How to Know the Twelve Olympians of Greek Mythology

In Greek Mythology there are countless deities, but there are twelve main gods and goddesses. Because of the fact that they were thought to have lived at the top of Mount Olympus they were known as the "Olympians". These gods and goddesses show up in many Greek legends, so it's a good idea to know who they are.


  1. Image titled Know the Twelve Olympians of Greek Mythology Step 1
    Learn their names. One of the simplest ways to make sure you know the Olympians is to just learn their names. Chant them, write them down, make up a rhyme, whatever works for you. The names of the gods and goddesses are:
    • Zeus
    • Poseidon
    • Hades
    • Hermes
    • Athena
    • Ares
    • Hephaestus
    • Aphrodite
    • Demeter
    • Hera
    • Apollo
    • Artemis
  2. Image titled Know the Twelve Olympians of Greek Mythology Step 2
    Associate them with what they are in charge of. Each god or goddess had a whole list of things that they were in charge of, from wine to thieves. Learn some of the more interesting things that the gods were in charge of, and the names will come along with it. For example:
    • Zeus: King of all the Gods, ruler of Mount Olympus. He is the ruler of clouds, air, the atmosphere, thunder and lightning. He is known to be unfaithful to his wife, Hera, and have offspring with mortals disguised as a mortal himself.
    • Poseidon: God of the sea and creator of horses; he is known to cause earthquakes with his mighty symbol, which is the trident. He has a rivalry with his niece, Athena, which is elaborated in the Greek myth of how Athens got its name.
    • Hades: God of the Underworld. The Underworld is where the dead reside, and where most punishments from the gods and goddesses are located.
    • Hermes: God of thieves and messenger of the gods
    • Athena: Goddess of wisdom and battle strategy.
    • Ares: God of war and bloodshed.
    • Hephaestus: God of craftsmanship and fire.
    • Aphrodite: Goddess of love and beauty.
    • Demeter: Goddess of agriculture.
    • Hera: Queen of the gods and the goddess of weddings, family and motherhood.
    • Apollo: God of the sun, poetry, music, healing and prophecies.
    • Artemis: Goddess of the moon, hunting, and animals
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    Learn their symbols. All of the gods had symbols that they used to represent themselves.[1]
    • Zeus: The eagle, thunderbolt, and royal scepter
    • Poseidon: The trident, dolphins, and horses
    • Hades: Black helm, skulls or ghosts
    • Hermes: Winged sandals and caduceus
    • Athena: Owl and the olive tree
    • Ares: Vultures, venomous snakes, crossed spears or the boar.
    • Hephaestus: The hammer, tongs, and an anvil
    • Aphrodite: Dove, apple, scallop shell and myrtle wreath
    • Demeter: The cornucopia
    • Hera: The peacock
    • Artemis: The bow and arrow and moon, the color silver
    • Apollo: The laurel wreath
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    Find out what they are supposed to look like. Study the remaining ancient sculptures or paintings inspired by the Olympians. Do your research on the internet and in libraries to figure out how they are portrayed and what they look like. For example, Aphrodite is always portrayed as a young, beautiful girl.Demeter has long blonde hair and tanned skin, whilst her younger sister Hera has pale skin and liquorice black hair.
  5. Image titled Know the Twelve Olympians of Greek Mythology Step 5
    Watch a Greek mythology-themed movie. Many movies focus on Greek mythology, and watching one or two may help you to easily learn the "who's who" of the Olympians and also be a lot more fun than written learning! Some simple ones to get into include Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief or Disney's Hercules.
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    Read fiction books which are related to Greek mythology. Examples include Percy Jackson and the Olympians or Heroes of Olympus, both written by Rick Riordan. Rick Riordan also released a book on the Twelve Olympians and a sum up of main events in mythology called Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, in which myths are discussed in a modern setting with sarcasm and humour, which would make it easier for it to be learned.


  • Of note, Venus is the only planet named after a Roman goddess rather than a Roman god.
  • Learn the Roman names. As the Romans adopted some of the Greek mythology into their own religion there are alternative Roman names for all of the Olympians, so if you're having trouble learning the Greek names, you can have a go at learning Roman names instead! Most of these Roman names were used to name some of the planets in our solar system, so chances are you'll know them already, e.g. Zeus = Jupiter!
  • If you know what the gods' and goddesses' names are, and you know what they're in charge of, it is fairly easy to figure out who the god is when you're at a museum and see a Greek Statue.
  • Do note that some Mythology movies do not always portray the myths correctly.
  • Contrary to Disney's Hercules, Hercules was not born as a full-blooded god to his loving parents, Zeus and Hera but is turned into a mortal. In fact, Hercules was a demi-god, born of Zeus and a mortal mother. Hera despised him as she did all of Zeus's mortal sons. Also, the trainer of heroes was not Philoctetes, it was Chiron, a centaur who is wise, kind, and skilled in the healing arts.

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