This page provided description of some of the minor Greek deities. The minor deities are grouped into four categories. These categories are – Sky Deities; Earth Deities; Water and Sea Deities; and Other Deities.


  Sky Deities
  Water and Sea Deities
  Earth Deities
  Other Deities



Related Pages:
    Fact and Figures: Astronomy



Genealogy:
   Greek Deities




Sky Deities

Sky deities are gods and goddess of the light, sun, moon and winds. They are deities that control the celestial bodies and the weather. There are many sun gods and moon goddesses in Greek myths. Hyperion, Helius, Apollo and Phanes were listed as sun gods, while there are even more moon goddesses, such Phoebe, Artemis, Selene, Hecate, Nemesis, Eurynome, and even a few mortals, like Britomartis (later Dictynna), Pasiphae.

Note that Hyperion and Phoebe can be found in the Titans page, while Apollo and Artemis are in the Olympians page.

  Helius
  Selene      
  Eos
  Aeolus


Ἥλιος
Helius
 

Sun and the god of sun. Helius was the son of Hyperion and Theia. The Romans identified Helius, as Sol. Helius was the brother of the goddesses, Selene and Eos.

Helius married Perseïs (Perseis) or Perse, daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. They were the parents of Aeëtes (Aeetes), Circe and Pasiphaë (Pasiphae). Aeëtes was the father of the sorceress Medea. For the genealogy, see the Children of Helius.

Diodorus had offered an alternative family tree of Helius, where he was the father of King Aeëtes of Colchhis and King Perses of the Tauric Chersonese. Perses became the father of Hecatê, who was a sorceress and priestess of Artemis, instead of being a goddess herself. Hecatê married her uncle Aeëtes and became the mother of Circê, Medea and Aegialeus. See the alternative family tree of Helius.


Helius had another son named Phaëthon (Phaethon, Φαεθον) and three daughters, Aegiale, Aegle and Aetheria, by the Oceanid Clymene. By Neaera, he had two daughters, Lampetie and Phaethusa. All five daughters were known as the Heliades.

Phaëthon wanted proof that Helius was his father, by allowing him to drive sun chariot for a single day. Helius has promised him a boon so the sun god had no choice but to allow his son to drive the chariot.

As the boy drove the fiery chariot across the sky, the horses realised that the hands that held the reins were inexperienced. Phaëthon lost control of the horses, causing havoc in the sky. Zeus had no choice, but to destroy Phaëthon and the sun chariot with his thunderbolt. The Heliades weeping at their brother's death were changed into poplar trees.

It was Helius, who informed Hephaestus about Aphrodite being unfaithful to him, having a secret affair with Ares. Aphrodite took her revenge on Helius, when she caused the death of two women, whom Helius loved. See Love and War Bound.


Helius appeared in several other stories. When Heracles went to fetch the cattle of Geryon, the hero found that the sun was too hot and threatened to shoot his arrow at the sun. Admiring the young hero, Helius appeased Heracles by giving him a golden cup to sail around Spain.

Helius kept sacred cattle in the island of Thrinacia. When Odysseus and his landed on the island, the crew killed and ate some of them even after Odysseus had warned them not to harm them. Helius demanded that the sacrilege couldn't go unpunished. Zeus destroyed the ship, and the entire crew drowned, except Odysseus. (Here, Homer referred to the sun god as Hyperion, Helius' father. Sometimes the names were used interchangeably.)

In Corinth, Helius competed with Poseidon, to become the patron god of the city. The Corinthians didn't want to offend either god, so they wisely worshipped both gods. The height of the Acrocorinth was dedicated to Helius, while Poseidon received the Isthmus.

Helius was the grandfather of Medea, the sorceress and heroine of the Argonautica. When Medea took revenge upon her husband's new bride, Glauce, and Glauce's father, Creon, Helius provided Medea with a golden chariot drawn by a dragon, to escape from Jason and the Corinthians. See Medea.


According to Diodorus, Helius was originally a mortal boy, the son of Hyperion and Basileia (Theia) and brother of Selene. The Titans jealous of Basileia and Hyperion, who ruled after their father, Uranus, had murdered Hyperion. The Titans had seized and threw young Helius into the Eridanus River, where he drowned. Distraught over her brother's death, Selene threw herself from city wall and died.

Helius appeared to his mother in a vision, telling her that he was now the sun god, while Selene was the goddess of the moon. See Creation, Cosmogony of Diodorus Siculus.

 
Related Information
Name
Helios, Helius, Ἥλιος – "Sun" (Greek).
Sol (Roman).
Catha, Cautha (Etruscan).

Related Articles
Hyperion, Theia, Selene, Eos, Circe, Aeëtes, Medea, Jason, Heracles, Odysseus, Poseidon, Aphrodite, Ares, Hephaestus.

Facts and Figures: Astronomy.


Helios in a Chariot
435 BC
Greek krater
British Museum, London




Phaéthon
Robert Ingpen
Book illustration, 1985
from Encyclopaedia Of The Things That Never Were



Σελήνη
Selene
 

Goddess of the moon. Selene was the daughter of Hyperion and Theia. The Romans identified her as Luna.

Selene was the sister of Helius (Sun) and Eos (Dawn). Selene was the mother of a daughter named Pandia, by Zeus.

Selene may have been seduced by Pan, who had offered a beautiful fleece as gift.

Selene was famous for falling in love with Endymion, an early king of Elis and shepherd. Endymion was so beautiful that she had bore him fifty daughters. Zeus gave Endymion a choice of remaining mortal or being forever young. Endymion chose eternal youth, but this gift required Endymion to sleep forever.

According to the Homeric Hymns, her head shine radiance, and she wears a golden crown. Selene also bathed in the Ocean, before wearing glowing dress. She drive a chariot, drawn by long-maned horses, as she traveled the night sky.

She was sometimes confused with Artemis and Hecate, who were also identified with the Moon. Though, she was thought to drive a chariot across the sky like her brother and sister, in the Homeric Hymn, she was described having a long wings, suggesting that she could fly like a bird. Her head shone with her beauty and radiance.


According to Diodorus, Selene killed herself when the Titans drowned her brother in the Eridanus River. She and her brother were transformed into the deities of the moon and sun. See Creation, Cosmogony of Diodorus Siculus.

