Greek Mythology


Greek Mythology
Greek Mythology
What is Greek Mythology?
The people of ancient Greece shared
stories called myths about the gods,
goddesses, and heroes in which they
Each god or goddess was worshipped as a
deity and ruled over certain areas of the
Greeks’ lives.
These exciting stories explained natural
phenomena that could not be explained
by science in the ancient world.
Why Should We Study Greek Mythology?
The Ancient Greek culture has been kept
alive by the oral and later written stories
handed down through thousands of years.
Modern plays, novels, television
programs, movies, and even
advertisements refer to Greek gods,
goddesses, heroes, and their stories.
These adventurous and exciting stories
delight and entertain us.
Places of Greek
Mt. Olympus
The Underworld
The River Styx
Mt. Olympus
Olympus was where the gods lived. Zeus married
his sister and together they ruled Olympus.
There really is a Mt. Olympus, and since it was
so high up, the Ancient Greeks decided it was
the realm of the gods. Humans and other
creatures could only visit Olympus if they had
an invitation.
Mt. Olympus
Earth is where the humans lived.
Sometimes gods visited Earth and
often fell in love with one of Earth’s
inhabitants. Sometimes they would
have children who would be half
human/half god. Many strange and
dangerous creatures roamed Earth,
and heroes had to slaughter them.
The Ocean surrounded the Earth.
The Ocean was ruled by Poseidon
and his wife, Amphitrite, who was a
sea-nymph. Poseidon controlled
the wind and the waves. Sailors
often made sacrifices to him so they
would have smooth sailing.
The River Styx
The River Styx was the way to
get to the underworld. To get
across you needed to pay
Charon, the boatman. The cost
was one obolus, a Greek coin.
After you paid him he would
take you across to Hades realm.
The River Styx
The Underworld
The underworld was a region
inside the earth that was made
up of three main places; Tartarus,
the Asphodel Fields, and the
Elysian Fields. The underworld
was ruled by Hades. Hades was
Zeus’s brother.
The Underworld
The Asphodel Fields
Normal commoners went to the
Asphodel Fields. This was a gray,
shadowy, misty, and ghostly place. Here
their souls wandered around like
The Elysian Fields
Heroic, kind, and noble people went to the Elysian
Fields. Here they rested and enjoyed lives of luxury
and bliss. You could be sent to Earth to live
another life after you died. If you went to the
Elysian Field three times you could go to the Isles
of the Blessed and never leave.
Tartarus is where the worst humans and gods
went. They suffered horrendous punishments
such as eternal hunger and thirst, being tied to
a wheel of fire, being hit with thunderbolts,
climbing a mountain endlessly, and wearing
shameful donkey’s ears. These people had to
suffer for eternity.
How it all began!
How it all began!
In the beginning there was chaos…
How it all began!
And out of chaos…
Gaea, Mother Earth, was created.
How it all began!
And Gaea gave birth to Uranus, the sky.
How it all began!
And Gaea and Uranus had many children.
How it all began!
Their first born were the twelve
giant Titans, six boys and six girls.
How it all began!
Later more children
were born.
There were the
mighty Cyclops,
one-eyed giants.
How it all began!
Other children
were the
they had 100 hands
and 50 heads.
How it all began!
Uranus hated the Cyclops and
Hecatoncheires because they
were ugly, and he threw them
into Tartarus, the deepest pit of
the underworld.
How it all began!
Gaea was furious. She urged the
Titans (her other children) to
overthrow their father and
rescue their brothers in Tartarus.
How it all began!
Only Cronus, the youngest Titan, was brave
He attacked Uranus with a sickle and banished
him from earth.
Cronus replaced his father as Lord of the
Universe. But he was cruel and did not free his
brothers from Tartarus.
How it all began!
Cronus married his sister Rhea, and they had
many children.
But Cronus was afraid that one of his children
might overthrow him just as he had
overthrown his father.
How it all began!
So as each child was born, he swallowed it
whole. (Remember he was a giant Titan and his
children were much smaller.)
Also the children were gods (immortals) so
they could not die. They remained alive and
grew inside his stomach.
How it all began!
Rhea was horrified!
