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Characters: Classical Mythology Olympians


Zeus was the father-god of the pantheon; his domain was the sky and thunder, associated with leadership and law. His Roman equivalent is Jupiter, with whom he was identified. note 
  • Abduction Is Love: He carried away several of his lovers, most notably Europa and Ganymede.
  • Abusive Dad: Sexually abused his daughter Persephone (seduced her in the form of a serpent, committing rape by fraud) and badmouths Ares.
  • Anything That Moves: This fact usually led to something terrible happening.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: He was the toughest of the Olympians, and also their leader.
  • Badass: You betcha.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: Zeus is the Trope Codifier.
  • The Cape: His most admirable qualities are his hate for liars, oath breakers and the unjust. Ironically, he was these very things in his personal life.
  • The Casanova: See Anything That Moves.
  • Cool Horse: He kept Pegasus after Bellerophon's fall.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Usually went for beautiful women, but like most Greek men of his age, he was charmed by a Pretty Boy or two. Just ask Ganymede.
  • Deus ex Machina: There are several stories where Zeus shows up out of nowhere to magically solve a problem or end some poor sod's suffering only to then disappear.
  • Doting Parent: Seem to love his daughters dearly. Athena is his favorite child, to the point that she can borrow the Aegis whenever she wants it. He once gives Artemis one wish with no condition, although she simply asks him to never put her in an Arranged Marriage. And while his suggestion to Hades to kidnap Persephone seems to be a subversion, some versions of the myth note that some of Persephone's brothers, including Apollo and Hermes, already have their eyes on her, so it's understandable.
    • There might be Values Dissonance involved here, though, as getting your daughter a high-status husband probably would've qualified as good parenting back in a time where Arranged Marriage was more common.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Divine on Mortal: He's the trope image, and around a third of the examples are devoted to his exploits.
  • Grandpa God: Portrayed as this sometimes.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: Would often impregnate women by making contact with them in the form of an animal.
  • Hypocrite: Zeus overthrew Kronos for trying to eat him and took offense at people who engaged in cannibalism, violated oaths or hospitality punishing offenders severely. Yet Zeus engaged i the same behaviors himself and was at willing to let such behavior slide if he would cause him too much trouble like having a powerful god supporting you or if he liked you.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: When Metis, Athena's mother, got pregnant, Zeus ate her. Some versions state that any child Metis bore would be more powerful than his/her father, and Zeus ate her out of fear of such a child overthrowing him. Sure enough, Athena is more powerful than Zeus, but she's also totally loyal to Olympus.
  • Incest Is Relative: Had sex with many of his relatives.
  • Jerkass: However, his character in the myths is quite balanced, and this is not true in every story.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Pretty much how his character comes across overall. Of course, whether you encountered the "Jerk" or the "Heart of Gold" depended on who you were, what you had done, and whether you encountered the big guy on a good day.
  • Jerkass God: Not always, it must be said. Yes, he's often abusive to other gods and mortals, but he is also the god of justice and he DOES' punish the truly vile, even if he has hypocrisy issues.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He orchestrated the Trojan War, causing the deaths of thousands, for two reasons. One was because he was concerned that some of the many demigods now populating the world would eventually overthrow him and the other Olympians. The other was that Gaia was complaining to him that there were too many people living on her, and Zeus wanted to keep her happy so she wouldn't create any more monsters like Typhon or the Giants. Either way, he had little remorse for causing a war that killed many of his own relatives and offspring so he could stay in power.
  • Mr. Seahorse: To Athena (who was born from his head) and Dionysus (whose mother died before he was born, so Zeus put him under his thigh).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: A lot of the worse things that happened in the mythos is because of the fact that he Really Gets Around.
  • Not So Different: He is not that different from his father Cronus almost to a point of becoming his own antithesis. He was such a poor king that, at one point, his own wife and loyal daughter Athena, among others, nearly overthrew him in a rebellion. Whereas Cronos ate his children to preserve his reign, Zeus one-upped him by eating his consort Metis due to a prophecy that a male child of her's would overthrow Zeus. Some versions hold he married the sea nymph Thetis off to a mortal for the same reason instead of pursuing her himself. His other consorts and children escaped such fates only due to him knowing exactly who the threat was instead of a vague prophecy like Cronos.
  • Offing the Offspring: Has both been the victim of and perpetrated this.
  • One-Winged Angel: In the myth of the birth of Dionysus, Hera tricked Semele into asking Zeus to show his true divine form. Due to swearing by the River Styx, he couldn't refuse, and turns into a living embodiment of lightning and tempest. The only things left after that were Dionysus' fetus and Semele's ashes.
  • Parental Incest: He had a creepy habit of taking on various forms (such as a serpent, or Hades) to have sex with Persephone, resulting in several children.
  • The Patriarch: He's the big daddy of the gods.
  • Really Gets Around: Seeing a pattern developing here?
  • Sacred Hospitality: Or Xenia, one of the domains he protected.
  • Science Marches On: Zeus was described as giving birth to Athena "by himself" because many Greeks believed that women didn't contribute to child development beyond holding the man's seed. Thus Metis proved Zeus's body was just as good after he ate her, passing on the whole embryo development process to him and using the time to forge Athena's armor, her pounding causing headaches that eventually lead to his head being split open. To a modern audience, though, nothing is really proved because we know sperm needs to meet an egg.
    • This is also the logic that leads to him taking Dionysus into his hip, further "proving" the father of the gods can do everything the mother can.
      • Let's also take into account we are discussing a man who throws lightning and shape-shifts.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Zeus could be seen as the Manly Man to Hades' Sensitive Guy.
  • Shapeshifting Lover: Perseus was conceived when Zeus rained on Perseus' mother in the form of gold, and Zeus turned into Hades just to seduce Persephone!
  • Shock and Awe: The Bolt of Divine Retribution, it's his iconic weapon.
  • Shipper on Deck: In some versions, Hades asks him for marriage with Persephone. Zeus doesn't object at all and even suggests Hades just kidnap his daughter.
  • Top God: The Trope Codifier for the "King of Gods" version, effectively gained by toppling Cronus.
  • Truly Single Parent: To Athena.
  • Youngest Child Wins: The youngest son of Cronus and the one who ultimately triumphs over him and leads the Olympians.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Not a model of conjugal all!