 
Related Information
Name
Selene, Σελήνη – "Moon".
Luna (Roman)

Sources
Theogony was written by Hesiod.

The Great Eoiae was possibly written by Hesiod.

Homeric Hymn to Selene.

Library was written by Apollodorus.

Description of Greece was written by Pausanias.

Related Articles
Hyperion, Theia, Helius, Eos, Artemis, Hecate. Endymion.

Facts and Figures: Astronomy.


Selene and Endymion
Edward John Poynter
Oil on canvas
Manchester City Art Gallery, Manchester



Ἠώς
Eos
 

Goddess of dawn. Eos was the daughter of Hyperion and Theia. The Romans identified her as Aurora.

Some say that she brought dawn, by riding her chariot across the sky, while others say that she was a winged-goddess. Her horses that pull her chariot were called Lampus and Phaethon.

Eos was the sister of Helius and Selene. She bore to Astraeüs (Astraeus) – Boreas, Notus and Zephyrus (north, south and west winds), and the stars, including the planet Venus, known as the morning star, by the name of Eosphorus, ´Εωσφορος "Dawn-bringer" or Phosphorus Ψοσφορος "Light-bringer". Phosphorus is translated into Latin as Lucifer "Light-bringer". Lucifer was later a name assigned to Christian personification of evil - Satan or the Devil, because of the verse in Isaiah 14:

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
Isaiah 14:12 (KJV)

Aphrodite punished Eos for making love to Aphrodite's long-time lover, Ares, god of war. Aphrodite inflicted with amorous desire for mortals.

Eos also fell in love with a mortal king, named Tithonus, the son of the Trojan king, Laomedon, therefore the brother of Priam. Eos was the mother of Memnon, leader of the Eithiopians in the Trojan War. Her son was killed by Achilles at the last year of the war.

Eos asked Zeus to make Tithonus immortal, but forgot to bestow eternal youth, so Tithonus turned into a shrivelled, old man, wasting away. Eos turned him into a cicada.

Other possible lovers of Eos were Cephalus, husband of Procris; the giant hunter, Orion, and Cleitus, descendant of Melampus.

 
Related Information
Name
Eos, Ἠώς – "Dawn".
Erigeneia.
Aurora (Roman)

Related Articles
Hyperion, Theia, Helius, Selene, Astraeüs, Boreas, Aphrodite, Ares, Orion, Cephalus, Procris.


Eos
Evelyn De Morgan
Oil on canvas
Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia



Aeolus
 

Keepers of the winds. Aeolus (Αἴολος) was the son of Hippotas. Aeolus was the king of the island Aeolia. It was Zeus who gave Aeolus the duties of the winds.

Aeolus had a famous guest on his island and gave Odysseus a gift: a bag containing all the strong winds. Aeolus told the hero not to open the bag.

The other gods of winds were: the north wind Boreas (Roman Aquilo); the west wind Zephyrus (Roman Caurus, Favonius); the south wind Notus (Roman Auster); and the east wind Eurus (Roman Argestes).

 
Related Information
Related Articles
Zeus, Odysseus.






Water & Sea Deities

This category lists the water deities, including those of sea, river and lake. Since there are so many water deities, I have listed only the important ones.

  Proteus
  Triton
  Doris
  Amphitrite
  Thetis
  Dione, see Titans, Dione
  Styx


Some of the sea deities can be found in elsewhere. You will find in Poseidon in the Olympians page; Pontus, Nereus and Phorcys in the Ancient Deities; and Oceanus and Tethys can be found in the Titans page. Lastly, the river goddess Styx can be found in House of Hades.




Πρωτεύς
Proteus
 

A minor sea-god. Proteus was the eldest son of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys. Proteus was often referred to as the "Old Man of the Sea". Proteus' 2999 brothers were all river gods, except for him.

Proteus had the ability to change his shape as well as having oracular power. If captured and held until he surrendered, he would answer his captor's questions about the future (which Menelaüs (Menelaus) did seven years after the fall of Troy).

 
Related Information
Name
Proteus, Πρωτεύς.
Old Man of the Sea.

Related Articles
Oceanus, Tethys, Menelaüs.



Τρίτων
Triton
 

A minor sea-god. Triton was the son of the Olympian Poseidon and the Oceanid (or Nereïd) Amphitrite. Triton was brother of Albion, Benthesicyme, Charybdis and Rhodes.

Triton was often described as a merman, and carried a horn, which he blew. Triton appeared to the Argonauts, who were stranded in the middle of the desert in Libya. Triton aided them by pulling their ship (Argo) back to the sea.

 
Related Information
Name
Triton, Τρίτων.

Related Articles
Poseidon, Amphitrite.

Argonauts.



Δωρίς
Doris
 

A sea-goddess. Doris was the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. Doris was mostly known as mother of the fifty sea-nymphs called the Nereïds (Nereids, mermaids?), and married to the ancient sea-god, Nereus.

She has no myth of her own; she was possibly just personification of the sea.

 
Related Information
Name
Doris, Δωρίς.

Related Articles
Oceanids.

Nereïds, Oceanids, Oceanus, Tethys, Nereus.



Ἀμφιτρίτη
Amphitrite
 

A sea-goddess. Amphitrite was a daughter either of Nereus and Doris or that of Oceanus and Tethys. In the Roman myths, Amphitrite was known as Salacia.

Poseidon pursued her, but Amphitrite fled to the Titan Atlas, for protection. Poseidon only married Amphitrite after Delphin persuaded her. As consort and wife of Poseidon, she became mother of Triton, Rhode, Albion, Charybdis and Benthesicyme.

Like his brother Zeus, Poseidon had many affairs with mortal women and nymphs. But unlike Hera, Zeus' wife, Amphitrite was not jealous and vindictive. Amphitrite seemed to get along with Poseidon's children, particularly with the Athenian hero Theseus.

When Zeus send thunder and lightning to proved Minos, king of Crete, was the son of Zeus, the king threw a gold coin into the sea, and asked Theseus to fetch the ring, in order to prove he was the son of Poseidon. When Theseus jumped into the sea to fetch the coin, Amphitrite not only gave coin to Theseus, but her gold crown as proof.

 
Related Information
Name
Amphitrite, Ἀμφιτρίτη (Greek).

Salacia (Roman).

Related Articles
Oceanids, Nereids.

