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                               THE GREEK & ROMAN GOD(ESSE)S 
                             A quick overveiw by Thomas Palmer

          APOLLO-Also called Phoebus, the  bright one. Identified with the  sun.
          Said to be the  most powerful of the Gods. Son of  Zeus and Leto. Born
          on  Delos, taken  North and  raised by  the hyperboreans,  he went  to
          Delphi and killed the dragon Python, guardian of the oracle of Themis,
          but a ravager of the countryside.
                          Tall,handsome,outstanding inword anddeed,he wasthe god
          of  ever-renewed  youth,  archetype  of virile  beauty  and  masculine
          virtue. He was also known as  a seducer & extremely arrogant. Talented
          in music,  inventor of the lyre,  he was the inspiration  of poets and
          soothsayers. His oracles were expressed in verse.
                          Hecould cure illnessand banish evil.He was adoctor who
          knew  the purification rites and was invoked against plague. His image
          was set at dangerous places for protection (Lighting the ways) Nothing
          escaped his vision (light of day).

          ARIES  (MARS)-Son  of Hera,  born without  male  assistance. He  was a
          supreme fighter, loved battle and cared little about issues, switching
          sides without scruple. He delighted in massacres. 
                          Hewas god of war,not victory, andwas thoughtless about
          winning, only fighting. Was on occasion disarmed by Athena, Goddess of
          restraint and forethought,  to keep  him from  interfering in  battles
          that did not concern him.
                          He wasprolific inlove, butalso arapist.He wasrun byhis

          CRONOS (SATURN)- Son of  Uranus (Heaven) and Gaea (Earth).  Gaea, worn
          out by  numerous pregnancies, requested to be  free of this burden, so
          Cronos (Saturn) took up  a sickle and cut off  his father's testicles.
          His  wife  was Rhea,  and he  fathered  Hestia, Demeter,  Hera, Hades,
          Poseidon and Zeus. Was eventually deposed by Zeus. 
                          Hisfestivals, theSaturnalia,were atimeof liberationand
          freedom for  all and got  pretty wild. They were  celebrated from Dec.
          17th until the new year. Saturn is the archetype for "father time".

          DIONYSUS- Son of Zeus and Semele. His escort was satyrs and marginally
          sane gods. He  did not respect laws or customs,  loved disguises, wild
          screaming, licentious dances  and wild  places. He was  a drunken  god
          with no  home, living in the  wild and eating raw  meat. He encouraged
          excesses of all kinds.
                          HerahatedDionysus becauseofZeus'sinfidelity andhounded
          him. She caused him to be killed by the Titans, but he was resurrected
          through the efforts of  Athena, Zeus, Apollo, and Rhea. She  drove him
          mad, but through Cybele he gained  mastery of it. He drove many people
          mad for various reasons.

          EROS  (CUPID)- A  primordial god,  contemporary of Chaos,  who existed
          before Cronos (Saturn) and Zeus. He came out of an egg that formed the
          earth and  sky when it broke  in two. He precipitated  the embraces of
          Gaea (the Earth) and Uranus (the heavens), which resulted in the birth
          of  Oceanus, Tethys, Coeus, and Cronos (Saturn). The Earth and heavens
          were so tightly  embraced that none of the children could rise towards
          the light until Cronos (Saturn) castrated his father.
                          CupidwasassociatedwithAphrodite, whomoderatedhispower.
          Where he was desire, instinct and violent sex, she  was grace, tender-
          ness and sweet pleasure.
                          Cupidmadepeoplelosetheir reasonandparalyzedtheirwills,
          even inspiring Zeus to capricious sexual desires.


                          AsEros heis saidto bethe childof Porus(Expedience) and
          Penia  (Poverty). Like Penia,  he was said  to always be  in search of
          something, and like Porus,  he always found  a means of attaining  his

          FAUNUS- A Roman God, Son of Circe and Jupiter. Protector  of the Roman
          peoples, he  lived on Palatine Hill  in Rome. His oracle  was given in
          nightmares.  Lupercalia was his festival, during which his priests ran
          through  the streets with leather straps and struck any women they met
          with them to bestow health and fertility. The women were said to strip
          themselves to be better targets. He reproduced himself in the satyrs.

          HADES (PLUTO)- Son of  Cronos (Saturn), brother of Zeus  and Poseidon.
          When  the world was divided between the three brothers, the underworld
          and  hell fell to Hades, while Zeus  took the heavens and Poseidon the
          seas. He had a  helmet that made him invisible. He ruled the dead, and
          forbade his subjects to  leave his domain. He desired  Persephone, but
          Zeus forbade the marriage. He then kidnapped her. 

