Mythical Gods and Goddesses in Literature

Mofizur Rahman

 Mythical Gods and Goddesses in Literature

English Literature
Description about Mythical Gods and Goddesses
Mythical Characters
Mythical Gods and Goddesses
Greek and Roman myths
Ancient myths
Olympian gods and goddesses

Mythical Characters,  mythical creatures names powerful mythical creatures mythical monsters popular mythical creatures unique mythical creatures myth, Mythical Gods and Goddesses in Literature

Description about Mythical Gods and Goddesses

English writers have used ancient myths, especially Greek and Roman myths, so frequently that those myths have become an inseparable part of English literature. In fact, without a fair knowledge of them, any study of English literature is not possible. In this Chapter only the major mythical characters, animals and objects of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt have been discussed.

The ancient people of every civilization did not have any clear idea of God and His mysterious powers. They understood the supernatural powers and their secrets in their own ways. About one thousand years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the writers of Greece imagined that there were supernatural beings who controlled the universe. They called them gods and goddesses.

They interpreted the mysteries of those unseen powers with their experience of the visible world. These people made their deities in their own images. They imagined them males and females and made Olympus their abode. They imagined them as beautiful, friendly and amusing but fearful and dangerous when angry. These gods were immortal, and so, more powerful than human beings. They shared human feelings, and sometimes, turned childish and indecent losing sanity. However, they thought that their gods and goddesses were sensible in spite of their occasional nonsensical activities.

Their gods occasionally turned amorous, cowardly and ridiculous but they upheld justice in most cases. Thus, the Olympus was made a “humanized world”. The Greek and Roman writers used this general concept of the time about supernatural powers in their writings. They, in fact, gave better shapes to the myths. The Greek poets endowed each of the Olympian gods and goddesses with distinct personality. The Roman poets borrowed the concept of the Olympians from the Greek poets and gave them Roman names.

Greek and Roman names of the major gods and goddesses

The following list shows the Greek and Roman names of the major gods and goddesses are:-

  1. Greek Gods and Goddesses
  2. Aphrodite
  3. Apollo
  4. Ares
  5. Artemis
  6. Athene/Athena
  7. Cronus
  8. Demeter
  9. Enyo
  10. Eos
  11. Eros
  12. Furies
  13. Hades
  14. Hebe
  15. Hephaestus
  16. Hera
  17. Hermes
  18. Hestia
  19. Pan
  20. Persephone
  21. Poseidon
  22. Rhea
  23. Thanatos
  24. Zeus
  25. Roman Gods and Goddesses
  26. Venus
  27. Apollo
  28. Mars
  29. Diana
  30. Minerva
  31. Saturn
  32. Ceres
  33. Bellona
  34. Aurora
  35. Cupid
  36. Dirae
  37. Pluto/Dis
  38. Juventas
  39. Vulcan
  40. Juno
  41. Mercury
  42. Vesta
  43. Faunas
  44. Proserpina
  45. Neptune
  46. Ops
  47. Orcus
  48. Jupiter/Jove

The concept of the Greeks and Romans:-

The concept of the Greeks and Romans about the creation of the. universe helps understand the nature of each of the major gods and goddesses. They believed that the universe was not created by the single Supernatural Being. They believed that the universe created the gods and goddesses. According to their belief there was a time when there was nothing but chaos - shapeless, dark confusion.

The chaos gáve birth to Night and Erebus in a mysterious way unknown to the Greeks. Night was chaos' daughter and Erebus was her son. From the union of Night, also called Nyx (darkness), and Erebus (death) were born Love, Light and Day. Then came Earth (Who is also called Gaea or Ge or Gaia), the Mother, and Heaven (Uranus), the Father, again mysteriously.

From their union were born Cronus, Rhea, Coues, Phoebe and Ocean. Cronus and Rhea were king and queen and gave birth to Hestia, Pluto, Poseidon, Zeus, Hera and Demeter. From the union of Zeus and Hera were born Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus. From Zeus and Metis came Athena, from Zeus and Demeter came Persephone, from Zeus and Leto came Apollo and Artemis.