Nereus, Doris, Poseidon, Triton.


Neptune and Amphitrite
Mosaic from the College of Augustali, Herculaneum. 62-79 AD



Θέτις
Thetis
 

A sea-goddess. She was one of the sea-nymphs known as the Nereids. Thetis was the daughter of Nereus and Doris. By far, Thetis was probably the most important sea-goddess, because she played a prominent role in several important events in Greek myths.

According to Homer, Hera, Poseidon and Athena had rebelled against Zeus, and had the king of gods bound. Why the gods had mutinied against Zeus, Homer did not explain. Thetis called upon Briareus, one of the Hundred-Handed, from guarding the Titans, to rescue Zeus. This was why Zeus owed a favour to the goddess.

When Hera gave birth to Hephaestus, without a male father, she found to him be so ugly that she threw him out of Olympus. When Hephaestus crashed to earth at the island of Lemnos or into the sea, the infant became crippled in both legs. It was Thetis who rescued Hephaestus and nursed him back to health in her cave. It was her aid that Hephaestus was willing to make new set of armour for Thetis' mortal son (Achilles), during the Trojan War.

It was Thetis, who rescued the Argonauts from the monster Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis. The Argo avoided Scylla and Charybdis, as she tossed the ship from side to side.


Both Zeus and Poseidon wanted to sleep with her until they discovered a prophecy from either the goddess Themis (in Pindar Isthmian 8:30-44) or the Titan Prometheus that any son Thetis bore, would become greater than the father, possibly ruling Olympus, if Zeus became the father. This stopped their lustful advances upon Thetis dead in their tracks. Zeus quickly arranged to have her marry a mortal. It was said that Thetis had also refused Zeus' advances because of her deep friendship with Hera.

Zeus decided to marry her to the hero, Peleus, king of Phthia. Thetis, however, like other sea-deities, had the ability to change her shape as well being gifted with prophetic power. In order for Peleus to marry Thetis, Peleus had to capture while the goddess slept in the cave. Peleus had to hold the goddess as she changed herself into a fire, water, lioness, wolf and other shapes, until she gave in and consent to marry Peleus.

Their wedding, however, was disrupted by Eris, the goddess of discord, the only goddess who was not invited. In anger, Eris threw a golden apple in their midst, it was inscribed: "To the Fairest". Three powerful goddesses (Hera, Athena and Aphrodite) dared to claim to be the fairest and each wanted the prize. This led to Paris being the judge of the dispute, who awarding the apple to Aphrodite and caused the Trojan War. This war would ultimately lead to Thetis' son's death. (See Achilles or Judgement of Paris).

Thetis and Peleus had many sons. Thetis secretly tried to make all seven sons immortal. She would anoint each infant in ambrosia, before burning away the mortal parts in a fire. Before she could complete the process with her youngest son, Achilles, Peleus disrupted her causing her to drop her son. Achilles' body became invulnerable to all weapons, except for his heels, which remained vulnerable. Angry about Peleus' interferences, Thetis left her husband and son.

Since Thetis had the gift of prophecy, she knew that her son had two possible destinies. If Achilles decided not to go to Troy, he would live a long and uninteresting life of a farmer. If he went to war in Troy, he would have a life of fame and glory in battle, his name immortalised, but he would die young. Thetis tried to prevent him from fulfilling the second destiny.

When the Greeks were gathering men to join the army, Thetis hid Achilles in the court of Lycomedes, king of the island of Scyrus. Thetis disguised Achilles as a girl. The Greeks found out from the seer Calchas that Troy would not fall without the aid of Achilles. But the cunning hero, Odysseus saw through the disguise. Achilles agreed to join the Greek despite the fact that he was never a suitor of Helen. See Conscription, the Trojan War, for more details.

Using her oracular power, she warned her son, not to kill Tenes, son of Apollo and king of Tenedos, otherwise he would later die at the hand of Apollo himself. But when Achilles landed on the island, he forgot his mother's warning and killed Tenes.

When Achilles had a quarrel with his commander, Agamemnon, and her son withdrew his support and men from the fighting, he appealed to his mother, to make Agamemnon regret his action against him. Thetis went to Zeus and asked him to make the Greeks to suffer for the insult to her son. Achilles only returned to the fighting when his companion and lover, Patroclus was killed by the Trojan hero, Hector.

Since he gave his father's magic armour to Patroclus, he now has no armour, since Hector taken possession of the armour. Thetis again helped her son. She went to the Hephaestus and asked him to fashion a new set of armour for Achilles.

Not long after Achilles avenged the death of his friend and killed Hector, Achilles was himself killed a couple of months later. As Thetis had foretold, Apollo guided an arrow, shot from Paris' bow, to Achilles' only weakness, one of his heels. Thetis and her sisters, the Nereids, mourned for his death.

It was Thetis who decided to award the armour of Achilles to the bravest Greek warrior. Only Ajax, Achilles' cousin, and Odysseus, king of Ithaca, dared to contest for the armour. This brought about Ajax's death.

Later, Thetis invited Peleus to her home in the sea, and made her husband immortal. Though, some say that Thetis mourned for Peleus' death, when the sons of Acastus murdered the aged king.

 
Related Information
Name
Thetis, Θέτις.
Thetis of the Silver Feet.

Related Articles
Nereids.

Nereus, Doris, Peleus, Achilles.

Judgement of Paris, Trojan War


Thetis and Zeus
(titled "Jupiter and Thetis")
Jean-Auguste Ingres
Oil on canvas, 1811
Musée Granet, Aix-en-Provence






Earth Deities

The earth deities are associated with the land, fertility, and agriculture. Demeter can be considered as one of the more important goddesses.

I wasn't sure where to put the goddess Hecate. She has many different roles (attributes), some of her roles included as the moon-goddess, earth-goddess and goddess of the Underworld. Similarly, Persephone was the goddess of spring (season) and flower, but she was also the queen of the Underworld. Because of their dual roles, I have placed them in this section.

  Demeter, see the Olympians
  Persephone, see House of Hades
  Hecate, see House of Hades
  Dionysus, see the Olympians
  Zagreus, see the Olympians
  Cybele, see Mother Goddesses
  Pan
  Silenus
  Aristaeüs
  Mistress of Wild Animals or Potnia theron,
see Olympians, Artemis and Mother Goddesses, Mistress


Related page:
      Mother Goddesses





Πάν
Pan
 

Woodland god. Pan was the son of Hermes and either Penelope or the daughter of Dryops. Pan was the patron god of the shepherd.

