Where the Greek gods work & play

Mount Olympus, in the north of Greece, was so very high that it seemed to touch the sky. No Greek had ever succeeded in climbing it.

The Greeks believed that the top of Mount Olympus was the home of the gods. It was an incredibly beautiful place, where flowers were always in bloom and birds never stopped singing according to the people’s imagination. They thought that the gods lived in grand, luxurious palaces in the clouds. They built magnificent temples with splendid statues for their gods.

Jupiter was the king of the gods and ruled over heaven as well as earth. His queen was Juno, who was not very good-natured. She was selfish and jealous and caused a lot of grief, both to others and herself.

All the gods were handsome but the most handsome was Apollo, the sun god, who drove his golden chariot across the sky every day. He was also the god of music and love. He was an expert at shooting arrows and had the power of healing. He had a twin sister called Diana. She was the goddess of the moon who rode her silver vehicle at night. She was also the goddess of hunting. She loved to roam the woods during the day along with her pack of hounds.

The goddess of love and beauty was the lovely Venus. Legend had it that she rose from the foamy sea. Her son was Cupid, the god of love. He was depicted as a chubby, dimpled child. He always carried a bow and a quiver of arrows.

Jupiter’s brother was Neptune, the ruler of the oceans and seas. He lived in a palace built of coral, sea shells and seaweed in the ocean bed. The minor river gods, the mermaids and the sea nymphs were his subjects.

The goddess of wisdom was Minerva, whose favourite bird was the owl. Her hobby was to weave and embroider. The messenger of the gods was the speedy Mercury. He wore winged sandals and a winged cap and could fly very fast. He also held a magic staff with two twined serpents. He could work wonders with it.

The underworld, where the dead went, was called Hades. It was the kingdom of Pluto, dark and gloomy, as was to be expected. Ceres was the goddess of the earth and responsible for bumper harvests. The word cereal is derived from ‘Ceres’.

There was a god of the shepherds and woods. He was Pan, a queer-looking half-man, half-goat. But he was a jolly god who played the pipe and danced, apart from protecting sheep.

The good-looking, well-built Greeks were strong and brave. They loved their country very much and thought it wonderful. They worshipped their gods in times of sorrow and happiness. When misfortune struck, they sought the help of the gods. When times were good, they offered whole-hearted gratitude.

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