***The Greek Goddesses: A-E***
Fates to Nyx | Odyne to Volupta
Aceso was a goddess personifying the healing process. She was the daughter of Epione and Asclepius (the main healer dude) and was worshipped with the rest of her family in Epidauros.
Achelois means "she who drives away pain". She was a Moon Goddess, which wasn't really that uncommon. The Dodonian Oracle ordered sacrifice to her. But according to Tzetzes (this old Roman dude), Achelois was one of the seven Muses said to be the daughters of Pierus.
She was the personification of Eternal Night, what was believed to have presaged Chaos. There was another who personified Misery, and Hesiod described her in the Shield of Heracles: "And beside them [the Keres and the Moirai] was standing Akhlys, dismal and dejected, green and pale, dirty-dry, fallen in on herself with hunger, knee-swollen, and the nails were grown long on her hands, and from her nostrils the drip kept running, and off her cheeks the blood dribbled to the ground, and she stood there, grinning forever, and the dust that had gathered and lay in heaps on her shoulders was muddy with tears." How pleasant.
Adicia was the female personification of injustice. According to Pausanias there was this picture of the beautiful Dike dragging the ugly Adikia and beating her with a staff.
The name means something like, "unyielding," and is a surname of Nemesis. Another chica named Adrastea was the daughter of Amaltheia (a nymph) and King Melisseus of Crete, and she took care of the infant Zeus with her sister, Ida, and the Curetes (these guys - whom some say were her brothers - who danced around and beat their weapons really loudly so that Cronos wouldn't hear Zeus' cries). Adrastea was a good babysitter and kept baby Zeus occupied with a pretty globe.
She was the personification of Modesty or Shame. She is often mentioned alongside Nemesis, who was goddess pretty big on conscience. Penelope's dad, Icarius, built a statue of Aedos about 6 miles outside of Sparta after his darling daughter left him for Odysseus.
Aega was a lot of people. I will mention the more important ones. In one version she and her sisters suckled the infant Zeus and she was put in the sky later as the constellation Capella. In another version, she was chosen to suckle Zeus but couldn't cut it, so AmaltheaAmalthea came in to take her place. In another version she was a daughter of Helios who was so bright that when the Titans were attacking Olympus they had to ask Gaia to hide her - then she was stuck in a cave, where she ended up suckling Zeus. Zeus got the aegis from the goat version of Aega. Aega is mostly translated as "goat," but can also be said to be "gale of wind."
One of the daughters of Aesclepius and Lampetia, or, more commonly, Epione. Like her sisters she was a Goddess of Healing. But she, like Iaso, is very rarely considered to be above demi-goddess level. Human Aegle was a couple of different people. There was also a nymph Aegle. Her name means "Brightness" or "Splendor" and she personified the "glowing health of the human body."
Aesa was a (not the) personification of destiny. She is described sometimes as one of the Fates, but others say that she is from Argive only, and others say that she should be viewed in tandom with Ate. She had a sword. Yes.
See the Litae.
Aetna was the daughter of Gaia and Uranus. She was the personification of Mt. Etna, you know, the one Zeus threw on Typhon? What? You don't? Well, then you should keep looking for the new myths page filled with creation stories! Anyway, back to Aetna. She was a volcano (thanks to the fire-breathing Typhon, who lives underneath her). When Demeter and Hephaestus were arguing over Sicily (land of volcanoes and corn) Aetna stepped in to arbitrate. She is regarded in Sicilian myth as the mother of the Palici (twin Sicilian gods of geysers, no not fogies, like water geysers).
