You may be familiar with Olympian Gods led by Zeus, but these are certainly not the oldest Greek gods. The oldest ones were led by Gaea and Uranus, Zeus’ grandparents. It is said that Zeus’ father Kronos led a group of gods known as the Titans.
In ancient Greek mythology and religion, the twelve Olympians are the main deities of the Greek pantheon. They include Hera, Zeus, Demeter, Poseidon, Apollo, and Athena.
While Hades was a brother of the first generation Olympians (Poseidon, Zeus, Demeter, and Hestia), his realm was the underworld. The underworld was far from Olympus and therefore he was not classed as an Olympian God. If you are interested in finding out more, be sure to read on.
Who Are the Olympian Gods?
The Olympians were a race of gods, mainly consisting of third and fourth generation of immortal beings. They were worshiped as the principal gods of the Greek pantheon and their name derives from their residency on Mount Olympus. It is said that they rose to supremacy in a ten-year-long battle between gods.
In this battle, Zeus led his brothers to victory over the former generation of ruling gods (the Titans). The Titans were a family of gods that included Poisedon, Zeus, Demeter, Hera, and Hestia, together with Zeus’ offspring Apollo, Athena, Ares, Aphrodite, Artemis, Hermes, Hephaestus and Dionysus.
Hades was also Zeus’ brother but not considered an Olympian because he was a god of the underworld, which was far from Olympus. It is said that Hades received his sacrifices in a sunken chamber as opposed to an altar.
According to Hesiod, other Olympus residents were Styx’s children. They are Nike (Victory), Zelus (Envy), Bia (Force), and Cratos (Power). They had no house or dwelling apart from Zeus. Other Olympian residents include the Graces, the Muses, Dione, Iris, Eileithyia, Ganymede, and the Horae.
Plato said that the twelve gods were connected with each of the twelve months. He considered Pluto as one of the twelve, in suggesting that the last month be devoted to the spirits of the dead and him.
Also, Ennius, a Roman poet, talks about the Roman equivalents who were six females dedicated to the task of protecting Vesta’s place.
Vesta was also known as the Greek Hestia, who played an important role in Roman religion as a state goddess protected by the vestals.
The Most Famous Olympian Gods
Zeus was considered to be the most powerful of all and was the King of Olympus, and the god of the sky. His symbols are the thunderbolt and the oak.
Hera was the Queen of Olympus and the goddess of marriage. She was Zeus’ sister and wife. Her symbols include a cow and a peacock.
Poisedon was the second most powerful god, as the god of the sea. His symbols are the trident and the horse. Hades lived in the underworld as King of the dead. He was Persephone’s husband, Demeter’s daughter whom he kidnapped.
Aphrodite was the goddess of beauty and love and the protector of sailors. Her symbols are the dove and myrtle tree. Apollo was the god of healing and music. He was an archer and son of Zeus.
The Olympian gods and goddesses consist of twelve beings who ruled the universe from the top of Mount Olympus. They came to power after Zeus went into battle and overthrew his father, Kronos.
Kronos was the leader of the Titans. It is said that all the Olympians are related. Most of these Greek gods were adopted by Romans, with slightly different names.