The Greek Goddesses
In Greek mythology the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus played a major role in everyday life. The Greeks respected them and thought of the gods as all mighty.
In Ancient Greece the people honored and believe in the deities. Myths, poems, and epics
tell the stories and beliefs referring to the gods and goddesses. Many literary works
display the power and jobs of the goddesses. The Greek people lived to please the deities
in hope of gaining a better lifestyle. The goddesses of Greece acted as an important part of
Greek mythology ( Hamilton 28-35 ).
Historians placed the goddesses into categories. The first category included the
major goddesses of Olympus. The goddesses placed in this category were Hera, Athena,
Aphrodite, Hestia, Demeter, and Artemis because most people knew and worshipped them.
The people held these six goddesses the most high and with the most respect ( Hamilton 28 ).
Hera, the goddess of the protection of marriage, took care of married women.
The sister and also wife of Zeus, the king of the gods, Hera may be the most well known
of the goddesses. The Titans of the Ocean along with the Tethys raised Hera ( Hamilton
28 ). Most people knew Ilithyia , Hera’s daughter, for her help of women through
childbirth. Hera held the city of Argos sacred along with the peacock and cow. In Roman
mythology, the name of Hera was changed to Juno, queen of goddesses ( Pinset 20 ).
Artemis, or Diana in Roman mythology, had the role of Leto and Zeus’s daughter
and also twin sister of god Apollo. Known as the goddess of wildlife and hunting, Artemis
held all animals sacred, but the deer more then any other. Artemis also held the cypress
tree sacred. Not many myths feature this goddess, but she lives on through the years in
poems and other works ( Hunt 3 ).
Many myths from the Greeks feature Athena, or Minerva as known to the Romans.
Myths say that Athena had a very original birth. Some writers have said that Hephaestus
took an ax and shaved her from Zeus’s forehead and therefore she has no mother ( Pinset
22 ). Zeus thought of Athena as his favorite child and she had the privilege of using his
weapons. First known as the guardian of the city and protector of civilized life, Athena
later took on the role of goddess of wisdom, purity, and reason. Athena held the city of
Athens sacred and this city took on her name. The owl symbolizes wisdom and Athena
referred to this as her sacred bird ( Hamilton 29 ). Athena created the olive tree and
therefore holds it sacred and important. The Greeks built a temple called the Parthenon
to honor Athena. With this temple built, the Greeks had somewhere to go to place their
offerings in front of the goddess. Many Greeks thought of Athena as most important of
the goddesses ( Pinset 100 ).