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Ancient Greek Gods

Today’s short blog for English students touches on a subject everyone wants to know about, as for civilizations of the past when there were no radios and televisions, storytellers were obliged to spin yarns that meant all ages were enthralled.

However, Greeks were the masters of mythology, and their legends were huge. The number of Ancient Greek Gods is very large, as the ancient Greeks believed in many gods and spirits. The Ancient Greeks had a certain set of beliefs that helped them understand themselves and the world around them, and for this reason, they believed in various gods and goddesses. Each Greek god and goddess represented something, and the ancient Greeks worshiped certain gods for different reasons.

Ancient Greek religion was based on the belief that there were twelve gods and goddesses that ruled the universe from Mount Olympus, in Greece.

In ancient Greek religion and mythology, the twelve Olympians are the main gods of the Greek pantheon, often considered Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Hermes, and Hestia or Dionysus. They were called the Olympians because, according to tradition, they lived on Mount Olympus.

Although Hades was a great ancient Greek god and was the brother of the first-generation Olympians (Zeus, Poseidon, Hera, Demeter, and Hestia), his realm was the underworld far from Olympus and is therefore not generally considered to be the twelve Olympians.

Ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses come in the form of the twelve Olympians. On the top of Olympus, the sacred mountain of the Greek Peninsula, the gods of Greek mythology living among the clouds were enjoying themselves in a palace built by the blacksmith god Hephaistos. The gods invariably feasted, drank wine, and made love to one another or to mortals they had abducted from the face of the earth.

The lightning-throwing Zeus was the accepted leader of all the gods. The grouchy gods were constantly bickering with each other. In these aspects, they were very similar to the Greeks who believed in them.

These gods, who generally wandered in the sky, were called sky deities. (Except Poseidon, because according to mythology he lived in the seas.

It is estimated that belief in sky gods was carried to this region by Indo-European invaders who ravaged the entire Aegean around 2000 BC.

It has been determined that Zeus, Poseidon, and Hera were found in the tablets found among the remains of the Mycenaean Civilization, which belong to 1200 BC.

Estimates point to the Late Bronze Age when the Greeks began worshiping these gods.

Of course, it did not happen on the day that the Greeks started worshiping these gods. Among the ancient gods of the Greeks were chthonic gods who were believed to live underground.

Although not immediately as described in the myths, the gods of Olympus became the definitive ruler of the skies, perhaps not the earth. The tendency of paganism was to include the old gods in the pantheon instead of rejecting them completely.

Ancient Greek God Names in Greek and Latin:

  1. Zeus (Jupiter): God of the Sky- King of gods and man (Son of Saturn/Rhea).

  2. Ares (Mars): God of War – (Son of Jupiter/Juno).

  3. Hera (Juno): Goddess of Women – Queen (Daughter of Saturn/Rhea); marriage.

  4. Demeter (Ceres): Goddess of Harvest.

  5. Aphrodite (Venus): Goddess of Love – Love and Beauty (daughter of Jupiter/Dione) and Mother of Aeneas and Cupid.

  6. Athena (Pallas)(Minerva): Goddess of Strategy – Wisdom; arts and handicrafts. Born from father’s head (Zeus/Jupiter).

  7. Artemis (Diana): Goddess of the Hunt – Moon (Daughter of Jupiter/Latona). Woods; huntress; chastity; Sister of Apollo.

  8. Hephaestus (Vulcan): God of Fire – Metalworking/mechanical arts (son of Jupiter/Juno). Makes thunderbolts.

  9. Hermes (Mercury): The Messenger God – Messenger of gods; commerce, wrestling, thieving (son of Jupiter and Maia). Winged sandals; trickster; skill and dexterity; invented the lyre, which he traded for the caduceus.

  10. Apollo (Apollo): God of the Sun, (Son of Jupiter/Latona); Manly beauty, poetry, music, prophecy.

  11. Dionysus (Bacchus): God of Wine.

  12. Poseidon (Neptune): God of the Sea, (son of Saturn/Rhea). Father of Cyclops/Polyphemus.

There are different names for storytellers, depending on their skills and what country they came from. English or Welsh story tellers may have been known as bards while storytellers in Scandinavia may have been known as skalds. Musical storytellers in France may have been known as troubadours. I personally like the word “storyteller,” which everyone knew.

Medieval storytellers would seek out noble families with a castle or a large country manor, people who could reward them for their stories. A good storyteller always had an honored place by the fire or near the dinner table. They were welcome guests!

Everyone grew up listening to storytellers, whether they were parents or neighbors or visitors. People became storytellers by listening and learning stories, then learning how to tell them in an entertaining way.

Have a truly fantastic day!

Prof. Carl Boniface

Vocabulary builder:

Spin yarns (idiom) = If you say that someone spins a yarn, you mean that they tell a story that is not true, often an interesting or imaginative one.

Enthralled (adj) = fascinated, engrossed, gripped, captivated, absorbed, charmed, entranced, enchanted, (ant) bored

Worshiped (v) adored, loved, revered, pray to

Grouchy (adj) = complaining, testy, grumpy, cantankerous, irritable, cranky, petulant, snappish, argumentative

Bickering (n) = backbiting, squabbling, internal strife, power struggle, disputing, quarreling, debating

Wandered (v) = strolled, meandered, walked, roamed, ambled, drifted

Ravaged (v) = devastated, destroyed, desolated, ruined, damaged, wrecked, (ant) created

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