two letters of the name of Ajax, Ai, the Greek for "woe." Thus Ajax is a claimant with the boy Hyacinthus for the honour of giving birth to this flower. There is a species of Larkspur which represents the hyacinth of the poets in preserving the memory of this event, the Delphinium Ajacis- Ajax's Larkspur.

1855 Thomas Bulfinch

( none )
Greek spirit of revenge. Especially associated with blood feuds between families which lasted long after the death of those originally involved. Also used to denote a man's evil genius that leads him to commit crimes and to sin.

( none )
Greek river god who fell in love with the nymph Arethusa. She fled to the island of Ortygia, but Alpheus flowed under the sea to join her on the island.

( Amaltheia, Amalthea )
Greek nymph who was the nurse of the infant Zeus. Sometimes represented as a goat, one of whose horns was broken off, and transformed by Zeus into the cornucopia, or horn of plenty.

( none )
The named Amazons were:

  1. Aella. The first of the Amazons to join battle with Heracles when he made his expedition in order to bring back the girdle of Hippolyte. She was killed by him.
  2. Agave is a name with no story.
  3. Alcibie came with Penthesilia to the Trojan War and was killed by Diomedes at Troy.
  4. Alcippe had taken a vow to remain a maiden. She was killed by Heracles.
  5. Antandre. One of the Amazons who came with Penthesilia to the Trojan War and was killed by Achilles at Troy.
  6. Antianira was one of the Queens of the Amazons. The Amazons maimed their male children by removing a leg or a hand. And when the Scythians, desiring to come to terms in their war against them, told them that they would find in them no maimed or mutilated bedfellows, Antianira replied that lame men make lusty husbands.
  7. Antibrote. One of the Amazons who came with Penthesilia to the Trojan War. Killed by Achilles at Troy.
  8. Antioche, named but not explained.
  9. Antiope fell in love with Theseus. She was sister of Hippolyte, or perhaps the same person [see also Hippolyte ]. She had a son, Hippolytus, by Theseus. Antiope was killed either by Molpadia or by Theseus.
  10. Asteria was killed by Heracles.
  11. Bremusa came with Penthesilia to the Trojan War. Killed by Idomeneus at Troy.
  12. Celaeno was a companion of Artemis in the hunt who was killed by Heracles.
  13. Clonie. She came with Penthesilia to the Trojan War and was killed by Podarces at Troy.
  14. Clymene is just a name in the Illiad.
  15. Deianira was killed by Heracles.
  16. Derimacheia. She came with Penthesilia to the Trojan War and was killed by Diomedes at Troy.
  17. Derinoe. One of the Amazons who came with Penthesilia to the Trojan War. She was killed by Ajax at Troy.
  18. Dioxippe is only known by name.
  19. Eriboea was killed by Heracles.
  20. Euryale was an Amazon fighting in Aeetes' army against the troops of Perses.
  21. Eurybia was a companion of Artemis in the hunt. She was killed by Heracles.
  22. Evandre. She came with Penthesilia to the Trojan War. She was killed by Meriones at Troy.
  23. Glauce is only a name.
  24. Harmothoe. She came with Penthesilia to the Trojan War. She was killed by Achilles at Troy.
  25. Harpe was an Amazon fighting in Aeetes' army against the troops of Perses.
  26. Hippolyte. One of the Queens of the Amazons. She owned the belt that Heracles had to fetch. She was killed by Heracles.
  27. Hippolyte was an Amazon who attacked Athens when Theseus was about to marry Phaedra; or else Theseus brought her with him. She is sometimes identified with Antiope [see above]. She bore Hippolytus by Theseus. Death: Some say that she was killed accidentally by Penthesilia. Others say that she was killed by Theseus. Still others say that she was killed by Molpadia, while fighting at Theseus' side against the Amazons. But it is also said that she died of a broken heart in Megara.
  28. Hippothoe. She came with Penthesilia to the Trojan War. She was killed by Achilles at Troy.
  29. Iphinome was named by Homer but not explained.
  30. Laomache is just a name with no story.
  31. Lyce was an Amazon fighting in Aeetes' army against the troops of Perses. She was killed by Gesander.
  32. Marpe was killed by Heracles.
  33. Melanippe was taken captive by Heracles, but Hippolyte gave him her girdle as her sister's ransom.
  34. Menippe fought in Aeetes' army against the troops of Perses.
  35. Molpadia is said to be the one who shot Hippolyte dead. She was herself killed by Theseus.
  36. Myrina is one of the Queens of the Amazons.
  37. Ocyale is just a name in Hesiod.
  38. Otrere. Queen of the Amazons and the first to raise a temple to Artemis in Ephesus. Bore Penthesilia by Ares.
  39. Penthesilia is said to have killed Hippolyte and to have been purified by Priam, king of Troy. Achilles killed her during the Trojan War, then fell in love with her. She had come to aid the Trojans.
  40. Philippis was killed by Heracles.
  41. Phoebe. A companion of Artemis in the hunt. She was killed by Heracles.
  42. Polemusa. She came with Penthesilia to the Trojan War. She was killed by Achilles at Troy.
  43. Polydora was companion to Xanthe.
  44. Prothoe was killed by Heracles.
  45. Tecmessa was killed by Heracles.
  46. Thermodosa. She came with Penthesilia to the Trojan War. She was killed by Meriones at Troy.
  47. Thoe. An Amazon fighting in Aeetes' army against the troops of Perses. She was killed by Gesander.
  48. Xanthe, of which nothing is known except her name.
  49. Amphion
    ( none )
    Greek (Theban) variant on Polydeukes.