          HEPHAESTUS (VULCAN)- Son of Zeus and Hera. He was lame, either because
          his  mother, startled by his  ugliness, dropped him,  or because Zeus,
          angry that  he took  his mother's  side in a  dispute, threw  him from
          Olympos. He dwelled among mortals and became the god of black smithing
          and  artistic metal work. He made  a golden throne that imprisoned any
          who sat in it, and gave it to Hera to avenge himself for his fall from

          HERMES (MERCURY)-  Son of Zeus  and the nymph  Maia. He stole  some of
          Apollo's cattle shortly after his birth and  concealed them, sacrific-
          ing two to the Olympian Gods. This theft won  him recognition as a God
          himself.  When Apollo discovered the  theft and Hermes  was tried, his
          defense was so  skillful and spirited that Zeus laughed and ruled that
          there should be a friendly settlement between the brothers.
                          Hermes was Godof the spoken wordand oratory and wasthe
          intermediary between  the Gods and  men. Also the God  of commerce and
          contracts, where  language  must  be precise  to  convey  the  correct

          JANUS- ROMAN- The Two faced God. he was God of beginnings and presided
          over new undertakings, gateways and initiations. he was revered as the
          first king  of Rome and made order reign. His  temple was left open in
          wartime so the God could act, but was closed in peace.

          THE LARES- Roman- Twin children  of Mercury by the rape of  Lara. They
          protected the land. Were symbolized by two boys and a dog.

          PAN- Half man, half goat, with horns on his brow and lust in his eyes.
          Son of Hermes and a daughter of the Dryops, he was the God of pastoral
          regions  and wilderness.  Special friend  of shepherds, he  guided and
          protected them from afar. Protector of all wild things and places. His
          pipes  had an aphrodisiac  effect on those who  heard them and induced
                          Pan wasalecherand adrunkwho constantlypursuednymphswho
          would flee in terror. Caves rang with their cries when he caught them.
          He  was famous for his rages, where  he attacked anyone who got in his
          way. His  irrational behavior led people  to flee him in  "panic."  He
          was dangerous  when he took  possession of a being.  The possessed, or
          panoleptic, took on his  bearing and would  wander in the wild,  laugh
          madly,  or throw  themselves  on others  for  sex without  respect  to
          gender, or have epileptic fits.


          POSEIDON (NEPTUNE)- Son of Cronos (Saturn) and Rhea, he is represented
          wielding a  trident and being  pulled by monsters in  a chariot. After
          Zeus's  victory over  Cronos (Saturn), the  young gods,  who preferred
          life  on earth, divided the  various domains of  earth. Poseidon chose
          the seas. He represented  the hidden forces of germination  and death.
          Together with his wife Amphitrite, he had powerful ties with Gaea, the
          Earth,  mother of  the Titans.  As subterranean  Gods, they  shook the
          world from inside.
                            Poseidoncausedearthquakes whenhemade lovetohis wife.
          The  mystery isle  of  Atlanta belonged  to  Poseidon. Poseidon  could
          provoke  storms, set  fire to  rocks on  shore and  create springs  of
          water. He had many children, most wicked and violent, like the Cyclops
          of the Oddessy.

          PRIAPUS-  A small god  with a penis  of immense size.  Son of Zeus and
          Aphrodite, he was deformed by Hera in revenge. Aphrodite abandoned him
          in fear that she would be ridiculed for her ugly child. He began  as a
          symbol of fertility,  but of  no significance. Although  he was  over-
          sized, he was  impotent. He seemed to fail at  everything he tried. He
          was compared to an ass and ridiculed. He lent his name  to the disease
          priapism, an incurable illness where the penis remains painfully erect
          but incapable of ejaculation.  Ended up as an obscure gnome.

          QUIRINUS- A Roman warrior god originally, he became a  god who watched
          over the well  being of the community, opposite  to his former nature.
          Called an apparition of Romulus the founder of Rome.

          ZEUS  (JUPITER)- Son of Cronos  (Saturn) and Rhea.  He defeated Cronos
          (Saturn)  in a ten  year battle and  then divided the  realms with his
          brothers by lot,  getting the heavens  for his own.  He was ruler  and
          judge,  the arbiter of disputes among Gods and men. His decisions were
          just  and well balanced, showing  no favoritism. He  had several wives
          and many lover's, earning the title  "all father" or "father god". His
          infidelity caused much strife  on Olympos and in the world  through he
          raging of his wife, Hera.


