The Gods of Greek Mythology

Zeus was the first of the Gods and a very imposing figure. Often referred to as the “Father of Gods and men”, he is a sky god who controls lightning and thunder even often using it as a weapon. Zeus is king of Mount Olympus, the home of Greek gods. It was where he rules the world and imposes his will onto gods and mortals alike. Zeus was the last child of the titans Cronus and Rhea, and avoided being swallowed by his father that had been told one of his children would overthrow him.
Poseidon was god of the sea, earthquakes, storms, and horses and is considered one of the most bad-tempered, moody and greedy Olympian gods. He was known to be vengeful when insulted. He is the son of Cronus and Rhea and was swallowed by his father along with Hades, Demeter, Hestia and Hera. However, in some folklore stories it is believed that Poseidon, like Zeus, was not swallowed by Cronus because his mother Rhea who concealed him among a flock of lambs and pretended to have given birth to a colt, which was devoured by Cronus instead.
Hades was the god of the underworld and the name eventually came to also describe the home of the dead as well. He was the oldest male child of Cronus and Rhea. Hades and his brothers, Zeus and Poseidon defeated their father and the Titans to end their reign, claiming rulership over the cosmos. They agreed to split their rule with Zeus becoming god of the skies, Poseidon god of the sea and Hades god of the underworld.
Ares is the god of war, one of the Twelve Olympian Gods and the son of Zeus and Hera. In literature Ares represents the violent and physical untamed aspect of war, which is in contrast to Athena who represents military strategy and generalship as the goddess of intelligence. Although Ares embodied the physical aggression necessary for success in war, the Greeks were ambivalent toward him because he was a dangerous, overwhelming force that was insatiable in battle.
Apollo is one of the most complex and important gods, and is the god of many things such as music, poetry, art, oracles, archery, plague, medicine, sun, light and knowledge. He is the son of Zeus and the Titan Leto. He was born in the Greek island of Delos, along with his older twin sister Artemis the goddess of the hunt. Apollo is the ideal of the kouros, which means he has a beardless, athletic and youthful appearance. He is also an oracular god as a patron of Delphi and could predict prophecy through the Delphic Oracle Pythia.
Hermes was one of the 12 Olympian Gods and was god of trade, thieves, travelers, sports, athletes, and border crossings, guide to the Underworld. He was the second youngest Olympian god and was the son of Zeus and Maia, one of the seven Pleiades and daughter of the Titan Atlas. As the god of boundaries and transitions, Hermes was known to be quick and cunning and had the ability to freely move between the mortal and divine worlds. It is this skill that made him a luck-bringing messenger to the gods and intercessor between mortals and the divine.
Hephaestus was the god of fire, metalworking, stone masonry, forges and the art of sculpture. He was the son of Zeus and Hera and married to Aphrodite by Zeus to prevent a war of the gods fighting for her hand. He was a smithing god, making all of the weapons for Olympus and acting as a blacksmith for the gods. He had his own palace on Olympus where he made many clever inventions and automatons of metal to work for him. Hephaestus’s ugly appearance was the reason Zeus chose him to marry Aphrodite, but despite this she had many affairs with both gods and men.
Dionysus was the ancient Greek god of wine, winemaking, grape cultivation, fertility, ritual madness, theater, and religious ecstasy. His Roman name was Bacchus. He may have been worshiped as early as 1500-11000 BCE by Mycenean Greeks. As wine was a major part of ancient Greek culture, Dionysus was an important and popular figure in mythology. He was one of the twelve Olympians, although he was the last to arrive, and his unusual birth and upbringing marked him as an outsider. Earlier images and descriptions of Dionysus depict him as a mature male, bearded and robed holding a fennel staff tipped with a pine-cone. However, in later images the god is show to be a beardless, sensuous, naked or semi-naked androgynous youth. He is described in literature as womanly or “man-womanish”. He was the son of Zeus and the mortal Semele, making Dionysus semi-device or a hero.