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Mythological Deities

Heroes feature prominently in the wars, myths, and literature of the ancient world, but not all of these people would be heroes by today's standards, and some wouldn't be by Classical Greek standards, either.  What makes a hero changes with the eras, but it's often tied up with concepts of bravery and virtue.

The ancient Greeks and Romans were among the best at documenting the adventures of their heroes.  These tales tell the stories of many of the biggest names in ancient history as well as its greatest triumphs and tragedies.

This section within the suite of dictionary entries lists the gods, goddesses, creatures and other beings of three of the better known ancient mythologies, along with their titles.  Click on the section you wish to look at, or simply scroll down the page until you reach it:

Gods, Goddesses & Titans in Greek & Roman Mythology

Major Gods & Goddesses in Greek & Roman Mythology

The main and most important gods in Greek mythology were the Twelve Olympians, their home being at the summit of Mount Olympus.  There was some variation as to which deities were included in the Twelve, and as such, the list below numbers fourteen.  It includes all those who are commonly named as one of the twelve in art and poetry.  Dionysus was a later addition; in some descriptions, he replaced Hestia.  Hades is not usually included among the Olympians because his home was the Underworld.  Nevertheless, some writers such as Plato named him as one of the twelve.

Greek Name Roman Name Title/Description
Zeus Jupiter The King of the Gods
Hera Juno The Goddess of Marriage
Poseidon Neptune The God of the Sea
Cronus Saturn The Youngest Son of Uranus, Father of Zeus
Aphrodite Venus The Goddess of Love
Hades Pluto The God of the Underworld
Hephaestus Vulcan The God of the Forge
Demeter Ceres The Goddess of the Harvest
Apollo Apollo The God of Music and Medicine
Athena Minerva The Goddess of Wisdom
Artemis Diana The Goddess of the Hunt
Ares Mars The God of War
Hermes Mercury The Messenger of the Gods
Dionysus Bacchus The God of Wine
Persephone Prosperine The Goddess of the Underworld
Eros Cupid The God of Love
Gaia Gaea The Goddess of the Earth

Primordial Gods & Goddesses in Greek Mythology

The primordial deities are the first actual beings that existed, and are what comprises the universe.  All other gods descend from them.  The first among them is usually said to be Chaos, the nothingness from which all of the others were made.  These gods are usually depicted as a place or a realm; Tartarus, for example, is depicted as the deepest pit in the Underworld, and his brother, Erebus, is also depicted as a place of darkness, or the emptiness of space.  Gaia is depicted as nature or the Earth, while Pontus is depicted as the oceans, lakes and rivers, and Chronos is depicted as time.

English Name Title/Description
Aether The God of the Upper Air and Light
Ananke The Goddess of Inevitability, Compulsion and Need
Chaos The Nothingness from which Everything Else came -- Described as a Void
Chronos The God of Time.  Not to be Confused with the Titan Cronus, the Father of Zeus
Erebus The God of Darkness and Shadow
Eros The God of of Love and Attraction
Gaia The Goddess of the Earth (Mother Earth) and Mother of the Titans
Hemera The Goddess of Daylight
Hypnos The God of Sleep
Nesoi The Goddesses of Islands and the Sea
Nyx The Goddesses of the Night
Nyx The Goddess of the Night
Uranus The God of the Heavens (Father Sky), and Father of the Titans
Ourea The Gods of Mountains
Phanes The Gods of Procreation
Pontus The God of the Sea, Father of the Fish and other Sea Creatures
Tartarus The God of the Deepest, Darkest part of the Underworld (which is itself also Referred to as Tartarus)
Thalasa The Spirit of the Sea and Consort of Pontus

Titans in Greek Mythology

The Titans are the older kind of gods in Greek mythology.  The original twelve Titans were children of Gaia (Mother Earth) and Uranus (Father Sky).  Their leader was Cronus, who overthrew his father Uranus and became ruler of the gods.  Cronus' consort was his sister Rhea.  Their children were Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Hera, Demeter and Hestia.

Cronus and the Titans were overthrown by Zeus, his youngest son, in a war called the Titanomachy, a ten-year series of battles fought in Thessaly, consisting of the majority of the Titans, based on Mount Othrys, fighting against the Olympians (the younger generation, who would come to reign on Mount Olympus) and their allies.  This event is also known as the War of the Titans, Battle of the Titans, Battle of the Gods, or just the Titan War.  The war was fought to decide which generation of gods would have domain over the Universe; it ended in victory for the Olympians.  The Titans are depicted in Greek art less often than the Olympians.