          APHRODITE (VENUS)- Daughter of Zeus and Dione according to Homer. 'The
          Woman Born Of The Waves' according to Hesiod, born of the foam impreg-
          nated  by the  sexual  organs of  Uranus,  which Cronos  (Saturn)  had
          severed  and thrown  into  the sea.    Plato identifies  these  as two
          separate Aphrodites. One Urania, the daughter of Uranus was goddess of
          pure love.  The other, called Pandemos, (Root of pandemonium?) was the
          Goddess  of 'common' love. She  married Hephaestus, but was unfaithful
          with Aries.
                            Arieswascaughtandhumiliated. Aphroditefledinshame to
          Cyprus, and there took Thrace as lover, resulting in the birth of Eros
          (Love), Anteros (Love in return), Deimos and Phobos (Terror and Fear).
          She also  was a lover of  Adonis, a human shepherd  named Anchises who
          fathered Aneas, of Hermes and  of Dionysus who fathered Priapus.   She
          was known for jealousy. She made Eos (Dawn) fall in love with Orion in
          spite for her seduction of Aries. She punished all who did not succumb
          to her.  A beauty competition between Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite was
          proposed by Eris (Discord) with the prize being a golden apple. It was
          judged by the  human Paris. All  the Goddesses  offered him bribes  to


                            AphroditeofferedHelen, mostbeautifulofall Humans.She
          won and thus caused the Trojan War. Eros was the primordial god of in-
          stinct. When Aphrodite appeared  he adapted himself and joined  forces
          with  her. At this time the sexes became distinct. Aphrodite's kingdom
          was the place of desire. Young girls  were said to pass from the place
          of Artemis (chastity and games) to the place  of Aphrodite, where they
          become women.  Considered by some to be  an affliction or madness that
          women must bear. She represents female lust and passion, and demonstr-
          ates its potential for destructive effect. Young girls gave their vir-
          ginity to the Goddess by living in her temples and offering themselves
          to passing strangers.

          ARTEMIS (DIANA)-Daughter of Zeus  and Leto. The huntress, she  is seen
          as the  forever young  goddess. She  is proud of  her shapeliness  and
          keeps  her virginity to protect it. She  was a warrior, joining Apollo
          to kill Python and other exploits. Anyone who offended her or tried to
          win  her  virginity paid  dearly.  They were  killed,  transformed, or
          mutilated. She defended  modesty and punished illicit  love and exces-
          ses. She  avenged rape. She also  took out her anger  on those virgins
          who gave in  to love. She  did not  mind marriage, but  when a  virgin
          married  she was  to give  up all  the things  of childhood,  toys and
          dolls, locks of hair, etc., leaving them on her altar.

          ATHENA (MINERVA)- Daughter of  Zeus and Metis. Metis was  swallowed by
          Zeus, and  when it was time for Diana's birth, he had Hephaestus crack
          open his skull  and she came forth  in full armor shouting  a war cry.
          Also a  virgin Goddess, she  lived among men  without fear due  to her
          warrior's skills. She was  the protectress of Odysseus and  other men.
          She was a warrior who used strategy, ambush, cunning, and magic rather
          than brute force. Her shield bore the head of a gorgon and she paraly-
          zed  her  adversaries and  made  her  companions invincible.  She  was
          against  excess, both  in war and  every day  life. She  taught men to
          control their savagery  and to tame nature.  Was the initiator of  all
          skills. Taught  Pandora  to weave,  trained  horses and  invented  the
          chariot.  She was  the patroness  of blacksmiths  and  carpenters. She
          built the first ship and the boat of the Argonauts.

          CYBELE- Was born  as Agditis,  a hermaphrodite monster,  from a  stone
          fertilized by Zeus. The Gods  decided to mutilate him(?) and made  the
          Goddess Cybele  from him. Her love for  Attis, a human shepherd, drove
          him  insane and he castrated himself for her. Her priests were eunuchs
          dressed as women.  It is from the temple of  Cybele that the reference
          in  the Wiccan Charge of the Goddess to "At mine Altars, the youths of
          Laced.mon in Sparta made due sacrifice.", comes.

