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07 The 12 Greek Gods : who are they?


This article is from the Greece FAQ, by Nikolaos (Nick) C. Fotis, nfotis@theseas.ntua.gr with numerous contributions by others.

07 The 12 Greek Gods : who are they?

It's rather easy to remember most of the 12 Gods of Greek Ancient
Mythology. The most easy to remember are:

Zeus, Hera, Athena, Poseidon, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Ares, Apollo, Hermes,
Demeter, Artemis

The number 12 is the most troublesome:

> From: cla02@seq1.keele.ac.uk (Richard Wallace)
> Newsgroups: soc.culture.greek
> Subject: Re: REQUEST: Greek Gods

The most usual list has Hestia as number twelve. She was the goddess of
hearth and home, and so a rather passive figure, and from time to time
people seem to have thought that she didn't really earn her place, and
put someone else in instead.

So far as I know, Hades is one of the twelve only in the list in Plato's
Phaedrus (and perhaps, by implication, in the Laws),
and there Plato makes it quite clear that HE has made the
decision to leave Hestia out. I think Hades does not figure in the
normal lists because they are the twelve OLYMPIAN gods, and Hades does
not normally come to Olympus (though Poseidon does).

Sometimes you get Dionysus instead of Hestia. He is a rather aberrant
god anyway (either because he was a late-comer to Greek religion or for
some other reason) - in any case he doesn't normally appear in the list.

There is some evidence that there was a local tradition at Olympia which
substituted Kronos, Rhea, and Alpheios (the local river god) for
Hephaistos, Demeter, and Hestia, and there are other cases of the
insertion of local gods into the list in particular localities,
presumably out of local patriotism.

Mostly, they referred to them simply as 'the twelve', no doubt leaving
it open to each individual to write in his own list!

[ Personally, I feel that Dionysus was mentioned most often in the
mainland Greece mythology, at least in Attica -- nfotis ]

From: G0900@vmcms.csuohio.edu


Greek           Latin           meaning
Name            Name
---------       ------
Zeus            Zeus, Jupiter   Master of the sky, father of the
                                gods and men.
Hera            Juno            Wife of Zeus, protector of marriage
Poseidon        Neptune         Brother of Zeus, god of the sea
Athena          Minerva         Goddess of wisdom, protector of arts
                                and crafts
Apollo          Apollo          God of the sun and music
Artemis         Diana           Apollo's sister, goddess of hunting
Aphrodite       Venus           Goddess of beauty and love
Hephaestus      Vulcan          God of fire, protector of metal
Ares            Mars            God of war
Hermes          Mercury         Messenger of gods and god of trade
Demeter         Ceres           Goddess of agriculture
Persephone, Kore  Proserpina    Demeter's daughter, queen of the
Pluton, Ades       Pluton       King of the Underworld
Dionysus, Bacchos  Bacchus      God of wine, vegetation and fertility
Asklepios       Aesculapius     God of medicine


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