January is the start of the year therefore the god who represents it will be the most
important. Zeus is the ruler of the Olympian gods and the ruler of the sky. He has two
brothers, Poseidon and Hades. His wife is Hera but is was also famous for his many
affairs. He punishes those who lie or break oaths. As the king of gods, Zeus has supreme
authority on earth and on Mount Olympus. MYTH: It is believed that Zeus has shamed
Hera into marrying him by disguising himself as a rain-soaked cuckoo. When Hera saw
the poor bird she kindly brought him near her breast to provide warmth and to dry him.
Zeus then turned into his true form and raped her.
Poseidon is the brother of Zeus. He is also the god of the sea and water. He is still widely
worshipped by Greek seamen nowadays. He married Amphitrite, a granddaughter of the Titan
Oceanus. He is the second most powerful Olympian god. It is believed that he is greedy. He often
had disputes with other gods when he tried to take over their cities. MYTH: Poseidon once cursed
the wife of King Minos by making her to give birth to the monstrous Minotaur. Minos had proved his
divine right to rule Crete by calling Poseidon to send a bull from the ocean and to sacrifice it.
However Minos liked it too much and he refused to sacrefice it later. So Poseidon make Mino's
queen to fall in love with the bull and give birth th the half-man, half-bull Minotaur.
Hades is also the brother of Zeus. He overthrow his father with Zeus and
Poseidon for shares of the world. Unfortunately, his share was the worst. He
became the god of the underworld. He duty was to rule the dead. He is a greedy
god who is greatly concerned with increasing his subjects. He favours in more
deaths. Also, he never let any of his subjects to leave the underworld. In
addition, he is also the god of wealth due to the precious metals mined from the
earth. MYTH: Hades's wife was Persephone. However she was actually
abducted by Hades into the underworld. At first, after Hades fall in love of
Persephone, Zeus told him that Persephone's mother will never agree.
Therefore, Hades opened up the earth when Persephone was reaching for a
fragrant blossom and grabbed her to the underworld. In the underworld, Hades
gave Persephone a piece of fruit to eat. Persephone ate the fruit without
realizing that anyone who ate anything in the underworld shall never leave there.
Hestia is Zeus's sister. She is the Goddess of
virgin and the Hearth. She is also the symbol of
the house around which a newborn baby is
carried before it was received by the family.
MYTH: Heista was considered as the first and
the last god and goddesses to be born. She was
Cronus and Rhea's first child. Therefore she was
the first one to get swallowed. However, she was
also the last one to be disgorged after Rhea and
Zeus tricked Cronus into swallowing a rock
wrapped in swaddling instead of the infant Zeus.
Therefore Hestia was often called as “Hestia,
First and Last”.
Hera is Zeus wife and also his sister. She was
raised by the Titans Ocean and Tethys. She is also
the supreme goddess, the goddess of marriage
and childbirth. She takes special care of married
women. Her sacred animals are the cow and the
peacock. MYTH: Hera was the only one ever to
convinced the other gods to join a revolt against
Zeus. They bound the sleeping Zeus to a couch
and tie him up. After tieing him up, the god and the
goddesses started to argue. Briareus, overheard
the argument and slipped in to release Zeus. After
Zeus found out it is Hera who started everything he
hung her from the sky and made her promise to
never rebel again.
Ares is the son of Zeus and Hera but he was disliked
by both of them. He is the god of war since he is
considered murderous and bloodstained. He was also
a coward at the same time. His bird is vulture and his
animal is the dog. MYTH: Ares fought in a human war
with the Trojans. This disobeyed Zeus law so Zeus
gave permission to Athena to drive Are away from the
battlefield. Therefore Athena encouraged Diomedes
to attack Ares. Ares was then wounded by
Diomedes's spear. After Ares fled to Mount Olympus,
forcing the Trojans to fall back. After this, Ares always
wanted avenge for his precious injury on Athena. But
he was never successful.
Athena is the Greek virgin goddess because of her
intelligent activity, arts and literature. She is the
daughter of Zeus. She sprang full grown in
armour after she was born. She is also the
symbol of bravery. Athena is Zeus's favourite
child and among all the gods and goddesses,
she was the only one who was allowed to use
Zeus's thunderbolt. Her bird is the owl and The
Olive is her tree. MYTH: Both Athena and
Poseidon wanted to be patron deity for Athens
once. To prove her power, Athena caused an
olive tree to spring up on the citadel of Athens,
the Acropolis. On the other hand, Poseidon
striked the ground with his trident and caused a
spring of water to rush out. But since he was
the god of sea, the water was seawater
therefore it is salty. Athenians considered
Athena's gift to be more useful so she became
the city's patron deity eventually.