From the union of Coeus and Phoebe came Leto and from the union of Ocean and Tethys came Iapetus. From Iapetus descended Prometheus, Atlas and Epimetheus. From Atlas came Maia whose union with Zeus gave birth to Hermes. From Epimetheus came Dione whose union with Zeus gave birth to Aphrodite. Thus, Olympus became an abode of a host of gods and goddesses.


A mortal, the son of Thetis, a sea-goddess, and Peleus, a mortal man who was the King of Phthia. He was educated by Phoenix. When he was born, his mother wanted to make him immortal. The Olympians believed that the water of the Styx, the main river in the underworld, made life immortal. So, she caught his heel and dipped him in the Styx.

The water of the Styx did not touch the heel by which she held him. For this reason, his heel was vulnerable. In the battle of Troy, Paris killed him by shooting an arrow at that weak point. Achilles' heel, an idiom derived from this myth, means weak point.

Achiles' mother tried to prevent his participation in the Trojan War by disguising him as a maiden at the court of Lycomedes. Calchas, the Greek fortune-teller, revealed Achilles' hiding place where he was detected by Odysseus.

He finally joined the Greeks' war against the Trojans. He was the strongest fighter among all the Greeks. He loved deeply and hated violently. His wrath is the subject of the Iliad.The main flaws of his character were his excessive anger and pride.


A mortal, the son of Aphrodite (Venus) and Anchises. Anchises was a descendant of Dardanus, Zeus' son with the Pleiad Electra. Aphrodite thought that she was superior to other gods and goddesses including Zeus because all of them were subject to her love-spell. Zeus was not happy with Aphrodite's sense of superiority. He planned to give her, as a punishment, an experience of mortal love.

He created a strong desire in Aphrodite for Anchises, a handsome young shepherd. Aphrodite went to him in the guise of a maiden and made love to him. Aeneas was the result of that union. He led the Trojan survivors of their ruined city to their destined home in Italy, and thus, was the founder of the Roman Empire. He is the hero of Virgil's Aeneid.

Aphrodite (Venus):-

The goddess of love. Homer describes her as the daughter of Zeus and Dione, the daughter of Epimethius. But Hesoid, another Greek poet, thought that she was born of foam and married to Hephaestus, the lame craftsman of Olympus. She was the mother of Aeneas by Anchises.

She was associated with lové, beauty and pleasure but she could be equally cruel to destroy those who denied her significance. She was the mother of Eros (Cupid). She fell in love with Ares, the god of war, and also with Adonis. In Vigil's Aeneid she helps Aeneas find a suitable country for his tribe.


The god of light, prophecy, healing, music and archery. He is also the protector of herds. He has several epithets (titles): Phoebus (brilliant or shining); Delian (as born in the island of Delos); Pythian (as he killed a python); the Sminthian (the mouse-god) and the Lycian (the god of Lycia).

He was the son of Zeus and Leto. Zeus loved Leto, the daughter of Phoebe and Coeus. But when she was pregnant Zeus left her for fear of Hera, his wife. None gave a shelter to Leto because all were afraid of Hera. At last she reached a piece of land floating on the sea. No human being lived there. It was called Delos.

She asked Delos for shelter and was granted. Artemes and Apollo were born there. Apollo was the god of truth and his oracles were told at Delphi under towering Parnassus. He favoured the Trojans in Homer's Iliad. Sophocles made significant uses of Apollo's oracles in his tragedies.

Ares (Mars):-

The god of war. His father was Zeus and mother was Hera. Aphrodite was his beloved. Aphrodite's angry husband, Hephaestus, trapped Ares and Aphrodite in net while they were making love.


A giant with one hundred eyes. Hera sent him to guard the cow Io but Hermes killed the giant. After Argus' death Hera put his eyes in the tail of the peacock.

There is another Argus, the son of Arestor, who build the ship Argo in the tale of the Argonauts.