    ( none )
    Greek goddess of the sea, wife of Poseidon. Daughter of Nereus and Doris or Oceanos and Tethys. Poseidon chose her from among her sister Nereids. Amphitrite fled, but she was retrieved by a dolphin and returned to Poseidon. Mother of Albion, Benthesicyme, Charybdis, Rhode and Triton.

    ( none )
    Greek goddess of fate and necessity. Even the gods were subject to her dictates. Given her unalterable nature she was little worshipped until the advent of the Orphic mystery cult.

    ( none )
    Greek god of passion. Son of Ares and Aphrodite.

    ( Aeode )
    Boeotian (Greek) muse of song.

    ( Aphrodisias, Adikos )
    Greek goddess of beauty and sexual love. According to one legend she was born from the ocean foam after Cronos castrated Ouranus and tossed his genitals into the sea. In this version Aphrodite is held to mean "foam born", derived from the Greek word aphros, or "foam". This theory is bolstered by the fact that Aphrodite was worshipped as a goddess of the sea and by seafarers in much of the Greek world. Homer, however, portrays her as the daughter of Zeus and Dione, and the fickle spouse of the lame smith god Hephaestus with whom she had no children.

    Her most famous lover was Ares, the god of war, by whom she was mother to Anteros, Deimos, Eros, Harmonia and Phobos.
    Adonis was the father of her son Beroe.
    She is also the mother of Aeneas and Lyrus by Anchises,
    Hermaphroditus by Hermes,
    Eryx by Poseidon,
    and Priapus by Dionysus.

    Aphrodite is commonly held to be an import from Anatolia, and her most important sanctuaries were on the islands of Cyprus (including Paphos and Amathus) and Cythera, while her chief sanctuary on the Greek mainland was at Corinth. In Athens, she was honoured in the festival of the Arrephoria. She has many characteristics in common with Middle Eastern fertility goddesses such as Astarte and Ishtar. Aphrodite was regarded as the patron goddess of prostitutes, and as a promoter of fertility. Her epithets included Anadyomene (sea born), Genetrix (creator), Eupoloios (fair voyage), and Pandemos (of all the people), plus Adikos, the unjust, used in Libya to denote her fickleness.

    ( Apollon )
    Greek god who personified youthful masculinity. A god of many roles, including prophecy, music, medicine and hunting. Son of Zeus and Leto. His mother wandered from place to place until she found refuge on the island of Delos where she gave birth to the twins Apollo and Artemis. Apollo was often honoured as part of a triad with Leto and Artemis. Despite being the most widely worshipped of the Greek gods, he was considered remote from human affairs. Apollo was the father of Asklepios, the god of healing, by Coronis. Coronis was later shot by Artemis as punishment for her infidelity to Apollo. However, Apollo himself had many lovers. Of his many love interests, Daphne is famous for having been transformed into a laurel in her efforts to flee the god. Thereafter, the laurel was sacred to Apollo. Cassandra also rejected the god's advances, and was punished by being made to utter true prophecies which no one would believe. One of Apollo's more famous deeds was the slaying of a legendary monster known as the Python, only a few days after his birth. Subsequently the oracle of Pytho was renamed Delphi after the Greek word for dolphin (delphis), in which form Apollo had appeared. The god's medium at the oracle, a woman at least fifty years old, continued to be known as the Pythia. The slaying of the Python was re-enacted every eight years at the Delphic festival of the Stepterion. Apollo also had oracles at Delos and Tenedos. Apollo's epithets included Lykeios (wolf god) as protector against wolves, Smintheus (mouse god) as the protector of crops against mice, Delius in honour of his birthplace, and Phoebus(bright, or shining) in his capacity as a solar god. In Greek art, Apollo was depicted as a beardless youth, bearing a lyre, or equipped as a hunter with bow and arrow.

