There are so many extremely powerful and well loved Greek Gods, but we’re not going to talk about them in this list. I wanted to focus on some of the Greek Gods you’re going to see in the Percy Jackson series who you may not know much about.
I didn’t want to talk about any of the Big Three because they’re so well known, and I wanted to give you a brief background on some of the super interesting, slightly unknown Gods, Goddesses and Heroes.
Seriously though… Zeus, you’re cool. Huge fan, I named my dog after you.
Here we go!
If you’re starting to read the Percy Jackson series, you’re going to become fond of Pan. He’s so cool! He’s the god of (some) music, nature, the wild and so much more. It would make sense that, because of his connection with nature, he has a strong association with fertility. If you begin to think about all the plants, flowers, trees, and so many other living, agricultural species you’ll begin to understand what Pan is God of.
You know how Grover is such a ladies’ man? Especially with the nymphs? It’s because Pan, a satyr, was also a companion to nymphs.
Theseus was born to his mother and two fathers. Of course, that’s not how fertilization actually works, but mythology, right? Theseus’ mother, Aethra, had met Aegeus, and while he was sleeping, left him, following instructions from Athena. She made her way to the shore of the city and met with Poseidon, to put it cleanly.
When Theseus had grown to be nearly a man by Greek standards, his mother took him to a boulder to test him. He was to lift the rock and take what was below it, proving his masculinity. When he was able to lift the boulder with ease, he was to go meet his father and claim the throne of Athens.
Upon his arrival, his father did not immediately recognize him, nor did Theseus announce his identity. Aegeus had taken a new wife, Medea, who had immediately recognized Theseus as Aegeus’ son, even if the king couldn’t see it himself. Medea however, had two sons of her own that she intended to be king before Theseus, so she plotted to rid the world of him. She asked him to slay the Marathonian Bull, intending to have him die during the occasion, but instead he came back and sacrificed the bull to the Gods in front of her. After her first failure, she tried to poison him, however, Aegeus recognized his own sandals and sword that Theseus carried, and knocked the poison from his hands.
Theseus would later have a son, Hippolytus, who defied Aphrodite, intending to be a child of Artemis forever, and because of his denouncement, Phaedra, Theseus’ wife and Hippolytus’ step-mother, was cursed to fall in love with her husband’s son.
Fun fact: it’s thought that Greek civilizations found the bones of dinosaurs and thought them to be the bones of Heroes and Gods.
Odysseus is another Greek Hero, but this dude has a whole book written about him and his affairs (and not his romantic affairs either…although, they do seem to make an appearance or two…), The Odyssey.
Odysseus fought in the Trojan War for the Greeks (that is against the Trojans, in case you didn’t know). He was one of the most exciting warriors in the battle, that’s for sure. He fought alongside Achilles, Agamemnon, Menelaus, countless Gods (many Gods favored the Greeks: Athena and Poseidon to name a few. Ares is said to have switched sides just to fight for the thrill of it. Zeus sided with the Trojans).
Even though the events of the Trojan War were intense, Odysseus’ most notable mentions come from the events afterward, the events of The Odyssey. On his ten year trek back from the war, he encountered many threatening creatures including: the sorceress Circe, who tried to, and was partially successful in, transforming his crew into pigs; the Cyclops, to whom Odysseus introduced himself as ‘Nobody,’ so when asked who had escaped, the Cyclops replied, ‘Nobody!’; he encountered the Lotus Eaters, whom Percy, Annabeth, and Grover encounter at the casino in Vegas; the monstrosities known as Scylla and Charybdis, which is also near the land of the Sirens, yet another frightful figure; and much more.
And what could possibly make it worse than arriving home to find his wife hosting a tournament to see who would be her next husband! As a final trial in the tourney, the winner must string her husband’s bow (a feat not to be completed by any but Odysseus himself) before he may have her hand. Odysseus, of course, enters the tourney, strings the bow, and wins his wife’s hand in marriage (again).
Odysseus was very well loved by Athena for his wisdom, however, he was widely disliked by the Romans, who knew him as Ulysses. This gives us some information of just how clever Athena’s children can be, and Annabeth is definitely of the best. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but this chick is AWESOME.
Artemis is a huge deal. She may only be a 14-year-old child, but she’s a badass 14-year-old child! She is, as you’ve probably seen from Riordan’s work, the guardian of the hunt, but you could be wondering why she has a pack of girls, who must all take a vow and never age. This is because Artemis is the protector of children, as well. So, with them taking their vow, she is more capable of helping and protecting them.
In addition to the hunt, Artemis is also the Goddess of the forest, hills, archery, and, in direct correlation with her twin brother (see below), she is the Goddess of the Moon.
It is said that Artemis was born first, and helped her mother Leto deliver her brother, Apollo. It is also said that when Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter, Artemis saved the young girl, even though the sacrifice was to her. Various reasons are given for the reasoning behind the rescue, but it happened nonetheless.
Sitting across from Artemis’ Moon is Apollo’s Sun. Just as Artemis is forever young, so is Apollo. He is depicted without a beard, showing his youth. He is the son of Zeus and Leto.
Just because Apollo is eternally young doesn’t mean he’s innocent. One time, he got so mad at Zeus that he killed the Cyclopes who made his bolt; Apollo nearly got life in Tartarus for that. And once, he fell in love with a girl, promising her the gift of prophecy if she’d take him, but he was rejected. He gave her the gift of prophecy, just like he said he would, except now, she’s cursed to have no one believe anything she says. Boy, am I glad my ex-boyfriend wasn’t Apollo.
Apollo is not only the God of the Sun, but he is also the God of music, poetry, plague, medicine, light, knowledge, and art. Many of the Oracle temples belonged to Apollo. In fact, one of Apollo’s priests, Chryses, was victim to Agamemnon, who, in addition to leading the Greek Army to the Battle at Troy, also kidnapped Briseus, Chryses’ daughter. Chryses prayed to Apollo, who then plagued the Greek Army with death.