Zeus' older sister and wife. She was the goddess of marriage and women. Perpetually ticked off at anyone who wronged her, such as insulting her, allowing themselves to be seduced by her husband or being the love-child of such an assignation. The Romans identified her with their goddess Juno.
  • Virgin Power: According to a myth from Argos, Hera once every year restored her virginity by bathing in the spring of Kanathos. According to different myths, she birthed Hephaestus without any male involvement.
    • According to a Roman myth, Juno gave birth to Mars (Ares) without any male involvement, but Vulcan (Hephaestus) was fathered by Jupiter.
  • What Beautiful Eyes: Much is made of her having large, dark eyes. Common epithets are "sloe-eyed" and "cow-eyed."
  • Woman Scorned: Most myths about her focused on this aspect.
  • Yandere: To a certain extent; most of her crazy is generally turned against Zeus' paramours, though he felt the lash of her scorn as well. It's just that she couldn't do anything to Zeus besides yell at him.


God of the ocean, earthquakes and (to a lesser extent) horses. The Romans equated him with their god Neptune, related to the Etruscan god "Nethuns."
  • Always Someone Better: Poseidon always resented being second to Zeus despite being older and master of the seas. In personality and stories he comes off as being a lesser version of Zeus.
  • Anything That Moves: Like Zeus up there. That said, his wife didn't seem to care, probably because she didn't want to marry him in the first place.
  • Badass: One of the toughest of the gods.
  • Bi the Way: See Homosexual Reproduction below.
  • Big Bad: Of The Odyssey.
  • The Casanova: Overshadowed by Zeus' philandering, but he too got around. Though it's not like anyone really remembers him at all anymore for this. Did you know he had a wife named Amphitrite?
    • Poseidon's philandering does give us two major stories:
      • In the version current at the time of/popularized by Ovid, Medusa became a hideous monster because he raped her (originally a beautiful priestess) in a temple of Athena.
      • Poseidon slept with/raped Queen Aethra of Athens on the same night as her husband King Aegeus. The resulting child, Theseus, was therefore partly Poseidon's son and partly Aegeus' (the Greeks, as mentioned before, didn't know how reproduction actually works). This is probably an after-the-fact myth to explain why Athens seemed to have such power over the sea.
  • Father Neptune: Certainly the Trope Namer, maybe the Trope Codifier.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He often quarreled with other gods over worship rights to cities, compared to other gods more prone to holding grudges and Disproportionate Retribution, and being as changeable as the sea would be known to conjur storms when set off by nearly anything.
  • Homosexual Reproduction: Fell in love with Pretty Boy sea god Nerites, who returned Poseidon's affections. Their coupling gave birth to Anteros, the personification of requited love.
  • Making a Splash: Duh, he's the God of the Sea!
  • Papa Wolf: Odysseus messed with one of his kids and lived to regret it.
  • Prongs of Poseidon: The Trope Namer, for his Weapon of Choice.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Poseidon never had a merman's fish tail. This would be absurd, as he wasn't born the god of the seas, but won rule over his watery domain when the three brothers drew lots to divide the world amongst themselves. The fishy lower half actually belonged to Poseidon's son Triton, god of waves and his father's herald.
  • Shapeshifting Lover: For instance, some myths say he took the form of a bird to seduce Medusa.
  • Unwanted Spouse: To Amphitrite, who hid from him when he asked for her hand in marriage. He sent dolphins to try and persuade her into marrying him, which they did, making this a possible subversion (it's too hard to tell though, since Amphitrite doesn't appear much).