Pan was a satyr-like being with head and chest of a man, but below his belly, had the legs of a goat. Pan also had goat horns on his head. Normally he was seen living around the forest and mountains of Arcadia. Pan was also seen in the company of the Graces.

The word panic came from his name, because he often startled travellers causing them to panic, particularly when he blow on a conch (shellfish).

Pan also played reed pipes, a musical instrument that he created and were often played by the shepherds. The story goes that Pan had fell in love with a virgin huntress named Syrinx. Syrinx tried to protect her virginity, fled from the young god. When she arrived at the river where there was no escape, she prayed to the gods to protect her. The gods answered by turning her into reed in the river marsh. Pan broke off some of the reeds and tied them together, using it as the winded instrument that he called "syrinx".

Pan had another story, this time with Midas, the Lydian king with the golden touch. Midas was one of three judges of the music contest between Apollo and Pan. Pan had challenged Apollo, who played the lyre. Though Apollo won the contest, Midas foolishly thought Pan was a better musician. Apollo angrily changed Midas' ears so that he had ears of an ass.

Pan was considered to be a young god, like Dionysus, Heracles and the Dioscuri.

 
Related Information
Name
Pan, Πάν – "Panic".

Sources
Homeric Hymns.

Epitome was written by Apollodorus.

Metamorphoses was written by Ovid.

Georgics was written by Virgil.

Description of Greece was written by Pausanias.

History was written by Herodotus.

Related Articles
Hermes, Penelope, Midas, Syrinx, Apollo.

Satyrs.



Silenus
 

Silenus or Seilenus was an old satyr-like companion of Dionysus. Dionysus became his foster son, and it was Silenus who taught the young god how to cultivate grapes and make wine. Silenus joined other followers of Dionysus in orgiastic rites and drunken revelries.

Silenus and other followers were once captured by the Thracian king, named Lycurgus. Midas, the Lydian king, rescued Silenus from prison, and was rewarded by the wine-god.

 
Related Information
Name
Silenus, Seilenus.

Related Articles
Dionysus, Pan, Midas.

Satyrs.



Ἀριστἃιος
Aristaeüs
 

A minor pastoral deity and protector of the beekeepers. Aristaeüs (Aristaeus) was the son of Apollo and the nymph Cyrene, the daughter of Hypseus, king of the Lapiths in Thessaly. Aristaeüs had a brother named Idmon, a warrior seer, who was an Argonaut.

Apollo fell in love with the maiden who had wrestled with a lion. Apollo seduced her and she bore him a son. Aristaeüs was left in the care of the wise and immortal Centaur named Cheiron. Apollo took Cyrene away to Libya, where she founded and named the city after herself.

Aristaeüs inherited or learned from his father the skill of prophecy and healing. He was also exceptional hunter like his father and mother. Aristaeüs also became skilled in bee-keeping and olive growing. His tutor included Cheiron, the Muses and various wood and mountain nymphs.

Aristaeüs married for a short time with a nymph, but fell in love with another nymph named Eurydice, but this dryad was married to the musician named Orpheus, another son of Apollo. Aristaeüs pursued the frightened nymph, until Eurydice was bitten and killed by a deadly adder.

The dryads, sisters of Eurydice, punished Aristaeüs by causing swarms of bees to die from diseases. Aristaeüs called upon his mother to find out why his beehives were decimated. Cyrene advised her son to capture and hold Proteus, until the wise sea-god revealed the secret.

Aristaeüs learned from Proteus that the dryads were punishing him for the death of their sister, which also had caused Orpheus' death. Only by sacrificing to the dryads and Orpheus, would he able to save the beehive. Aristaeüs sacrificed a bull in a grove. Nine days later he found a swarm of bees around the bull's carcass.

Aristaeüs married again, this time Autonoe, the daughter of Cadmus, the king of Thebes. Aristaeüs moved to Thebes where he lived with his new wife. Autonoe bore him a son named Actaeon. Actaeon became a great hunter, but he died when offended Artemis. See Children of Cadmus.

In his grief for his son, Aristaeüs left Thebes and moved to the island of Ceus, to help the people end the unnatural heat, when the constellation Sirus, the Dog Star, rose from the sea.

I could find any detail about how Aristaeüs died. Like Dionysus and Heracles, Aristaeüs was a mortal who was worshipped as a god. Aristaeüs seemed to be the god of beehive or bee-keeping, olive growing and cheese making. Aristaeüs was possibly also the god of hunting.

Hesiod described Aristaeüs as long haired.

 
Related Information
Name
Aristaeüs, Aristaeus, Ἀριστἃιος.
Agreus – "Hunter".
Nomius – "Shepherd".

Sources
Pythian Odes was written by Pindar.

Argonautica was written by Apollonius of Rhodes.

Library of History was written by Diodorus Siculus.

Georgics was written by Virgil.

Related Articles
Cyrene, Apollo, Idmon, Muses, Cheiron, Orpheus, Eurydice, Actaeon, Cadmus, Proteus.





Other Deities

Under this category, you will find the rest of deities of various attributes. Many of these gods and goddesses have to do with human's intellect and emotion, fate, beauty, youth and the list go on.

Also there are a few deities of healing and magic. There are also deities to do with culture and society, such as art, science, law and punishment. Many of these deities were nothing more than abstract personification.

  Metis
  Hebe
  Eileithyia
  Iris
  Eris
  The Muses
  The Graces
  Nemesis
  Horae (Seasons)
  Moerae (Fates)
  Erinyes (Furies), see House of Hades
  Thanatos, see House of Hades
  Hypnos, see House of Hades
  Morpheus, see House of Hades
  Tyche
  Nike
  Paeëon
  Asclepius
  Britomartis/Dictynna,
see Mother Goddesses, Britomartis
  Circe
  More Deities



Μἣτις
Metis
 

Goddess of wisdom and prudence. Metis was the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys.