          DEMETER  (CERES)- Daughter of Cronos (Saturn) and Rhea, the Goddess of
          corn and grain. Demeter  bore Persephone. She renounced her  duties as
          goddess and  began a fast  and went into  exile from Olympos  when her
          daughter was abducted into the underworld until her daughter should be
          returned to  her. She caused the  spread of the knowledge  of the cul-
          tivation of corn.
                          During herexilethe earthbecamebarren untilZeusdemanded
          that Hades  return  Persephone.  She had  eaten  from  a  pomegranate,
          however, and was forever bound to the underworld. As a compromise, she
          was allowed to rise up into the world with  the first growth of spring
          and  return to the underworld at seed sowing in fall. And so the Earth
          is  barren in the winter,  while Demeter mourns,  and becomes fruitful
          again when Persephone is  released. Demeter made herself known  to the
          children  of Eleusis,  who  raised her  a  temple and  instituted  the


          Eleusinian  mysteries. In  Sept.-Oct., the  candidates  for initiation
          purified  themselves in the sea,  then processed down  the sacred path
          from Athens to Eleusis. The rites remain secret, but involve a  search
          for a mill for grinding  corn, and a spiritual experience.  During the
          rites, men women and slaves were all treated as equal.

          ERINYES,  THE- Alecto,  Tisiphone,  and Megaara.  They were  born from
          drops  of blood  that fell from  Uranus's severed  Penis, and  did not
          recognize  the  authority of  the gods  of  Olympos. They  hounded and
          tortured their victims,  driving them mad. Also  called the Eumenides,
          The Good Ones, to divert their wrath. Assimilated by the Romans as the
          Furies. They were implacable and demanded punishment for every murder.
          To them murder was a stain. The murderer had to be banished and driven
          mad before purification could  occur. They were blind and  carried out
          their punishments indefinitely.

          HARPIES-  Greek  genii/spirits-  Daughters  of  Thaumes  and  Electra:
          Nicotho  or swift-footed, Ocypete or swift of flight, and Celaeno, the
          dark one.   Were either  women with wings or  birds with the  heads of
          women.  Called the  'hounds of  Zeus' and  seized children  and souls.
          Skillful at torture, they could pester a victim into madness.

          HERA  (JUNO)- Daughter  of  Cronos (Saturn)  and  Rhea brought  up  by
          Oceanus  and Tethys. Married Zeus. It  was claimed that each year Hera
          regained hervirginity by bathing in the spring of  Canathus. According
          to  some traditions Hephaestus, Aries, and Hebe (Youth) were conceived
          by her alone without male assistance.   As Zeus'  legitimate wife, her
          fury at his infidelities was boundless,  and she took vengeance on his
          lovers and any  progeny of  the affair without  distinction. Zeus  was
          often reduced  to hiding or disguising his children to protect them.

          HESTIA/VESTA- Daughter  of Cronos  (Saturn) and  Rhea. Goddess  of the
          hearth,  she had the privilege of retaining her virginity forever. Her
          symbol was  the fire,  which was  never allowed to  go out.  The young
          bride and  newborn child were  presented to  her and  she was  invoked
          before each meal.   Her temple in Rome was served  by the young vestal

          MOERAE (PARCAE)- The Three Fates. Atropos, Clotho, Lachesis, daughters
          of  Zeus and Themis.  The first spins a  thread symbolizing birth. The
          second unravels it,  symbolizing life's processes, and  the third cuts
          it, symbolizing death.  They too  were blind and  ruled destiny.  They
          were  also symbols  of a  limit which  could not be  overstepped. Were
          connected to their sisters, the furies, who punished crime.

          MUSES- Nine daughters  of Zeus and Mnemosyne  (Memory). Calliope ruled
          epic poetry, Clio ruled history,  Polyhymnia mime, Euterpe the  flute,
          Terpsichore dance, Erarto lyric  art, Melpomene tragedy, Thalia comedy
          and  Urania astronomy. They delighted the Gods and inspired poets. The
          Muses created  what they sang about.  By praising the gods,  they com-
          pleted  their glory, by boasting of valiant warriors, they wrote their
          names in history.
                        Theywerecelebrated bythe Pythagoreansasthe keepersof the
          knowledge of harmony.


          NEMESIS-  Daughter and Night.  Ruled over the  distribution of wealth,
          looked after  balance, took revenge on arrogance  and punished excess,
          including  excessive happiness,  riches and  power. Moderation  in all
          things was her creed.

          NYMPHS-  Daughter of  Zeus and  usually part  of a  greater god(esses)
          entourage.   Not immortal, though  long lived. Mostly  lived in caves.
          Were  dark powers  whose  beauty alone  could  lead to  madness.  Were
          seducers of many of the gods. Were considered secondary deities.

          THETIS- Daughter of the old man of the sea. Very  beautiful. Mother of
          Achilles.  Saved Zeus from a plot to overthrow him and  was an ally of
          Hera. Saved the Argonauts as they passed between the clashing rocks.


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