Greek Gods and Goddesses
The supreme deity of the Greeks was Zeus. He was seen as the spiritual leader of
Hi, I'm Zoya Popova for About.com, and today we're going to talk about Greek Gods and Goddesses.The supreme deity of the Greeks was Zeus. He was seen as the spiritual leader of both gods and men and the upholder of law and justice. Zeus was expected to punish those who committed a crime or broke an oath. He was also the protector of people's assemblies and different forms of government. Zeus fathered many other major Greek gods, including Athena, the goddess of wisdom, Apollo, the god of truth, and Ares, the god of war.While Zeus wielded his power in the sky, his two brothers, Hades and Poseidon, had their own dominions. Poseidon was the ruler of the seas. He was important figure for the Greeks, because sea travel was crucial for both commerce and warfare. Travelers would pray to him for a safe journey, but just like the seas are unpredictable, Poseidon was also seen as a temperamental god.The third brother, Hades was the king of Underworld where he ruled over the dead. Hades is often depicted sitting on a throne made of ebony with a scepter in his hand, wearing a helmet which can make him invisible. Next to Hades, we can often see his monstrous three-headed dog Kerberos that guards the entrance to the Underworld.Out of the female deities, of particular interest is Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty, and sexual desire. By some accounts, Aphrodite is the daughter of Zeus. However, the poet Hesiod states that she is a deity of an older generation. Hesiod describes how Aphrodite arose from the sea foam after the rebellious god Kronos castrated his father and threw his genitals into the sea. Aphrodite possessed irresistible beauty, and the ability to instill love and desire. This gave her immense power over both mortals and gods.Another prominent Greek goddess was Athena. She was born directly from the head of Zeus, emerging full-grown and in full armor from his skull. She was the goddess of wisdom, war, crafts, and industry. Athena was the embodiment of Greek civilization. She was credited with inventing the ship, the spindle, and the chariot. Athena valued ingenuity, skill, and valiance, and patronized the humans who possessed these qualities. She provided support and inspiration to many heroes, including Herakles, Perseus, and Odysseus.And this has been a brief profile of Greek Gods and Goddesses. Thank you for watching, and for more information, please visit About.com.