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The Gods of ancient Greece resided at the top of Mount Olympus in Thessaly. There was a gate of clouds reserved by the goddess named the Seasons which was opened to allow the passage of gods to earth and their return to heaven. Each god had their separate residences but when summoned they met at the palace of Jupiter which also included those that lived on earth, the water, and the underworld. This is also where they ate, drank and discussed the business of heaven and earth.

The following gods and goddesses are important fixtures in Greek Mythology: Zeus, the ruler of heaven and earth; Aphrodite, the goddess of sexual love; Persephone, the daughter of Demeter and Zeus; Apollo, Zeus’ son and the god of prophecy, divination, and the arts and was also a sun-god; Artemis, Apollo’s twin sister and the goddess of hunting and archery; Eros, the god of love; Athena, the goddess of wisdom, war and crafts; Hera, the goddess of marriage; and Poseidon, the god of the sea and earthquakes;

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Zeus, the son of Cronos, dethroned his father by giving him a drug that made him spew out all the children he had previously swallowed, and with their help he waged war against his father and the Titans. His victory declared him the ruler over heaven and earth. Even though he was the god who ruled over Olympus, he was ruled by the laws of fate so therefore he was not all-powerful. Aphrodite was married to the god Hephaestus, who because he was born lame was thrown from Olympus.

Because Aphrodite was never faithful to him, he became very jealous and after hearing his wife was with her lover Ares, the god of war, with whom she had many children, Hephaestus designed a net made of metal to trap the lovers, calling all the gods to witness the offense. Poseidon promised compensation so that the lovers could be freed. Persephone, the daughter of Zeus and Demeter was carried off by Hades to be his queen in the underworld. Distraught by this, Demeter rejected her duties until her daughter was returned.

Because Persephone ate a pomegranate seed while away, she was obligated to stay in Hades. Zeus offered a compromise for Persephone to spend four months on earth with Demeter and the rest of the time in Hades. This myth has been used to describe the annual death and rebirth of nature because when Persephone is away, Demeter is too upset to fulfill her duties and while she is on earth, her mother works tirelessly. Apollo, the god of archery, music, prophecy, and light was very powerful but sometimes failed at love.

His first love was the nymph Daphne but she refused him because Eros, the god of love, was angry towards Apollo because of jokes he had made towards him. He shot Apollo with a golden arrow to make him fall in love, and he shot Daphne with a leaden arrow so that she would reject him. He pursued her until they reached the River Peneus, where she called on her father, the river god, for help and he turned her into a tree. Because he was heartbroken by her loss, he swore he would honor her memory by wearing a wreath of leaves from the same tree.

Artemis, was the goddess of hunt, moon, and childbirth and a protector of children. She was a sister to Apollo and was a child of Zeus and the Titan Leo. One day while bathing, Actaeon, an avid hunter, came upon her while she was naked. In her anger, she changed him into a stag only to be killed by the very dogs he hunted with because they did not recognize their master. Athena was the goddess of wisdom, war and crafts and a daughter of Zeus. Her birth was very unusual.

Because Zeus was told if he had a daughter she would overthrow him, he swallowed her mother while she was still pregnant. He commanded Hephaetus to use his ax and break open his head to release the pressure. Out came Athena fully grown and ready for battle from Zeus’ brain. Hera was the goddess of marriage and a wife of Zeus and considered a queen of the Greek gods. She was also described as an angry and jealous wife due to Zeus’ many affairs. But her anger is usually pointed at Zeus’ lovers instead of Zeus himself.

She was also angry at Zeus’ children such as Hercules. She sent serpents to kill him and later drove him mad causing him to kill his wife and children. Poseidon, the god of the sea and earthquakes, acquired this control by drawing lots with Zeus and Hades. He was a very popular god but was often described as angry and violent. He was very vengeful but also a great lover to include affairs with Medusa and Demeter. These Greek gods have played an important role in the history of mythology and are focused on more frequently than other gods and goddesses.

They are sources of power, and strength and even though they are gods, they have human qualities and make many mistakes and we can always learn valuable lessons from their faults. The Greek Mythology Link is a collection of myths retold by Carlos Parada, author of Genealogical Guide to Greek Mythology, published in 1993 by Astrom Editions (available at Amazon). The mythical accounts are based exclusively on ancient sources. Address: www. maicar. com About, Email. Copyright © 1997 Carlos Parada and Maicar Forlag. ISBN 978-91-976473-9-7http://homepage. mac. com/cparada/GML/index. html

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