Artemis (Diana):-

The goddess of chastity, hunting, and wild animals. A daughter of Zeus and Leto, she was the twin sister of Apollo. She was also called Cynthia after the name of her birth place, Mount Cynthia in Delos. She was one of the three maiden goddesses of Olympus, Athena and Hestia being the other two. She was also called Selene (Luna), meaning the moon.

She was always seen with a bow and arrows which were made by Hephaestus and the Cyclopes. She hunted animals but, quite contradictorily, she was also the protector of animals.

There are many stories about her. When she was about three years old, she requested Zeus, her father, for everlasting virginity which Zeus graciously granted to her. The nymphs who were her regular companions were also virgins. Once she found that Actaeon was looking at her naked body while taking bath with her companions in a pool in the forest. She got so furious that she changed Actaeon into a stag and made his hounds to attack him in the shape of the stag. The hounds chased and killed him.

There is another story about her cruelty. Once Agamemnon killed one of her stags in her sacred grove. She punished him when, as the chieftain of the Greeks, he wanted to start his voyage to Troy to bring back Helen. He could not start the voyage because there was no wind needed for the sails of the ships.

Artemis stopped the sea wind as a measure to take revenge against Agamemnon. Calchas, the Greek soothsayer, said that a virgin girl had to be sacrificed to Artemis to calm her anger. Agamemnon sacrificed his own daughter, Iphigenia, and set for Troy. This sacrifice made Agamemnon's wife Clytemnestra very angry and she killed her husband as soon as he returned from Troy. Aeschylus used these mythical events in Agamemnon.

Athena or Athene (Minerva):-

The goddess of war, wisdom, agriculture, crafts, arts and literature. She was the daughter of Zeus and Metis. When Metis had conceived, Zeus thought that the child (Athena) in her womb would be powerful enough to destroy him. So, he swallowed Metis. Later Athena sprang from his head full grown. She made use of bridle to tame horses.

She invented the plough, the yoke, the ship, the chariot, the trumpet and the flute. The owl is her preferred bird. The olive is her chosen tree. Athens is her favourite city. She was one of the three maiden goddesses for which she was given the title “Pallas” meaning maiden. She was one of the three claimants of the golden apple.

When Paris selected Aphrodite as the “fairest”, Athena became the enemy of Aphrodite and all her favorites. In the Trojan War Athena supported the Greeks because Aphrodite supported the Trojans, especially Paris and Helen.

Bacchus or Dionysus:-

The Greek god of wine, fertility, and intoxication. He was the son of Zeus and the Theban princess, Semele. Semele wanted to see Zeus in his original shape. She was then pregnant by Zeus.'When Zeus appeared before her in his real shape, Semele bearing Dionysus in her womb burnt at the sight of the shinning Zeus.

Before her death Zeus saved the baby who later became Dionysus. For this reason, it was also held that Dionysus was born of fire. He is also called the god of vine. His female followers are known as Maenads.

Demeter (Ceres):-

The goddess of corn, harvest, vegetation and the earth. She was a daughter of Cronus and Rhea and a sister of Zeus. She was worshipped as a mother goddess. Persephone was her daughter. When Hades, the god of the underworld, abducted Persephone, Demeter made the earth dry and desolate. All plants died. Zeus mediated between Hades and Demeter. 

Finally, it was agreed that each year Persephone would remain on earth with her mother eight months and four months in the underworld with Hades. Her return to earth each year made her mother happy, and so, her mother brought spring and vegetation. During Persephone's absence her mother remained unhappy and brought winter when nothing grew on earth.

Eris (Discordia):-

The goddess of discord. Her parents were Nyx and Hesiod. For her quarrelsome nature Eris was not invited to the wedding ceremony of Thetis (the sea-goddess) and Peleus (a mortal). She felt insulted and took revenge that ultimately caused the Trojan War. Strife was Eris' son. [see Golden Apple and Helen]


The god of love. Though there is doubt about his parentage, it is generally agreed that he was the son of Venus (Aphrodite) and Ares (Mars). He was a handsome, winged youth who always carried two kinds of arrows; one type was made of gold with very sharp point and the other type was made of lead with blunt point.