Metis became the first wife of Zeus. Zeus persuaded the goddess to give Cronus an emetic, causing Cronus to vomit up Zeus' brothers and sisters. When Zeus imprisoned his father in Tartarus, Uranus and Gaea warned him a second child of Metis would be a son and he would in turn overthrow Zeus. Metis who pregnant at the time, was swallowed up by her husband Zeus, to prevent this fate from happening. Later, when Metis was due to deliver, either Hephaestus or Prometheus split Zeus' head opened with an axe. Athena sprang out of Zeus' head, in full armour.

Her daughter inherited her role as goddess of wisdom and one of Athena's epithets was Polymetis (wisdom). Metis remained in her husband's head and since she was the goddess of wisdom, Zeus continued to receive shrewd advice from Metis.

According to the Pelasgian Creation Myth, Metis was a Titaness, who ruled the planet Mercury, with the Titan Coeus.

 
Related Information
Name
Metis, Μἣτις – "thought".

Related Articles
Oceanids, Oceanus, Tethys, Zeus, Athena.



Ἥβη
Hebe
 

Goddess of youth and spring. Hebe was the daughter of Zeus and Hera. She was the sister of Ares and Eileithyia, and possibly of Eris. Hebe was honoured in Olympus as the cupbearer of the gods, in which she was sometimes known by the name Ganymeda.

She married Heracles when the hero became a god at his death.

When Heracles' children (Heraclids) were persecuted by Eurystheus, cousin of Heracles and king of Mycenae, no one was willing to offer them refugee. Iolaüs (Iolaus), Heracles' nephew and companion was their only protector and guardian. Iolaüs was no longer young and he prayed to the gods. On her husband's behalf, Hebe restored Iolaüs for a single day. Young again, Iolaüs fought a battle. Eventually Iolaüs killed Eurystheus. Eurystheus was beheaded. Eurystheus' head was brought to Alcmene, mother of Heracles. Angry at king's (nephew) persecution of her son and her grandchildren, Alcmene gouged out Eurystheus' eyes.

 
Related Information
Name
Hebe, Ἥβη; Ganymeda (Greek).
Juventas, Iuventas (Roman).

Related Articles
Zeus, Hera, Heracles.



Εἰλείθυια
Eileithyia
 

Goddess of childbirth. Eileithyia was the daughter of Zeus and Hera. Eileithyia was the sister of Ares and Hebe, and possibly of Eris. Eileithyia was the patroness of midwives.

Eileithyia played her parts, under the shadow of her mother (Hera). When Leto was pregnant with Apollo and Artemis, Hera persecuted the Titaness. Being a daughter of Hera, Eileithyia did not help Leto with childbirth. Artemis was born first. Not even a day old, Artemis assisted her mother to give birth to Apollo.

She also delay the birth of Heracles, so that Heracles' cousin, Eurystheus, would become king instead the great hero. Alcmene and Heracles would have died because of the delay, had not Alcmene's midwife tricked Eileithyia.

According to one poet, named Olen, he says that Eileithyia was the mother of Eros, the god and personification of love.

Eileithyia was a popular pre-Hellenic goddess, in Crete during the Minoan and Mycenaean periods, where many of her shrines were found. Her cult existed as far back as the Middle Minoan period (2000-1700 BC). Her name is found in Bronze Age Linear B tablets, where she was called Eleuthia (E-RE-U-TI-JA). On the mainland, she was particularly reverenced in Laconia.

After the Dorian Invasion, she doesn't play an important part in Greek mythology, and much of her role was taken over by Artemis.

 
Related Information
Name
Eileithyia, Eilithyia, Εἰλείθυια (Greek).
E-RE-U-TI-JA, Eleuthia (Mycenaean).
Ilithyia (Roman).

Related Articles
Zeus, Hera, Leto, Artemis, Apollo, Heracles, Ares, Hebe, Eros.



Ἰρισ
Iris
 

Messenger of the gods. Iris was the daughter of Thaumas, the son of the sea god Pontus, and the Oceanid Electra. Iris was the sister of the winged monsters, known as the Harpies. She acted as the messenger for Hera, just like Hermes, her male counterpart and acts as the messenger of Zeus. She was often depicted as young woman with wings, carrying a herald staff.

Iris was a virgin goddess. Iris was also the goddess of the rainbow bridge, the bridge.

Iris appeared in the Argonauts, who gave assurance to the heroes Zetes and Calais, that the Harpies would no longer steal the food from the blind seer, Phineus.

 
Related Information
Name
Iris, Ἰρισ.

Related Articles
Thaumas, Hera, Zeus, Hermes.

Argonauts.


Iris
Red-figured painting on an Amphora, c. 500 BC
Archaeological Collection, Munich



Ἔρις
Eris
 

Goddess of discord and strife. Eris was daughter of Zeus and Hera, or else, she was daughter of Nyx. She was often called sister of Ares, the Greek god of war. She was known to the Romans as Discordia.

Eris was mother of Ate (god of discord and folly) by Zeus. Eris was also the mother of Horkos ("false oath"). The Theogony, also say that Strife (Eris) bore a number of unpleasant children: Battles, Disputes, Famine, Fighting, Forgetfulness, Lawlessness, Lying Words, Manslaughters, Murders, Quarrels, Ruin, Sorrows and Toil.

Eris was mainly a personification of strife, though she appeared in one story, and was one of those who had caused the Trojan War.

Since her disruptive nature to cause strife, even among the gods, so she was not invited to the wedding of the hero Peleus and the sea-goddess Thetis. In revenge, Eris threw a golden apple among the wedding guests, which had the inscription: "To the Fairest". Only three powerful goddesses dared to claim to be the fairest: Hera, Athena and Aphrodite.

This led to Zeus ordering them to be sent to a Trojan prince named Paris, to judge the dispute. Paris foolishly awarded the apple to Aphrodite, who had promised him the fairest mortal to be his wife (Helen).

This event was known as the Judgement of Paris. The outcome led to war between the Greeks and the Trojans, and ultimately led to fall of Troy. (See Trojan War)

 
Related Information
Name
Eris, Ἔρις – "Discord" or "Strife".
Discordia (Roman).

Related Articles
Nyx, Ares, Peleus, Thetis, Paris, Helen.

Judgement of Paris, Trojan War.



Μοὓσαι
Muses
 

Goddesses who inspired men and women; they were proficient in arts, literature and science.

