Greek Gods

Greek Olympians

Greek Olympians Hero


The Twelve Olympians were the principal deities of Greek mythology. Their name derives from the fact that they lived on Mount Olympus, a medium-sized mountain in northern Greece. With Zeus as their king, they were worshiped as the rulers of the cosmos throughout Greek history.

The first generation of Olympians were children of the Titans Cronus and Rhea, themselves early rulers of the cosmos. Eventually, Zeus and his siblings overthrew the Titans and made themselves the new gods. They continued to rule undefeated (though not unchallenged) for the remainder of the Greek mythical period. 

The second generation of Olympians were mostly offspring of Zeus and his siblings. They included Athena, goddess of wisdom, Ares, god of war, and the twins Apollo and Artemis.

Not all sources agreed on the identities of the Twelve Olympians. In some traditions, the domestic goddess Hestia, one of the first generation of Olympians, gave up her seat to Dionysus when he became a god. Because of this, there are actually thirteen gods who were counted among the Twelve Olympians in antiquity.

List of Olympians

  • Zeus

    The “cloud-gatherer”—king of the Greek gods and lord of the skies

    Zeus, Greek King of the Gods (3:2)
  • Athena

    Greek goddess of wisdom, craftwork, and war

    Vase painting of the birth of Athena
  • Poseidon

    Lord of all waters; Greek god of the seas, sailors, and earthquakes

    Neptune and Amphitrite by Jacob de Gheyn II
  • Aphrodite

    Greek goddess of love, passion, and procreation

    Venus de Milo
  • Hermes

    Greek messenger god; patron of travelers, merchants, and thieves

    Vase painting of Zeus sending out Iris and Hermes by the Berlin Painter
  • Demeter

    Greek goddess of family, fertility, and agriculture

    Vase painting showing Demeter with Metanira
  • Apollo

    Beloved divine patron of music, poetry, and artistic inspiration

    The Birth of Apollo and Diana by Marcantonio Franceschini
  • Artemis

    Greek goddess of the hunt; guardian of wild places, maidens, and mothers

    Vase painting of Apollo and Artemis
  • Dionysus

    Greek god of wine, revelry, music, and dance

    Jupiter and Semele by Gustave Moreau
  • Hera

    Queen of the Greek gods, who reigned over women, family, and marriage

    Vase painting of Apollo, Zeus, Hera
  • Hephaestus

    Craftsman of the Greek gods, master of metallurgy, and patron of artisans

    Vulcan Forging the Thunderbolts of Jupiter by Peter Paul Rubens
  • Hestia

    Greek goddess of the hearth and home

    Possible representation of Hestia on the Siphnian Treasury
  • Ares

    Greek god of rage, aggression, and the most violent aspects of war

    The Council of the Gods by Cornelius van Poelenburgh