Agdistis was a totally awesome figure in mythology, and I'll probably move her to the goddess section soon, because she's really not so monstrous. It all started when Zeus had a wet dream and came on Gaia - that is, the ground. Gaia, fecund as we all know, got pregnant, and Agdistis soon emerged. She was born a hermaphrodite, but her bi-sexed body totally intimidated the gods, who feared that her body made her so powerful that she'd take over the world. So they cut off her penis. They buried it in the ground and it grew into an almond tree (think about THAT the next time you eat a handful of almonds) and the daughter of the Sangarius river came along and, according to Pausanias, put one of the almonds between her breasts (whatever floats your boat ...). Although this may seem a little unorthodox, the almond disappeared and - surprise surprise - Nana (the nymph) found out that she was pregnant. She had a child named Attis - who grew up to be a major hottie, and then Agdistis fell in love with him. Agdistis, apparently, was still pretty intimidating, and Attis' relatives weren't down with her, so they sent him off to marry a princess, but Agdistis showed up at the wedding in true romantic style. The only thing is, when she stood up to say, "Wait! You can't marry that girl, I love you!" (or whatever), instead of everything working out happily ever after, Attis went completely nuts. He ran into the wilderness and castrated himself and, as this story goes, bled to death. His spirit entered a pine tree, but Agdistis was less worried about the soul, and more worried about the body, and she asked Zeus if he could preserve the body eternally for her. It's a little kinky, if you ask me, but as we all know, Zeus is down with kink, so he agreed and they put the body in a tomb in the sanctuary of Cybele (Rhea). Eventually, Agdistis became an epithet of Cybele's. There were ceremonies replaying the whole Attis myth every year, and I hope to get the whole Attis myth in the Myth Pages one of these days.
The female personification of the war-cry.
In Greek mythology, Alcmene was the mother of Heracles who, after she died, was worshipped as a Goddess in Thebes and Athens. The story goes that after she died, Zeus got Heracles to steal her body and put a stone in her coffin in her place. Then Zeus brought her to the Isles of the Blessed where she was revived and married Rhadamanthys (he was cool, trust me).
Alcyone, also said "Halcyone," is the Goddess of the Sea, the Moon, Calm, and Tranquility. There was also a Pleiade named Alcyone (check out the Nymphs page for that). She was the daughter of Aeolus and wife of Ceyx. She and Ceyx were a very happy couple, but then Ceyx died in a shipwreck and Alcyone threw herself into the sea (what can you do? She was a silly young girl then). The gods took pity and turned the two into birds (Alcyone became a halcyon, or a kingfisher, and Ceyx became a ceyx, or a gannet). Alcyone made her nest on the beach, and waves were big and scary, but the gods made the sea calm so she could lay her eggs. Therefore, "halcyon days," when storms never occur. Ahhhhhhh. It is she who brings life to death and death to life.
Alectrona was an early Goddess of the Sun, who became a daughter of Helios once classical myth, ie, patriarchal myth, came along.
Alethia was the Goddess of Truth. She was born of Zeus and Apollo's nurse.
She was the personification of Sorrow and Grief. She was the daughter of Eris.
Alphito was the Arcadian White Grain Goddess as a Sow. But by Classical timesshe was barely remembered. She was given sole rights over the ability to inflict leprosy. Scary. But she was kind of scary, so . . . Again, I have lost my source, so I can't verify this at all. What I CAN say for sure is that "alphito" is the Greek word for "barley."
Amphictyonis, now there's a mouthful, she was the Goddess of Wine, and of Friendship Between Nations. I could see how she could come in handy, but I don't see how anyone drunk on the Wine that she's the Goddess of could say a toast in her name! Actually, Amphictyonis was just a surname of Demeter, to whom sacrifices were offered at the beginning of every meeting (in Thermopylae).
Amphitrite was a Nereid and she married Poseidon. She was the Goddess of the Mediterranean Sea. Her symbol is the dolphin. The stories say that she was not a jealous wife, and didn't care if her husband slept with anyone else (except for Scylla, who she poisoned and turned into a sea-monster). Her children were Triton, Benthesicyme, and Rhode. Her name means, "the third one who encircles," how mysterious. She and her sister, Thetis, shared the surname Halosydne, which means "sea-born."
