Without certain gods, the ancient Greeks believed that various everyday activities would cease to exist. The morning sky would not benefit from the illumination of the sun and rain would not fall upon crops if the gods did not make it so. In this article, you will learn who the Greeks believed was behind some of the important factors of everyday life.
Helios , Titan god of the sun
Not only was Helios the Titan god of the sun, but he also represented the guardian of oaths. The personification of this god was the sun and he was often portrayed as a handsome deity that wore a shining crown made from a part of the sun. His method of transportation was a chariot of the sun, which he drove across the sky each day. At night, he returned to the East after circling the Earth and visiting the “world-ocean.”
Horses connected to the sun drew Helios’ chariot. Sometimes, they were described as being able to emit fire (as Pindar claims) or said to have a solar connection (as Homer mentions in the Iliad). In some myths, the horses are called by names linked to fire , Aeos, Aethon, Pyrois, and Phlegon.
Over time, Helios was often linked with the god of light, Apollo. However, the two gods were quite different with Helios being a Titan and Apollo enjoying the status of an Olympian.
A well-known story dealing with the god involves his son Phaeton, who made an attempt to drive his father’s chariot. As a result, he lost control and the earth became set on fire. In the Odyssey, Helios is mentioned once again. Odysseus and the surviving members of his crew reach an island called Thrinacia, which is sacred to the sun god. It is at this location that the sacred red cattle and flocks of sheep of the sun are kept. Odysseus tells his men not to touch the sacred animals, but his men kill and eat some of the cattle. The guardians of the island are daughters of Helios and they alert their father to this misdeed. Helios asks Zeus to react and in return, Odysseus’ ship is destroyed. All of his men are killed, except for Odysseus , who survives.
Zeus , King of Heaven and god of the sky
When it comes to the ultimate god of the sky, Zeus holds one of the most recognizable positions. Aside from ruling the Olympians, the god is also responsible for the clouds, rain, thunder and lightning. In fact, the thunderbolt served as one of his symbols , along with the eagle, bull and oak. Zeus was the son of Cronus and Rhea. For being the most powerful god, he was also the youngest out of all his siblings, which included Poseidon , god of the sea and Hades , god of the underworld.
While he took Hera as his wife, he was unfaithful numerous times, which ended up in many different offspring and mistresses. With Hera, he had Ares (god of war), Hebe, and Hephaestus (who was despised because of his deformity). Other children of Zeus included Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hermes, and the Muses.