Whenever he shot an arrow to someone with a sharp pointed golden arrow, the person aimed fell madly in love with the person intended by Cupid. But when he shot someone with a blunt arrow, the person struck with. that felt strong disgust at love and tried to flee away. However, once he himself fell in love with Psyche whom he married after a long struggle.

He is also called Love. Cupid's myth inspired many artworks of famous artists including Michelangelo.[see Psyche]


The daughters of Zeus and Themis or of Night. They were often imagined as three old women- Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos. It was believed Clotho spun the thread of human destiny, Lachesis allotted the thread and Atropos cut it, thus, determining the life and death of an individual.

The Roman Fates were called Nona, Decuma and Morta. The Fates carried staffs as signs of their power. They were beyond the control of Zeus (Jupiter).

Golden Apple:-

Among the gods and goddesses there was a very quarrelsome goddess. Her name was Eris who is also called the goddess of discord. At the marriage ceremony of Peleus and Thetis, the would-be parents of Achilles, Eris was not invited. At this she became angry and decided to take revenge.

She inscribed the words “For the Fairest” on a golden apple and threw it among the goddesses. Each of the goddesses claimed the golden apple. Hera demanded the apple claiming that she was the fairest of all. Aphrodite and Athena also strongly claimed that each of them was the fairest.

For a solution they approached Zeus who did not want to lose favour of any of them. He sent them to Paris, one ofthe princes of Tory. At that time Paris was a shepherd on Mount Ida. The three goddesses appeared before Paris for his judgment of the fairest among them. Each of them tried to bribe him.

Hera offered him all kingdoms of Europe and Asia; Athena proposed wisdom and heroic glory in battles; Aphrodite offered him the love of the most beautiful woman on earth. Young Paris was moved by Aphrodite's offer and declared her the fairest of all. Aphrodite kept her word. She managed Helen's love for Paris. Helen was then the wife of King Menelaus of Sparta. The contest for the golden apple finally resulted in the abduction of Helen and the Trojan War. [see Helen]

Golden Fleece:-

A symbol of authority and kingship. It was the fleece (skin) of a winged ram which had hair of golden colour. It was preserved in Colchis under the watch of King Aeetes.

The Golden Fleece has a long background:-

Asthmas was the King of Orchomenus. He married Nephele, a goddess. He had two children with her-Phrixus and Helle. But he divorced Nephele and married Ino, the daughter of Cadmus. He had two children with Ino-Learches and Melicertes.

One year no crops grew in Orchomenus because of an acute drought. Ino, to get rid of her stepchildren, asked Asthmas to sacrifice his first two children to Zeus in order to restore rain and fertility. When he was ready to sacrifice the first two children, Nephele sent there a winged golden ram to save them.

The ram flew with them over the sea. Helle fell down but the ram carried Phrixus to Colchis which was ruled by Aeetes. There Phrixus married one of Aeetes' daughters, Chalciope. In gratitude Phrixus sacrificed the ram to Zeus and presented the fleece to Aeetes who hung it on an oak tree. Aeetes also employed an ever-watchful dragon to guard it. So it was almost impossible to steal it.

Pelias was the king of Iolcus in Thessaly. He was afraid that Jason, one of his nephews, would overthrow him. To. get rid of him,he diplomatically sent Jason to Colchis to steal the Golden Fleece from Aeetes. Jason set out with fifty heroes of his choice, known as Argonauts, on a ship called Argo made by Argus. He reached Colchis safely.

Medea, another daughter of Aeetes, fell in love with Jason and helped him. With her help, Jason killed the dragon, acquired the fleece and fled away with Medea whom he later married. We come across the myth of “Golden Fleece” in Euripides' Medea, Seneca's Medea and in several other texts.

