With its vast realm and many different figures in hundred of myths, the world of Greek mythology can be confusing at times. That is why we will be publishing guides to help you with it. Speaking of which, here is the first one, here is your guide about Greek god symbols, sacred animals and plants:
Zeus Symbol – Sacred Animals, Plants and Symbols of Zeus
Known as the King of God and the god of lightning, the skies and destiny, Zeus is the most important Olympian god in Greek mythology. The lightning bolt is considered as the main Zeus symbol while the other symbols of Zeus include oak trees, eagles and bulls.
Eagles and bulls are the sacred animals of the god of lightning and both olive trees and oak trees are his sacred plants.
Poseidon Symbol – Sacred Animals, Plants and Symbols of Poseidon
The son of Titans Cronus and Rhea and the god of the seas, oceans, floods, earthquakes, horses and storms, Poseidon is another significant figure in Greek mythology. The trident is considered as the main Poseidon symbol and the other symbols of Poseidon include horses and dolphins. As you have probably observed, most of Poseidon depictions from both the early and modern ages feature him holding a trident in one hand.
In addition to bulls, both dolphins and horses are also the sacred animals of Poseidon while wild celery and pine trees are his sacred plants.
Apollo Symbol – Sacred Animals, Plants and Symbols of Apollo
The son of Zeus and Leto, Apollo/Apollon is the god of music, poetry, songs, prophecy and oracles, archery and healing. Lyre, the string instrument, is the main Apollo symbol while bows and laurel wreathes are among the other symbols of Apollo.
Cypress, laurel and larkspur are the sacred plants of Apollo.
Hades Symbol – Sacred Animals, Plants and Symbols of Hades
The first son of Titans Cronus and Rhea, Hades (also known as Haides, the king of the Underworld) was the god of the underworld. In time, the word “Hades” came to define the underworld itself as a place. Although there is no indication regarding the main Hades symbol, symbols of Hades include the royal scepter, Cerberus, his three-headed dog, bident, his two-pronged weapon (resembling a fork), cornucopia, also known as “the horn of plenty”, Charon, his ferryman who carried the soul of the dead form the world of the living to the underworld, narcissus flower and cypress.
Serpents, screech owls and black rams are the sacred animals while narcissus flowers, cypress trees and asphodel are sacred plants of Hades/Haides.
Ares Symbol – Sacred Animals, Plants and Symbols of Ares
The son of Zeus and Hera, Ares was the Greek god of war and courage in Greek mythology. Helmets/helms are the main Ares symbol while the other symbols of Ares include spears, shields, chariots, boars, dogs and vultures.
Dogs and serpents are the sacred animals of Ares while there is no specific information regarding his sacred plants.
Hermes Symbol – Sacred Animals, Plants and Symbols of Hermes
The son of Zeus and Maia, Hermes, also known as the messenger of Gods, is the god of trade, messengers, thievery, athletics and herds in Greek mythology. Caduceus, also known as the staff of Hermes, a winged-staff with two serpents wrapped around it, which is mistakenly used (especially in United States) as the symbol of medicine (instead of the actual symbol of medicine, namely the rod of Asclepius), is the main Hermes symbol while other symbols of Hermes include palm trees, turtles/tortoises, goats, roosters, winged sandals or helmets.
Strawberry trees and crocus flowers are his sacred plants while hawks, turtles, hares and rams are his sacred animals.
Prometheus Symbol – Sacred Animals, Plants and Symbols of Prometheus
The son of Titans Iapetus and Themis, Prometheus, a personal favorite of mine, is the next name in our list of Greek god symbols. Also known as the champion of mankind, Prometheus is the Titan god of fire and forethought. The word “Prometheus” actually does mean “forethought”. As he stole the gift of fire from Gods and gave it to the mankind, torches (and fire) are considered as the main Prometheus symbol.
Hephaestus Symbol – Sacred Animals, Plants and Symbols of Hephaestus
Hephaestus, also known as Hephaistos, is the Greek god of forges, metalworking, sculpture, stone masonry, fire and smiths/blacksmiths. Between hammers, tongs and anvils, any one of the symbols could be considered the main Hephaestus symbol as there is no specific information regarding a single symbol to be his main. Other symbols of Hephaestus include fire and volcanoes.
Donkeys, cranes and guard-dogs are his sacred animals while fennels are his sacred plants.
Dionysus Symbol – Sacred Animals, Plants and Symbols of Dionysus
The son of Zeus and Semele, Dionysus(Dionysos) was the Greek god of wine, fertility, pleasure, fertility, festivity, madness and religious ecstasy. Thyrsus, a fennel staff with a pine cone at the top end, is the most common Dionysus symbol while other symbols of Dionysus include kantharos, the Greek drinking cups, grapevines/grapes, panthers and bulls.
Serpents, panthers and bulls are sacred animals of Dionysus while ivies, grapevines and bindweeds are his sacred plants.
Heracles Symbol – Sacred Animals, Plants and Symbols of Heracles
Fathered by Zeus and the mortal Alcmene, Heracles, also known as Hercules, was a demigod and a famous hero in Greek mythology, mostly known for the Twelve Labors of Heracles/Hercules. Although it is not possible to talk specifically about a main Heracles symbol, wooden clubs, bows and arrows and the Nemean lion, which he had to kill in order to fulfill one of his twelve labors, are symbols of Heracles.
Asclepius Symbol – Sacred Animals, Plants and Symbols of Asclepius
The son of Apollo and princess Coronis, Asclepius/Asklepios is the god of medicine and doctors in Greek mythology. The Rod of Asclepius, a rod with a serpent wrapped around it also known as the Staff of Asclepius (about which you can read here), is the main Asclepius symbol while bowls, pineapples, dogs and snakes are also considered symbols of Asclepius.
Roosters and snakes are the sacred animals of Asclepius.
Eros Symbol – Sacred Animals, Plants and Symbols of Eros
Eros is the god of love and sexual desire in Greek mythology. Bows and arrows are considered as the main Eros symbols while other symbols of Eros include candles and lyres.
Hares are the sacred animals of the god of love.
Pan Symbol – Sacred Animals, Plants and Symbols of Pan
We are wrapping up our list of Greek god symbols with Pan. The son of Hermes and Penelope, Pan is the Greek god of shepherds, meadows, mountain forests and hunters. The pan-flute, also known as the panpipes and syrinx, is the main Pan symbol while goats also represent the god of shepherds.
Not surprisingly, goats are his sacred animals while water-reeds and Corsican pines are his sacred plants.
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