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10 Greek Gods and Goddesses: Symbols, Family Tree and Movies

Find out which are the gods of war, love and wisdom according to Greek mythology.

According to Greek mythology,  the lineage of the gods that began a new era led by Zeus lived on Mount Olympus, the sacred mountain where the gods managed the designs of humanity. Discover the Greek gods of the sea, hunting, war, love, wisdom, trade, the underworld, music, science, and beauty.

List of Greek gods and goddesses and their symbols

Greek mythology says that after the chaos, the Titans ruled, until one of them, Kronos, ate his children. Only one survived, Zeus, who after fighting to death defeated Kronos and gave rise to the era of the gods.  These are the most important gods of the Greek pantheon.

1. Zeus, king of the gods and god of the sky

Zeus was the youngest of the descendants of Kronos and Rhea. When Kronos, afraid to lose his supremacy, ate his children, Zeus defeated him, and he freed his brothers: Poseidon became the god of the sea and Hades the god of the dead. 

Zeus became the father of all gods, regardless of their direct relationship. He ruled over the Olympic pantheon, embodied the archetypal deity and oversaw the universe. Among his attributes are the scepter and the crown as symbols of power, and the ray, with which he imposed order and justice. He is known as the "cloud collector."

He is also known as a great seducer who has affairs and romances with other Greek goddesses, unions from which other gods are born, and even with mortal women, where some heroes are born from. Among his descendants, we find Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hermes, Perseus, Persephone, Dionysus, and Heracles. 

2. Poseidon, god of the sea

He was a much-feared god by the Greeks, who were sailors. It was said that with the slightest movement of his trident he could trigger storms and earthquakes. Poseidon is Kronos and Rhea's son, so he is Zeus' brother. After dividing the elements of the Titans, Poseidon was given the control of the seas. 

Although when he was good, he was the creator of the islands and the one who calmed the waters of the sea, both in texts and popular beliefs  he had a terrifying character and he was a feared god. When nobody took any notice of him, or he got outraged, he hit his trident on the ground to unleash chaos at sea and on the earth.

He competed with Athena to be the main god in Athens, but he succumbed against the goddess of wisdom. He also had a lot of relationships and a lot of children. 

3. Hades, god of the dead and the king of the underworld

Zeus and Poseidon's brother, after defeating the Titans he received the power of the Greek underworld, which is where the dead end up, even though it has a different character than Christian hell. For the Greeks, the underworld does not have a negative aspect.

According to Greek mythology, the dead crossed the river Acheron aboard Charon's boat.  On the other bank was the underworld, guarded by Cerberus, the three-headed dog, and ruled by Hades. He was the only god who did not live on Mount Olympus, and opposite to what many people think, he doesn't have a bad character.

Hades had an essential role in the tragic story of Orpheus and Eurydice. Hades never let any of the dead abandon his kingdom, but Orpheus asked for mercy when Eurydice, his loved one, died. Hades, enchanted by his musical talents, for the first time he showed compassion. But Orpheus broke the promise not to look back, and Eurydice had to go back to the underworld.

4. Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love and beauty

In Ancient Greece love didn't have the same romantic sense it has nowadays, it had to do with eroticism. Its goddess was Aphrodite, who was married to Hephaestus (god of fire and forges) but she had many lovers. She is the incarnation of beauty. 

Her name means "risen from the foam," which gives more power to that idyllic image of beauty. After Kronos cut Uranus' (Sky) genitals and he threw them into the sea, around the member some white foam appeared from which a very beautiful woman that could make all men fall in love with her just with one look came out. 

She is represented as a desirable, conceited, bad-tempered, and susceptible woman. In some texts, although she is married to Hephaestus, she prefers Ares' impetus, who she had a romance with and she conceived Eros.  She also had an affair with Adonis. 

5. Hephaestus, god of fire

The myth says that Hephaestus was so ugly and weak when he was born that his mother, Hera, threw him from Mount Olympus into the sea and she left him limping. The nymphs rescued him, and he became such a good craftsman that Zeus, his father, gave him the power of fire and forges. Zeus' lightning, Achilles' armor, and Hermes' sandals were made in Hephaestus' forge. 

