Greek gods

Guide to the Gods 1.0

Ancient Greece: E - G

Copyright by Mark de la Hey, 1994, 1995.


(Latin Ilithyia)

Greek goddess of childbirth. Daughter of Zeus and Hera. Sister of Ares, Eris, Hebe and Hephaistos. Her cult appears to have originated in Crete, where it remained most popular after its spread to the rest of the Greek world. In Homer she is described as the personification of the pain of childbirth. In later times, she was largely superseded by Artemis as a goddess of childbirth.


(Latin Irene)

"Peace". Greek goddess of peace. One of the three Horae (Seasons) along with her sisters Dike and Eunomia. Daughter of Zeus and Themis. Equated by the Romans with their goddess Pax.


Greek demonesses and emissaries of Hecate.


One of the Greek Titans. Son of Gaea. After the Titans were defeated by the gods led by Zeus, he fled to Sicily, where he was killed by Herakles or Athena. Mount Aetna was placed over his body and was believed to come to activity whenever he turned over or hissed.


Minor Greek god of war. A companion of Ares, or perhaps merely one of his epithets.


A minor Greek goddess of war who accompanied Ares into battle. Daughter of Ares and Aphrodite. Equated by the Romans with their goddess Bellona.


(Latin Aurora)

Greek goddess of the dawn. Daughter of Hyperion and Theia. Sister of Helios (sun) and Selene (moon). Homer referes to her as "rosy- fingered dawn". The morning dew was said to be the tears she shed for her son Memnon who fell at Troy. Hesiod gives her consort as Astraeus, by whom she was said to be the mother of winds Zephyrus, Notus, as well as of the evening star Hesperus. Other versions make her the consort of Aeolos. The Romans referred to her as Aurora.


Greek muse of lyric poetry, particularly love poetry. Daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne. Usually depicted with a lyre.



The darkness of the underworld below Hades, personified as a deity in Hesiod. Son of Chaos and Nyx (night). He later became the consort of Nyx, by whom he fathered Aether (light) and Hemera (day).



Legendary god-king of Athens, and an earth or ancestor spirit of the Athenian people. He was said to be the son of Hephaistos, whose semen fell upon the earth (Gaea) when he attempted to rape the goddess Athena. Athena raised him at the Athenian Acropolis. Erechtheus was depicted either as a snake or with the tail of a snake.


Greek river god. It was into the river Eridanus that Phaethon plunged after his ill-fated attempt to drive the sun-chariot. Some have tentatively identified this as the river Po.


(sing. Erinys, Eumenides, Roman Furies)

Greek avenging goddesses. According to Hesiod, they were born from the blood of the castrated god Ouranos which fell upon Gaea, the earth. Euripedes was the first to give there number as three: Alekto ("unceasing"), Megaira ("jealous"), and Tisiphone ("avenger of murder"). They punished criminals, especially those who sinned against their parents. Depicted with snake-covered heads and bearing torches from the underworld, where they lived. Often referred to euphemistically as the Eumenides ("the kind ones") or as the Semnai ("the venerable ones").


Greek goddess of discord and strife. Daughter of Zeus and Hera. Sister and companion of Ares. Mother of Ate by Zeus. It was her Golden Apple ("apple of discord") which created the strife among the gods that ultimately led to the Trojan War. Eris threw the apple among the guests at a wedding feast, with the inscription "to the fairest". Hera, Aphrodite and Athena each claimed the apple. Zeus attempted to resolve the conflict by having Paris decide the issue. Paris awarded the apple to Aphrodite, who rewarded him by helping him to take Helen with him to Troy. Hera and Athena vowed to bring destruction to Troy in revenge for the slight. Her Roman equivalent was Discordia.


(Roman Amor)

Greek god of love and fertility. In Hesiod, he was said to have been born of Chaos. He was later said to be the son of Aphrodite and one of Ares, Hephaistos, Zeus or Hermes. Eros was accompanied by Pothos (longing) and Himeros (desire). Depicted as a winged youth with bow and arrows. His arrows had the power to make both gods and mortals fall in love.


See Aether.


See Erinyes.