God of the Underworld, though not a Grim Reaper-type figure. Reigned over the dead, wealth hidden in the ground and the earth as an element in general. Despite his association with death, his original depiction and characterization was never as despicable as the usual modern interpretation. In fact, he was a rather ambivalent figure towards mortals. note  Romans called him Pluto, latinizing the Greek epithet Plouton/Ploutos (meaning "wealthy"; gold and silver come from underground, he's the lord of the underworld—makes sense, right?), and also named him Dis (Latin for "wealthy").
  • Abduction Is Love: As noted, he brought his wife Persephone to the Underworld by force but isn't presented as all that unhappy. And before Persephone, there was Leuce, which he also kidnapped and made his lover.
  • Badass: He doesn't see a lot of action, but he's the measuring stick the Greeks use for how terrifying something is.
  • Birds of a Feather: He and his wife both have the emotional range of a statue.
  • Casting a Shadow: Although he is best remembered for his associations with the Underworld, the night itself is sometimes credited as one of his domains (in spite of other deities like Nyx).
  • Cool Helmet: It's often forgotten in adaptations, but just as Zeus has his lightning bolt and Poseidon his trident, Hades has his own iconic item forged by the Cyclops, namely the Helm of Darkness that allowed him to become invisible.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: At least, the way he was portrayed by the Hellenes; he was one of a very few gods who was never a Jerkass to mortals. Modern audiences think of him very differently.
  • The Dreaded: The Greeks were terrified of Death, and by default, of Hades as well. It didn't help that, unlike the other theoi, he was almost impossible to sweet-talk out of doing something.
  • Fluffy Tamer: This guy was able to tie Cerberus to a post and tell him to "stay."
  • God Couple: With Persephone.
  • Good Is Not Nice: He has one of the more important jobs in the pantheon and is one of the least malicious of the gods who honors his deals and generally doesn't screw around in mortal affairs. That said, his dark and dour nature also means he's incredibly well-suited to his task.
  • Happily Married: Honestly seems to love Persephone. He's one of the only gods in the entire pantheon who never cheated on his spouse (Menthe tried to get him to cheat, but Persephone nipped that in the bud). Sometimes bordering on Single-Target Sexuality.
  • He Who Must Not Be Named: Mortals and even the other gods don't like speaking his name. His temples are always dedicated anonymously because death worship is considered taboo.
  • I Have Many Names: Since the Greeks didn't like to refer to him by name, they had a whole list of other names to call him instead. The most common was Plouton ("Giver of Wealth") but, according to Sophocles, he was also referred to as Clymenus ("notorious"), Polydegmon ("who receives many") and Eubuleus (which, ironically enough, can be translated as "well-intentioned"). Even his usual name is a euphemism ("Unseen One").
  • Incest Is Relative: Persephone is his niece (paternal and maternal; her parents are his younger brother Zeus and sister Demeter).
  • Invisibility Cloak: The Helm of Darkness (obviously not actually a cloak).
  • Manly Tears: Orpheus was able to get Hades to shed "iron tears" by playing his lyre.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: His Roman incarnation, Pluto, is the God of Wealth (although Taste is less certain). Not a villain, although he is the Trope Namer for Everybody Hates Hades, and early Christians adopted aspects of him for their depiction of Satan.
  • May-December Romance: Even though Greek gods don't age, there is still a generational gap between him and Persephone.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Hades is the god of wealth, and is generally portrayed as the god with the most subjects to govern.
  • Odd Friendship: With Hermes, who apparently doesn't mind working with him on a regular basis, or asking for the Helm of Darkness.
  • Orcus on His Throne: How humans entering the Underworld (Hercules, Theseus, Orpheus, etc.) would find him and Persephone.
  • Prongs of Poseidon: When he has to take action, sometimes he is depicted with a bident.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Hades treated the dead according to their actions in life-the most virtuous went to the Elysian Fields, those who were neither very good or very evil existed in a state not that different from life, and only the wicked truly suffered. He also kept his deals, such as allowing Dionysus to leave Hades in exchange for his "best beloved" (his grapevines) and allowing Heracles to take Cerberus when he overcame the hellhound without the use of weapons. He only got pissed off when he was actually crossed, such as when Apollo's son Asclepius learned to raise the dead and Hades complained to Zeus about being cheated out of the deal that allowed him to reign over the souls of the dead. When Theseus and Peirithoos tried to sneak into the Underworld to abduct Persephone, Hades imprisoned them in stone seats, and while he eventually allowed Heracles to free Theseus, he did not extend that forgiveness to Peirithoos, who'd come up with the harebrained plan in the first place.
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: Kerberos, or Cerberus.
  • The Sacred Darkness: Of the "does an unpopular, but important job" variety.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Hence Everybody Hates Hades.
    • The hilarious irony is that the Ancient Greeks hated him as wellnote . Thanks to Values Dissonance, he's become Unintentionally Sympathetic to modern audiences.
    • Regardless of his popularity, he most definitely never had any plans to overthrow his brother, or any huge resentment for getting stuck with the Underworld. He and Zeus actually got along well enough that Hades could just waltz in and ask him for a bride, or request to have someone blasted with lightning, and some texts have Zeus emphasize the comparability of their lots when Demeter complains to him about the whole Persephone deal.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Towards Persephone. In the erliest known versions of his myths, he is never described with anyone but Persephone. Leuce and Minthe seem to be later, Roman additions.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Could be seen as the Sensitive Guy to Zeus' Manly Man.
  • The Stoic: The one time he is driven to Tender Tears, they are tears of iron.
  • Workaholic: As the God of the Dead, he has the biggest workload among the Gods. He oughta slow down, or he'll work himself to death!


Goddess of the hearth, meaning that she was the goddess of home, house and family. An important goddess, but one whose domains did not lend to participation in many stories, which is why most people forget she exists. This, in addition to her modest and discreet nature, would keep her out of trouble. Her Roman equivalent was Vesta (as in "Vestal virgins").
  • Actual Pacifist: The only Olympian who never really took part in the antics of her siblings.
  • The Chick: In a way. She doesn't especially contribute to the cohesion of her brethren (she mostly stays out of any argument), but she has all the classical traits otherwise.
  • Fire of Comfort: Hestia's domain.
  • God of Good: The most benevolent Olympian in and out of universe.
  • Hearth Is An Awesome Power: Although today, Hestia's domains are considered rather insignificant, she was one of the most important gods in the entire Greek Pantheon (though this isn't reflected in the myths). She was the goddess one would pray to for most of the daily troubles. Still considered to have awesome power by some modern worshipers. She was traditionally the center of the home (where the hearth was located), the city (because there was a central hearth for every city) and the earth (because they thought there was a fire in the center of the earth and the stones and earth surrounding this fire kept it from blazing out of control). And since they believed in a geocentric universe, she could be interpreted as the center of the universe. She is officially the goddess of political buildings. And as the goddess of the altar she has, or at least had, a role in all religious ceremonies. Heart is an awesome power indeed!
  • Proper Lady: You know the whole 'divine dignity' thing? She's the best example with her proper behavior. The other gods are too Jerkass to mortals and each other.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: One of, if not the most moral of the Olympians.
  • Team Mom: Essentially the role she plays among the Olympians, not that she's very good at maintaining them.
  • Virgin Power: One of the three virgin goddesses, along with Artemis and Athena.


Goddess of grain, fertility, the "life" parts of the life-and-death cycle, and marriage laws. Her name literally means "Earth Mother" (de + meter). The Romans equated her with their agricultural goddess Ceres, from whom English gets the word cereal.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: In most myths that don't involve her daughter. For example, when she counsels Psyche on how to get Aphrodite on her good side without pissing her off any further as thanks for cleaning up one of her temples.
  • Seasonal Baggage: Persephone leaves to meet Hades for half of the year.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Starving the entire world? Definitely extreme. Starving the entire world because your daughter went missing? Still extreme, but understandable.