According to the Boeotians, there were originally three daughters, possibly of Uranus and Gaea:

Aoide "song"
Melete "meditation" or "practice"
Mneme "memory"

The Boeotian version, say that the Muses lived at Mount Helicon, while the later version say that the Muses' home was near Mount Olympus, in Peiria, Macedon. They were first worshipped by the Aloadae, the twin giants, named Otus and Ephialtes, at Mount Helicon (in Boeotia), which was reputably the place they were born.


The later and more popular version, they say that the Muses were the nine daughters of Zeus and the Titaness Mnemosyne ("Memory"), and were sometimes known as Camenae. Zeus had slept with their mother for nine consecutive nights, so that Mnemosyne could bear nine daughters. They were born and resided in around Peiria.

The Muses presided over arts and science:

Calliope Καλλιόπη "epic poetry"
Cleio Κλειω "history"
Erato Ἐρατώ "love poetry"
Euterpe Ευτερπη "lyric poetry"
Melpomene Μελπομένη "tragedy"
Polyhymnia or Polhymnia Πολύμνια "sacred poetry"
Terpsichore Τερψιχόρη "choral songs" and the "dance"
Thaleia Θαλία "comedy"
Urania Οὔρανια "astronomy"

The Muses were known for skill in dancing and music, particularly in singing. They were normally seen around Apollo, the god of music in Olympus.

Calliope was probably the most famous of the Muses. Not only was she the eldest sister and their leader, Calliope was also the mother of two great musicians, Orpheus and Linus, either by Apollo or by the Thracian king, named Oeagus, the son of Pierus.

Though, in unknown fragment, one line say that Linus was the son of Urania, Calliope's sister, while in the Contest of Homer and Hesiod, Linus was the son of Apollo and Aethusa, daughter of Poseidon.

Linus tried to teach the young Heracles, but the musician struck the young hero for his poor performance. Heracles struck back with his lyre, instantly killing Linus. Heracles was acquitted of murder, because it was Linus who struck his pupil first.

The Muses were said to have brought up Orpheus, the musician and one of the Argonauts. They taught him singing, while Apollo probably taught him the lyre. The maenads, women followers of Dionysus, tore Orpheus to pieces. The Muses mourned for Orpheus' death.

They sang at the wedding of Cadmus and Harmonia, as well as at Achilles' funeral.

They were sometimes quite vindictive when challenged by mortal musicians. They had blinded Thamyris for his boasting and challenging them. They have turned the daughters of Pierus into magpies, for challenging them in a contest.

They had also blinded the Phaeacian bard, named Demodocus at the court of King Alcinous, in the Odyssey. However, the Muses compensated him by giving Demodocus the gift of song, for taking away his sight.

 
Related Information
Name
Muses, Μοὓσαι (Greek).
Camenae (daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne).

Heliconian Muses, Μουσαων ´Ελικωνιαδων.

Related Articles
Uranus, Gaea, Mnemosyne, Zeus, Apollo, Orpheus, Linus, Heracles, Thamyris, Otus and Ephialtes.


The Nine Muses
Roman mosaic found in Kos, 1st century BC
Great Master's Palace, Rhodas



Χάριτες
Graces
 

Personification of beauty and grace. They were known to the Greeks as Charties and to the Romans as Gratiae. They were the three daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, who was the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. The three sisters were named: Charis or Aglaea ("Splendour"), Euphrosyne ("Mirth"), Thalia or Pasithea ("Good Cheer").

In Homer, during the fighting at Troy, Hera promised to Hypnos that the god of sleep could marry Pasithea, if he would help to lull Zeus to sleep.

Later, when the sea goddess Thetis went to Hephaestus asking for new armour for her son, Homer says that Hephaestus was married to either Charis or Aglaea, not to the love goddess Aphrodite.

The Graces lived in Olympus with the Olympians, usually serving as attendants of Aphrodite, or they sometimes serve Hera. The Graces were first worshipped at the river Cephisus, in Orchomenus, Boeotia. Eteoclus, son of the river god Cephisus, was the very first to sacrifice to the Graces.

They were popular subject in arts, normally shown dancing together in the nude.

 
Related Information
Name
Charites, Χάριτες – "Graces" (Greek).
Gratiae (Roman).

Goddesses
Charis or Aglaea – "Splendour"
Euphrosyne – "Mirth"
Thalia, Θαλία, or Pasithea – "Good Cheer"

Related Articles
Eurynome, Zeus, Hephaestus.


The Three Graces
Peter Paul Rubens
Oil on canvas, 1639
Museo del Prado, Madrid



Νέμεσις
Nemesis
 

Goddess of divine retribution for evil deeds or undeserved good fortune. Nemesis was daughter of Nyx ("Night"). There a strange myth that there are two goddesses, named Nemesis, who were known as the Nemeses, and both of them were daughters of Nyx.

She was the goddess of law and justice, as well as divine retribution. Nemesis punished those for either wicked deeds or undeserved good fortunes. So if the goddess Tyche gives good fortune to a person, Nemesis could easily take it away from the person, if she sees that he or she didn't deserve it.

Some say that it was she, not Leda, who was the mother of Helen of Troy, according to Apollodorus' Library, Hyginus' Poetica Astronomia and Cypria (Epic Cycle). Aphrodite made Zeus fall in love with Nemesis, whom he pursued. Nemesis tried to escape from Zeus by changing herself first into a fish, then later into a goose. Zeus ravished her while he was in the form of a swan.

(According to Hyginus, Zeus tried to gain what he desire through deception. With the help of Aphrodite, who assumed the form of an eagle and Zeus in form of the swan, the eagle (Aphrodite) chased the swan (Zeus). The bogus swan sought refuge within the arms and lap of the goddess Nemesis for protection against the eagle. While Nemesis slept with the swan in her arms, Zeus ravished the sleeping goddess, before he flew away.)

In due time, Nemesis laid a blue and silver egg, which was found it in the forest by shepherd or Hermes, who gave the egg to Leda. When the egg hatched, Leda reared Helen as her own child. Zeus honoured the form by the putting it among the constellations, as the Swan or Cygnus.

In Greek arts, Nemesis was sometimes portrayed as a winged goddess, carrying an apple bough in one hand and wheel of fortune in the other hand. She was also seen in a chariot, pulled by griffins instead of horses. Early writers and artists portray Nemesis as a beautiful white-garbed, winged maiden, while later generations displayed her as an ugly, monstrous being.

