Beginner’s Guide to Greek Mythology (part 2)

Your quick guide to the Greek titans and the Underworld

Happy Tuesday!

My Beginner’s Guide to Greek Mythology post has been blowing up recently, and when I looked back at it because it is at least a year old, I realized there was so little information that I must do a part 2!

If you haven’t read the first one, I recommend checking that out HERE because it has a list of the major gods and goddesses which I will not be going deeply into in this post.

Stay tuned for a Beginner’s Guide to Aztec Mythology because I love Aztec myths and legends, and think all you history buffs would too!

QUICK OVERVIEW OF THE OLYMPIANS:

THE 12 OLYMPIANS

Zeus – King of Gods, god of the sky, lightning, and thunder, married to Hera, brother to Poseidon and Hades

Hera – Queen of Gods, goddess of marriage and birth, married to Zeus

Poseidon – God of the sea, earthquakes, and horses, brother to Zeus and Hades

Hades – God of the underworld, the dead, and riches, brother to Zeus and Hades

Artemis – Goddess of the moon and the hunt, twin to Apollo

Apollo – God of the sun, healing, and archery, twin to Artemis

Aphrodite – Goddess of love and beauty, married to Hephaestus

Athena – Goddess of wisdom and battle strategy

Ares – God of war

Demeter – Goddess of harvest

Dionysus – God of wine, winemaking, and madness

Hephaestus – God of blacksmiths and fire, married to Aphrodite

There is your little cheat sheet/recap of who the gods and goddesses are, as well as their relationships. Now, let’s dive into part 2 where I want to discuss the titans. The titans are even more ancient than the gods, and are important to know of.

A 10 year war waged (known as the Titanomachia) between the Olympian gods and the titans when Zeus tried to overthrow his father, Cronus. Eventually, the Olympian gods won but it was a long, hard battle against the ancient beings.

THE 12 ORIGINAL TITANS

Titans (mythology) | Villains Wiki | Fandom

The titans came before the gods and were the children of heaven (Uranus) and earth (Gaea). Their father banished them to Tartarus (the deepest part of the Underworld) however, and the titans with Cronus as their leader, rebelled against him and eventually won power.

When the titans created the Olympian gods, a similar thing occurred. Zeus, son of Cronus and Rhea, banished his father and the other titans to Tartarus after their 10 year war.

Cronus (or Kronos) became the “king” of titans and married his sister, Rhea. Together, they birthed 6 of the 12 Olympians: Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus.

Some of the other titans were:

Oceanus – Titan god of the river Okeanos, physically represents the sea

Coeus – Represents rational intelligence

Crius – There isn’t too much info on them!

Hyperion – Father of the sun god, Helios, the moon goddess, Selene, and dawn, Eos

Iapetus – God of craftsmen and mortality

Thea – Mother of the sun, moon, and dawn gods

Rhea – “Mother of gods,” wife of Cronos/Kronos/Cronus

Themis – Personification of divine order, fairness, natural law, etc

Mnemosyne – Goddess of memory and mother of the 9 Muses

Phoebe – Mother of Leto and grandmother of Apollo and Artemis

Tethys – Goddess of freshwater and mother of over 6,000 children with Oceanus who became rulers of rivers, streams, lakes, etc

Titans and Zeus

THE UNDERWORLD

The Underworld is ruled by Hades and is where all souls go to after death. However, depending on how that person lived their life, where they end up within the Underworld differs.

Rivers of the Underworld - Greek Legends and Myths

When a person dies, their soul is carried down the River of Styx (river of hate) by Charon, the Ferryman, who brings them to where they will be judged based on their life. In Ancient Greek times when someone died, their family would bury them with coins (drachmas, Ancient Greek currency) so they could pay Charon for the ride.

There were many other rivers in the Underworld, all with different purposes and punishments. There were 4 others (excluding the Styx) to be exact:

  1. Acheron – the river of sorrow
  2. Cocytus – the river of lamentation
  3. Phlegethon – the river of fire
  4. Lethe – the river of oblivion

Regions of the Underworld

There were 3 places a person’s soul could end up in the Underworld and it all depended on how you lived your life. Whether you lived a heroic life or committed crime or were nothing out of the ordinary, it all determined your afterlife.