"Good Order". Greek goddess of law and order. One of the Horae (Seasons) along with Dike and Eirene. Daughter of Zeus and Themis. The Horae were entrusted with guarding the gates of Olympus. They were collectively honoured in the annual festival of the Horaea.



"Joy". One of the Greek Charites (Graces). Euphrosyne was the personification of joy and festivity. The Charites were said to be the daughters of Zeus and either Hera or Eurynome.


(Eurus) Greek god of east wind. Son of Eos, possibly by Astraeus. Sometimes equated by the Romans with Volturnus, the god of the river Tiber.


One of the Greek Gorgons, daughters of Ceto and Phorkys. Her sister Gorgons were Medusa and Stheno.


A Greek Dryad (woodland nymph); wife of Orpheus. She was bitten by a snake while fleeing Aristaeus, whence she died and descended to the Underworld. In a famous tale, her husband Orpheus descended to the Underworld to retrieve her. Hades allowed Eurydice to follow Orpheus to the surface, on condition that Orpheus refrained from looking upon Eurydice until they had left the Underworld. The two reached the threshold between the Underworld and the world of the living, but Orpheus turned to look at Eurydice before they had actually crossed the threshold, and Eurydice was immediately whisked back to the realm of Hades, condemned to eternal death.


One of the Greek Oceanids (Okeanides), daughters of Okeanos and Tethys. According to Apollonius of Rhodes, Eurynome was a primordial goddess who ruled Olympus with Ophion before the advent of Kronos. She had a cult centre at Phigaleia in Arcadia.


Greek muse of flute playing, variously given as the patron of tragedy or of lyric poetry. Daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne. Her symbol was the double flute, which she was said to have invented.


(Latin Fata or Parcae; Greek Moirae)

Hesiod gives the Greek Moirae as Atropos, Clotho and Lachesis. Their Roman counterparts were Decima, Nona (goddesses of birth) and Morta (goddess of death).


See Gaia.


(Gaea, Ge)

Greek earth goddess and personification of the earth. She was said to be second in the order of existence after Chaos, or was said to be his daughter. She gave birth to Ouranos (heaven) and Pontos (sea). Ouranos then became her consort. Their children included Kronos, Okeanos, the Cyclops and the Titans. Later, when Ouranos was castrated by Kronos, his semen combined with Gaia to engender the Erinyes, the Giants, and perhaps Aphrodite as well. Similarly, when Hephaistos failed in his attempt to rape Athena, his semen fell to the earth and resulted in the birth of the Athenian serpent-king Erechtheus. By Tartarus she was the mother of the monster Typhon. Gaia's cult was particularly prominent in Attica. She was also said to have had an oracle at Delphi that predated the oracle of Apollo. Her attributes included the fruits of the earth and the Cornucopia. According to Homer, Gaia was invoked in oaths along with Helios (sun).


Greek Nereid of Sicily.


Thracian thunder god.



Greek sea god. He was said to have been a fisherman who became a god when he ate a magic herb. He then leaped into the sea where he developed a tail and remained as a guardian deity of fishermen. His cult was very popular among fishermen and sailors. Glaukos was also reputed to have a gift for prophecy.


Greek female monster figures. Homer spoke of only one Gorgon. In Hesiod, however, there were three Gorgons: Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa -- the daughters of Phorkys and Ceto. They were winged, had hair consisting of snakes, and were depicted with large teeth and protruding tongues. Any mortal who looked upon would be turned to stone. Representations of their heads were used to ward off evil in Greek temples. Stheno and Euryale were immortal. Medusa, however, was mortal, and she was eventually killed by Perseus. Medusa's head was subsequently affixed to the Aegis, Athena's famous goatskin shield.


Greek Charites (qv). The Romans referred to them as the Gratiae, which differ little from the Charites.



Greek grey goddesses who guarded the cavern of the Gorgons. Daughters of Phorkys and Ceto. Their names were Deino, Enyo and Pephredo. They were depicted as old hags who had one eye and one tooth among them, which they shared. Perseus stole both the eye and the tooth on his mission to kill the Gorgon Medusa.

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