Anaitis was an Asiatic goddess who represented the creative powers of nature. She had slaves from famous families - the women she made temple prostitutes, the men she made were made protectors of the land surrounding the temple. The Greeks associated her with both Aphrodite (obviously) and Artemis (not so obviously).
Ananke was the Goddess of Fate and Necessity. Her nature was extremely unalterable so she didn't have very many temples. I guess people figured that they wouldn't change her mind. She was also the mother of the Fates and Adrastea (though some people say that their mother was Themis).
Anchiale was a Titaness and the mother of the Dactyls (Five brothers who were masters of metallurgy and sorcery). Since the Dactyls are also considered the children of Rhea, perhaps Anchiale is just another name for that Goddess.
Antheia was the Goddess of Vegetation, Lowlands, Marshlands, Gardens, Blossoms, the Budding Earth, and Human Love.
Apate was the Goddess of Deceit, she was one of the Spirits in Pandora's box. Her parents were Nyx and Erebus.
Aphrodite was the Goddess of Love and Beauty. She's definitely important enough to have her own page. According to The Odyssey she was the daughter of Zeus and Dione, other myths speak of her as springing from the blood of Uranus after Cronus castrated him, and floating on the sea to Greece, where she was met by the Three Graces (who will be discussed later). The latter is the more accepted version. Personally I dislike her because she is exceedingly vain and thinks only of herself. I like to laugh at her eternal beauty and loveliness because she was a great grandmother of another God, Dionysus (who she also had a child by). She was married to Hephaestus, the Smith God, but she lusted after Ares, the much disliked God of War. She was also the patron Goddess of Prostitutes. Read more about Aphrodite.
The personifications of curses. They were invoked during the spells of witches.
The sister of Iris. Before the Olympian Gods took over, she was the Messenger Goddess for the Titans. When Zeus took the throne, he cast Arce into Tartarus.
Arete was Heracles' teacher and a Goddess of Justice.
She's definately my favorite goddess, and so, of course, has her own page. Artemis was the Goddess of the Hunt. She had 50 hounds and 50 Dreiads (wood nymphs) and a quiver full of painless silver arrows. She was the daughter of Zeus and Leto as well as being last of the Three Maiden Goddesses. She was also a part of the Triple Goddess. The Triple Goddess was the Moon in three forms. Artemis didn't carry the moon across the sky, yet she was still known as the moon. Although she was stunningly beautiful, she was very cold and she swore never to marry. She had only one love, a hunter named Orion (and even that's debatable). She was the Protector of Young Women. She was incredibly cool (coming from a young woman). The picture is copyrighted by Hrana Janto, who is the painter - with whose kind permission I am using the painting. You can check out some of her other Goddess (and other) paintings on her site. Read more about Artemis.
Astarte was the Fertility Goddess, she was helpful whether one wanted to bear a child or plant a garden.
Asteria was a daughter of Phoebe, a sister of Leto. She hurled herself into the Sea after being abducted by Zeus. She became the island of the same name.
Astraea was a Goddess of Justice, Innocence, and Purity. It is generally accepted that she was the daughter of Themis and of Zeus. She was the last immortal to withdraw from the Earth after the Golden Age. It was she that held aloft the scales weighing the opposing parties claims. When she joined the rest of the Gods in the stars, she became the constellation Virgo.
She was the Goddess of Evil and Misfortune and also the personification of Infatuation - "the rash foolishness of blind impulse, usually caused by guilt and leading to retribution. She was, (surprise surprise) the daughter of Eris (see below) and Zeus. She was a temptress, and lead humans toward evil. She actually trapped Zeus once, but he would have none of that, and threw her (literally) off Olympus. She has sisters, the Litai (or Prayers), who follow her around and clean up her messes.
Auxesia was a Goddess of Growth.
I could talk about Athena forever, but I'll attmept to be brief. She's definitely important enough to have her own page. Athena was the Patron Goddess of Athens, the Goddess of Wisdom, and the Goddess of Weaving. She was the Goddess of lots of other things, too, but I'm being brief. She was also a warrior and another of the Three Virgin Goddesses. Her father was Zeus. Technically her mother was Metis (Goddess of Prudence), but it is generally accepted that she had no mother. Athena was Greece's favorite Goddess, and there are many stories about her. Read more about Athena.
I had Bia in here before, but then I thought she was a guy. Now I know she is a girl and she's back. She's the personification of Force and Power, the daughter of Pallas and Styx. Yeah, I gotta learn more about Pallas. Anyone who knows - please give me a write, 'k? Anyway, she's the sister of Nike, Cratos and Zelus. She bound Prometheus as punishment for his stealing fire from the Gods for us insignificant humans.
A Lake Goddess.
A Goddess of Death.
A Minoan (Crete) Goddess of Hunting. She was chased by Minos (that was a title of the King of Crete, not necessarily his name), but instead of letting him have his way with her, she committed suicide by jumping off a cliff. She is often showed with a baby and a snake.
She was worshipped by the women of Delos (not the men, for some odd reason) as the Protector of Mariners. Food offerings were set out for her in little boats (no fish, of course). Brizo was (or gave answers to) an oracle who gave answers in dreams about navigation and fishing matters. Very interesting. Hmmm. That's one I didn't know about before Encyclopedia Mythica.
Called the mother of Chaos. With Chaos, she gave birth to Nyx.
This is sometimes a surname for Aphrodite. It means "beautiful buttocks".
There's more on her in the nymph section, but now she's here to, as she should be. Daughter of the Titan Atlas, she lived on the island Ogygia. This was where Mr. Odysseus (of the Odyssey, yes, that's one you should know) was washed ashore. Calypso fell in love with this shipwrecked hunk o' burnin' love, and offered him eternal life to stay with her (which he refused, good for him - he had a wife, Penelope). They were lovers, though against his will. After seven years, Athena complained for Odysseus to Zeus, and Hermes was sent to Calypso to order her to set him free. She did so reluctantly, helping him make a small boat to get free of the island. Oooh, and her name means Hidden or Hider. Very appropriate, no?
Carya was a pre-classical mythology goddess. She was the Goddess of the Walnut Tree. That is a Cool Ass job. Wow. Later she was added to the Artemis myth, as Caryatis.
A fountain Goddess. She had a fountain on Mt. Parnassus that was the sacred place of the Muses.
Now this is a chica with a lot of choices. Her name means the Dark and she was also known as Podarge (Fleetfoot) as one of the Harpies. Celaeno the Harpy was the mama of Xanthus and Balius, the magic horses of Achilles (by Zephyrus, her lover). Of course, another version of Celaeno says she is a Pleiade, and the lover of Poseidon, mother of Lycus by him (and Deucalion by Prometheus, besides). This is one busy lady.
The personification of Violent Death. She was a daughter of Nyx.
Ceto was one of the original Titans. She was one of the few who had a true mate: Phorcys. In addition to being her husband, Phorcys was her brother. As were Thaumas and Eurybia. Ceto and Phorcys were the parents of the Gorgons. Ceto was the personification of all the Horrors of the Sea.
The Charites (or the Graces) were three happy Goddesses of Beauty. They were named:
They were the first ones to welcome Aphrodite when she was blown to shore by the East Wind. The three of them rode in a chariot pulled by white geese. Their name in Greek would have been the Charites. They were the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome (see below). Originally (as in pre-classical mythology), they were goddesses of fertility and nature and were much more closely associated with the underworld and the Eleusian mysteries. If you haven't read Mary Renault's The King Must Die read it now. It doesn't talk about the Charites, but read it anyway.
An epithet for Demeter. It means the Young Green. Muy interesante, no?
Thalia, Good Cheer
Chloris was the Goddess of Flowers. She is the spouse of Zephyrus, the West Wind. He abducted her and gave her dominion over flowers. That picture right next to this, that's Chloris (not Flora). This was also the name of the only child of Niobe spared by Apollo and Artemis. She was also known as Flora, and that's the title of the picture on the left by Evelyn de Morgan.
Circe was the daughter of Hecate and Helios (the Sun-God). She was a union of opposites. Just look at her parents: one is the Dark Moon and the other is the Sun. No wonder she ended up a sorceress, how else would she have survived! The painting on the right is John Waterhouse's depiction of Circe handing her cup to Odysseus.
She was the daughter of a man named Asopos. She was a water goddess.
A Goddess of Sexuality and Fertility.
A Thracian Goddess of Immodesty and Debauchery.
Cybele was the name under which Rhea was usually worshipped.
The epithet of Artemis, because of her birth on Mt. Cynthus on Delos. For the same reason Apollo is called Cyntheus.
This is an epithet of Aphrodite, referring to her birth rising from the sea near the island of Cythera, where she was worshipped mucho mucho more.
Possible epithet of Demeter. She was a Goddess of Growth in Nature. I don't know very much about her though.
Demeter was another daughter of Rhea and Cronus. She was the Goddess of the Harvest or the Goddess of the Fields and she's definitely important enough to have her own page. In her own time she was revered as much as Zeus was himself because her temper determined the lives of those on Earth. Centuries ago Greeks used to break bread in the name of Demeter as well as drink wine to Dionysus. Sound familiar? Demeter was also the mother of Persephone (see below). Read more about Demeter.
Her name means "Tree Youth" and she was a Goddess of Trees.
A fertility goddess.
Despina was (supposedly) the daughter of Poseidon and Demeter. Her name means Mistress. "Despina" is also an epithet for multiple goddesses, like Demeter, Aphrodite, and Persephone.
I love this Goddess. I think she is too cool (except that Nemesis is cooler, but that's okay). Yes. Anyway, Dike was born human and put on earth by Zeus. Fortunately he quickly saw that that wouldn't work, so he brought her up to sit next to him and across from her mom (Themis). Her name means Right and she was the Goddess of Divine Justice. (Don't you just love how many Justice and Vengeance Goddesses there were. That's just great!) She was "the best of all the virgins" on Olympus, and I assume that includes Artemis and Athena, so that's saying something. Another Dike (or perhaps the same one, you never know) is also one of the Horae.
Okay, I went a-researchin' in my friend's book of Greek Myths. It says that Dione was the daughter of Epimetheus, who was the son of the Titan Japet. She was one possibility as the mother of Aphrodite. She was believed by some to be an ancient Earth Goddess, or the Goddess of the Oak. In other cases it is said that she is the female version of Zeus. (I tend to hang more with the latter explanation.)
Doris was best known for being the mother of all of the Nereids. She was the daughter of Tethys and Oceanus, both Titans.
The personification of Lawlessness. She was a daughter of Eris (see below).
She was really cool. She was the personification of Armistice and Truce. She was at all the Olympics to keep the peace.
According to P J Criss, it is "the female personification of a Greek ritual object: a branch of olive wood, twined with wool and hung with fruits, which was carried in festivals by children with two living parents."
A moon goddess.
A Goddess of Mercy and Pity and was worshipped only in Athens. Anyone who wanted to be Athens' ally had to approach her altar as a suppliant.
Elpis was the personification of Hope and gets her only important role in the story of Pandora. She is always represented as fully clothed and often carrying flowers, as seen in this image by Edward Burne-Jones.
A Goddess of Crossroads and Gates. Perhaps she was an epithet of Hecate? Or perhaps the goddess was merely assimilated into the Hecate's larger cult. Another perhaps: perhaps she merely disappeared because her cult was so small.
Enyo gets to be in The Iliad, the lucky hag. Enyo was the Goddess of War, she led the Trojans with Ares. Her companions were Pain, Famine, and Panic. Enyo is one of the Graiae (the Three Gray Sisters) Enyo is also the mother of Eris (see below).
I like Eos a lot because she has good intentions but if you read the Odyssey, every other phrase begins with "The rosy fingered dawn," she begins to get annoying. Eos is the Morning Star, otherwise known as Dawn. She marries a cute guy named Tithonus and gives him eternal life, but forgets to keep him forever young so eventually he shrivels up and becomes a cricket. She also was the mother of the winds with Astraeus and was, at one point, a lover of Ares. That had disasterous results when Aphrodite got jealous of their fling, and made Eos fall in love with lots of men who didn't love her back. She is the sister of Selene and Helios (the Sun). At left is a painting called "Dawn" by the awesome artist Boris Vallejo, whose site you should visit and buy things from.
Epione was the goddess of soothing. In fact, that is just what her name means. She was the wife of the main healer dude, Asclepius, and the mother of Aceso, Aegle, Hygeia, Iaso, and Panaceia. She was worshipped, with the rest of her family, in Epidauros.
Erida is Hate. In the Iliad she was sent by Zeus to the Achaians encampment. There she SCREAMS, when the men awoke they had forgotten their wives and children and were filled with Hate. She could only be appeased once blood was spilled. She was a sister and companion of Ares.
The Erinnyes (in English, the Furies) were some seriously fearsome creatures. They were conceived when Uranus' spilled blood hit Gaia's body, and were therefore older than any of the Olympian Gods. "These Erinnyes are crones with snakes for hair, dogs' heads, coal-black bodies, bats' wings, and bloodshot eyes. In their hands they carry brass-studded scourges and their victims die in torment." It isn't a great idea to mention their names in conversation, so instead you should call them the Eumenides, or the Kindly Ones. There are three:
Their purpose was to torment sinners, which they did on Earth as well is in Tartarus. The sight of one could cause insanity, and they often drove offenders to suicide. Originally they punished only offenders of patricide, matricide, or breakers of oaths, but after a while they punished any sins. They lived in Erebus (Darkness) but traveled the Earth constantly in search of transgressors. The Furies get special press in the play the Eumenides from the Oresteia of Aeschylus. Sadly, the thing ends with the loss of a lot of their power. The picture there portrays the Furies berating Orestes (in that very play) as painted by William Adolphe Bouguereau.
Tisiphone, the Avenger
Megara, the Jealous
Alecto, the Unresting
Eris was the constant companion of Ares (the God of War). Eris was the Spirit of Discord as well as the Goddess of Strife. She was Night's daughter and the mother of Battle, Slaughter, Dispute, Lawlessness - I think you get the point. She is most known for throwing the Golden Apple of Discord, which, by the way, began the Trojan War through Aphrodite. Eris was also said to be the twin of Ares.
Ersa was a daughter of Eos (see above), the Dawn, and Zeus. She was the Goddess of Dew. Her so-called sisters were Pandia and Nemea, who are really her cousins (their mother was Selene, a sister of Eos. I don't really know that much about her though. I'm open to information.
Her name meant Good Order. She was one of the Horae, so you will have to check there to find out more.
A Goddess of Flour Mills. I will find a connection to some other, more well known goddess - just wait.
In Pelasgian myth, Eurynome was the Goddess of All Things, born from Chaos. To read this story, check it out in the Myth Pages. Eurynome's consort is Ophion in both Pelasgian and Classical mythology, but in Classical mythology, the Goddess is the daughter of Oceanus. Things actually progressed naturally. In the Titan cult (after Pelasgian, before Classical), in the beginning, Eurynome and Ophion ruled everything together from Mt. Olympus, but were supplanted by Cronus and Rhea. When the Hellenes came, Eurynome was merely an Oceanid. That's an overview of her. If you are interested in more, just write me and ask!
The Titaness mother of Helios (the Sun God).
The Greek personification and Goddess of Happiness. In Roman mythology her equivalent was Felicitas.
The Famous Ones |
Monstresses & Monstrosities |
The Myths Pages |
References & Links
Contact me at email@example.com
Last Updated November 19, 2005