Copyright 2007 American Classical League May be reproduced for classroom use
The Olympians: A Brief Introduction or Review
THE CHILDREN OF THE TITANS, CRONUS AND RHEA
Roman Name: Jupiter or Jove
Zeus became the king of the Olympian gods after the battle with the Titans. Herules the upper air, and he uses thunder and lightning as weapons. He haspower over humans (mortals) and often goes among them in disguise. Heespecially likes young ladies, and he has had many children, both mortal andimmortal. His symbols are lightning, the eagle, the oak, and a crown andscepter.
HERA Roman Name: Juno
Hera was Zeus’ sister and wife. Hera is considered the Queen of Mount Olympus,beautiful in a mature way. She is also very jealous of Zeus’ affairs with mortal women,and she does spiteful things to them, like turn them into a cow or an echo. Her symbolis the peacock, from the story of Io. She is considered the goddess of women,marriage, and childbirth.
POSEIDON Roman Name: Neptune
Poseidon was the god of the sea, and he has the power to cause storms, tidal waves,and earthquakes when he strikes his trident on the water or the land. He is the brotherof Zeus. He became the father of many children including the Cyclopes in
. You can recognize him by the trident, sea symbols, his long beard, and hischariot coming out of the waves which is usually pulled by four white horses.
HADES Roman Name: Pluto or Dis
Hades was the gloomy god of the underworld, guardian of all the dead people,both good and bad. Since he does not like the light, he does not live on MountOlympus. One day, however, he did go up on earth to steal Persephone for hiswife. His symbols are a two-pronged scepter, four black horses that pull hischariot, and the three-headed dog, Cerberus. Sometimes the underworld itselfis called Hades.
DEMETER Roman Name: Ceres
Demeter was the goddess of grain and the harvest. If she was not happy, thingswould not grow. After Hades took her daughter, Persephone, the earth was frozenand bare for a long time. Zeus became upset and made the girl come back to earthfor part of the year. Her symbols are sheaves of grain or baskets of fruit. Do you eatanything that sounds like her Roman name?
HESTIA Roman Name: Vesta
Hestia was the first child of Cronus and Rhea. She is a goddess of the hearth and itssacred fire. Fire was very important to ancient people so they prayed to Hestia tokeep it burning. Her symbol is the hearth. There are not many stories about her, andshe did not have a throne with the others but rather sat on the floor near the fire.