The Original Twelve Titans

English Name Title/Description
Hyperion Titan of Light.  With Theia, he is the Father of Helios (the Sun), Selene (the Moon), and Eos (the Dawn)
Iapetus Titan of Mortality and Father of Prometheus, Epimetheus, Menoetius and Atlas
Coeus Titan of Intelligence and the Axis of Heaven
Crius Father of Astraeus, Pallas and Perses.  Very little is known about him.
Cronos The Leader of the Titans who overthrew his Father Uranus.  He was later overthrown by his own son, Zeus.  Not to be confused with Chronos, the God of Time.
Mnemosyne Titan of Memory, and Mother of the Nine Muses
Oceanus Titan of the Ocean, the Great River that flows around the Earth
Phoebe Titan of Prophecy, and Consort of Coeus
Rhea Titan of Fertility and Mothers.  She is the Sister and Consort of Cronus, and Mother of Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Hera, Demeter and Hestia
Tethys Wife of Oceanus, and Mother of the Rivers, Fountains and Clouds
Theia Titan of Sight and the Light of the Sky.  She is the Consort of Hyperion, and Mother of Helios, Selene and Eos
Themis Titan of Divine Law and Order

Other Titans

Asteria Titan of Oracles and Falling Stars
Astraeus Titan of the Dusk, Stars and Planets and the Art of Astrology
Atlas Titan who was forced to carry the Sky upon his Shoulders by Zeus.  Son of Iapetus
Aura Titan of the Breeze and the Air of Early Morning
Dione Titan of the Oracle of Dodona
Eos Titan of the Dawn
Epimetheus Titan of Afterthought and Excuses
Eurybia Titan of the Seas and Consort of Crius
Helios Titan of the Sun and Guardian of Oaths
Asia / Clymene Titan of Fame and Infamy, and Wife of Lapetos
Lelantos Titan of Air and Hunters
Leto Titan of Motherhood and Mother of the Twins Artemis and Apollo
Menoetius Titan of Anger, Rash Action and Mortality.  Killed by Zeus
Metis Titan of Wisdom, Advice and Cunning
Ophion An elder Titan.  In some versions of the Myth he ruled the Earth with his Consort Eurynome before Cronus overthrew him.  Another account describes him as a Snake
Pallas Titan of War.  He was killed by Athena during the Titanomachy
Perses Titan of Destruction and Peace
Prometheus Titan of Forethought and Craftiness.  Creator of Humans
Selene Titan of the Moon
Charon Titan of the River Styx in the Underworld.  Personification of Hatred

Gods & Goddesses in Norse Mythology

Norse gods are the mythological characters which, as far as we can discern, came from the Northern Germanic tribes of the 9th century CE.  These stories were passed down in the form of poetry until the 11th 18th centuries when the Eddas and other mediaeval texts were written.

Norse mythology comprises the pre-Christian beliefs and legends of the Scandinavian peoples including those who settled on Iceland where most of the written sources for Norse mythology were assembled.  Norse mythology not only has its gods, goddesses and immortals but also a myriad of other characters and creatures that populate the stories, including giants, dwarfs, monsters, magical animals and objects.