Hades (Pluto or Dis):-

The god of the underworld. He was the son of Cronus and Rhea and brother of Zeus. He abducted Persephone and married her. He and Persephone ruled the world of the dead. The world of the dead itself is also called Hades. [see Demeter]

Hebe (Juventas):-

A handmaid of the gods. She served nectar to the gods. She married Heracles when he achièved divinity.


The fairest woman in the world. Leda, a mortal, was her mother and Zeus, who came to Leda in the guise of a swan, was her father. Tyndareus, the King of Sparta, was her mother's husband. Helen was the sister of Castor and Pollux. She was so beautiful that all the princes of Greece wanted to marry her. It became a dangerous problem for Tyndareus.

He asked all the princes to come to an agreement that all of them would protect Helen and her would-be-husband,whomever she would choose, if and when necessary.All of them agreed upon the condition. Helen selected Meneleus as her husband. Later, when Paris abducted Helen to Troy, all the princes of Greece fought against the Trojans to recover Helen.

Hephaestus (Vulcan):-

The god of fire. His parents were Zeus and Hera. He was an artist and a craftsman. He was lame and unattractive but was married to the beautiful Aphrodite who was not faithful to him. He made the famous shield of Achilles.

Hera (Juno):-

The protector of women and marriage. She was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea and sister and wife of Zeus. She punished many women who fell in love with her husband. She was one of the three contestants for the golden apple. She helped the Greeks in the Trojan War. [see Golden Apple]

Heracles (Hercules):-

A Greek hero who was raised to the status of a god for his super human efforts. He was the son of Zeus and Alcmene. He married Hebe, the handmaid of the gods.

Hermes (Mercury):-

The messenger of Zeus. He was the son of Zeus and Maia. He was graceful and could move very fast because his sandals, hat and magic wand were all winged. He was the most cunning among the gods. He led the souls of the dead to the underworld.


The goddess of the hearth. She was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea and sister of Zeus. She was one of the three virgin goddesses.

Hyperion:- The father of Helios, the sun.


The goddess of rainbow. She was the daughter of Thaumas and Electra (the daughter of Oceanus). She was the servant of Hera. Sometimes, she was also a messenger like Hermes(Mercury).


The river of oblivion in the underworld (Hades). It was believed that the dead people drank the water of this river when they reached there and forgot their past.


The muses were the nine goddesses of arts. They were the daughters of Zeus and Memory (Mnemosyne). Each of the Muses had her particular field: Calliope, epic poetry; Clio, history; Euterpe, the flute; Melpomene, tragedy; Terpsichore, Dance; Erato, the lyre; Polyhymnia, sacred song; Urania, astronomy; and Thalia, comedy.

The Myth of Sisyphus:-

Sisyphus is said to be the King of Corinth. During his reign he became notorious for his cunningness. Stories about him differ. According to one myth, he cheated. both Zeus and Hades. Once he saw Zeus kidnap a nymph, Aegina, who was the daughter.of the river god Asopus.

Sisyphus betrayed Zeus' secrets by revealing the whereabouts of Aegina to Asopus in exchange of a spring to flow on Corinth. This enraged Zeus who asked Thanatos (Death) to enchain and drag Sisyphus to the underworld. But Sisyphus.tricked and imprisoned Thanatos. At this Ares, the war god,reached Corinth, freed Thanatos and took Sisyphus to the underworld.

However, before his death Sisyphus had instructed his wife not to bury his body. He also told her not to perform funeral rituals. But when he was taken to the underworld he persuaded Persephone (the queen of the underworld) to allow him to return to. the upper world for just three days so that he can arrange his funeral and punish his wife for neglecting her duties. 

Persephone allowed him to go back to Corinth. Once back to the world, Sisyphus forgot his promise and refused to return to the world of the dead until the end of his life, when Hermes forcibly dragged him back there again. There are other versions of the story also.

For betraying Zeus and Hades, Sisyphus was given eternal punishment in Tartarus,the lowest region of the underworld. He was placed at the foot of a steep hill with a huge piece of stone. The gods asked him to roll the stone up the top of the hill and then, let it roll down to the other side of the hill.

