Greek Gods To Know

The Crossroads of History

March Through November 2014

Cruising The Aegean

Of old the Hellenic race was marked off from the barbarian (all others)
as more keen-witted and more free from nonsense.
Herodotus I: 60

(Links in Underlined Teal Text)

What follows are thumb-nail profiles of Greek gods of particular importance to guests and crew aboard Aegean And Eastern Mediterranean Crewed Charter Yachts (tgeweb) on charter in Greece and Turkey. To visit tgeweb's home page click here. To examine various itineraries, such as Greek Island Hopping In The Cyclades, click here. For the reactions of earlier guests, click here. For an introduction to tgeweb crew, click here.

Greatly influencing life in ancient Greece was a pantheon of Gods descended from Heaven and Earth. Heaven and Earth were parents of the Titans and grandparents of the Gods. The Titans were enormous in size and of incredible strength. During pre-history they ruled supreme in the universe. Perhaps most well-known of the Titans was Atlas who bore the world on his shoulders. Most important of them, though, was Cronus, ruler of all other Titans until overthrown by his son Zeus. Zeus and his brothers Hades and Poseidon then drew lots for shares of the universe, the underworld falling to Hades and the sea to Poseidon. First among equals, Zeus reigns in the sky, his weapon the thunderbolt.

Zeus. Lord of the Sky, the Rain God, and the Cloud Gatherer, Zeus is best known for his many Crewed Yacht Charter Greeceamorous affairs and the ensuing wrath of his wife Hera. These affairs are not dalliances. He appears to fall deeply in love with a succession of goddesses and mortals to the everlasting anguish of Hera, frequently with tragic consequences to the third party. Blinding sunlight on the Aegean may signify the presence of Zeus, the glare a reflection from his aegis breastplate. In that event it is advisable to wear Ray-Bans and serious sun screen.

Poseidon. Lord of the Sea, storm and calm are at his command. He rides the sea surface in a golden chariot pulled by dolphins, a three-pronged trident in his right hand. Still other dolphins act as outriders and scouts, and a sighting of dolphins in large numbers can be a sign he is about. So, too, can be the sound of a conch shell, trumpet of Poseidon's son Triton. When not visiting Mount Olympus or patrolling his domain Poseidon is likely resident in a golden-domed palace beneath the sea which some say is located near Atlantis (Thira or Santorini). Poseidon's Garage, though, his chariot parking place, may be found near ancient Callimache in the Gulf of Telmessos, giving something of the lie to Atlantis. Poseidon is most useful when at sea in a storm as a quiet prayer accompanied by thrice-rapped knuckles may bring calm.

Apollo. Twin brother of Artemis and offspring of an illicit union between the progenitor god Zeus and Leto, Apollo is the God of Light and the God of Truth, and, in a broader sense, god of all things good and beautiful. Like his father, he has also been a lover of numerous women including Cassandra, Coronis, Daphne, and Marpessa. Many creatures are sacred to him prominent among them the dolphin. His temples may be found from one end of ancient Greece to another and beyond, as at, for example, Delos, Letoon, and Didyma. Apollo's assistance may be useful at moments of confusion such as when in need of the truth.

Artemis. Twin sister of Apollo and offspring of Zeus's love for the wondrous Leto. Also called Cynthia from her birthplace, Mount Cynthus in Delos, Artemis is with Aphrodite and Athena one of the three maiden goddesses of Olympus unsurpassed in their beauty. She is Goddess of the Hunt, of all things natural, and of youth. The cypress is sacred to her. Artemis does have a dark side according to some, however, requiring of the Greeks en route to Troy the sacrifice of Iphegenia before calming the seas. Her temples, too, dot the map of ancient Greece, frequently in close proximity to and somewhat smaller than those of Apollo.

Aeolus. A lesser god of earth living north of Sicily, Aeolus as Regent of the Winds is able to influence the strength of the Meltemi blowing from north to south in the Aegean. Prayers to Aeolus should, as in the case of prayers to Poseidon, be accompanied by knuckles thrice-rapped on wood, or absent wood, on the skull.

Castor and Pollux. Saviors of sailing vessels when storm winds rage over ruthless seas, theseCrewed Yacht Charter Greece special protectors of sailors may respond when Poseidon is called.

Helios. Pronounced without the H, Helios is God of the Sun. His assistance may be required in late-Fall or early-Spring before or after winter lay-up when Poseidon and Aeolus combine to bring bone-chilling winds. Helios is the third of the gods to require thrice-rapped knuckles when asked for assistance.

Dionysus. The son of Zeus and a mortal princess, Semele, who died in pregnancy when struck by the full splendor of Zeus as King of Heaven and Lord of the Thunderbolt, principally by the glare from his aegis breastplate. Growing to full term in the heat of his father's side and later raised by the Hyades, stars which bring rain, Dionysus became God of the Vine and to this day has more worshippers than all other gods combined. Altars to Dionysus both ancient and modern abound. Ancient Greeks were wont to drink wine from kraters, large bowls used for mixing wine with water. Kraters were frequently decorated with a motif of warships so that when full the warships, penteconters and triaconters, gave the illusion of riding upon a "wine dark sea."

Aphrodite. The Goddess of Love and Beauty, laughter-loving, sprang from the sea near Kythera Crewed Yacht Charter Greecein the western Aegean and since has beguiled all, man and god alike, with her beauty. Aphrodite is so beautiful that Praxiteles' first nude representation of her, housed in a temple at Knidos, was lecherously assaulted in the fourth century BC. With her appearance storm clouds part. Aphrodite, too, may be called upon by sailors in peril on the sea.

Nereus The Old Man Of The Sea, Nereus may have served as inspiration for one of Hemingway's titles. His wife is Doris, a daughter of the Titan Ocean, and between them they have fifty striking daughters, nymphs of the sea called Nereids from their father's name. One of these Nereids is Poseidon's wife Amphitrite. Others of the Nereids may be encountered during passages along the coast of Asia Minor where they appear to enjoy the turquoise color of the sea.

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