Name Title/Description
Aegir Norse God of the sea.  Married to Ran and lives under the waves near the Island of Hlesey
Aesir A group of Warrior Gods led by Odin who inhabit Asgard
Balder Son of Odin and Frigg.  Known as a Gentle and Wise G who was killed accidentally by his Brother Hod.  He returned after Ragnarok
Bolverk The alias adopted by Odin when disguised as a Giant to win the Mead of Poetry
Bor Son of Buri and Father of Odin, Vili and Ve
Bragi The Norse God of Poetry and Eloquence.  Son of Odin and husband of Idun
Buri Ancestor of the Norse gods.  Created by the cow Audmula by licking him from ice
Day Son of Night and Delling.  Said to ride around the Earth on his horse Skinfaxi
Earth Daughter of Night and Annar
Einherjar Band of dead warriors in Valhalla who await Ragnarok
Eir Goddess of Healing
Fjorgyn Lover of Odin and Mother of Thor.  Also referred to as Earth
Forseti God of Justice.  Son of Balder and Nanna
Freyja Main goddess of the Vanir (Fertility gods).  Daughter of Njord and sister of Freyr
Freyr Important god of the Vanir.  Son of Njord and brother of Freyja
Frigga Main goddess.  Wife of Odin and mother of Balder
Fulla Main goddess.  Goddess servant of Frigga
Gangnrad Pseudonym of Odin when he visited Vafthrudnir
Gefion Fertility goddess associated with the plough.  Tricked the King of Sweden out of a tract of his land
Grimnir Pseudonym of Odin when he visited his foster son Geirrod, King of the Goths
Gullveig A Vanir goddess (probably Freyja) who is burned three times by the Aesir
Harbard Odin disguised as a ferryman when he wrangles with Thor
Heimdal Watchman of the Norse gods and owner of the horn Gjall.  Son of nine mothers, often identified with Rig, the creator of three races of men
Hel Ruler of Helheim, the realm of the dead
Hermod Son of Odin.  Rode to Hel to try to rescue his brother Balder
Hod Son of Odin, a blind god who accidentally killed his brother Balder.  He returns after Ragnarok
Honir A long-legged, indecisive god.  Sent to the Vanir to seal the truce between them and the Aesir.  He survives Ragnarok
Idun Guardian of the golden apples of youth and wife of Bragi
Kvasir The wisest who was created from the spittle of the gods
Lofn Goddess of illicit unions
Loki The sly, trickster of the Norse gods who was the son of two giants.  Also known as the 'Sly One', the 'Trickster', the 'Shape Changer' and the 'Sky Traveller' who becomes increasingly more evil.  He is responsible for the death of Balder and was bound until Ragnarok
Magni The son of Thor and the Giantess Jarnsaxa.  He inherited Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, with his brother Modi after Ragnarok
Mimir A wise Aesir god who was sent to the Vanir to seal the truce between the two groups of the Norse gods.  Killed by the Vanir; his head was kept by Odin
Modgud Maiden guardian of the bridge over the river Gjoll in Jotenheim
Modi The son of Thor and the Giantess Jarnsaxa.  He inherited Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, with his brother Magni after Ragnarok
Moon The son of Mundilfari, who guides the moon on its course
Nanna The wife of Balder and daughter of Nep
Narvi Also known as Nari, he is the son of Loki and Sigyn who was killed by his brother Vali
Night The daughter of Narvi and mother of Day, she rides around the earth on her horse Hrimfaxi
Njord A Vanir god associated with wind and the sea.  Husband of Skadi and father of Freyja and Freyr
Norns Urd -fate, Skuld - being and Verandi - necessity.  Three goddesses of destiny
Od The missing husband of Freyja for whom she constantly mourns
Odin King of the Norse Gods and God of poetry, battle and death.  Chief god of the Aesir, also known as the 'all-father', the 'terrible one', 'one-eyed' and 'father of battle'
Ran The wife of Aegir who dragged drowning men down with her net
Rig Pseudonym of Heimdall and the creator of three races of men
Rind Goddess and lover of Odin, and mother of Vali
Saga Goddess and drinking companion of Odin
Sif Wife of Thor whose golden hair was cut off by Loki
Sigyn Wife of Loki
Sjofn Goddess of human passion
Skadi Goddess of winter and of the hunt
Sun Daughter of Mundilfari and guide of the sun
Syn Goddess of the accused at trial
Thor God of the Sky, thunder and fertility.  Associated with law and order in Asgard and guardian of the Norse gods.  Son of Odin and Earth and husband of Sif.  Also known as the 'thunder god' and 'charioteer'
Thrud Daughter of Thor who was promised to the dwarf Alvis
Tyr War god, the son of Odin who sacrificed his hand in the binding of Fenrir
Ull God of archery and skiing
Vali Son of Odin and the giantess Rindwho was conceived to avenge the death of Balder
Valkyries Beautiful women who carried dying warriors to Valhalla
Vanir Fertility gods
Var Goddess of marriage oaths
Ve Son of Bor and brother of Odin and Vili
Vidar Son of Odin and the giantess Grid who avenged Odin's death after Ragnarok
Vili Son of Bor and brother of Odin and Ve

Gods & Goddesses in Egyptian Mythology

Ancient Egyptian deities represent natural and social phenomena, as well as abstract concepts.  These gods and goddesses appear in virtually every aspect of ancient Egyptian civilisation, and more than 1,500 of them are known by name.  Many Egyptian texts mention deities' names without indicating their character or role, whilst other texts refer to specific deities without even stating their name, so a complete list of them is difficult to assemble.  Some of them are split into groups:

The Ennead is an extended family of nine deities produced by Atum during the creation of the world.  The Ennead usually consisted of Atum, his children Shu and Tefnut, their children Geb and Nut, and their children Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys.

The four sons of Horus are four gods who protected the mummified body, particularly the internal organs in canopic jars.

