Twelve Olympians

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The twelve gods of Olympus.
The Twelve Olympians, also known as the Dodekatheon (Greek: δωδεκα, dodeka, "twelve" + θεον, theon, "of the gods"), in Greek religion, were the principal gods of the Greek pantheon, residing atop Mount Olympus. There were, at various times, seventeen different gods recognized as Olympians, though never more than twelve at one time.

Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Ares, Hermes, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Athena, Apollo, and Artemis are always considered Olympians. Heracles, Hebe, Helios, Hestia, Demeter, Dionysus, Hades, and Persephone are the variable gods among the Twelve. Hestia gave up her position as an Olympian to Dionysus in order to live among humankind (eventually she was assigned the role of tending the fire on Mount Olympus); while she sometimes would not accept the offer of being an Olympian god. Persephone spent three months of the year in the underworld (causing the barren landscape of winter), and was allowed to return to Mount Olympus for the other nine months in order to be with her mother, Demeter; who, during this time, would be in woe and not be with the Olympians. And, although Hades was always one of the principal Greek gods, his home in the underworld of the dead made his connection to the Olympians more tenuous. In some accounts, Helios gave up his seat for Apollo. In even rarer, but definite accounts, Hebe, the gods' cupbearer is an Olympian herself, but gave up her job as cupbearer to marry Heracles who became an Olympian upon his death.

Greek deities
Primordial deities
Aquatic deities
Chthonic deities
Personified concepts
Other deities
Zeus and Hera,
Poseidon, Hades,
Hestia, Demeter,
Aphrodite, Athena,
Apollo, Artemis,
Ares, Hephaestus,
Hermes, Dionysus

The Olympians gained their supremacy in the world of gods after Zeus led his siblings to victory in war with the Titans; Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Hestia, and Hades were siblings; all other Olympians are usually considered the children of Zeus by various mothers, except for Athena, who in some versions of the myth was born of Zeus alone. Additionally, some versions of the myth state that Hephaestus was born of Hera alone as Hera's revenge for Zeus' solo birth of Athena.

  1. Zeus is the highest ranking and most powerful god, the ruler of Mount Olympus, god of the sky.
  2. Poseidon, together with Hades is one of the two next most senior gods, god of the sea, rivers and springs, floods and earthquakes.
  3. Hera is the wife of Zeus, the goddess Queen of the heavens and stars, of marriage and fidelity.
  4. Demeter is the goddess of the fertile earth and agriculture. Her bounty sustains mankind.
  5. Artemis is the goddess of the hunt, animals, wilderness and the protector of young girls.
  6. Apollo is the god of prophesy, light, music, healing, disease and medicine and archery.
  7. Athena is the goddess of wisdom, the crafts (especially weaving, pottery and carpentry), inner beauty, education and war.
  8. Hephaestus is the god of fire, workmanship, artisans and weaponry and the craftsman of the gods.
  9. Ares is the god of war and slaughter.
  10. Aphrodite is the goddess of love, sexuality, outer beauty and attraction.
  11. Hermes is the god of guidance, travelers, commerce, inventions, oratory, shepherds, consolation and reunions, athletics, patron of thieves, and messenger of the Gods.
  12. Hestia is the goddess of the home, family and the hearth.
  13. Dionysus is the youngest of the Olympians, and the god of wine, vegetation, fertility and the theater. He alternates with Hestia in ancient lists of the twelve Olympians. Some scholars do not count Dionysus among the Olympian gods because though he is the son of Zeus, his mother was a mortal.
  • Hades is the god king of the third portion of the universe, the dark gloomy underworld, home of the dead.
  • Persephone is the goddess queen of the underworld, death, and spring renewal.
Other Gods
  • Heracles is the god protector of man from evil and of heroic endeavour (after his elevation to godhood).
  • Helios is the god of the sun, brother of the moon, Selene, and the dawn Eos.
  • Hebe is the goddess of youth and brides.


  • Artemis is often associated in modern times with the moon, although Selene is almost always named as the moon goddess in Greek literature.
  • Apollo is often associated in modern times with the sun, although Helios was almost always called sun god in ancient Greek poetry.

See Also:

[edit] External links

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Twelve Olympians

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