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Tuesday, April 14

Ancient Greek Mythology

Zeus was the most powerful of the Greek gods and had a number of powers. His most famous power is the ability to throw lighting bolts. His winged horse Pegasus carried his lighting bolts and he trained an eagle to retrieve them. He could also control the weather, causing rain and huge storms.

Zeus also had other powers. He could mimic people's voices to sound like anyone. He could also shape shift so that he looked like an animal or a person. If people made him angry, sometimes he would turn them into animals as punishment.

The Titans
The Titans were the first, or elder, gods.  There were twelve of them, including the parents of Zeus, Cronus, and Rhea.  They ruled during what was called the Golden Age.  They were overthrown by their children...led by Zeus.

The Olympians
The twelve Olympian gods were the major gods of the Greeks, and lived on Mount Olympus.  They included :

  • Zeus - Leader of the Olympians, and god of the sky and lightning.  His symbol is the lightning bolt.  he is married to Hera, his sister.
  • Hera - Queen of the gods, and married to Zeus, she is the goddess of marriage and family. Her symbols are the lion, cow, and peacock.
  • Poseidon - God of the ocean, earthquakes, and horses.  His symbol is the trident.  He is Zeus' and Hades' brother.
  • Hades - God of the Underworld, he lives in the Underworld rather than on Mount Olympus.
  • Dionysus - Lord of wine and celebrations.  Patron god of theater and art, his main symbol is the grapevine.  He is the son of Zeus and the youngest Olympian.
  • Apollo - God of music and light, his symbols include the sun, bow and arrow, and lyre.  His twin sister is Artemis.
  • Artemis - Goddess of the hunt, archery, and animals.  Her symbols include the moon, bow and arrow, and deer.  Her twin brother is Apollo.
  • Ares - God of war, his symbols are the spear and shield.  He is the son of Zeus and Hera.
  • Athena - Goddess of wisdom, defense, and war, her symbols are the owl and olive branch.  She is the patron saint of Athens.
  • Hermes - God of commerce and thieves.  He is also the messenger of the gods, and his symbol is the winged sandals.  His son, Pan, is the god of nature.
  • Aphrodite - Goddess of love and beauty, her symbols include the dove and rose.  She is married to Hephaestus.
  • Hephaesus - God of fire, blacksmith and craftsman for the gods.  His symbols include fire, the anvil and hammer, and the donkey.  He is married to Aphrodite.
  • Demeter - Goddess of agriculture and the seasons, her symbols include wheat and the pig.

The Chimera 
The fire-breathing Chimera is a terrifying beast with a serpent for a tail, a goat's body and a lion's head! A king has commanded warrior, Bellerophon, to destroy her. Soaring above the monster on a winged horse, he shoots arrows at her. Bellerophon then attaches lead to his spear and thrusts it into the vicious beast. The hero’s actions kills the fiery Chimera. 
Scylla & Charybdis
On both sides of a narrow stretch of sea, monsters lie in wait.  On one side, Scylla thrashes around her six snakelike heads, ready to crunch on passing sailors.  On the other, Charybdis creates a deadly whirlpool.  No person has ever faced these beasts and escaped unharmed.  Now the king, Odysseus, and his crew must pass them to get home.  They edge around Charybdis' spiraling sea, saving the ship from being swallowed whole.  Scylla swoops down and gobbles up six men, and Odysseus shouts, leading the rest of the crew past Scylla and out of the deadly channel.  Having survived the dreaded beasts, Odysseus and his men continue their journey.
The Minotaur
Half-man, half-bull, the Minotaur lurks in an underground maze waiting for his next meal - children sent to him as a sacrifice.  Lost in the labyrinth, the kids will be devoured, but brave king Theseus has had enough of his land living in fear of the Minotaur.  He accompanies the group, and is prepared to fight.  Hearing the Minotaur breathing nearby, he springs toward it.  Dodging the monster's deadly horns, he thrusts his sword into the beast.  The Minotaur is dead, and Theseus unspools a piece of string that he wound as he walked through the maze...he leads the children out to safety.
In a swamp, creeps a deadly nine-headed serpent called the Hydra.  Heracles, son of Zeus, must kill it to become immortal.  After throwing flaming spears at the beast, the Hydra attacks, so Heracles hits its heads with a club, but more grow in their place!  Heracles' friend, Iolus, then leaps to his aid with a flaming torch.  After an epic battle, the men finally destroy the Hydra!
This hideous Medusa has snakes for hair, terrifying tusks, and a face that turns anyone that looks at it into stone!  To please his king, Perseus agrees to slay the beast.  Wearing a helmet of invisibility, he sneaks up on Medusa.  She's asleep, but one gaze at her face and Perseus would be a statue!  He looks at her harmless reflection in his shiny shield and beheads her.  Victorious, Perseus flies off on winged sandals.

Ancient Greek links :


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