The 12 Olympian Gods

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Ancient Greek Mythology for Kids - The 12 Olympians
Discover facts and information about Greek Mythology and legends about the 12 Olympians

The 12 Olympians
Who were the Olympians? The Olympians were gods and goddesses of ancient Greece who resided in their celestial home above specially protected golden clouds on top of Mount Olympus. The Olympians were supernatural beings who possessed great magical & mystical powers. There were twelve major gods and goddesses who are collectively called the Olympians, although lesser gods and goddesses also resided on Mount Olympus.

The 12 Olympians
Additional intriguing facts and information about the mythology and legends of individual gods and goddesses of these ancient civilizations can be accessed via the following links:

Gods and Deities

Greek Gods Mythology

Ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses



The 12 Olympians - Mount Olympus
The 12 Olympians achieved their supremacy over the older primeval gods when they were victorious in the Battle of the Titans. According to mythology and the legend in the Greek Creation Myth the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece consisted of three major groups and generations:

  • The Primeval Gods (including Gaia and Uranus)
  • The Titans (including Cronus and Rhea)
  • The Olympian Gods

Life of the gods

The Olympians

During the Battle of the Titans the older gods were believed to have been based on Mount Othrys and the rebellious new gods were based on Mount Olympus - hence their title of the Olympians. Mount Othrys and Mount Olympus are two actual mountains that exist in Greece. The people of ancient times believed the story that the gods lived above the mountains that were protected by golden clouds. The Ancient Greeks could easily believe that their gods and goddesses lived in golden palaces, far out of the reach of men, and hidden from their sight by the protection of the clouds in the secluded domain of Mount Olympus.

Location of Mount Olympus shown on the Map of Greece

Location of Mount Olympus shown on the Map of Greece

Olympian Gods Family Tree

The Olympian Gods Family Tree

The Names of the 12 Olympians
There were twelve major gods and goddesses who resided in the magnificent palaces on Mount Olympus, referred to as the 12 Olympian gods or simply the 12 Olympians.

Gods on Mount Olympus

According to Greek mythology the 12 Olympians used to meet together in their grand council hall which was presided over by Zeus, who was the king of the gods and his wife, Hera, who was the queen of the gods. The ancient Greeks believed that the Olympians were a family, and just like mortal families, there jealousies, quarrels and arguments between the gods and goddesses. The names of the principle Olympians were:

  • Zeus
  • Hera
  • Athena
  • Aphrodite
  • Apollo
  • Ares
  • Poseidon
  • Demeter
  • Artemis
  • Hephaestus
  • Hermes
  • Hestia or Dionysus

There is some confusion in this list as the god Dionysus is sometimes replaced by the goddess Hestia. Hades, also known as Pluto, was not usually included among the 12 Olympians because his realm was the underworld.

The 12 Olympians and their symbols and attributes
The following image depicts an ancient bas-relief of the 12 Olympians accompanied by various symbols and the attributes associated with each of the major Greek gods and goddesses. In ancient Greek art the sculptures, vases, mosaics and paintings of the 12 Olympians were often depicted with images representing their symbols. The symbols of the 12 Olympians enabled the ancient Greeks to easily recognise and identify the names of their gods and goddesses.

Twelve Olypians

The figures depicted from left to right are:

  • Hestia, the goddess of the hearth who is depicted with the symbol of the scepter associated with rulers
  • Hermes, the messenger of the gods, is depicted with the symbol of the cap and the caduceus (a staff that was entwined by snakes)
  • Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, is illustrated with the symbol of the veil that represented femininity
  • Ares, the god of war, is depicted with his symbols of the helmet and spear
  • Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, is shown with the symbol of the scepter and wheat sheaf
  • Hephaestus, the god of fire and metal-working, is depicted with the scepter
  • Hera, the queen of the gods holds a scepter
  • Poseidon, the god of the sea, is depicted with the symbol of the trident
  • Athena, the goddess of wisdom is shown with the symbols of the owl and helmet
  • Zeus, the king of the gods, is illustrated with the symbols of the thunderbolt and sceptor
  • Artemis, the goddess of the hunt is shown holding the bow and quiver
  • Apollo the god of the sun and music, is depicted with the lyre

Names of Greek Gods and Goddesses

Mythical Facts about the 12 Olympians for kids
Discover interesting information and fun facts about the 12 Olympian gods and goddesses. The fun facts about the 12 Olympians for kids provides a list detailing fascinating information to increase your knowledge about the 12 Olympians and their roles in Greek Mythology.

Mythical Facts about the 12 Olympians for Kids

12 Olympians Fact 1: Zeus was the king of the gods and responsible for justice, law and order. Zeus had the power to hurl his thunderbolts which had the power to shatter mountains. He was a notorious womaniser.

12 Olympians Fact 2: Poseidon the god of the sea had power over the sea, tempests, storms and earthquakes. In mythology he was described as greedy, bad-tempered, moody and vengeful

12 Olympians Fact 3: Hera, the wife of the unfaithful Zeus, was suspicious, cruel, jealous and vengeful

12 Olympians Fact 4: Ares was described as fierce, merciless, moody and argumentative. Ares was unpopular with the Olympians

12 Olympians Fact 5: Apollo was young, handsome with golden hair. He had the power to bring the sun and well-being to humans and rode his golden chariot pulling the sun across the sky.

12 Olympians Fact 6: Artemis remained unmarried. She was independent, loved sports and hunting

12 Olympians Fact 7: Hephaestus was the master craftsman of the gods and created the weapons and palaces of the 12 Olympians. He had the power to make amazing mechanical robots, such as the giant Talos.

12 Olympians Fact 8: Demeter, the goddess of fertility, agriculture, nature and the seasons. She is depicted with a torch that represents the pair of flaming torches she carried in her search for her daughter, Persephone

12 Olympians Fact 9: Hermes was the messenger of the 12 Olympians and the god of travel, commerce, luck, gambling and thieves.

12 Olympians Fact 10: Dionysus was the god of wine, celebrations and merry-making. His thyrsos was a magic staff that could turn a rock into water and the water into wine

12 Olympians Fact 11: Aphrodite was described as passionate, weak, all smiles but little substance. She possessed a magic girdle, called a Cestus, that had the power of inspiring love.

12 Olympians Fact 12: Athena the goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare was depicted as tall, slim, wearing armor and carrying weapons

12 Olympians Fact 13: Hestia was the goddess of the hearth and the home. Every town of Greece had a fire sacred to Hestia (Vesta) that was always kept burning.

Mythical Facts about the 12 Olympians for Kids

12 Olympians

  • Names of the 12 Olympian gods
  • Interesting information and Facts about the 12 Olympians
  • The 12 Olympians
  • Legends in Greek Mythology associated with Greek gods and goddesses
  • Facts and information about the 12 Olympians for schools and kids
  • The 12 Olympian gods & goddesses

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