Apollo is not to be confused with Helios, as he often is, as Helios is the personification of the Sun, not the God of it. Although, in later Greek times the two became a single deity.
Hephaestus is definitely one of the most underrated Greek Gods. His Roman name is Vulcan, which just goes to show you how cool he is, Star Trek named a species after him! Well, probably not, but we can pretend.
But he is the god of blacksmithing, fire, volcanic fire, crafting (but not the kind of crafting you’re thinking of, no Pinterest included). Hephaestus was the blacksmith of the gods, making their weapons, save for Zeus’ thunderbolts, which are made by the Cyclops. He designed and made Achilles’ armor worn in the Battle of Troy, Helios’ chariot and Aphrodite’s girdle.
It’s said that Hera kicked him off Olympus when she saw that he was crippled, and it is a well-known fact that Aphrodite, his wife, is having an affair with Ares, which we see a couple times from Percy’s point of view. I forgot about how… weird… it was until just now, actually. Always seemed to me like Hephaestus was cooler, and by that I mean hotter. Could you imagine what he’d look like from working in a forge all day? Aphrodite, you’re crazy! (Just kidding, please don’t curse me!)
I bet you’re wondering, as Annabeth would say, why in the Gods did I put Mr. D on this list? Well, although Riordan paints him as a fantastically swell drunk, Dionysus was actually the God of many important aspects of traditional Greek life. He was very well loved by the Greeks, and even had a three-day festival in his honor. The drink of choice was, of course, wine. Oh yeah, and he had a cult following. Not kidding. (Sort of regretting not putting him at number one.)
Mr. D was born to a mortal and Zeus, and even though he was, by blood, divine, he was not initially accepted onto Mount Olympus.
Also, if you’re wondering about his particular dislike for Percy, I do believe it pertains to Percy’s half brother, Theseus. Theseus, if you’ll remember from earlier in the list, founded Athens and slew the Minotaur; however, he had help with the Minotaur. Ariadne helped Theseus find his way through the labyrinth to the beast, and all she got in return was abandonment. The poor girl fell in love with him immediately and, even though he promised to take her with him, he left without her. (It was only a little mean of him, right? I think that may be the reason he’s so low on the list…). Dionysus found Ariadne on a shoreline, looking for Theseus. The two fell in love and got married.
It makes sense that Hermes would be the God to have the most kids. I mean, you would think Zeus at first because he’s such a whore, but those are well known because of Hera’s wrath or a various reason. But Hermes is the God of borders. This dude can go ANYWHERE. In addition to borders, the realm of Hermes extends to thieves, sports, athletes and guidance to the Underworld. Oh yeah, and he was the Messenger of the Gods. He was a pretty important dude. I love-love-LOVE the way Nathan Fillion portrays him in Sea of Monsters.
I know I’ve been talking a lot about the Trojan War, but it’s got quite a bit of information on the Gods. Pretty interesting actually, you should give it a read if you’ve got the time. Anyway, when Hector’s father, Priam, went to Achilles to ask for his son’s body back, it was Hermes who broke the boundaries of the Greek camp and brought the Trojan King to the Greek warrior.
Hermes is often considered the Loki of Greek Mythology, as he is a trickster and rather witty. It is said that he is the great-grandfather of Odysseus.
I know I said underrated, and Heracles has countless movies about him, but none of them really identify just what sort of hero he was (or wasn’t, at times). If you saw the Disney movie you know how he was born, I mean, that’s sorta what happened, except Hera hated him and it was because of her that he was in the mortal world anyway. While in the mortal world, Heracles went coo coo for Cocoa Puffs and killed his wife and children. He was ordered to complete the Labors in order to gain immortality. Puts a new spin on the kid’s movie, huh? Oh yeah, and it was Megara’s children he murdered.
So, Heracles had to initially defeat ten labors, which I will list quickly, but then he had to complete in an extra two because he had help.
This would be more exciting if I sounded like an auctioneer… Kill the Nemean Lion, Slay the 9 Headed Lernaean Hydra, Capture the Golden Hind of Artemis, Capture the Erymanthian Boar, Clean the Augean stables in a day (he had help with this one, didn’t count), Slay the stymphalian Birds, Capture the Cretan Bull, Steal the Mares of Diomedes, Get the Girdles of Hippolyta- the Amazon Queen, Get the cattle of monster Geryon, Steal the apples of the Hesperides (he had help with this, didn’t count), and finally Capture Cerberus.
Heracles was also an Argonaut of Jason and the Argonauts.
Rhea is the mother of Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hera, Hestia, and Demeter. She was wife to Kronos, and daughter to Gaia and Uranus.
Kronos was, to put it nicely, not a super good dad. He liked to eat his kids. And that’s a little weird. I mean, there was some sort of prophecy declaring that a son would usurp his power, so I guess he had a reason. A shitty reason, but a reason.
Well, Rhea, obviously upset, decided to do something about it. Rhea hid her youngest son, which just so happened to be Zeus, and instead fed Kronos a rock. A rock. Rhea kept Zeus hidden from Kronos, who, in time, did what it took to free his siblings from the contents of his father’s stomach.
It was then that the titan war, Titanomachy, began and the Titans were locked up forever (or so we think).
It is for these reasons that Rhea is at the top of this list. If it weren’t for her, we would have no gods, no Percy and no story to read.
Well, I hope you have found my list interesting and only slightly exhaustive to look at. Greek mythology runs so deep, it has so many ties to one another, and to old and new literature alike.
DON’T MISS OUT!
Catch a sneak peek of Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book One: The Sword of Summer available online at ReadRiordan.com!
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