The goddess of love, beauty, and sexuality, who was also associated with looking after children. As Aphrodite Ourania, this was extended to include what literally translates to "heavenly" or "divine love." In Rome, she was called Venus.
  • Abusive Mom: Aphrodite had her moments such as leaving Eros with the Maniae and punishing him for "daring" to have a beautiful wife.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Had an affair with Ares, the Badass god of war, despite being married to the humble Hephaestus. According to the prevalent myths, Aphrodite gave birth to Ares' children Eros (love), Harmony, Phobos (fear), and Deimos (terror). She also had two sons by crafty Hermes, god of thieves: Priapos and Hermaphroditos, although according to another version Priapos was fathered by Dionysus.
  • All Women Are Lustful: What the Greek society believed.
  • Anything That Moves: Almost as much as Zeus.
  • Big Bad: Essentially the antagonist of Eros and Psyche's story.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She's the lovely godess of love yet she's as jerkass as the others.
  • Born as an Adult: In one of the squickiest ways possible.
  • Canon Immigrant: She originated as the main deity of Cyprus, and is also identified with the Egyptian Isis, Semitic Astarte, and Mesopotamian Innana/Ishtar.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: In The Iliad, Helen recognizes her by her "desirable breasts."
  • Femme Fatale: She is the goddess of love, and her girdle makes her even more desirable.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: The Trojan War, against Athena (as well as Hera).
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: She doesn't get angry often, but when she does you do not want to be on the one who angered her.
  • Living Aphrodisiac: Trope Namer.
  • Love Goddess: Her dominions in the pantheon were love and beauty.
  • Mama Bear: While she had a lot of children from her various adultery, some of them she really cared for, like Aeneas. She got wounded by Diomedes for protecting him.
    • There's also the darker side of this: She's such a Doting Parent to Eros that she flipped when Eros fell in love with Psyche, furthering her role as the Big Bad of her tale.
  • Ms. Fanservice: One of the originals. She was often depicted topless, or fully nude, and well, just read her descriptions.
  • Multiple Choice Past: She was either born from Ouranos' cut-off genitalia (making her one of the oldest goddesses), or from Zeus and either Dione or Thalassa. Later philosophers would differentiate between the older, heavenly Aphrodite (ourania) and the younger, common Aphrodite (pandemos, of all people).
  • My Girl Is a Slut: Her sexual nature was depicted as generally positive.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Pity poor, poor Psyche.
  • Pet the Dog: Her relationship with Adonis, who was born from a woman who was boasted to be more beautiful than Aphrodite so she cursed her, but even Aphrodite took pity on baby Adonis, entrusting her in care of Hades (of course she ended up bickering with Persephone, who grew to LIKE him too). When Adonis was killed (possibly by Ares), Aphrodite was grieving for him greatly and then caused his blood to grow into flower called 'Anemone' in his honor.
  • The Power of Love: It was one of her dominions.
  • Really Gets Around: With everyone but her husband.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: While the Ancient Greeks were never shy about nudity, Aphrodite was particularly notable for this trope.
  • Sleeps with Everyone but You: Her relationship with her husband.
  • Spear Counterpart: Her son Priapus, the extremely well-endowed god of male sexuality and fertility, equally revered and feared but not as important since, back in those times, men weren't supposed to be interested in sexuality that much.
  • Spontaneous Generation: Supposedly born when Kronos cut off Ouranos' genitals and threw them into the ocean. This lends to one of her other names, Philommedes, which translates as "lover of members". Because she was born from them, of course.
  • Swan Boats: Often depicted as riding a swan or a chariot pulled by swans. It's one of her signature animals.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Girly Girl to Athena's Tomboy.
  • The Trickster: She can be underhanded, as seen in the tale of Eros and Psyche.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Often said to be one of her characteristics.
  • The Worf Effect: She was the most beautiful goddes, yet often a human heroine or a semi-goddess with exceptional beauty would be compared to her and said to be her equal or a close runner-up, or even surpassing her.


Goddess of wisdom, which is a blanket term for things like weaving, strategy, industry, defensive war, justice, and skill. The Romans identified her with their goddess Minerva.
  • Action Girl: She wasn't Goddess of War for nothing.
  • Animal Motifs: Often associated with owls.
  • Badass: She's a war goddess. It comes with the job.
  • Badass Bookworm: Being goddess of war and wisdom.
  • Berserk Button: She really did not take kindly to being disrespected.
  • Blood Knight: One hymn describes her as such.
  • Born as an Adult: From her father's skull, no less!
  • Brother-Sister Team: Was often teamed up with Hermes due to them both being Zeus' favorite children.
  • By-the-Book Cop: As a goddess of intelligence, she will help people as long as they are following the rules and/or striving to right injustice. But breaking them means she will allow no mercy.
  • Chest Burster: More like skull burster, as she was born out of Zeus's head.
  • Daddy's Girl: She was intensely loyal to Zeus. Some versions of the Typhon vs. Zeus story say that she was the only one of the Gods who didn't flee when Typhon arrived. Though there was one time where she sided with Hera and Poseidon to overthrow him.
  • Dating Catwoman: Minerva was identified with Nerio, who was the wife of Mars (Ares).
  • Double Standard: Athena said that she is always for the male before the female because she never had a mother.
  • Emotionless Girl: Only occasionally did she allow her emotions to get the better of her. The rest of the time, she only punishes people who break the rules.
  • The Fettered: In some myths, she punished her own high priestess Medusa for losing her virginity to Poseidon. Regardless of whether it was rape or consensual, Medusa's vow had been broken, and there had to be a punishment.
  • Flight, Strength, Heart: Besides the above, as patron of Athens she was also the goddess of olives, Athens' greatest export.
  • Friend to All Children: She's just a bit less strict with children. She mentored Telemachus while his father Odysseus is away, took in the child produced by Hephaestus and Gaia after a failed rape attempt, and gave Tiresias the ability to prophesy as compensation for being blinded.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Herself as the smart one and Aphrodite as the beautiful one; unfortunately for the humans involved, they played out this rivalry through The Trojan War, and at one point deliberately sabotaged attempts to make peace.
  • Gray Eyes: A notable trait of hers.
  • Good with Numbers: She invented numbers and mathematics.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Nowadays, Athena often gets depicted as one of the nicer gods. Which she was, compared to some of the other ones, as long as people followed the rules. If they didn't, she would show no mercy—although of course, you can always say that Good Is Not Nice. She could also be exceptionally vindictive to those who slighted her, even indirectly (as the Trojans discovered).
  • Hot Librarian: Intelligent and depicted as very beautiful, though she is often portrayed as having a rather masculine figure, strongly built instead of slender.
  • Jerkass God: Less than most of the other Olympians, though as noted under Historical Hero Upgrade she wasn't always as nice in the original myths as she is portrayed in modern works.
  • Lady of War: We repeat: Goddess of War.
  • The Mentor: Trope Namer from The Odyssey, in which she played this role to Telemachus in the form of Mentor, an elderly man.
  • Multiple Choice Past: She can be the daughter of Kronus, Zeus or Pallas, depending on who you ask, which has implications on all of her following stories. Is she Zeus's sister, daughter or an outsider? Worse there are two different Pallas for her to interact with and which does what is not always consistent. One story has Athena or Zeus kill Pallas and then Athena takes his/her name, hence Pallas-Athena.
  • Naked First Impression: In one of the myths of the prophet Tiresias, he was a son of her attendants who accidentally stumbled on her bathing and was blinded when Athena covered his eyes. As she could not restore his sight, she gave him a long life, the ability to understand the language of birds, and his gift of prophecy.
    • Contrast this with Artemis and Actaeon, below. Same initial transgression, horrifyingly different consequences.
  • The Omniscient: She wasn't Goddess of Wisdom for nothing, though in the modern sense, "intelligence" is likely a better word than wisdom; she is extremely smart, but she was sometimes downright cruel.
  • Only Sane Woman: Generally seen as such, though probably too war-like by today's standards.
  • The Owl-Knowing One: She's associated with owls to symbolize her wisdom. Or perhaps she's associated with owls because they were associated with wisdom. Or maybe both she and owls were associated with wisdom because they were associated with Athens (which had a reputation for learning on one hand and had an unusually large population of Little Owls on the other). It's Ancient Greece; a lot got lost.

Apollon (Apollo)

God of "beardless youth," light, archery, the arts, etc. Later, he also became a solar deity, with the partial assimilation of Helios into Apollo. Romans also associated Phoebus with Helios and the sun itself. However, they also used the Greek name, Apollo.
  • Bi the Way: Zeus, Poseidon, and Dionysus all had their dalliances with the odd pretty boy or older gentleman, but Apollo had the most male conquests out of all.
  • The Casanova: This is kind of a thing that Greek Gods do.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • He skins the satyr Marsyas alive for daring to challenge him in music.
    • He also cursed King Midas to have donkey ears for being the only guy who voted Marsyas the winner.
    • He cursed Cassandra into having everyone believe whatever she said to be a lie either because she didn't want to sleep with him or because she ran way from her duty as a priestess of his cult.
    • How he dealt with that Orion, who tried to hook up with Artemis.
  • Guile Hero: He was initially the god of rhetoric and ritualistic speech.
  • Half Identical Twin: His sister Artemis.
  • Insufferable Genius: He's the god of reason.
  • Light 'em Up: Is the god of the sun and daylight.
  • Light Is Not Good: Like most of the other Olympians, he has a bad side.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Artsy Feminine Boy to Artemis' rough-and-tumble Masculine Girl.
  • The Medic: Not just Apollo, but some of his children, specifically Asklepios and Hygeianote . Even today, physicians swear by them.
  • Momma's Boy: Was really protective of his mother Leto. He killed Python when Hera sent the giant snake to kill Leto and later killed the giant Tityos for trying to rape his mother. When Niobe boasted of her superiority to Leto because she had fourteen children, he killed all her male 7 children while Artemis did the same to her daughters.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Apollo disapproved of Orion's relationship with Artemis, and created a giant scorpion to kill him. Orion went looking for Artemis, who was practising her archery on an island, but Apollo beat him to her and bet she couldn't snipe the distant object bobbing towards the island. She did, and was so furious with Apollo that she killed his scorpion and immortalized Orion as a constellation. Apollo turned the scorpion into stars as well so it could keep chasing Orion across the skies.
  • Papa Wolf: Less notable than Ares, but he still has his moments. Apollo guided Paris in the killing of Achilles by guiding the arrow of his bow into Achilles' heel, as revenge for Achilles' sacrilege in murdering Troilus. After Zeus killed Asclepius with a lightning bolt for resurrecting Hippolytus from the dead, a berserk Apollo took revenge on the Cyclops, who had fashioned the bolt for Zeus.
  • Plague Master: Inflicting disease was one of his favorite punishments. He spreads them by shooting infected arrows into towns.
  • The Power of the Sun: Somewhat averted as he used more often magic arrows (see Helios' take on the same trope).
  • Pretty Boy: Is generally depicted as one of the most handsome of the male gods, with youthful features and long hair.
  • Princely Young Man: Apollo's perpetual youth made him the embodiment of the ephebe, a young man full of promise.
  • Retcon: Apollo was the last God to appear in myth and was retconned to be Artemis's twin.
  • The Smart Guy: As reason was in his domain, he was the one who figured out the weakness of Otos and Ephiantes: They could be killed by each other.
  • Soul Power: Associated with cemeteries and decay, he was the purifier of the souls of the dead before Thanatos or Hermes took them to Hades.
  • Swan Boats: Sometimes depicted as riding a large swan or a chariot being pulled by swans.
  • Walking the Earth: As Apollo tended to do jerkish things to both humans and gods, he was sometimes punished by being forced to spend time in mortal form, usually as some sort of lowly position like a shepherd.