Elysium

Elysium - Elysian Fields - Crystalinks

If you were a hero, you would end up in Elysium which is basically the heaven of the Underworld. This was paradise. Those who resided here in their afterlife did not have to work or stress. It is considered the ultimate paradise and is the place every person strived to gain acceptance into.

Tartarus

God Tartarus/Θεος Τάρταρος|Greek Gods/ddesses| | Pagans & Witches ...

If you were a criminal or an overall bad person, you were destined for Tartarus, which is also where the titans ended up. As Elysium is thought of as “heaven,” Tartarus is “hell.” One famous figure in Greek mythology who ended up here was Sisyphus. If you’ve studied English Lit, or attended a high school English class, this name may sound familiar. Sisyphus was a thief and cunning person when he was alive and even cheated death twice. Because of his poor life choices, his own personal, eternal punishment was to push a large boulder to the top of this hill. However, once he reached the top, the boulder would roll back down and he would be forced to start all over again.

Fields of Asphodel

Greek Mythology - Underworld: The Fields of Asphodel Showing 1-1 of 1

Now, if you lived an average life and did nothing to spectacular or brave, you ended up in the Fields of Asphodel, or the Asphodel Meadows, as a soul aimlessly drifting. You have no purpose and wander the fields not searching or looking for anything in specific because they would have drank from the River of Lethe (river of oblivion/forgetfulness), and have forgotten who they were when they were alive. This is where the majority of people ended up.

*DISCLAIMER* None of the photos used in this post are mine


That was a lengthy introduction, but I hope it was helpful and extended your knowledge of Greek mythology. There is a LOT to learn about Greek mythology and the topics I’ve skimmed over today. To dive even deeper, check out the resources below. They are concise and easy to navigate while being incredibly informative all at once!

Britannica – Greek Mythology

Greekmythology.com

Ancient History Encyclopedia – Greek Mythology

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

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Beginner’s Guide to: Greek Mythology

As a huge nerd about Greek mythology, I thought it would be helpful to make a quick and easy guide for some of you who might not know as much about it all but want to! Being a writer, it is essential to learn about different cultures and their stories. Not only is it interesting, but also the possible inspiration for a new story. So, here is a simple beginner’s guide to Greek mythology. I hope it is helpful and that you learn something new from it!

The  13 Main Goddesses & Gods

Image result for the major gods and goddess greece

Zeus – God of the sky and thunder, ruler of the sky and all people (including gods!), son of Rhea and Cronus/Kronos, children:  Apollo, Artemis, Athena, Hephaestus, Dionysus, Ares, Hermes, Heracles/Hercules, Helen of Troy, and many, MANY more, married to Hera, symbols: lightning bolt, royal scepter, Aegis (his shield with a gorgon’s face on it)

Hera – Goddess of marriage and birth, queen of the Gods and humans, queen of the heavens, married to Zeus, jealous and vengeful of Zeus’s many lovers, daughter of Rhea and Cronos, only had children with Zeus, children: Ares, Hebe, Hephaestus, and more, symbols: diadem, scepter, pomegranate

Poseidon – God of the sea, horses, and earthquakes, ruler of the sea, second son of Rhea and Cronus/Kronos, children: Theseus, Triton, Polyphemus, Orion, and many more…, symbols: trident, fish, dolphins, and horses

Hades – God of the dead, the underworld, riches, ruler of the underworld, first son of Rhea and Cronus/Kronos, children: Melinoe, Macaria, and Zagreus, married to Persephone (daughter of Demeter) who he kidnapped, symbols: Cerberus (his 3 headed dogs), scepter, drinking horn

Athena – Goddess of wisdom, battle strategy, strength, and skill, sprung from Zeus’s head in full armor, helped many Greek heroes, a virgin goddess, city of Athens named after her after she gave the people the first olive tree, symbols: owls, olive tree, snakes, armor, and spears

Aphrodite – Goddess of love and beauty, born from the foam the sea of Paphos after Cronus’s cut up pieces were thrown in but another birth story is she is the daughter of Zeus and Dione, married to Hephaestus, children: Eros, The Graces, Aeneas, and more, symbols: dolphins, rose, dove, swan

Artemis – Goddess of the hunt and the moon, daughter of Leto and Zeus, twin sister of Zeus, virgin goddess, spends her time roaming the forest with nymphs, symbols: bow and arrows, stags, hunting dog, and the moon

