Hermes was the god of business, travel, weights, sports and measures. He was also the messenger of the gods and guided the souls of the dead to the underworld. He was also the patron of thieves, graves, messengers and herdsmen. His staff could cause men to fall asleep instantly.
Zeus was the king of the gods. He could control the weather. The ancient Greek poet, Hesiod, called him the ‘cloud-gatherer’ and the ‘thunderer.’ His most powerful weapon was his ability to generate thunderbolts. The Greeks believed that when lightning struck Earth, it was a sign of Zeus being present.
Zeus was also concerned with hospitality. If you treated a guest or stranger badly, you would run the risk of outraging Zeus.
Apollo was the god of the sun, truth, music, poetry, dance and healing. Poets and bards put themselves under his protection.
Artemis was the goddess of hunting, archery and childbirth. She was also the goddess of wild animals and was normally portrayed as living in the countryside. Ancient Greeks believed that she could send plagues or sudden death to mortals, but, on the flipside, could also heal them. She also happened to be the twin sister of the god Apollo.
Athena was the goddess of war and wisdom. She is also the goddess of wool-working and pot-making. She is mostly associated with the city, and almost every town in Greece had a sanctuary dedicated only to Athena.
She also invented the chariot, the bridle and built the first ship. The olive tree is sacred to her.
Hephaistos was the god of fire, volcanoes, blacksmiths and craftworkers. He was lame, and this led to him being thrown out of Mount Olympus. He was married to the goddess Aphrodite. He was the father of Erechtheus, the legendary king of Athens.
Poseidon was the god of the sea and horses. He was the brother of Zeus. He was known for his extremely bad temper and was greatly feared because of his ability to cause huge earthquakes. He was believed to be able to make fresh water pour forth from the bowels of the earth.
Ares was the god of war. However, unlike Athena, he was not very cunning, or wise, in battle. He was not a popular god at all. In ‘The Iliad,’ Zeus complained that Ares was the most hated of all his children.
Hera was the wife of Zeus and the queen of all the gods. She is the goddess of weddings and marriage. She was extremely jealous of the many affairs undertaken by Zeus. She took terrible revenge on the girlfriends and illegitimate children of her husband.