 
Related Information
Name
Nemesis, Νέμεσις – "Indignation".

Sources
Library was written by Apollodorus.

Theogony was written by Hesiod.

Catalogues of Women was possibly written by Hesiod.

The Cypria from the Epic Cycle.

Related Articles
Nyx, Zeus, Helen, Tyche.



Ὡραι
Horae (Seasons)
 

The three daughters of Zeus and the Titaness, Themis, were originally personifications of the seasons: spring, summer and winter.

Later they became abstract personification of law and order: Eirene ("Peace"), Eunomia ("Order"), and Dike ("Justice"). They were probably sisters of the Fates (Moerae).

In Athens, the names of the goddesses were different. There were Thallo "Blooming" (Spring), Auxo "Increasing" (Summer) and Carpo "Fruiting" (Autumn).

They were waiting to greet Aphrodite, when she sprung out of the sea foams. The Horae dressed the newly born goddess and escorted her to Olympus. Like the Graces, they became Aphrodite's companions and attendants.

The Romans identified Eirene with Pax, the Roman goddess of peace.

 
Related Information
Name
Horae, Ὡραι – "Seasons".

Goddesses
Eunomia, Εὔνομια – "Order"
Dike, Δικη – "Justice".
Eirene, Ειρηνη – "Peace"
Pax – "peace" (Roman)

In Athens:
Thallo – "Blooming" (Spring).
Auxo – "Increasing" (Summer).
Carpo – "Fruiting" (Autumn).

Related Articles
Zeus, Themis, Fates. Pax.



Μοἳραι
Moerae (Fates)
 

Goddesses of fate. The Fates or Moerae (Moirai) were known by Hesiod as the three daughters of Nyx ("Night"): Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos. In later accounts they were known daughters of Zeus and Themis, and possibly sister of the Seasons (Horae).

Clotho (the "Spinner") was the goddess that spun the thread into life; Lachesis (the "Dispenser of Lots") weaved the thread into a pattern, assigning destiny to each individual; and Atropos (the "Inexorable") end the life, by cutting the thread of life.

They were known as Moerae by the Greeks, and Fata or Parcae ("Bringers Forth") by the Romans. The Parcae had similar functions of the the Greek Moerae. Nona and Decima were the Roman goddesses of birth, whose roles were similar to Clotho, and possibly to Lachesis. Parca, or Morta as she was sometimes known, was the Roman goddess of death and had been identified with Atropos.

Another name for "Fate" or "Necessity" is Ananke. The Orphic myth, called her Adrasteia.

 
Related Information
Names
Moerae, Μοἳραι – "Fates".

Fata, Parcae (Roman) – "Bringers Forth".

Goddesses
Clotho, Κλωθω – "Spinner"
Lachesis, Λαχεσιν – "Dispenser of Lots"
Atropos, ´´Ατπον – "Inexorable"

Nona – "Ninth Month"
Decima – "Tenth Month"
Parca or Morta

Related Articles
Nyx, Zeus, Themis, Seasons (Horae), Adrasteia.



Τύχη
Tyche
 

Goddess of fortune. Tyche was either an Oceanid (daughter of Oceanus and Tethys), or she could be the daughter of Zeus and Hera. Fortuna was the Roman equivalent of Tyche. There was also Felicitas, goddess of good luck; whoever she may be, she was unrelated to Tyche/Fortuna.

Tyche seemed to work together with the goddess Nemesis. If Tyche give good fortune to a person, Nemesis will take away from those who receive fortune undeservedly.

I have not found any myth on Tyche.

 
Related Information
Name
Tyche, Τύχη.

Fortuna (Roman).

Related Articles
See also Fortuna.

Oceanids, Zeus, Hera, Nemesis.



Νίκη
Nike
 

Goddess of victory. Nike or Νίκη (victory) and her brothers – Zelus (Ζηλος, "emulation"), Cratus or Kratos (Κρατος, "strength") and Bia (Βία, "force"), were the children of the Titan Pallas and the Oceanid Styx. Sometimes, her name just appeared as Victory.

Of the four children, Nike appeared to be more than just an abstract personification of victory. Nike was often depicted as a winged goddess. Though, Strength (Cratus) appeared with Violence, in Aeschylus' play, titled Prometheus Bound.

When war broke out between the Titans and the Olympians, Zeus had offered any Titan and or children of Titans honoured places, if they sided with him. So it was that Styx and her children, who were the first to come and aid the new gods, against the Titans.

When the war ended, Styx's children lived in Olympus with Zeus, and he rewarded Styx, one of the highest honours: any god who swore an oath by her name, that oath would be inviolable.

The attributes of Nike and her brothers actually became the attributes of Zeus. Zeus was sometimes called Zeus Nike, which is the Victorious Zeus. Sometimes, the name Nike was also attached to Athena's name.

In the Homeric Hymns to Ares, there is another goddess named Victory, but she is the daughter of Ares.

The pankration come from two different words: πᾶν or pan-, which means "all", and κρατος or kratos means "strength", was the ancient art of both wrestling and boxing. And pankration became one of the sporting events, at the Olympic Games.

 
Related Information
Name
Zelus, Ζἣλος – "Emulation".
Nike, Νίκη – "Victory".
Cratus, Cratos, Κρατυς – "Strength".
Bia, Βία – "Force".

Related Articles
Pallas, Styx, Zeus, Athena.


Nike
Red-figured vase
Archaeologic Museum, Naples



Παιηων
Paeëon
 

Paeëon (Paeeon) was the god of healing. Later writers usually used the name as epithet of other gods, particularly with Asclepius and Apollo.

The name that appeared in the Iliad was actually the god who healed Ares, when the god of war was wounded by Diomedes during the Trojan War. But in Cnossus, the Linear B inscriptions indicated that Paiawon (Paeëon) was a war god, not that of healing.

 
Related Information
Name
Paeëon, Paeeon, Paean, Παιηων.

Related Articles
Apollo, Asclepius, Ares, Diomedes.



Ἀσκληπιός
Asclepius
 

God of healing. Asclepius (Ἀσκληπιός) was the son of Apollo and Coronis, daughter of Phylegyas, king of Thessaly. The Roman called him Aesculapius.

Asclepius married Epione, the daughter of Merops. Asclepius was the father of two sons, Machaon and Podalirius, who were suitor of Helen, and brought 30 ships to Troy from Tricce and Oechalia. They were known more for their skills as physicians than their fighting abilities.