Goddess of young women, of virginity, childbirth (yes, both at the same time), Women's Mysteries, forests and hills, hunting, and, later, the moon (along with Selene). Essentially a liminal goddess who protected women throughout their lives. The Romans equated her with their goddess Diana.


Another god of war. While Athena ruled over strategy and wisdom, Ares ruled brute force and courage. His nearest Roman equivalent was Mars, who however was also a god of agriculture. The more martial Romans put Mars in a much higher place in their religion than the Greeks (or at least the Athenians and Thebans, from whom we derive most of our knowledge about Greek myth)note  put Ares, and in fact the Romans believed themselves to be Mars's descendants.
  • Amazon Brigade: He was the father of the Amazons.
  • Badass: As the god of war, specifically its brute force aspects. However, this is really only geared toward mortal opponents. See Paper Tiger below.
  • Berserk Button: Attacking his children isn't a very good idea.
  • Blood Knight: He represented the brutality of war. This was the key difference between him and Athena.
  • The Brute: He's a war god, and relies more on brute force than strategy.
  • Dating Catwoman: Mars was married to Nerio, who was identified with Minerva (Athena). (Though really, he would be Catwoman.)
  • Domestic Abuser: Sometimes depicted as such toward Aphrodite.
  • Good Parent: Ares always supported his children and tried to protect them (namely the Amazons).
  • Has Two Mommies: According to a Roman myth, Juno became pregnant with Mars by being touched with a herb grown by the goddess Flora.
  • Hate Sink: The Greeks saw him as embodying the barbaric aspects of war, and thus endowed him with a foolhardy bloodlust and shameful cowardice. They reserved the noble aspects of war for Athena.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Yes, he goes on bloodthirsty killing sprees on default, but he is quite devoted to his various children—unlike a lot of the gods.
  • Light 'em Up / The Power of the Sun: Hesiod and Homer described him more or less as this.
  • Light Is Not Good: Perhaps the best embodiment of this trope in the whole mythology.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Often boasted about how powerful he was as the god of war, an expert in military matters, loving to fight, etc. But virtually completely useless against anything beyond a mere mortal.
  • Momma's Boy: He loved Hera. Too bad she didn't love him.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: In Nonnus's poem Dinoysiaca he killed Adonis for being Aphrodite's lover.
  • Papa Wolf: Athenians explained the name of the Areopagus by saying the first trial there was when Poseidon prosecuted Ares for murder, over the death of his son Alirrothios. Ares was acquitted on the defense that he was protecting his daughter Alkippe from being raped by Alirrothios.
  • Paper Tiger: Often depicted as physically fit, armed to the teeth, and the embodiment of the physical power and violence of war. However, he loses any fight against nearly any non-mortal enemy: Hercules, Athena, Apollo, The Alodae, the Gigantomachy, a mortal Diomedes aided by Athena, etc.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Homer's portrayal of Ares in his epic had this element; he'd charge into battle roaring and killing all who got in his way when on a mission, but when seriously injured he would run back to Zeus and complain about it.
  • Really Gets Around: Famous for being handsome and loved by many women, including Aphrodite.
  • Sibling Rivalry: With Athena in a few epic poems.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Ares is a handsome guy, but really kind of a stupid thug and sometimes a Dirty Coward as well, depending on the telling.
  • The Unfavourite: His father Zeus made it clear that he detests Ares the most out of all the Olympians, due to his barbaric violence and lust for quarrelling, war, battles, and especially his habit of whining to daddy whenever he gets a beating on the battlefield; in fact, the only reason that he hadn't throttled him from the peak of Mount Olympus is because he's Hera's son. The latter doesn't seem to be fond of him neither since she encourages Athena to fight Ares who's fighting on Trojans side.
  • War God: Is the personification of the darker aspects of war.
  • War Is Hell: Ares personifies war as bloodshed, violence and destruction.
  • The Worf Effect: Despite being the god of war, the Greeks handed the victory aspect to Athena, and in the myths he doesn't win as many battles as one would expect.
  • Yandere: For Aphrodite, in some myths, whereas Ares got jealous at Aphrodite courting Adonis and plotted on his death.

Hephaistos (Hephaestus)

The Blacksmith. He was rather hideously crippled: Authors differ whether he had been defenestrated during an argument between Mummy and Daddy, or just born with lame legs. His nearest Roman equivalent was the destructive volcano god Vulcanus (Vulcan).


