In a tour around Greece (part 2) Posted by Ourania on May 27, 2020 in Culture, Vocabulary
We have already reviewed six Gods of Olympus, together with the most famous or important temples dedicated to these Gods that we can still visit in Greece. Let’s continue this virtual tour of our most important archaeological sites by reviewing six more Olympian Gods!
- Apollo: Απόλλων: God of light, protector of the arts – (τέχνη, μουσική, χορός) and oracles (μαντική τέχνη); also a healer God. He is usually depicted as a handsome, blond teenager, holding a lyre or a bow. He was the most handsome of all Gods, but nevertheless, he didn’t have much luck with women! He is the founder and ruler of the famous oracle in Delphi and his temple can be found in a most breath-taking scenery (Μαντείο των Δελφών).
- Artemis: Άρτεμις: Goddess of hunting, wild life, animals, and protector of women. Roman name: Diana. She is depicted as an athletic and beautiful young woman, holding a bow (τόξο) and usually there is a deer (ελάφι) nearby! Her most famous temple used to be in Ephesus, Asia Minor, one of the seven wonders of antiquity, for its immense size and beauty. Nowadays, we can more easily visit her temple in Vravrona, a serene sea-side resort outside Athens.
- Hephaestus: the God of fire and metallurgy – protector of technicians. Roman name: Vulcan. He was the only Olympian God who was not handsome but he made up for it with his talent. He made everything the other Gods needed, their weapons, cups, belts, scepters, arrows and many more. His temple can be found in the center of Athens, in Thesion, and was part of the ancient Agora (αρχαία Αγορά).
- Demetra: Δήμητρα: goddess of agriculture, protector of farmers and the cultivation of the earth (γεωργία). She was often depicted as a respectable, mature woman, holding a sheaf of cereal (στάχυ) or a sickle (δρεπάνι). Roman name: Ceres. She is responsible for the seasons of the year and the fertility of the land. The most famous temple dedicated to her can be found in the island of Naxos, built with local white marble of excellent quality.
- Hermes: Ερμής: the messenger of the Gods – protector of commerce and travel. He is depicted as a beautiful young man wearing winged sandals. Roman name: Mercurius. There were not many temples dedicated to him because he could be found everywhere, as his many statues and statuettes indicate. However, we can visit one in Delos, and another in Crete, in ancient Syme.
- Hestia: Εστία: the Goddess of the hearth – protector of the family and family life. She is depicted as a sober, mature woman. Roman name: Vesta. In antiquity, she would receive the first offering or libation (σπονδή) in every festivity, but there was no public worship as her place was in the hearth of every house. Thus, not many temples dedicated to her survive. Later, the Romans built a lot to celebrate her significant role.
I hope that apart from giving you some information on the 12 Gods of antiquity, this entry took you into a small tour – even by the power of imagination – around some of the most beautiful archaeological sites of Greece, as the ancient Greeks really knew how to pick a spot to build a temple to their Gods!
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