All of the gods and goddesses recognized throughout the history of mythology played an active role in the evolution of present myths people read about today. Although there are many to cover, this article will provide a brief description of a few well-known gods and goddesses, along with the roles that they played in the development of present myths.
Zeus, god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods, was the supreme god of Greek mythology. Zeus was the son of Kronos and Rhea, and was credited for overthrowing his father and making him vomit up all of his older brothers and sisters. He was married to Hera, the earth god, but engaged in loving many different women. Zeus maintained a civilization of peace and political order by hurling his weapon, the thunderbolt, at those who disrupted his way of life.
Hera, the permanent companion of Zeus and goddess of marriage, was a beautiful, yet cruel, jealous, and vengeful god. She often filled her time with getting revenge on women that Zeus was unfaithful with. Some mythological readings suggest that Hera only married Zeus to avoid the shame of being raped by him after he pretended to be an injured bird with the sole purpose of getting close to her. She later sought vengeance by, with the help of other gods, drugging and binding Zeus. Failure to plan ahead allowed time for Zeus to break free and left Hera and the other gods pleading for their lives. After being hung from the sky with gold chains for one full night, Zeus finally gave into her plea for a second chance. After Hera was released, she never rebelled against Zeus again, but always found ways to scheme against his plans.
Aphrodite was the goddess of sexuality, love and beauty. She is described as a very desirable goddess with a bad temper. She was married to Hephaestus, but was quite promiscuous in her love affairs. It is said that after her affair with Zeus, she bore a son, Priapos, who was born with deformities due to a curse that Hera had avenged the goddess with.
Hades, a greedy brother of Zeus, was the ruler of the underworld and god of wealth. He ruled over the dead and looked highly upon those who assisted in adding to the population of the underworld.
Poseidon, the god of the sea and brother of Zeus and Hades, was also known as the Earth-Shaker because he controlled earthquakes as well. Sailors prayed to Poseidon and often drowned horses as an offering to him, hoping that in return, they would have a safe voyage without earthquakes and dangerous waves.
Although there are numerous gods and goddesses that are not mentioned in this article, Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite, Hades, and Poseidon are all key figures in the history of mythology. Generations of information on mythological figures and accounts have contributed to the different cultures of the world, helping to shape the world into what it is today.
Learn all about the culture of Ancient Greece and Greek goddesses such as Persephone and Athena. Or if Mayan culture is more interesting to you check out information about the Mayan gods and why the Mayan people worshipped the maize god.
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