    ( none )
    Arachne was a young girl, daughter of Idmon. She lived in Maeonia, a region in Lydia about Mount Tmolus in Asia Minor. She had a high reputation in all Lydian cities for being the best at spinning and weaving wool. And she was so famous and good at her work that many came to see, not just her finished works, but also the deft ways by which she accomplished them. Arachne felt offended when someone suggested that she was the disciple of Athena, known for having introduced all crafts. And in order to prove her self-sufficiency and independence, she declared that she could compete with the goddess herself and defeat her. This was a major mistake. On hearing this Athena came disguised as an old woman and told Arachne to listen to her, for, she said, with old age comes experience. As the old woman, Athena invited her to also acknowledge the goddess superiority for gods are not called gods for no reason. But famous Arachne, seeing just an unknown old woman, thought this was just a senile old crone. She told the old woman to give advice to someone else, for she Arachne, was quite able to advise herself, and in order to put the old woman in her right place she added:

    "It is too long life that is your bane... Why does your goddess avoid a contest with me?" [Arachne to the disguised Athena. Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.37]

    Athena appeared in her own shape, causing everybody to worship her except Arachne who remained unafraid and unimpressed. So there and then there was a weaving contest between them. Now Athena made a tapestry showing the City of Athens with the gods above and it was very beautiful*. But Arachne showed the gods as drunken, and sex crazed, though it too was very beautiful#. This was not smart. Athena was honour bound as one of the gods to destroy Arachne's tapestry which said so many bad things about the gods, and then she turned Arachne into a spider. The whole story of Arachne comes from just one ancient story: Ovid Metamorphoses 6.5-145.

    * And Athena pictured the city of Athens and the gods sitting on thrones bearing their attributes, and among them she embroidered the olive-tree that she produced long ago, and which won her the patronage of the city of Athens. And crowning her work she depicted Nike (Victory). But also she wove in the four corners of the web, miniature designs of four scenes of contest, so that her rival may learn from these images something about her own daring madness. In one corner she depicted Haemus and Rhodope, audacious mortals who, for having offended the gods, were turned into the mountains which still can be seen in Thrace. In another corner she wove the Pygmaean queen whom Hera turned into a crane, and in the third corner she pictured Antigone, daughter of King Laomedon of Troy, who also set herself against Hera and was turned by the goddess into a stork. And in the last corner she depicted King Cinyras of Cyprus, whose daughters caused the wrath of Aphrodite and were turned by her into prostitutes. And around her work Athena wove a border of olive-wreath, which still today is a symbol of peace.

    # Arachne, who was an accomplished weaver, pictured Europa being carried away by Zeus the bull. And Asteria, whom Zeus approached having assumed the shape of an eagle. She also wrought Leda, who was conquered by Zeus the swan. And then she wove Antiope 3, mother of the twins Amphion and Zethus, together with Zeus, who took the shape of a Satyr in order to make love to her. And continuing her amazing embroidery Arachne added Zeus disguised as Amphitryon in order to delude Alcmena, the mother of Heracles. And in the same way she made even more fantastic pictures, including Zeus as the golden shower who seduced Danae, mother of Perseus, and Zeus the flame who loved Aegina, mother of Aeacus, father of Peleus, father of Achilles. And she pictured Zeus the shepherd who made love to Mnemosyne, the Titaness, without forgetting Zeus the spotted snake who seduced Demeter. And having finished with Zeus, she proceeded to depict Poseidon when he, assuming the form of the river god Enipeus, seduced Iphimedia, who gave birth to the Giants called the Aloads. And then she depicted him as the ram who seduced Theophane, also called Bisaltis, who later gave birth to the Ram with the Golden Fleece. And she showed Poseidon the horse seducing Demeter, and also how he, assuming the shape of a bird made love to Medusa, who is the mother of the winged horse Pegasus. And she did not forget Melantho, who was seduced by Poseidon the dolphin. And, having still place for Apollo, she depicted him and Amphissa, whom this god tricked assuming the form of a shepherd. And she pictured Dionysus deceiving Erigone with the grapes, and Cronos the horse seducing Philyron, mother of the Centaur Chiron. And around all this she wove a lovely frame with flowers and ivy intertwined.

