CLASSICS CHAPTER 5
THE TWELVE OLYMPIANS:
ZEUS, HERA, AND THEIR CHILDREN
BROTHERS AND SISTERS, CHILDREN OF CRONUS + RHEA
● HESTIA (VESTA)
● HADES (PLUTO)
● POSEIDON (NEPTUNE)
● DEMETER (CERES)
● HERA (JUNO)
● ZEUS (JUPITER)
ZEUS presides over sky
POSEIDON presides over sea
HADES presides over underworld
they cast lots for their realms
ZEUS takes sister HERA as his queen & subordinate.
There are 14 major deities. Hades doesn't live on Olympus and
Hestia is eventually replaced by DIONYSUS.
CHILDREN OF ZEUS
● HEPHAESTUS (VULCAN)
● ARES (MARS)
● ARTEMIS (DIANA) ● APHRODITE (VENUS)
● ATHENA (MINERVA)
● HERMES (MERCURY)
● DIONYSUS (BACCHUS)
- Mythology is meager. but she's important
- she rejected advances of poseidon and apollo and vowed chastity
- like Athena and Artemis, she's a goddess of chastity
- think Vestal Virgins who tend the fire in Rome
- goddess of teh hearth and its sacred fire (hestia means hearth)
- primitive peoples obtained fire with difficult and they kept
it alive and revered it for its basic importance in daily needs
and religious ceremony.
- first born of Cronus
- every hearth is revered and hestia is often revered, esp. at
banquets and sacrificial ritual
- amorous. mates with countless goddesses and mortals
- wrathful. holy. upholding the sacred and moral order of the
- etymological root of name is "bright" (as it is in Jupiter)
- attributes: thunder and lightning
- bears the AEGIS - a shield with miraculous protective powers.
- animal: majestic eagle. and bull. plant: the oak. - was not always absolute / supreme, some even suggest that he
is always subject to the dictates of the feminine fates:
aphrodite can tempt him, demeter can defy him, thetis frees him,
hera constantly challenges him
- center of worship: dodona and olympus
ZEUS & HERA
- their marriage represents yet another enactment of the sacred
SKY-GOD and EARTH-GODDESS marriage.
- hera has little mythology on her own, but a lot in connection
- vehement wife and mom who punishes the sexual escapades of her
- fierce champion of morality and marriage
- IRIS, messenger goddess of the rainbow, often depicted as
Hera's servant. and Hermes is Zeus's messenger when Iris is in
- her bird is the peacock (remember story of Io and Argus)
- center of worship is Argos
- worshipped less as earth goddess, more as g of women,
marriage, childbirth, etc. functions shared by all goddesses
THE SANCTUARY OF ZEUS AT OLYMPIA
PHEIDIAS carved the statue of Zeus there. it was the most
admired of all ancient statues. 42ft high.
statue had zeus sitting on his throne carrying the figure of
NIKE (victory) in his right and, in his left a scepter on which
perched his eagle.
in the temple and its statue, at the heart of the greatest
PANHELLENIC sanctuary, myths of human and divine struggle and victory, of destruction and creation, combined to honour Zeus as
the supreme god of civilization.
THE ORACLES AT OLYMPIA AND DODONA
- these were the important centers of worship for zeus and they
were frequented for their oracular responses
- observation and interpretation of omens ie
● rustling of leaves
● sound of the wind in branches of sacred oaks
● call of doves
● condition of burnt offerings
at olympia, people usually asked about chances of competitors in
at dodona, through influence of oracle of apollo at delphi, a
priestess would mount a TRIPOD and deliver her communications
from the god.
CHILDREN OF ZEUS AND HERA: EILEITHYIA,
HEBE, HEPHAESTUS, AND ARES
EILEITHYIA, GODDESS OF CHILDBIRTH. a role shared with Hera.
Artemis is another important goddess of childbirth.
HEBE (and GANYMEDE), CUPBEARERS TO THE GODS. Hebe is the goddess
of YOUTHFUL BLOOM (literal meaning of her name). primarily known
as cupbearer for the deities on olympus. when Heracles wins
immortality, she becomes his bride. According to some, GANYMEDE, a trojan prince, replaces Hebe as
cupbearer after she marries. Ganymede is really handsome and
that's why zeus carried him off to serve the gods in heaven. His
myth is variously interpreted as religious devotion,
homosexuality, fraternity, rape, or a joke.
HEPHAESTUS, THE DIVINE ARTISAN.
● god of creative fire and a divine smith. his workshop is
often in heaven or on olympus. his role in myth is to
create things of extrordinary beauty and utility. ie. shied
of achilles. he even has gold fembots for attendants.
● sometimes his forge is under earth and three cyclopes
labour with him, the ones who