An Olympian gods family tree can be a useful tool for any student of Greek mythology or literature. The family relationships of the gods and goddesses can be confusing, and it helps to have a visual representation of these connections as you study Greek myths and legends.
Primary Olympian Gods and Goddesses
The ancient Greeks believed that their main deities lived on Mount Olympus, Greece's tallest mountain range. While there are dozens of minor gods and goddesses in Greek mythology, there are 12 deities that figure heavily in many of the stories. These major gods and goddesses, known collectively as the "Twelve Olympians" or the "Dodekatheon," include the following:
- Zeus is the king of the Olympian gods and is the god of thunder and sky.
- Hera is both wife and sister to Zeus and is goddess of the hearth, home, and women.
- Poseidon is a brother of Zeus and the god of the sea.
- Athena is Zeus's daughter and is the goddess of wisdom and heroism.
- Ares is Zeus's son and is the god of war and bloodlust.
- Demeter is one of the earliest Olympian gods and is the goddess of the harvest and fertility.
- Apollo is the son of Zeus and is the god of archery, the sun, healing, and many other qualities.
- Artemis is Zeus's daughter and is the goddess of childbirth, the hunt, and virginity.
- Hephaestus is Hera's son, and he is god of technology, fire, and volcanoes.
- Aphrodite was born of the sea and is older than Zeus. She is the goddess of love and beauty.
- Hermes is often thought to be the son of Zeus and is the messenger of the gods.
- Dionysus is the son of Zeus and is the god of wine.
Sources for Olympian Gods Family Trees
The Internet is an excellent resource for family trees of the Greek gods and goddesses. Many of the sites below offer excellent resources for untangling the complex relationships of these deities:
- ThinkQuest provides an excellent description of the various gods and goddesses, as well as a diagram of a family tree for the Olympian deities.
- Ancient Greece provides a very clear Olympian gods family tree with several generations of deities. Each name on this tree is linked to a helpful description of the individual.
- GreekMythology.com offers a detailed family tree for the Twelve Olympians, along with information and myths associated with each member of the family.
Tips for Researching the Greek Gods
Greek mythology can be confusing. The Olympian relationships were complex, and they often did not follow our cultural guidelines. The following tips may help you make sense of these exciting legends:
- Look at multiple sources. Since Greek mythology evolved over centuries, there are contrasting stories about the family relationships of some of the gods and goddesses. It's a good idea to confirm these relationships by looking at multiple Greek god family trees.
- Don't use family trees as a substitute for researching into Greek mythology. These family relationships are only part of the story and vary in significance based on the particular individual.
- If possible, try to suspend judgment when viewing Greek god family trees. These early legends sometimes feature relationships that involve incest and other taboo topics, but they are also a reflection of a culture from long ago.
This handy printable of the Greek Gods Family Tree can help you see a visual representation of the Greek deities' complicated relationships. If you need help downloading the printable, check out these helpful tips.
Have fun with your Greek god genealogy work! Greek mythology is a fascinating subject, and a family tree diagram will help you make sense of these exciting legends.