The Ogdoad is a set of eight gods who personified the chaos that existed before creation.  The Ogdoad commonly consisted of Amun, Amunet, Nu, Naunet, Heh, Hauhet, Kuk, and Kauket.

The Souls of Pe and Nekhen are a set of gods personifying the predynastic rulers of Upper and Lower Egypt.

Name Title/Description
Aker A God of the Earth and the Horizon
Am-heh A dangerous underground god
Amenhotep Son of Hapu, a scribe and architect in the court of Amenhotep III, later deified for his wisdom
Ammit A goddess who devoured condemned souls
Amun A creator god, patron deity of the city of Thebes, and the preeminent deity in Egypt during the New Kingdom
Amunet Female counterpart of Amun and a member of the Ogdoad
Anat A war and fertility goddess, originally from Syria, who entered Egyptian religion in the Middle Kingdom
Anhur A god of war and hunting
Anput A goddess of the dead and mummification
Anti A Falcon god, worshipped in Middle Egypt, who appears in myth as a ferryman for greater gods
Anubis God of embalming and protector of the dead
Anuket A goddess of Egypt's southern frontier regions, particularly the lower cataracts of the Nile
Apedemak A warlike lion god from Nubia who appears in some Egyptian-built temples in Lower Nubia
Apep A serpent deity who personified malevolent chaos and was said to fight Ra in the Underworld every night
Apis A live bull worshipped as a god at Memphis and seen as a manifestation of Ptah
Arensnuphis A Nubian deity who appears in Egyptian temples in Lower Nubia in the Greco-Roman era
Ash A god of the Libyan Desert and oases west of Egypt
Astarte A warrior goddess from Syria and Canaan who entered Egyptian religion in the New Kingdom
Aten A Sun disk deity who became the focus of the monolatrous or monotheistic Atenist belief system in the reign of Akhenaten
Atum A creator god and solar deity, first god of the Ennead
Baal A Sky and storm god from Syria and Canaan, worshipped in Egypt during the New Kingdom
Ba'alat Gebal A Canaanite goddess, patroness of the city of Byblos, adopted into Egyptian religion
Babi A Sky and storm god from Syria and Canaan, worshipped in Egypt during the New Kingdom
Banebdjedet A ram god, patron of the city of Mendes
Ba-Pef A little-known Underworld deity
Bast/Bastet Goddess represented as a cat or lioness, patroness of the city of Bubastis, linked with protection from evil
Bat Cow goddess from early in Egyptian history, eventually absorbed by Hathor
Bennu A solar and creator deity, depicted as a bird
Bes Apotropaic god, represented as a dwarf, particularly important in protecting children and women in childbirth
Buchis A live bull god worshipped in the region around Thebes and a manifestation of Montu
Dedun A Nubian god, said to provide the Egyptians with incense and other resources that came from Nubia
Geb An earth god and member of the Ennead
Ha A god of the Libyan Desert and oases west of Egypt
Hapi Personification of the Nile flood
Hathor One of the most important goddesses, linked with the sky, the sun, sexuality and motherhood, music and dance, foreign lands, goods, and the afterlife.  One of many forms of the Eye of Ra
Hatmehit Fish goddess worshipped at Mendes
Hedetet A minor scorpion goddess
Heh Personification of infinity and a member of the Ogdoad
Heka Personification of magic
Heket Frog goddess said to protect women in childbirth
Heryshaf Ram god worshipped at Herakleopolis Magna
Hesat A maternal cow goddess
Horus A major god, usually shown as a falcon or as a human child, linked with the sky, the sun, kingship, protection, and healing.  Said to be the son of Osiris and Isis
Hu Personification of the authority of the spoken word
Iah A moon god
Iat A goddess of milk and nursing
Ihy A child deity born to Horus and Hathor, representing the music and joy produced by the Sistrum
Imentet An afterlife goddess closely linked with Isis and Hathor
Imhotep Architect and vizier to Djoser, eventually deified as a healer god
Ishtar The East Semitic version of Astarte, occasionally mentioned in Egyptian texts
Isis Wife of Osiris and mother of Horus, linked with funerary rites, motherhood, protection, and magic.  She became a major deity in Greek and Roman religion
Iusaaset A female counterpart to Atum
Kek The God of Chaos and Darkness, as well as being the concept of primordial darkness.  Kek's female form is known as Kauket
Khepri A solar creator god, often treated as the morning form of Ra and represented by a scarab beetle
Kherty A netherworld god, usually depicted as a ram
