Major Gods and Goddesses
In all of the following, the Greek name of the god appears in red, while the Roman name appears in blue.
Gaia - The Earth, the first of the gods. Born out of Chaos. Later became the lover of Uranus, her firstborn.
Uranus - The Sky. Son of Gaia, later became her lover. Chained his children away in the Underworld as they were born because he feared their size and strength. Later tricked by Gaia and their child Cronus, who attacked and castrated him. He then cursed Cronus and swore that he would suffer the same fate.
Cronus (Saturn) - Child of Gaia and Uranus. Attacked and overthrew his father and released his brothers and sisters from the Underworld. But because of his father's curse he swallowed his children so they would not supplant him. But his wife and mother hid his child Zeus, who later overthrew Cronus. Cronus was then forced to disgorge his other children.
Rhea (Ops) - One of the Titans. Married Cronus. They ruled as King and Queen of the world.
Zeus (Jupiter) - Child of Cronus and Rhea, hidden from his father to keep him safe. Raised by nymphs. Later overthrew his father. Zeus was always the most powerful god. The ultimate upholder of justice. Responsible for weather, especially storms.
Hera (Juno) - Child of Cronus and Rhea. Married Zeus, always jealous of his many affairs. She was seen as the protector of marriage and childbirth.
Hestia (Hesta) - Child of Cronus and Rhea. Goddess of fire, household, and home. The gentlest deity.
Demeter (Ceres) - Child of Cronus and Rhea. Goddess of fertility and harvest. The corn-goddess who guarded the crops of Greece. With Zeus she gave birth to Persephone. The myth of Demeter gave rise to the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Hades (Pluto) - Child of Cronus and Rhea. Lord of the Underworld. The cypress tree and the narcissus were sacred to him.
Poseidon (Neptune) - Child of Cronus and Rhea. Ruled the oceans and rivers. Also seen as god of horses and the force that caused earthquakes, thus he was known as the "earth-shaker".
Athena (Minerva) - Daughter of Zeus and Metis. Born fully-grown out of her father's head. Goddess of wisdom and military strategy. The most powerful goddess. Patroness of feminine and practical arts.
Persephone (Proserpina) - Daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Goddess of vegetation. Hades kidnapped her and made her his queen. Demeter was grief-stricken at her disappearance and neglected her duties, so the earth became barren. Zeus agreed to help free her, but Persephone had already eaten six seeds of the pomegranate, considered food of the dead. Therefore she had to spend six months in Hades each year but could return to her mother on earth for the remaining six months. Winter ruled the earth during her time in Hades, while summer took over when she returned to earth.
Apollo (Phoebus) - Son of Zeus and Leto. God of healing and oracles. His arrows could kill or sicken mortals. Very handsome. God of light. Laurel was sacred to him.
Artemis (Diana) - Daughter of Zeus and Leto. Twin sister of Apollo. Chose to remain single. A huntress, she lived in the woods and was mistress of wild beasts.
Ares (Mars) - Son of Zeus and Hera. Handsome but not liked by the other gods. Had many children with Aphrodite. God of war.
Aphrodite (Venus) - Goddess of love. Her parentage is uncertain. Least warlike of the gods and goddesses. Married to Hephaestus, but was unfaithful to him. Had many children with Ares.
Hephaestus (Vulcan) - Child of Hera; no father. God of fire, smiths, and crafts. Thrown out of Mount Olympus by Zeus and was lamed in the fall, but later welcomed back. Very gentle, kind, and sympathetic. Married to an unfaithful Aphrodite. "The Divine Blacksmith".
Dionysus (Bacchus) - Son of Zeus and the mortal Semele. Raised by nymphs. Created wine, and caused the flow of milk and honey. Created a secret cult of maidens. Emphasis on pleasure and virility. God of vegetation.
Hermes (Mercury) - Son of Zeus and Maia. Very mischievous. Trusted messenger of the gods. The patron of liars and thieves. Led the souls of the dead into the afterlife. The number four was sacred to him. God of trade.
Eros (Cupid) - Son of Ares and Aphrodite. Had wings, shot gods and men with arrows that enflamed their hearts. In love with Psyche.
Pan (Faunus) - Son of Hermes, mother uncertain. Had the horns and legs of a male goat; unsociable. God of fields and woods. Greek god of Nature, he often startled humans and animals. God of vegetation, had a solitary nature. Patron of drama, music, and intoxication. Tortoise was sacred to him.
Atlas - Son of the Titan Iapetus. Punished by Zeus, had to carry the sky on his shoulders. In order to be freed from this burden, he asked to see the face of Medusa, and he was then turned into stone. He became the Atlas mountain range in Africa.
Prometheus - Son of the Titan Iapetus. Had a great love for mankind, gave the gift of fire to humans. Zeus was angry about this and had Prometheus chained to a mountain where an eagle tore at his liver every day. Every night his liver grew back, and this suffering went on for a thousand years. Finally freed by Herakles.
Herakles (Hercules) - Son of Zeus and the mortal Alcmene. The greatest hero of Greece, and the only human to earn immortality. Alway recognized as the strongest human being. Hera sent the demon of madness to him, and he became temporarily insane and killed his wife and children. To atone for this, he had to perform twelve heroic labors. Later he married Hebe and became the gatekeeper of Olympus.