Once upon a time, a long time ago, the ancient Greeks and Romans lived somewhere near the Mediterranean Sea. They believed in many gods and goddesses, in heroes and monsters, and in magic and adventure. The stories they told are called myths. Sometimes, these explain something - why we have seasons, why people can’t return from the grave, where fire came from. Other times, myths tell stories of love or war. These stories were also meant to entertain - storytellers shared them around around a fireplace, or mothers told them to their children in the time between supper and bed.
Some of the best stories were originally Greek or Roman myths. There was a set cast of characters - these gods, goddesses, demi (half) gods, and monsters showed up over and over again. Some were called Olympians because they lived on Mt. Olympus, a place that was only known to the gods and impossible for any mortal to reach. Others lived elsewhere - Hades ruled the realm of the dead and lived amongst them. These characters often showed the extremes of human emotion - they were jealous, angry, passionate, and brilliant. They were also flawed, each and every one.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to tell some of my favorite myths in my own way. The versions I tell are mostly Ovid’s, which I’ve read on my own over and over again, but some bits and pieces of these myths come from other ancient sources as well. There are always several versions of the same myth - I’m going to stick with the version I like the best. Feel free to leave a comment that describes an alternate version to other readers. Below is a list of characters that will commonly show up, with just a tidbit of information to describe them. For continuity, I’ll always use their Greek names. You’ll learn more about them in the stories themselves. I hope you enjoy learning about these myths as much as I enjoy teaching about them!
Apollo - God of the sun, music, art.
Artemis - Goddess of the hunt. Usually found in the forest, somewhere.
Hera - Goddess of marriage. Wife of Zeus.
Zeus - Ruler of all the other gods.
Athena - Goddess of wisdom.
Hephaestus - God of the forge.
Aphrodite - Goddess of love.
Hades - God of the Underworld, the realm of the dead.
Demeter - Goddess of grain and the seasons.
The Fates - Three old sisters who control the lives of mortals. Clotho spins the thread of life, deciding when a person would be born. Lachesis measures the thread out, deciding how long one will live. Atropos cuts the thread, ending a mortal’s life.
Poseidon - God of the sea.