When her child
Zeus was born, she
tricked Cronus by
wrapping a rock in
a blanket, and
Cronus ate it
thinking it was the
How it all began!
Zeus grew into one
of the strongest
gods and Rhea, his
mother, wanted him
to overthrow
Cronus. Rhea gave
Cronus a drink that
made him throw up
the stone and his
unharmed children.
How it all began!
The children were all reunited and
gratefully joined their brother. Zeus freed
their uncles (the monsters) from Tartarus,
and together they prepared to fight the
How it all began!
For ten years a war raged between
the old gods (Titans) and the new
gods (Olympians). At last Cronus
and the Titans were defeated and
thrown into Tartarus to be
guarded by their own hundredarmed brothers.
How it all began!
The universe was divided among the three brothers.
Zeus was king of the gods and heaven and earth.
Poseidon became god of the seas.
Hades became god of the underworld.
The Olympian Gods
Supreme god of the
God of the sky, rain,
lightening and thunder.
Symbol: lightening bolt,
scepter(rod), eagle
Roman name: Jupiter
Wife of Zeus
Queen of the Olympians
Protector of marriage
Symbol: the peacock,
pomegranate (fertility)
Roman name: Juno
God of the sea,
earthquakes, and
Ruler of all fresh and
salt water
Symbol: trident
Roman name: Neptune
God of the underworld
and the dead
Rarely visited Olympus
Married Persephone
Symbol: scepter, helmet,
Roman name: Pluto
Goddess of wisdom, war,
justice, peace, and
Daughter of Zeus; sprang
from his head fully
Symbol: shield, helmet,
spear, owl
Roman name: Minerva
God of sun, light, poetry,
music, truth, medicine
Has a twin sister
Famous for his oracles
Symbol: lyre, gold bows
and arrows
Roman name: Apollo
Goddess of hunting,
chastity, and the moon
Has a twin brother
Protects women and
small children
Symbol:, bow, fawn, and
hunting hounds
Roman name: Diana
Goddess of love and beauty
Judged as the most
beautiful of the goddesses
Born out of the sea foam
Symbol: girdle, mirror,
Roman name: Venus
God of science and
Said to have invented the
alphabet, boxing, and
God of thieves and
Only god who could visit
all three realms
Symbol: helmet and
God of war
Dressed in battle
Symbol: spear and
Roman name: Mars
God of fire and forge
Only god with a handicap
Only ugly god
Married to Aphrodite
Symbol: ax, tongs,
Roman name: Vulcan
Goddess of hearth and
Kindest and mildest of
the goddess
Protector of the home
Never left Olympus
Symbol: hearth and its
Roman name: Vesta
Goddess of earth and
crops (agriculture)
Often portrayed with her
daughter Persephone
Protector of the home
Symbol: stalks of grain,
torch crown, scepter
Roman name: Ceres
God of wine and
Taught people how to
make wine and party
Was the son of Zeus but
had a mortal mother
Symbol: grapes, wine cup
or wine skins, pineconetopped staff (thyrsus)
Roman name: Bacchus
Heroes and Mortals
If a hero is properly defined as somebody who does something dangerous
to help somebody else, then the heroes of Greek mythology do not
qualify. They were a pretty selfish bunch, often with additional antisocial
tendencies thrown into the bargain--in other words, not exactly role
models for the younger generation of today. But knowing their names
and exploits is essential for understanding references in literature and even
popular culture today. So let's recognize and celebrate Hercules and
Perseus and the others by their proper dictionary definition: "In
mythology and legend, a man or woman, often of divine ancestry, who is
endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his or her bold
exploits, and favored by the gods."
Creatures and Monsters
Creatures and monsters were used extensively
in Greek mythology
The abundance of monsters in Greek myth had to do with the gods'
tendency to punish mortals who defied or insulted them. Medusa, for
instance, had a romantic tryst with the god Poseidon in a temple
dedicated to the goddess Athena. Athena rewarded her imprudence by
changing the woman's hair to a mass of writhing snakes, and making
anyone who glanced at Medusa turn to stone.
Would it have been possible for a Greek hero to prove himself without a
lurking Greek mythology monster to dispatch? We will never know... but
the monsters sure make the stories more interesting!