Besides his sickly and scruffy aspect, Hephaestus was Aphrodite's husband, the beautiful goddess that no one could possess.

Zeus gifted his son with this privilege after he helped Athena give birth. Aphrodite had a passionate affair with Ares, and when Hephaestus found out, he tied them on a bed with a gold chain, and he told everyone in Mount Olympus to come and see and laugh at them. 


6. Apollo, god of music, light, and medicine

Apollo, who has a lot of attributes and virtues, is considered the most influent god after Zeus: his cult was widespread and a lot of temples were dedicated to him. He was identified with the light of truth which brightened the arts and science. 

More specifically, Apollo is considered the Greek god of arts, bow, and arrow, but also medicine and cure. He represents beauty, perfection and harmony, balance and reason, and the transition from childhood to maturity. He was also worshiped as the protector of shepherds, sailors, and archers. 

He is the leader of the inspiring muses, and he provides artistic creation, and he also owned the Oracle of Delphi (Pythia). On paper, he appears as a seducer, who has lots of lovers and was even feared due to his irascible character. 7. Artemis,Greek goddess of the hunt

According to Greek mythology, Hera was furious because Zeus got together with Leto and she forbade her to give birth to her daughter Artemis, but the island of Delos emerged from the depths of the sea so that she could be born. She was Apollo's twin sister.

When she was three, Artemis asked nine wished to her father: two of them were to be a virgin forever and to have a bow and some arrows to hunt. She is the Greek goddess of the hunt and animal protector, but she also has the gift of favoring births, and she represents chastity and cure of women's diseases. 

Artemis gets furious when she is bothered by men. When Actaeon saw her naked while she was swimming, she turns him into a deer, and she tells her hounds to eat him up. She also causes Adonis death.  

8. Ares, Greek god of war

Ares is Zeus and Hera's son. He personifies courage, tireless strength, masculine vitality; he is the protector of Mount Olympus and the armies, leader of the rebels and fair men. He is the Greek god of war and helper of the weak. As a god of war, he is the provider of brutality, violence, and horrors in battle.

He is represented as a young and vigorous man. He had a passionate affair with Aphrodite, Hephaestus' wife, and after being caught, he fled north of the Helade, along with the barbarians. He is linked to infidelity and bloodshed caused by love passions and jealousy.

He brought plagues and epidemics, and his vicious and disloyal personality made him very unpopular among the rest of the gods. In addition, in the Trojan war, he fought on both sides. 

9. Hermes, god of trade and travelers

From the union between Zeus and Maya, one of the Pleiades who was Atlas' daughter, Hermes was born. During the first hours of life, he ran away from his cot, taking with him Apollo's oxen. Since then,  he was considered an evasive, traveler and clever thief god. 

To run away with the oxen, Hermes wore the sandals forged by Hephaestus, but when Apollo found out, he took the kid to Zeus, and he required his cattle back. Hermes invented the lyre tightening some strings on a turtle's shell, and he dazzled his father's ears, so he let him keep the animals.

Hermes, who created many musical instruments, became friends with Apollo, god of music. But he is well-known as the messenger of the gods, protector of travelers, lord of borders and ruler of trade.

10. Athena, goddess of wisdom and war

Athena's birth is peculiar, because according to Greek mythology she first ate her mother, Metis, and after nesting on her father's forehead, Zeus, she could see the light due to Hephaestus help, who was able to marry Aphrodite as a reward for this. 

Athena is one of the few goddesses that ever remained a virgin, and having been born armed; she proved an excellent capacity for military strategy. In fact, she dueled with Ares for the domination of the war, and although in some places Ares continued to be worshipped as the god of war, according to the texts he was never able to defeat Athena.

In addition to war, Athena is the goddess of wisdom, civilization, strategy in combat, science, justice, and skill. Her symbol is the owl.

Greek gods family tree

According to Greek mythology, Chaos first reigned, after which Uranus (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth) emerged in union, remaining together in constant reproduction. From them Titans were born, who could not leave the womb of Gaia, until she could bring Kronos out, the titan who castrated his father, Uranus, separating heaven from earth.