The messenger god and a Trickster Archetype, Hermes is a good friend and a bad enemy. He is also the god of travelers, shepherds, cowherds, thieves, wit, written language, literature, commerce, cunning, and luck. The Roman god Mercurius (Mercury) was identified with him.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: His sickle, which he loaned to Perseus so he could slay Medusa.
  • Almighty Janitor: He's just a simple messenger... who can borrow (or steal) Hades' helm of darkness pretty much anytime he wants, talk Zeus out of destroying humanity, and invented alphabets without suffering Athena's wrath.
  • Angel Unaware: He disguised himself as a mortal with Zeus, to assess the state of humanity. The first people they met were... awful, but Hermes persuaded his father to judge three households to avoid killing everyone.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: One of the few gods who didn't judge people based on beauty, as his own son Pan was half-goat.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: If Hermes doesn't like someone, there is a damned good reason for it. (Though he still steals from people he's on good terms with. Like Apollo or Hades.)
  • Biggus Dickus: His symbol is his phallus, leading to herms. His son with Aphroditenote  has Aphrodite's body and his penis. It should speak to his nature that when depicted naked he was frequently erect, a state that was considered rude by the Greeks.
  • Birds of a Feather: Had enough in common with Hecate to hook up with her. This ends her status as a virgin goddess.
  • Brother-Sister Team: Was often teamed up with Athena due to them both being Zeus' favorite children.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, also shares the role of messenger with him.
  • Friend to All Children: Notably, he is entrusted with other people's children, as well as being protective of his own. In some myths he was the one to raise Dionysus, and to take Persephone from the Underworld and back.
  • From a Certain Point of View: After stealing Apollo's cows as a toddler, he promised Zeus he would never lie again. As if a god of cunning and wit needs to lie to be dishonest.
  • Good Parent: Hermes, in comparison to the rest of the gods aside from Ares, was a model parent. One could argue that he was even doting. Just see his reaction to Pan.
  • The Heart: He is not only a messenger but a mediator, which is reflected in the downright paradoxical list of things he presides over (thieves and merchants, prophesy and lies, hawks and tortoises).
  • I Believe I Can Fly: His Iconic Item is his winged sandals.
  • Like Father, Like Son: His mother, the Titaness Maia, was mentioned as being quite shy and avoiding Olympus, which is how she escaped Hera's wrath.
  • Loveable Rogue: He deceives, cheats, steals, and whatnot, but is generally thought to be and portrayed as one of the nicest gods. Also see Angel Unaware.
  • Morality Chain: To Zeus, strangely. Zeus called him when Semele died before giving birth, as he didn't want to let baby Dionysus die as well. Hermes also went with him when evaluating humanity. After the first people cooked the youngest son as dinner, he avoided all-out destruction by suggesting that they go for two out of three.
  • Nice Guy: Compared to most of the Olympians, anyway. Of course, that doesn't mean that he'll let you get away with doing something bad to him.
  • Papa Wolf: When Pelops killed Myrtilus, Hermes damned all of Pelops' descendants, essentially being the one responsible for all the tragedies of The House Of Atreus.
  • Pretty Boy: His literary appearances describe him as looking young and very beautiful. Then again, plenty of vase paintings give him a full beard, so it depends on the author.
  • Psychopomp: One of his duties was guiding souls to the Underworld.
  • Sarcastic Confession: In some versions of his origin story, he told his mother outright that he was going to hustle Apollo's cows, and Maia let him go because she didn't believe him.
  • Staff of Authority: His winged staff.
  • Super Speed: One of his most notable traits.
  • The Trickster: Possibly the Trope Maker.
  • Turtle Power: Hermes is associated with turtles and tortoises because in some myths, he made the first lyre from a shell he found.

Dionysos (Dionysus)

The god of wine, drunken debauchery, agriculture, theatre, and the freeing of self from normal behavior. He is always treated as a late arrival to Olympus, partially because Hestia gave up her seat to make room for him. The Romans called him Bacchus, from one of his many Greek titles, but also identified him with the Roman god Liber.
  • Anything That Moves: To be expected from the God of Hedonism. Humorously, there do not appear to be any myths stating that his wife had any problems with this, in stark contrast to the likes of Hera or Persephone.
  • Bi the Way: One of the few bisexual gods to be a bottom.
  • Chest Burster: Born out of Zeus's thigh. Interestingly, Zeus had actually stitched him up in there after his mother had died, to preserve him before birth.
    • Note that "thigh" might have meant "scrotum," as this was a common identification in the ancient Eastern Mediterranean (The Bible uses it).
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Depending on the myth.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Dionysus is often pictured as the bumbling drunk or Mr. Party including in ancient plays, if pushed would inflict madness or other horrible punishments, had the bravery to venture into the underworld for his mother, and in one story defeated a demigod king named Deriades to conquer India.
  • Driven to Madness: He was driven insane by Hera, only to later be cured by his grandmother Rhea. He himself likes to inflict this as a punishment on mortals, who displease him.
  • Fun Personified: His definition of "fun" varies from time to time. It isn't always pretty.
  • God Couple: With Ariadne after she is made immortal.
  • Happily Married: To Ariadne. He loved her enough to go down to the Underwold to take her back, after she was killed, and later made her immortal.
  • The Hedonist: He was the God of Hedonism.
  • If I Can't Have You: In one version of the myth, he asks Artemis to kill Ariadne, probably because they were already married/engaged and yet she still fell in love and run away with Theseus.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Sort of, as only half of Pan is a goat. They are often seen together as they both wander the earth and drink a lot.
  • Kick the Dog: Some versions of Theseus' myth had Dionysus take Ariadne to be his wife, completely ignoring the fact that she and Theseus were already in love.
    • He killed King Lycurgus for forbidding worship of Dionysus; some tales say Zeus helped in the deed. Dionysus worship was forbidden by him of course because his followers were killing indiscriminately in their drunken frenzies. Based on this event, King Pentheus of Thebes tried to solve the problem early by preventing Dionysus worship from spreading to his city but ended up meeting a similar fate.
  • King Incognito: He seems to spend half his time going around in disguise.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Basically the main reason he exists, and for both sexes too.
  • Married to the Job: Granted, his job is making and drinking winelots of wine. And beer, but mostly wine. In some myths, he asks for his mother's soul and is told to leave his most beloved in the Underworld. He responds by laying his staff on the ground, where a grapevine sprouts, and Hades deems it adequate payment.
  • Mayfly-December Romance: With Ariadne before she was made immortal.
  • Momma's Boy: He takes his mother's reputation very seriously to the point he will severly punish anyone, who scorns her good name. In some myths, he also went down to the Underworld to bring Semele back and made her immortal.
  • Mugging the Monster: At one point some sailors who saw him sitting by the shore believed him to be a prince, and could thus be either sold into slavery or held ransom at a great profit. After repeated requests to let him go or drop him off at Naxos, he either turned into a lion (and summoned a bear) and killed them, or turned them into dolphins. Either way, the only survivor was Acoetes, who recognized him as a god and tried to stop the others. Oddly enough, he ended up as his priest.
  • Naked on Arrival: Loved to drop in on the mortal world like this, and clothed himself in whatever animal skins his followers could scrounge up.
  • No One Could Survive That: Somehow survived having his mother being burned to ashes after seeing Zeus's true form... while she was pregnant with him. Or, depending on the myth, having his entire body except his heart eaten by titans as a child. The Greeks thus gave him the epitaph of dimētōr, which means 'of two mothers', the second being Zeus who transferred him to his thigh until he was born {or regrown}.
  • Physical God
  • Pretty Boy: Described as being rather feminine-looking, and in fact his first artistic representations were in the kouros style of pretty young males. Much later artists (especially the Romans) liked to depict him as a middle-aged man with a full beard, and Renaissance painters loved to make him fat. Perhaps all that wine caught up to him in time.
  • Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: He leads one. His retinue includes a Cretan princess, Satyrs, Centaurs, insane women, nymphs, centaurs, Pan and even Hercules for a while after he lost a drinking contest to Dionysus.
  • The Rival: Friedrich Nietzsche in a few words stated that all of Greek society was the result of a rivalry between Apollo (reason) and Dionysus (see the listed tropes). One of his less inflammatory remarks. Like a lot of things Nietzche said, this one has no basis in reality.
  • To Hell and Back: He went to the Underworld in order to bring back his mortal wife Ariadne and his mother Semele.
  • The Trickster: He fits the archetype, and like examples from other mythologies, can be Fun Personified or an insane sadist depending on the story.
  • Wacky Fratboy Hijinx: Played much straighter than Ares' version.
  • Walking the Earth: For a bit, after Hera curses him with insanity. He gets better eventually, but keeps wandering around learning things, accumulating followers, and punishing people who piss him off.