    ( none )
    Greek god of battle. Son of Zeus and Hera. Brother of Aphrodite, Arge, Eileithyia, Eris and Hebe. By Aphrodite, he was the father of Anteros, Enyo, Deimos, Harmonia, Pallor and Phobos. Ares was generally less popular and less successful in his endeavours than the other Olympian gods. It was Athena who personified the nobler aspects of warfare, glory, honour and victory, while Ares personified the more brutal aspects of warfare. Ares was said to be accompanied in battle by Deimos (terror), Phobos (fear), Eris (strife) and Enyo (horror). Ares was considered to have been native to Thrace, from which he may have emerged historically, and his worship was prominent only in northern Greece. His worship was also important at Sparta, where prisoners of war were sacrificed to him. At Athens, there was a temple dedicated to Ares at the foot of the Areopagus (Ares' Hill). Ares was depicted wearing typical military cloths and armour.

    ( none ) Greek goddess of springs and fountains. One of the Nereids, she had Abas by Poseidon. Abas became the king of Euborea.

    ( Argus )
    Many-eyed giant of Greek mythology. Hera had him guard Io to prevent her from seeing her husband Zeus. He was eventually lulled to sleep and killed by Hermes.

    ( none )
    Greek nymph who originated as a vegetation goddess in Minoan Crete. She survived as the daughter of Pasiphae and King Minos in Greek mythology. Her worship as a goddess survived in Greek civilization on the island of Naxos, where she was considered the wife of Dionysus.

    ( Latin Aristaeus )
    Greek pastoral deity, protector of herdsmen and hunters, originator of the cultivation of bees. Son of Apollo and Cyrene, and born in Libya. Husband of Autonoe. Aristaios fell in love with Eurydice, the wife of Orpheus, who spurned his advances. While fleeing the bees he sent in pursuit, she was bitten by a poisonous snake and died, leading to the famous effort by Orpheus to retrieve his wife from Hades. In punishment, the gods killed all of the bees of Aristaios. However, on the advice of Proteus, he sacrificed cattle in Eurydice's memory, and new swarms of bees emerged from the carcasses. Aristaios eventually disappeared near Mt. Haemus in Thrace.

    ( none )
    Greek goddess of wild animals and of the hunt. Although she was noted for her chastity, she was also regarded as a goddess of vegetation (particularly wild vegetation) and childbirth. Daughter of Zeus and Leto. Sister of Apollo, Artemis was associated with the moon, as a complement to Apollo's association with the sun. Her cult was the most popular among ordinary Greeks. She was believed to dwell in wild places, accompanied by a retinue of nymphs. Arcadia was said to be her favourite haunt. Artemis was noted as a terrible adversary when angered, symbolic of the sudden and fickle fury of nature. The most famous example of this is the story of Actaeon, the youth who chanced upon the goddess while bathing on Mt. Cithaeron. Enraged, Artemis changed him into a stag, in which form he was pursued and killed by his own hounds. It was as a goddess of women's life in general that Artemis acquired her seemingly contradictory role as a goddess of fertility and childbirth. She presided over the initiation rites of young women, and, later in life, brought sudden death to women with her "gentle darts". As goddess of the tree cult, her festivals were characterized by dances of maidens representing tree nymphs, or dryads. In the Peloponnesus she was associated with wells, springs and other waters bearing epithets such as Limnaea or Limnatis (Lady of the Lake). Elsewhere, she was best known as Potnia Theron (Mistress of the Animals). Artemis was depicted as a young woman bearing bow and arrow, often accompanied by a stag or a hunting dog. Her lunar aspect was sometimes signified by a torch carried in the hand.

    Artemis of Ephesus
    ( none )
    Greek fertility and mother goddess represented in the great temple at Ephesus in Anatolia by a many-breasted statue. Her cult at Ephesus was quite different from that of the chaste Artemis of the Greek mainland. Offerings from many ancient cultures have been found at the site of the temple, counted among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

    ( Asclepius, Roman Aesculapius )
    Greek god of healing and patron deity of physicians. Son of Apollo and the nymph Coronis. Husband of Epione. Father of Hygieia (health) and Panacea (all-healing). A deified mortal, Asklepios was not worshipped as a god until post-Homeric times. Homer refers to him only as a skilful physician, and it was Apollo who was regarded as the god of healing until that role was taken over by his son beginning in the fifth century BC. His cult originated in Thessaly (the location of the oldest known temple honouring him), where he was said to have been raised by the centaur Cheiron, who taught him the art of healing. Zeus, fearing that Asklepios might make men immortal, killed him with a thunderbolt. Asklepios was generally depicted as a bearded man wearing a robe that leaves his breast uncovered. His attribute is a staff with a snake coiled about it. (The staff used today as a symbol of the medical profession is actually the winged caduceus of Hermes.)