Kronos ate his children to avoid them to argue his supremacy, but Zeus defeated him, and he claimed for him and his brothers, Poseidon and Hades, the control of the sky, the sea and the underworld. This is the beginning of the Greek god's genealogy. 

Hera was one of Kronos and Rhea's daughter. She married her brother Zeus to give birth to Ares, Hebe, and Hephaestus. With Leto, they had Apollo and Artemis, with Mnemosyne she gave birth to the muses, with Io they had Epaphus, and with Metis, Athena. Together with Maia, they had Hermaphrodite, and with Dryope they had Pan. 

Aphrodite got together with Ares, and they conceived Eros, Harmonia, Deimos, Phobos, Himeros, and Anteros. The god's genealogy extends into many more branches.

Greek gods family tree
Greek gods and goddesses family tree | Magic Horoscope

5 movies based on Greek mythology

The symbolic and iconic richness of Greek gods and goddesses and the power of the Olympian mythology have led to movies about the Greek gods. In the following lines, we mention the most important movies based on Greek mythology. 

1. Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief HD Movie Trailer

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief is a 2010 movie based on the collection of juvenile literature stories: Percy Jackson and the Olympians. This movie is about the story of a teenager who discovers that he is the son of Poseidon and is credited with stealing Zeus' lightning. Along with Annabeth, Athena's daughter, and Grover, a satyr, they travel from Mount Olympus to the fires of the Avern to save the world.

Chris Columbus is the director of the film, and his success resides in adopting a very similar universe to the one of "Harry Potter." A fast storyline, good actors and the combination of fun and adventure with Greek mythology make a highly recommended movie. 

2. Clash Of The Titans

This is another very entertaining movie where the Greek god's Pantheon is shown more realistically, but that belongs to the sci-fi genre. Clash of the Titans is directed by Louis Leterrier and stars Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Liam Cunningham, Mads Mikkelsen, Liam Neeson, and Ralph Fiennes.

The movie is based on the story of Perseus, a semi-god who is Zeus' son. He leads an act of revenge against those who murdered his adoptive family. The bad guy in the film is Hades, who unleashes his evil against the inhabitants of Argos by murdering Perseus' family. He will try to prevent his uncle from overthrowing Zeus and dominating the world.

3. Troy

This is one of the best Greek god movies of all times.  Troy is based on the myth of the Trojan War narrated in Homer's mythologies. With a great duel between Brad Pitt and Eric Bana and a very agile and amusing plot with plenty of action scenes, Troy premiered in 2004 with the acclaim of the audience. 

Although there are some typical excesses in this kind of movies, the intention of its director, Wolfgang Petersen, is to reflect accurately the myth in which Trojans and Hellenes fight in a war that works as a background in the relationship between the mythological heroes, Paris, Achilles, and Hector. 

4. The Hunger Games

Although some people don't know, the successful saga The Hunger Games is a recreation of Greco-Latin culture that also includes Greek mythology.

The main idea of the movie is that the Capitol forces the twelve districts to choose twelve men and twelve women for a survival game that is a TV show. They can receive presents from their sponsors, who help them survive. 

The truth is this movie is based on the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, in which Athena, as a price for the defeat of the war against Crete, has to send seven boys and seven girls to the labyrinth of Crete, where there is the Minotaur, who eats them. The heir to the throne of Athens is a tribute, but the daughter of the king of Crete, Ariadne, falls in love with the Minotaur. As a "gift" (notice the parallelism with the film) she offers him an invisible thread to help him out of the labyrinth.

5. Immortals

The Earth is threatened by imminent danger, because Hyperion, who has gone crazy due to power, has declared war on humankind. After burning Greece, he looks for a weapon of power, the Epirus bow, built by Ares (god of war). His goal is to free the titans who remain locked in Mount Tartarus and are thirsty for revenge.

As the gods cannot intervene in human affairs, Zeus entrusts a peasant, Theseus, with the mission of defeating Hyperion.  With this plot based on the Greek gods, its director Tarsem Singh created this film that received critical acclaim. It was released in 2011 and starred Henry Cavill and Mickey Rourke.