They told him if he succeeded to do that his punishment would end. Each time he reached the top, the stone rolled back down to the bottom from where he started, forcing Sisyphus to start again. Thus, Sisyphus' punishment went on endlessly.

Albert Camus has used this myth to explain his philosophy about human existence in precarious situations. [see The Theatre ofthe Absurd]


An extremely handsome boy who fell in love with his own image reflected in'the water of a well. He was the son of the river-god, Cephisus, and the nymph Leiriope. Echo,the nymph, loved Narcissus but he paid no attention to her because he was mad for his own image. He died in anguish because he could not reach his beloved, his own image.


An offspring of Night. It means “righteous anger”. In Greek literature nemesis personifies the wrath of the gods at man's pride.


A mortal who was the greatest of all musicians. He was the son of one of the Muses and a Thracian prince. His mother presented him with music. He played the lyre so sweetly that his music moved rocks and trees. He married Eurydice who died after the wedding. He loved his wife so deeply that he wanted to go to the underworld to bring her back.

He charmed the guards and rulers of the underworld by his music and he was allowed to bring his beloved back to earth on one condition that he would not look back at her when she would follow him until they reached the upper world. He started his journey back but he became so impatient to have a glance of his beloved that he turned back. Instantly Eurydice left him saying “Farewell”.

Osiris:-The Egyptian god of fertility, resurrection and the dead. Isis was his sister and wife.


The god of herds and shepherds. He was the son of Hermes. Sometimes he was believed to be the son of Zeus. He was always noisy and merry. HHe was partly animal. He had goat's horns on his head and goat's hooves instead of feet. He was a musician. He loved wilderness and made fearful sounds at night. The word “panic” was derived from his name “Pan” to suggest fear.


The first woman created by Hephaestus out of clay. To punish Prometheus, Zeus ordered Hephaestus to create her. All the gods contributed to her beauty and charm and, for this reason, her name was Pandora which means “all gifts”. The gods also presented her with a box containing all the evils and warned her never to open it.

They then sent her to Epimethéus (afterthought), the brother of Prometheus (forethought). Prometheus advised his brother never to receive any gift from Zeus. But Epimetheus could not refuse the gift of charming Pandora. He accepted the gift ignoring his brother's advice.

 Pandora could not control her curiosity about the contents of the box. She opened it and all the evils of the world, the causes of all human sufferings came out from it. However, the box had also in it “hope” which provided solace for mankind.

Persephone (Proserpina):-

The goddess of agriculture. Her parents were Zeus and Demeter. Hades, the god of the underworld abducted and married her without the knowledge of Demeter. When Demeter came to know it, Hades managed Persephone to eat pomegranate seeds, sacred to the lower world.

For this reason, even after her return to her mother, Persephone was obliged to come to Hades for four months every year. Persephone was also known as Kore, meaning “the maiden”. [see Demeter and Hades]

Poseidon (Neptune):-

The god of sea. He was also the earth shaker and the god of horses. Cronus and Rhea were his parents and Zeus was his brother. He helped Apollo build the wall of Troy. His symbol of authority was the trident.


The last goddess of Olympia. Psyche was the third daughter of a king. She was more beautiful than Aphrodite (Venus), the goddess of love. Aphrodite was envious of Psyche's beauty. She planned to humiliate her.She sent her son, Cupid to inspire Psyche to fall in love with some ugly creature but Psyche was so beautiful that Cupid himself fell in love with Psyche.

Cupid took Psyche to his palace and warned that she never should try to see him in light. But Psyche's two sisters instigated her to see him saying that Cupid might be a snake that would devour her one day. So, one night Psyche held a lamp and looked at sleeping Cupid. At this a drop of hot oil fell on Cupid and waked him up.