Khnum A ram god, the patron deity of Elephantine, who was said to control the Nile flood and give life to gods and humans
Khonsu A moon god, son of Amun and Mut
Maahes A lion god, son of Bastet
Ma'at A goddess who personified truth, justice, and order
Mafdet A predatory goddess said to destroy dangerous creatures
Mandulis A Lower Nubian solar deity who appeared in some Egyptian temples
Mehen A serpent god who protects the barque of Ra as it travels through the Underworld
Mehet-Weret A celestial cow goddess
Mehit A lioness goddess, consort of Anhur
Menhit A lioness goddess
Meretseger A cobra goddess who oversaw the Theban Necropolis
Meskhenet A goddess who presided over childbirth
Min A god of virility, as well as the cities of Akhmim and Qift, and the Eastern Desert beyond them
Mnevis A live bull god worshipped at Heliopolis as a manifestation of Ra
Montu A god of war and the sun, worshipped at Thebes
Mut Consort of Amun, worshipped at Thebes
Nebethetepet A female counterpart to Atum
Nefertum God of the lotus blossom from which the sun god rose at the beginning of time, and son of Ptah and Sekhmet
Nehebu-Kau A protective serpent god
Nehmetawy A minor goddess, the consort of Nehebu-Kau or Thoth
Neith A creator and hunter goddess, patron of the city of Sais in Lower Egypt
Nephthys A member of the Ennead, the consort of Set, who mourned Osiris alongside Isis
Nepit A goddess of grain, the female counterpart of Neper
Nu Personification of the formless, watery disorder from which the world emerged at creation and a member of the Ogdoad
Nut A sky goddess, a member of the Ennead
Osiris God of death and resurrection who rules the Underworld and enlivens vegetation, the sun god, and deceased souls
Pakhet A lioness goddess mainly worshipped in the area around Beni Hasan
Ptah A creator deity and god of craftsmen, the patron god of Memphis
Qetesh A goddess of sexuality and sacred ecstasy from Syria and Canaan, adopted into Egyptian religion in the New Kingdom
Ra The foremost Egyptian sun god, involved in creation and the afterlife.  Mythological ruler of the gods, father of every Egyptian king, and the patron god of Heliopolis
Raet-Tawy A female counterpart of Ra
Renenutet An agricultural goddess
Renpet Goddess who personified the year
Reshep A Syrian war god adopted into Egyptian religion in the New Kingdom
Satet A goddess of Egypt's southern frontier regions
Seker God of the Memphite Necropolis and of the afterlife in general
Sekhmet A lioness goddess, both destructive and violent and capable of warding off disease.  She was the consort of Ptah and one of many forms of the Eye of Ra
Serapis A Greco-Egyptian god from the Ptolemaic Period who fused traits of Osiris and Apis with those of several Greek gods.  A husband of Isis who, like her, was adopted into Greek and Roman religion outside Egypt
Serket A scorpion goddess, invoked for healing and protection
Seshat Goddess of writing and record keeping, depicted as a scribe
Set An ambivalent god connected with the desert, characterised by violence, chaos, and strength.  Mythological murderer of Osiris and enemy of Horus, but also a supporter of the king
Shai Personification of fate
Shed A god believed to save people from danger and misfortune
Shesmetet A lioness goddess
Shezmu A god of wine and oil presses who also slaughters condemned souls
Shu Embodiment of wind or air, a member of the Ennead
Sia Personification of perception
Sobek Crocodile god, worshipped in the Faiyum and at Kom Ombo
Sopdet Deification of the star Sirius
Sopdu A god of the sky and of Egypt's eastern border regions
Ta-Bitjet A minor scorpion goddess
Tatenen Personification of the first mound of earth to emerge from chaos in ancient Egyptian creation myths
Taweret Hippopotamus goddess, protector of women in childbirth
Tefnut Goddess of moisture and a member of the Ennead
Tenenet Goddess of childbirth and beer
Thoth A moon god and a god of writing and scribes, also patron deity of Hermopolis
Tutu An apotropaic god from the Greco-Roman era
Unut A goddess represented as a snake or a hare, worshipped in the region of Hermopolis
Wadjet A cobra goddess, the tutelary deity of Lower Egypt
Wadj-wer Personification of the Mediterranean Sea or lakes of the Nile Delta
Weneg A son of Ra who maintains cosmic order
Wepwawet A jackal god, the patron deity of Asyut, connected with warfare and the afterlife
Werethekau A goddess who protected the king
Wosret A minor goddess of Thebes
Yam A Syrian god of the sea who appears in some Egyptian texts

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