The Greeks believed in many Gods (and many generations of Gods) and believed they had both supernatural powers and human weaknesses. Probably the greatest beings in Greek Mythology are the twelve Olympian Gods who took their name from the place of their dwelling – Mount Olympus.
The ruler of the Olympian Gods and God of the sky, thunder and justice. His weapon is a thunderbolt. Married to Hera.
The God of the sea, earthquakes and horses. His weapon is a trident and he is second in power to Zeus.
God of the underworld and wealth. Lord of the dead.
Goddess of the hearth and home. The sister of Zeus.
The Goddess of women, marriage and childbirth. The reigning female Goddess of Olympia because she was married to Zeus.
The God of war. The son of Zeus and Hera.
The Goddess of wisdom, reason, intelligent activity, arts and literature. A daughter of Zeus.
The God of the sun, light, healing, medicine, music, poetry, prophecy, archery and truth. Son of Zeus and Leto and twin brother of Artemis
The Goddess of love, desire, beauty and fertility.
The fastest of the Gods and messenger to all the other Gods. God of commerce, thieves, trade and travellers. The son of Zeus and Maia.
Goddess of chastity, virginity, childbirth, the hunt, the forest, the moon and the natural environment. The daughter of Zeus and Leto and the twin sister of Apollo.
The God of fire and the forge. The son of Zeus and Hera and husband of Aphrodite.
Daedalus and Icarus
Daedalus was a famous sculptor and builder who built a great maze called “The Labyrinth” under the Palace of Knossos in Crete in which King Minos kept a monster: half man half bull (the Minotaur) in. The structure consisted of such a complicated tangle that it was impossible to get out of it. After the maze was complete, King Minos did not want Daedalus to be able to tell it’s secret to anyone else, so he imprisoned him and his only son Icarus in a tall tower. Daedalus and Icarus did not like being prisoners, so started trying to think of ways to escape. After observing the birds from the windows of the tower, Deadalus decided to make wings out of bird feathers and wax for him and his son so they may fly away and be free. When tying the wings to his son Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the sea as the damp from the waves would wet the feathers making them too burdensome to fly with and not to fly too high in the sky as the sun would melt the wax. Icarus was so fascinated with the flight that he forgot about his father’s warnings and started to soar higher and higher. As he climbed into the sky his wings started to melt, when Icarus realised what was happening he tried to fly lower again but it was too late the wings broke apart, he fell into the water and drowned.
Theseus and Ariadne
King Minos (the King of Crete) had a powerful navy of which all of Greece was afraid. He agreed with King Aegues (of Athens) that he would not attack Athens if the people of Athens agreed to send seven boys and seven girls as food for the Minotaur every year. When it became time to send the boys and girls to Crete, Prince Theseus (the son of King Aegeus) wanted to save the children and all those who may be sent in the future, so decided he would go with them to kill the minotaur. King Aegeus begged his son not to go as he was afraid his son would be devoured by the minotaur too. But Theseus was insistent and he set sail for Crete in a boat with a black sail, promising his father that the boats sail would be changed to a white one to announce if he had won and lived to come home. When they arrived in Crete they were met by King Minos and his daughter Ariadne. Princess Ariadne immediately fell in love with Prince Theseus and decided to help him with his mission. That night she gave to Theseus a sword and a ball of thread and instructed him to tie the ball of string to the door of the labyrinth where the minotaur lived and unroll it as he went through the maze so he could use it to find his was back out again once he had killed the minotaur with the sword. Prince Theseus did exactly as instructed and after he found the minotaur a big battle was fought which Theseus won by slaying the minotaur and was able to leave the labyrinth using the ball of thread to guide him.
According to greek mythology Pandora was the first woman on earth and was created by the God Zeus in an act of revenge against man. He instructed Hephaestus to create a beautiful woman who the Gods endowed with every charm (together with curiosity and deceit) and sent her to earth as a present for Epimetheus, who fell in love with her and they married. As a wedding gift Zeus sent Pandora a beautiful box which he told her never to open and gave the key for the box to Epimetheus. Over time Pandora became very curious about the contents of the box and several times begged Epimetheus to let her open it, but each time he said ‘No’. Finally one day when Epimetheus was asleep Pandora stole the key and opened the box. As she lifted the lid to take a peek inside terrible things flew out of the box, every kind of disaster man had never know before: disease, despair, malice, greed, hatred, violence, cruelty and war. Unable to catch all these things before they flew away Pandora slammed down the lid and turned the key, keeping only the spirit of hope inside which Zeus had included to help keep people going when the nasty things got them down.