Goddess of spring, rejuvenation and youth (especially young women) and Queen of the Underworld. Daughter of Zeus and Demeter, she was abducted (theoretically) by Hades to be his queen. She spends half of the year with her mother and half of it with him. Though not numbered among the Twelve Olympians, she had more Greek worshippers than Ares, and was a major goddess of the Eleusinian Mysteries, alongside Demeter and Hecate. To Romans, she was known as Proserpina.
  • Abduction Is Love: Kidnapped or not, Persephone must have felt something positive for Hades if she was willing to turn his ex-girlfriend into a mint leaf and stomp her into the dust just for making a move on him.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Despite common interpretations saying that Demeter's mother smothering annoyed her, the kidnapping myth emphasizes the fact that Persephone missed her terribly while in the Underworld.
  • Birds of a Feather: She and Hades are a stoic couple.
  • Broken Bird: Some interpretations take her early life in Underworld as a Break the Cutie process.
    • Alternative Character Interpretation: Others depict her as quite satisfied with her lot, as being Queen of the Underworld really isn't that bad of a gig. How so? She has one of the most loving, devoted, and perhaps more importantly, faithful husbands in all mythology, lots of subjects to rule, and did we mention that she's also married to the god of wealth itself?. And she was kinds grateful that Hades gets her away from her overbearing mother for half the year.
    • Indeed, it has not been lost on readers that after the story of the fateful kidnapping, Persephone is never seen with her mother on Olympus. She's always seen with Hades. Not to mention that the original myth never says how Persephone was feeling in the Underworld, other than the fact that she missed her mother.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: When the naiad Minthe tried to seduce Hades, Persephone turned her into a mint plant. It's good that Hades is a pretty faithful husband.
    • Though in some versions of the story, it was Demeter who transformed and stomped Minthe, for claiming to be much more desirable than her daughter.
    • Subverted in the version involving the nymph Leuce. Persephone seemed to like her enough that after Leuce died naturally, she turned her into the first white poplar tree, which became her sacred tree.
  • The Dreaded: Like Hades. In fact, Odysseus was more frightened of the idea of meeting her than her husband.
  • Emotionless Girl: As the Queen of the Underworld, she is as cold as Hades. Although she does have a case of Not So Stoic once in a while, notably in some versions of Admetus and Alcestis' story not involving Heracles. She's either touched by Alcestis's selfless sacrifice and just tells Thanatos to send her back, or angry that Admetus let his wife die in his place and tells Thanatos to make it right.
    • Another version involves both Heracles and Persephone. When Heracles confronts Thanatos, he points out that Persephone would let a woman who voluntarily sacrificed herself for her husband live. Thanatos agrees to let her live if Heracles can defeat him in a wrestling match.
  • God Couple: With Hades.
  • Happily Married: By Greek standards, she absolutely is.
  • The High Queen: Of the Underworld. A known epithet of her is the Iron Queen, who is dreaded by mortals as much as her husband Hades.
  • The Ingenue: Before her abduction. Her original name "Kore" meant maiden. She most likely leveled up into some kind of Perky Goth after that. Hey, being queen of the underworld isn't all bad...
  • Innocent Flower Girl: Literally before her abduction.
  • A Match Made in Stockholm: An interpretation of her marriage to Hades.
  • May-December Romance: Allegory of this trope. See Hades above.
  • Names To Run Away From: The ethymology of her name is not clear, it probably comes from the words meaning to kill or to destroy, referencing her function as the ruler of the Underworld.
  • The Missus and the Ex: At one point, Hades' ex-mistress Minthe started making trouble for her. Persephone turned the girl into a mint plant.
  • Not So Different: The whole arrangement with Adonis, whom she raised, and Aprhodite does somewhat parallel her own clingy mom.
  • Orcus on His Throne: How most people would see her and her husband when they entered the Underworld.
  • Parental Incest: Her father Zeus tricked her into sleeping with him at least twice.
  • Perky Goth: Some interpretations.
  • The Stoic: She was as cold as Hades, either after the kidnapping or from the start.
  • Trapped in Another World: She is stuck in the Underworld for half of the year.
  • Wife Husbandry: Gender-swapped version with Adonis. She was the one who raised and then fell in love with him when he grew up. She didn't marry him (since she already had a husband), but after some negotiations with Aphrodite she got to keep him as her lover for one-third of each year.

Classical Mythology TitansCharacters/Classical MythologyClassical Mythology Minor Deities

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