Apollo – God of the sun, music, and prophecy, twin brother of Artemis, son of Leto and Zeus, children: Orpheus, Asclepius, and a few others, companion of the nine Muses, symbols: lyre, laurel wreath, and bow and arrows

Ares – God of war, bad aspects of war, son of Zeus and Hera, lover of Aphrodite, children: Eros, Harmonia, Phobos, and more, symbols: spear and helmet, dog, chariot, and boar

Dionysus – God of wine, winemaking, and madness, son of Zeus and Semele (princess of Thebes), benevolent towards humans unlike many gods, symbols: grapevine, leopard skin, cheetah, panther

Demeter – Goddess of agriculture and the harvest, daughter of Rhea and Cronos, mother of Persephone (goddess of flowers), associated with the torch because of her endless fight for her daughter who was kidnapped by Hades and now splits her time between the mortal world and the underworld in compromise, children: Persephone, Arion, Plutus, and more, symbols: cornucopia, wheat, torch, and bread

Hephaestus – God of fire, metalworking, and forges, son of Hera and Zeus, depicted as the “ugly god” after being thrown down a mountain by Hera, husband of Aphrodite, children: Thalia, Eucleia, and more, symbols: hammer and tongs

Hermes – God of thieves, roads, travelers, and trade, son of Zeus and Maia, the messenger of the gods, the only person allowed to leave the underworld without consequence, children: Pan (a satyr; half-man and half-goat), and more, symbols: lyre, rooster, Caduceus (staff with snakes around it; medical symbol)

Myths & Legends

Heracles and the 12 Labours

Image result for hercules and the 12 labours

After Hera drove Hercules to madness, resulting him in killing his wife, Megara, and their children, Hercules seeks out the Oracle of Delphi for redemption and is told to serve King Eurystheus to do so. This resulted in him setting out to complete 12 labours to redeem his actions, and they are:

  • To kill the Nemean Lion
  • To kill the Hydra
  • Capture the Ceryneian Hind
  • Capture the Erymanthian Boar
  • Clear the stables of Augeas in one day
  • Kill the Stymphalian Birds
  • Capture the Cretan Bull
  • Steal the Mares of Diomedes
  • Steal the girdle of the Amazonian queen
  • Steal the cattle of Geryon
  • Steal the apples of Hesperides
  • Capture and bring back Cerberus from the underworld

Perseus & Medusa

Image result for perseus and medusa

Medusa, one of the three Gorgons, was once beautiful but after being caught at Athena’s alter with Poseidon, she was cursed with snakes for hair and the ability to turn anyone who looks at her to stone. Perseus dared to end her though, asking Athena and Hermes for help. In return, he received winged sandals, a cap to make him invisible, a sword, and a mirrored shield to see her reflection in. Perseus won in a battle against the well, against the sleeping gorgon, and the droplets of blood from her decapitated head created Pegasus, a winged horse, and Chrysaor, a giant, winged boar. Perseus than fled back home, using Medusa’s head as a weapon on many occasions, turning anyone who dared to defy him to stone. Eventually, it was placed on Athena’s shield called Aegis.

That is all for my beginner’s guide to Greek mythology, and I hope this was all helpful! Or at least, I hope it was enough to encourage you to research all the gods and goddesses and legends a little bit more. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

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Sources Used:

https://www.greekmythology.com/

https://greekgodsandgoddesses.net/

 

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan Non-Spoiler Review

I just finished The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan today which is the first book his new book series so I decided to do a non-spoiler book review!

The Hidden Oracle is about the god Apollo, who is cast down to Earth by Zeus after angering him. The problem is that he has no godly powers and he is ordinary and utterly normal. At the same time something evil is on the horizon and Apollo has to learn to use what he has to stop it along with a few other companions. We even get to see some of the characters from his previous series!

I was really excited to start this book because I love all of Rick Riordan’s books. I have to admit I was a bit nervous that it wasn’t going to meet my expectations but I really enjoyed this book! There were slow parts but it is the first book in a new series so I didn’t really mind. It was so great seeing the old characters but I also loved meeting the new characters and getting to know a few better. Another bonus was that there was a lot of diversity in this book which I thought was great and I hope more authors add more diverse characters in their books. I think overall I would give this book a 4/5 stars just because while I enjoyed it, it wasn’t the strongest book ever. I would still recommend it to middle grade readers or anyone who loves his other series!