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Greek Mythology

Greek Gods

The Greek gods ruled over every aspect of Hellenic existence—from war to love, from childbirth to the afterlife. Commonly depicted in human form, they were capricious deities who demanded worship and sacrifice to stave off misfortune and ruin.

By Avi Kapach2 min read • Last updated on Nov. 20th, 2021
Greek Gods Hero
  • Though the Greek gods were much more powerful than mortals, they were not omnipotent like the god of the Abrahamic religions. For all their undeniable supremacy within the mythical cosmos, the Greek gods had flaws. They frequently fought each other and could sometimes be overpowered—by other gods, certainly, but also by very strong mortals.

  • Most of the Greek gods were imagined as anthropomorphic immortal beings; in other words, they looked and behaved like human beings but lived forever. This was especially true of the Olympian gods, the rulers of the Greek pantheon, who were usually represented as remarkably beautiful and strong humans. Some gods, however, were embodiments of natural or abstract forces and thus were not usually regarded as anthropomorphic (some examples include Gaia, the primordial earth goddess, and her consort Uranus, the sky).

  • Unlike many other cultures and religions, the Greeks did not have a fully developed creation myth. The most important ancient Greek source for the beginnings of the cosmos, Hesiod’s Theogony, describes the birth of the gods more than the birth of the cosmos itself; indeed, the cosmos was thought to have always existed (more or less).

Thales, the first Greek philosopher (sixth century BCE), claimed that “all things are full of gods.” This was true enough of the ancient Greek world, where gods and other divine figures made regular appearances in everyday life. Greek religion was therefore polytheistic, recognizing many gods rather than just one.

The Greeks had different categories of gods. The most important were the Olympians, who ruled the cosmos from their transcendent home on Mount Olympus. But the Greeks recognized other gods scattered across the world: gods of the wild, of the seas and rivers, of the air, and of the earth. 

Immortal, powerful, and often unpredictable, the Greek gods were towering beings whose deeds—though not always admirable or exemplary—populated the mythology of their worshippers. Roman religion, which was also polytheistic, adapted many of the Greek gods and myths to its own pantheon.

For thousands of years, Greek religion was centered around the worship of these many gods, who were served in beautiful temples, through sacrifice, and through prayer. The Greek gods were usually regarded as anthropomorphic—that is, as having the physical appearance and qualities of human beings.

Greek polytheism began to fade after the rise of Christianity, around the fourth century CE. Temples were destroyed or collapsed because of disuse, sacrifices ended, and the ancient myths came to be seen as fictions or fables. Today, the Greek gods survive only in the stories that were told about them long ago.

Immerse yourself in the Greek pantheon and rediscover the gods and goddesses of ancient Hellenic civilization, including Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, and many more.

#Twelve Olympians

#Titans

#Primordial Gods

#Underworld Gods

#Minor Gods

#Personifications

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