    ( Asopus )
    River god of Boeotia in central Greece. Son of Oceanos and Tethys, or, alternatively, the son of Poseidon. Father of Aegina, who was abducted by Zeus. When Asopos pursued, Zeus drove him back with his thunderbolts.

    ( none )
    Greek river god of the Peloponnesus. Son of Oceanus and Tethys.

    ( none )
    Greek goddess of justice, innocence and purity. Daughter of Zeus and Themis.

    ( none )
    Greek goddess of evil and misfortune, particularly delusion and confusion. In Hesiod's account, she is the daughter of Zeus and Eris. She was banished from Olympus for causing Zeus to delude himself. Zeus held her responsible for making a solemn oath regarding the birth of Heracles, and in his rage he seized Ate by her hair and whirling her round his head cast her down to the world, swearing that she should never set foot in Olympus again. She causes everyone to delude themselves and is said to have delicate feet because she walks over the heads of men, bringing them harm. In the place where she fell in Phrygia there was a hill called since then Ate, and in that hill Ilus founded Ilium (Troy).

    ( none ) One of the Greek Titans, condemned by Zeus to uphold the vault of the heavens for his part in the revolt of the Titans.

    ( Athene )
    Greek goddess of wisdom and goddess of Athens. Also a goddess of war, peace and agriculture. In contrast to some of the other Greek gods, many of whom were famed for their rash and often ignoble acts, Athena was noted for her self-control and for many instances in which she aided human beings in their endeavours. Also, in contrast to the reckless passions of the other gods, Athena remained a virgin throughout her life, forming no romantic attachments. According to Hesiod, Athena sprang fully armed from the head of Zeus, who had swallowed her mother Metis (wisdom). In Pindar's version, it was Hephaestus who struck Zeus in the head with an axe to relieve the god's headache, whereupon Athena emerged. It was Hephaestus who later attempted to rape Athena, but she evaded him and his semen fell to the ground, giving birth to the serpent Erichthonius. Much of Athena's reputation as a war goddess is based on Homer's Iliad, where she took an active part in the fighting on the side of Greeks against the Trojans. In battle, she bore the aegis, the goat-skin shield upon which the head of Medusa was mounted. She generally proved more successful in battle than her brother Ares, the Greek war god who sided with the Trojans. Athena won the allegiance of Athens in a contest with Poseidon to determine who could bestow the greater gift upon humanity. Poseidon gave either the horse or a spring of water. Athena gave the olive, and won the contest, in consequence of which she gave her name to the city. The Acropolis, upon which the Parthenon was constructed in her honour, was said to be her dwelling place. Athens also honoured her in the Panathenaia festival, in which she seems to have figured as a vegetation goddess. She was referred to as Pallas Athene in her capacity as a protective goddess. Her icon, the palladium, was believed to protect the city from harm. In addition to the olive, Athena's gifts to humanity included the plough, the loom, and the flute. Among the many heroes to whom she gave assistance were Odysseus on his long voyage home from Troy, Perseus in killing the Medusa, Epeius in the construction of the wooden horse, and Heracles in his many labours. Her epithets included Parthenos (virgin), Promachos (protectress), Glaukopis (owl-eyed), Ergane (worker or craftsman) and Mechanitis (one who undertakes things). She was also known as Athena Polias in her capacity as goddess of the people or polity of Athens. The owl was the symbol both of Athena and Athens. She was also associated with the snake, and there is some speculation that she originated as a snake goddess, perhaps in Crete. Athena's worship was widespread, despite her close association with Athens.

    ( none )
    "Unbending". Oldest of the Greek Moires (Fates), a trio which included Klotho and Lachesis. She was the one who severed the thread of life. According to Hesiod, she was the daughter of Zeus and Themis. As her name suggests, she represented the inevitability of death.

    ( Atys )
    Phrygian god of vegetation. Son and/or lover of Kybele, the Phrygian mother goddess. A figure whose story had many similarities with those of the Greek Adonis and the Mesopotamian Dumuzi (Tammuz). Attis fitted the model of the "dying god" who annually dies and is resurrected, reflecting the annual cycle of vegetation. In one version of his story he died as the result of being gored by a wild boar. In another version he was driven mad by his love for Kybele, and castrated himself under a pine tree. One of the features of his cult was the ritual self-castration of his priests at his annual festival. His cult was prominent in Greek Anatolia and was introduced to Rome in 204 BC in conjunction with that of Kybele.