Asclepius also had many daughters – Acesis (remedy), Aegle, Iaso (Cure), Hygeia or Hygieia (health), Janiscus amd Panacea (all-healing).

His ability to cure any disease and even bring back someone back to life, proved to be his undoing. Zeus killed him with his thunderbolt. Apollo avenged his death by killing one of the Cyclopes who make Zeus' thunderbolt. Enraged by his son's action, Zeus sent Apollo to serve as slave of Admetus, king of Pherae, for one year.

Despite killing Asclepius, Zeus placed his staff in the sky as the constellation Ophiuchus – "Serpent-holder". His symbol was the serpent, which was usually seen entwined around his staff.

 
Related Information
Name
Asclepius, Ἀσκληπιός (Greek).
Aesculapius (Roman).

Related Articles
Apollo, Admetus.



Κίρκη
Circe
 

A sorceress. Circe was the daughter of Helius and Perseïs (Perseis) or Perse. Circe was also sister of Aeëtes (Aeetes) and Pasiphaë (Pasiphae). Her name means "Hawk", a bird of prey that hunt during the day. The hawk symbolised the sun.

She was beautiful and immortal (goddess?), living in the island of Aeaea. She was served by maidens and her island was guarded by men who she had turned into wild animal.

When a minor sea-god Glaucus rejected her love, she turned a maiden, Scylla, whom Glaucus was attracted to, into a six-headed monster.

When Jason and the Argonauts fled from Colchis, Circe welcomed her niece Medea, and purified them of murder, until she found out that Medea had murdered her own brother and that it was Circe's own brother who pursued her niece. She demanded or forced them to leave her island.

When Odysseus arrived on her island one ship, she had turned some of the hero's men into swines. Hermes helped Odysseus counter her sorcery. Circe gave several advice to Odysseus when he left her island. See the Odyssey. She had Odysseus as her lover for 3 years, and bore him three sons - Agrius, Latinus and Telegonus. When her son, Telegonus, killed his father (Odysseus), Penelope and Telemachus had forgiven Telegonus and went to Circe's island with him. There Circe made them immortal, where Circe married Telemachus and Penelope became Telegonus' wife.

Though, most writers say that Medea was Circe's niece, in Diodorus' account about Jason and the Argonauts, Medea was her sister. Not only that, Diodorus says Circe was not a daughter of sun god Helios. Diodorus had confusingly say that Helios had two sons, Aeetes and Perses. Perses had a daughter named Hecate, who became the wife of her uncle Aeëtes. So Hecate was the mother of the two sorceresses.

Circe had married the king of the Scythians, whom she later poisoned. Circe seized power and ruled until the Scythians deposed her, because of her cruelty and oppression towards her subjects. Circe fled or was banished to a deserted island, called Circaeum (possibly in Italy), where she only have women or nymphs to attend her needs.

 
Related Information
Name
Circe, Kirke, Κίρκη –"Hawk" (Greek).

Sources
The Odyssey was written by Homer.

Argonautica was written by Apollonius of Rhodes.

The Nostoi and Telegony come from the Epic Cycle.

Fabulae was written by Hyginus.

Metamorphoses was written by Ovid.

Theogony was written by Hesiod.

Related Articles
Helius, Medea, Jason, Odysseus, Penelope, Telemachus.

Argonauts, Odyssey.

Children of Helius (genealogy).




More Deities
 

The following list of minor Greek deities deserved mention, but each was too small to have a page to them. Most of these deities are personification of nature or of abstract forces, such as fear, folly, etc.

  Despoina
  Enyo
  Ate
  Deimus
  Phobus
  Ananke



Despoina

Goddess of horses. Despoina was the daughter of Poseidon and Demeter. Poseidon had pursued his sister, who fled from him. Demeter had disguised herself as a mare, hoping to hide among other mares, but Poseidon who saw through the goddess' new form, transformed himself into a stallion, and mounted Demeter. Demeter borne Despoina and the magical horse named Arion. Desponia was sometimes confused with her half-sister, Persephone. There are no myths of her own, except what was told about her birth to Demeter. Despoina was one of the goddesses also worshipped in the Eleusinian Mysteries, though Despoina was not her true name; her real name was a secret that only the initiated knew.




Enyo

Enyo (Ἐνυω) was the Greek goddess of war, and she was equivalent to the Roman Bellona. She has no mythology of her own, and was probably only a personification of war. Her name appeared in the Iliad, where she rides into battle on a chariot with Ares, god of war. Originally, she may have being a Minoan war goddess in Bronze Age Crete.




Ate

Goddess of folly and moral blindness. She was merely a personification of folly. Ate (Ἄτη) was the daughter of Eris (Strife). Agamemnon had blamed Ate for his quarrel with Achilles. Zeus threw her out of heaven (Olympus) for aiding Hera so that Eurystheus would be the future king of Mycenae, instead of his own son, Heracles.




Deimus

God of fear. Deimus or Deimos (Δειμος) was the son of Ares and Aphrodite. Deimus was also the brother of Eros, Phobus (panic) and Harmonia (wife of Cadmus of Thebes). Deimus and Phobus often appeared with their father, in his chariot during battles, serving as Ares' personal attendants.




Phobus

God of panic. Phobus (Φόβος) was the son of Ares and Aphrodite. Phobus was also the brother of Eros, Deimus (fear) and Harmonia (wife of Cadmus of Thebes). Phobus and Deimus often appeared with their father, in his chariot during battles, serving as Ares' personal attendants.




Ananke

Personification of fate or necessity. See Moerae (Fates) and the Orphic Adrasteia.

 

Priapus
Roman statuette









This page belongs to Timeless Myths.


www.timelessmyths.com



See Copyright Notices for permitted use.


For feedback, questions, or just to say "hello",
contact can made through the Contact page.
No mailing list or spamming, please.



Sky Deities  |  Earth Deities  |  Water and Sea Deities  |  Other Deities

Home  |  Classical Mythology  |  Pantheon  |  Heroic Age  |  Royal Houses  |  Geographia  |  Back

What's New?  |  About  |  Bibliography  |  Fact & Figures  |  Genealogy  |  FAQs  |  Links  |  Copyright  |  Donation  |  Contact  |  Back