10 Ancient Greek Gods and Heroes
10 figures from Ancient Greek Myths everyone should know about
When you list the most interesting set of myths in the world, most of you will probably put Ancient Greece in your Top 3.
However, the myths of Ancient Greece are so varied and so prolific, that it can be hard to know when or where to start. Do you start with the new gods, the old gods, the heroes, the villains, the epic poetry, or the plays? Or maybe you've read or watched a modern adaption and you want to learn more about the original myth.
We can help you out.
In this article, we are going to talk you through 10 of the most interesting and important characters in the Greek myths.
#10 - Zeus
Despite being the reigning king of Mount Olympus (the Greek equivalent of heaven), you will not find many myths in which Zeus comes out as the good guy.
Zeus is the God of the Sky, and has a lightning bolt shaped staff through which he can shoot lightning. Zeus is the father of many of the Greek gods and rules over the rest. He is married to Hera but has children with many other goddesses. His brothers are Posidon and Hades.
#9 - Achilles
If you are looking for an amazing retelling of Achilles story then you should read The Song of Achilles by Madaline Miller.
Achilles was a king and mighty warrior that features heavily in most stories about the Trojan War. He was documented in Homer's Iliad as well as in other sources.
#8 - Perseus
A whole generation was introduced to the myths of Perseus through the stories of Percy Jackson, but the real character didn't have such a rosy story.
Perseus is most famous for beheading Medusa, but he also saved the goddess Andromeda from giant sea monsters.
#7 - Cronus
Now, let's talk about one of the evil Greek gods - Cronus. Cronus was part of the group of Greek gods called the Titans (they ruled before Zeus and the Olympians). Cronus was betrayed by his son Zeus, who cut his body up and buried it in the four corners of the world.
Cronus was the final son of the primordial Gaia (Mother Earth) and Uranus (Father Sky).
#6 - Persephone
Persephone has one of the saddest and most fascinating stories out of all the Olympians. She was the daughter of Demeter and Zeus. She was abducted by Hades (the king of the underworld) or traded by Zeus (according to some stories) and was forced to live there for eternity.
One day a year she was allowed to return to Mount Olympus and visit her mother.
#4 - Prometheus
Prometheus was a Titan who went against the wishes of the other Titan gods and shared fire with the humans. He is seen as a hero to the people of Greece but a trickster and betrayer by the gods.
Zeus punished him by tying him to a rock and having an Eagle come and eat his liver every day for eternity.
#3 - Athena
Athena is the goddess of Wisdom and of War. She was worshiped by soldiers who wanted help with their battle tactics.
She was also the patron of Athens, she is sometimes depicted as an owl. The Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens is dedicated to Athena. It was here that she transformed Medusa into a monster.
#2 - Apollo
Apollo was the god of many things - most notably oracles, music and the arts, and the sun. He has a twin sister Artemis, goddess of the hunt. Apollo was seen as the god that could ward off evil and was therefore widely worshiped. He and his twin are children of Leto (the former wife of Zeus) and Zeus.
Apollo is featured heavily in the myths of ancient Greece. He was once forced to serve the Trojan king with Poseidon. During this time the pair built the walls of Troy. He once had a musical battle with the god Pan - beating him by only playing one note. Apollo also inadvertently caused the story depicted in the Iliad.
#1 - Circe
Since the release of Madaline Miller's book Circe, the witch has had a bit of a rebrand. Circe was the daughter of Helios (the sun god) and Perse (an ocean Nymph). She developed magical powers and was exiled to an island.
In the Odyssey, she is visited by Odysseus and his men. Using a potion she turned them all into pigs.