Cupid became very angry at the disobedience of Psyche and left her. After a long time of struggle she found Cupid who married her and the Olympians accepted her as the last goddess. [see Cupid]

Rhea (Ops):-

The goddess of earth. She was the daughter of Ge and Uranus. Her husband was Cronus. Her children were Demeter,Hestia, Zeus, Hera, Hades and Poseidon. Her sacred animal was lion. The Romans worshipped her as a goddess of the harvest.


A mythological monster. The name means “the demon of death”. The Sphinx had the body of a winged lion and the head and breasts of a woman. Sophocles uses it in Oedipus Rex.


A river of the underworld. One who drank the water of this river or bathed in it became immortal.


A goddess of order and justice.

Tiresias (also Teiresias):-

The blind prophet of Thebes. He was the son of Eueres and Chariclo. He was transformed into a woman and again into a man. There is an interesting story about how Tiresias was changed into a woman and again into a man:

Once Tiresias was walking through a forest. He saw two snakes while they were copulating. He separated them with a blow of his staff. Hera was not pleased with what Tiresias did. She transformed him into a woman. After living seven years as a woman Tiresias again saw the copulation of the snakes. He separated them in the same way. Hera was displeased and transformed him into a man. Thus, he had both male and female experiences in sex.

There are several tales about the cause of his blindness and power of prophecy. According to one story, he was blinded by Athene because he looked at her beauty when she was bathing. At the request of Chariclo, his mother, Athene, however, gave her power of prophecy in compensation.

According to another story, once Zeus claimed that a woman had more pleasure than a man in sex; but Hera claimed that the man had more pleasure than the woman. They met Tiresias who had experienced both the male and female pleasures of making love and asked him to settle the dispute.

Tiresias declared that Zeus' opinion was correct. He said, “Of ten parts a man enjoys one only.” At this Hera became very angry and blinded him. To compensate for the loss of his sight Zeus gave Tiresias the gift of prophecy and a lifespan of seven lives.

The myth of Tiresias has been used by many ancient and modern writers: Sophocles used it in Oedipus Rex and Antogone, Homer in Odyssey, Dante in Divine Comedy, T. S. Eliot in The Waste Land,etc.


The immortal mortal. He was the husband of the Roman goddess, Aurora(Eos),the goddess of the dawn. Aurora requested Zeus to grant immortality to Tithonus. Zeus made Tithonus immortal. As Aurora did not ask for immortal youth, Zeus did not bless him with immortal youth. Tithonus grew old and prayed for death but could not die.

At last, to relieve him from unbearable life, he was changed into a grasshopper. Memnon of Ethiopia was the son of Tithonus and Aurora. Tennyson used this myth in his famous poem, “Tithonus”.

Zeus (Jupiter):

The King of Olympus. His name means “bright” or “shinning”. The Romans called him Jove or Jupiter. His father was Cronus (Saturn) and his mother was Rhea (Ops). There is an interesting story about his birth:

Cronus came to know that one of his children would dethrone him. So, he swallowed each of his five children just after their birth. At the birth of the sixth child, Rhea gave to her husband, a piece of stone covered in clothes instead of the child. Cronus swallowed it believing it was the child.

She sent the child secretly to Crete where he grew up to manhood. He was called Zeus. Later, Zeus expelled his father with the help of Prometheus and became the King of all gods and goddesses of Olympus. Zeus married his sister Hera (Juno) who gave birth to Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus. Being the King he also enjoyed extra-marital relationship with many others and became father of many children.

From his love with Demeter was born Persephone, with Leto were born Apollo and Artemis, with Maia was born Hermes; his love with Dione gave birth to Aphrodite, with Io gave birth to Epaphus, with Danae to Perseus. From his love with Alcmene came Hercules, with Aegina came Aeacus, the grandfather of Achilles.

From his amorous relationship with Leda were born Hellen and Pollux, and with Semele was born Dionysus. Agamemnon and Menelaus descended from his union with Europa. This amorous Zeus was sometimes cruel and, at times, cowardly. However, he was also a just guardian of mankind.

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Ok, Go it!