Greek mythology is the set of legends (see mythology) which come from the religion of ancient Hellenic (Greek) civilization (see Hellenic civilization). These stories were familiar to all ancient Greeks, even if they did not all believe them, and provided the people with both rituals and history.
In Greek mythology, the gods in the Greek pantheon are given human form, but are first and foremost personifications of the forces of the universe. As such they are more or less unchanging, and while they sometimes have a sense of justice, they are often petty or vengeful. The gods' favors are won by sacrifices and piety, but this does not guarantee them, for the gods are known to be prone to frequent changes of mind. Their anger is harsh and their love can be just as dangerous.
The world of Greek mythology is quite complex. It is full of monsters, wars, intrigue, and meddling gods. And there are heroes to help overcome these problems. Men and women were much greater in those days, of course, though the Greeks did not see any wide gulf between their history and their mythology (see, for example, The Iliad and The Odyssey). They saw themselves as the direct descendents of the mythological heroes and their culture. All in all it makes for some wonderful stories that are still enjoyed in the present day.
The Twelve Gods of Olympus are:
Other important deities in the pantheon:
Some important titans:
Some important mortals:
- Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux)
- Helen of Troy
Some important mythical creatures:
- Calydonian Boar
- Erymanthian Boar
- Stymphalian Birds
Some important mythical places: