Gods and Goddesses of Greek Mythology:
Heroic Stories of Greek Mythology:
Heracles/Herakles: The son of Zeus and Alcmene/Alkmena (a mortal), Heracles was born with incredible strength. In his cradle shortly after being born, he strangled two serpents, sent by Hera to kill him. After establishing a family, Hera drove Heracles insane and he killed his wife and children. After he realized what he had done, he wanted to commit suicide, but learned from the oracle at Delphi that his heinous acts could be forgiven if he served his cousin Eurystheus. His cousin ordered him to do twelve amazing feats which included defeating the Nemean Lion, destroying the Hydra, killing a great boar, ridding a marsh of birds, capturing one of Artemis' sacred deer, cleaning the Augeian stables, capturing a mad bull, capturing the mares of Diomedes, stealing the girdle of the Amazon queen, capturing the cattle of Geryon, gathering some golden apples of the Hesperides, and capturing the guard dog of Hades. After his tasks Heracles married Deianeira, who later was responsible for his death. He ascended to Olympus after his death.
Odysseus: Odysseus fought bravely in the Trojan War. It took him 10 years to return home from the war because of various distractions. Along his way home, Odysseus met the witch Circe who enchanted him to stay with her for at least 3 years. Odysseus overcame the Sirens on his way home as well. Usually the call of the Sirens drove men crazy, but Odysseus had himself tied to his ship so he could not throw himself off the ship as so many others had done. When Odysseus finally came home he had to prove himself and overcome many suitors who had come to take his wife.
Prometheus: Prometheus was a titan. It was said that he created man after the original race had all been destroyed. He worked with his brother, Epithemus, to repopulate the world. They were given certain gifts to bestow upon their creations by Zeus, and like a fool, Epithemus used up all the better qualities before man was finished. Prometheus begged Zeus to let him give fire, something exclusive to the gods, to man, but he refused. Prometheus defied Zeus and brought fire down to the humans, which actually enlightened them. Prometheus then taught the humans how to fool the gods into accepting less taxing sacrifices. Zeus was furious because of this and punished Prometheus by having him chained to the top of a mountain, and each day having an eagle eat his liver. Each night his liver would grow back so his torture seemed never-ending. It was believed that Prometheus was later saved by Heracles.
Bellerophon: Bellerophon dreamt of riding Pegasus, the winged horse which sprouted from Medusa's neck. After sleeping in Athena's temple, he awoke with a golden bridle in his hand which he later put on Pegasus and tamed him. On Pegasus, Bellerophon killed Chimera, the three-headed fierce beast. Bellerophon attempted to ride up to Olympus and was punished by being thrown off Pegasus, and became and died a beggar.
Theseus: Theseus was the son of King Aegeus and Princess Aethra. He saved Athens by killing the Minotaur, a savage bull-man. On his trip home from killing the Minotaur, Theseus forgot to change his ship's flag and caused his father to commit suicide, believing his son to be dead.
Perseus: Son of Zeus and Danae, Perseus reached maturity on the beach of an island after being thrown into the ocean in a chest along with his mother. Perseus was sent to bring the head of Medusa, a monster with a serpents tail, hair of snakes, and ability to turn to stone whatever looked her in the face, back to the king Polydectes. He succeeded in doing this using enchanted items including sandals, a wallet, a helmet, and a sickle. From the blood of Medusa, the winged horse Pegasus sprouted, which would later prove important to Bellerophon. On his way home, Perseus encountered a young princess, Andromeda, chained to a rock. As a punishment to her mother, Andromeda was going to be executed by a sea monster. Perseus killed the monster, and soon married Andromeda, after turning her unwilling parents to stone. Later in his life, Perseus mistakenly killed his grandfather, Acrisius, and also fathered many sons.
Jason: Jason was sent on a quest, to bring back the Golden Fleece of a divine ram, in order to claim the throne of the kingdom which had been taken from him. Jason traveled on a ship, the Argo, along with other mighty heroes, including Heracles, who became known as the Argonauts. After a long quest Jason finally returned with the Golden Fleece. Later in life Jason's wife-to-be was murdered by his ex-lover Medea, and he himself was killed by a falling beam of the Argo.
The Trojan War: The Trojan War began when a young man named Paris was consulted by Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite to decide who amongst them was the fairest. Each goddess promised him a gift if he chose them with Hera offering him the chance to be a king with wealth, Athena promising wisdom and knowledge in warfare, and Aphrodite giving him the most beautiful woman in the world-Helen. Paris chose Aphrodite, and in doing so earned the hate of Hera and Athena. Paris claimed Helen, even though she was already married to Menelaus, and took her back to his kingdom. This set off a war between Menelaus' Greece and Paris' Troy which in the end cost both sides great warriors. The conclusion of the battle came when the Greeks built a large hollow wooden horse, hid inside it, and presented it to the Trojans as a gift. In the night the Greeks freed themselves from the horse and destroyed Troy.