He is the son of Zeus and Leto. He has a
twin sister, Artemis. He is also the
god of music, healing , light and truth.
His is famous for his daily tasks. To
dive the sun across the sky with his
chariot and four horses. His tree is
the laurel. Crow is his bird and
dolphin is his animal. MYTH: Apollo
was considered as a great warrior
when he was young. Four days after
he was born, he killed the chthonic
dragon Python in order to protect his
mother using a bow and arrows gifted
Aphrodite is the goddess of love, desire and beauty.She is also Hephaestus's wife. The
myrtle is her tree. The dove, the swan, and the sparrow are her birds. She represents
sex, affection and attraction that binds people together. MYTH: Although Aphrodite
was married to Hephaestus, she had a lot of romantic affairs. Her lover includes Ares,
Hermes, Poseidon and Dionysus. Knowing this, Hephaestus created a metal mesh to
catch the lovers in bed. He caught Ares and her wife in bed and called the other gods
to see the guilty pair. She is also the god in this calendar's background.
Hermes was the cleverest among all of the Olympian gods. His duty was to
carry messages to all the other gods. Since he is the fastest. He wears winged
sandals, a winged hat and carries a magic wand. He is the god of thieves and
commerce. Other then carrying messages, his duty also includes leading the
dead to the underworld. Moreover, he is the inventor of musical scale and
astronomy. MYTH: Hermes was famous for his helpfulness to mankind. When
Perseus set out to face Medusa, Hermes helped him by lending him his own
winged sandals. Which granted Perseus the ability to fly.
Artemis was goddess of virginity, chastity, the
hunt, the moon and the natural environment.
She is the daughter of Zeus and Leto. She is
also the hunter of the gods. Just like her twin
brother Apollo, Artemis hunts with silver
arrows. The cypress is her tree and all wild
animals are scared to her, especially the
deer. MYTH: Niobe, the Thebes queen once
boasted that she was better than Artemis's
mother Leto because she had many children
while Leto had only two. Artemis and her twin
brother Apollo took revenge by killing most of
the queen's children with their arrows. Nioble
was later transformed into a stone.
Hephaestus is the son of Zeus and Hera. He is a ugly god. He is also lame. He is the god
of fire and the forge and his duty is to blacksmith the gods and goddess’s armour and
weapon using the volcano as his forge. He is also kind and peace loving. His wife is
Aphrodite. MYTH: After Hera gave birth to Hephaetus, she was so upset that
Hephaestus was so ugly that she flung him from Mount Olympus into the sea,
breaking both of his legs. This is why Hephaestus was lame.
Artworks and photographs Credits
Botticelli, Sandro. Nascita Di Venere. 1483. Uffizi Gallery, Florence.
Burnett, Grand M. Zeus Statue. N.d. Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.
Canova, Praxitèle. Aphrodite Syracuse. 11757. National Archaeological Museum, Athens.
Coustou, Guillaume. Vulcan Coustou Louvre. 1742. Louvre Museum, Paris.
Estatua De Poseidón. 2006. National Archaeological Museum of Athens, Athena. By Ricardo André Frantz.
The Giustiniani Hestia. 1894. Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, Torlonia.
Hades with Cerberus. 2008. Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete Island.
Hera Campana. 2006. Louvre Museum, Paris.
Leochares. Apollo Belvedere. 140AD. Museo Pio Clementino, Cortile Ottagono.
Leochares. Diane De Versailles. 120CE. Louvre Museum, Paris.
Machmer, Eric. Statue of Ares. 2004. Hadrian's Villa, Tivoli.
Mattei Athena. 2006. Louvre Museum, Paris.
Nguyen, Marie Lan. Hermes Ingenui. 2005. Vatican Museums, Vatican City.
Nikoxenos, Maler. God Council in Olympus: Hermes with His Mother Maia. 500BC. State Collections of Antiques, Kunstareal.
Rubens, Peter Paul. Vulcan. 1635. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam.
Statue of Hestia. 2008. Aviad Bublil, Crete Island.
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