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SYMBOLS AND ATTRIBUTES
OF THE MAIN OLYMPIAN GODS



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Zeus.

Zeus' main attribute is the Thunderbolt, which he received from the Cyclopes. The Eagle is Zeus' bird, and sometimes the woodpecker is associated with him. His tree is the Oak.

Athena.

The Aegis, usually a goat skin, is an attribute of both Athena and Zeus. Athena's Aegis is surrounded by Fear, Strife, Force and Pursuit or sometimes by snakes, and in the center there is the Gorgon Medusa's head. The Owl is Athena's bird, but sometimes she has been depicted with a Rooster on her helmet and it has been assumed that the Rooster might have been considered as sacred to her. Others say that the Rooster is sacred to Helios (Sun) and proclaims when he is about to rise. The Olive Tree is also sacred, it was her gift to Athens.

Poseidon.

The Trident, which he received from the Cyclopes, is Poseidon's best known attribute. Poseidon is associated to Horses, which were first tamed by him, and also to Bulls. Poseidon is often depicted with a Dolphin.

Demeter.

Demeter has been represented holding sheaves of Corn and Grain, Poppies and Snakes.

Hades.

Hades is known to own a Helmet which makes him invisible and it's his most prized possession. His symbol is also his two-pronged spear, which he used as a weapon much like Poseidon did his trident, and his three headed dog named Cerberus.

Hera.

The Peacock was the bird sacred to Hera. The Pomegranate also has appeared as an attribute of Hera, perhaps in her role as an ancient Death-goddess. The Cuckoo is also a bird sacred to Hera because when Zeus was in love with Hera he changed himself into a Cuckoo. She has also been associated with the Cow and the Lion.

Hestia.

This kind, humble and most peaceable of all the Olympians never really bothered choosing an emblem of her own, even though the Goddess of the hearth's attribute was said to be the Sacred Flame.

Aphrodite.

The Rose and the Myrtle are sacred to Aphrodite and said to be connected with the story of Adonis. The Dove and Sparrow are Aphrodite's birds, as well as the swans, which pulled her chariot. Since ancient times Aphrodite has been depicted as coming out from a Shell. Aphrodite is often seen holding an Apple, the prize of beauty she won in the Judgement of Paris.

Apollo.

The Bow and the Quiver are the attributes of this god who strikes from afar, and also the Lyre, which some say was invented by Hermes. Since Daphne, pursued by Apollo, changed into a Laurel tree, the god is associated with the Laurel because he broke a branch from the tree and placed it on his head. Another emblem of Apollo was a Mouse - Mice were supposed to know the secrets of the earth, and tell them to him.

Ares.

The God of war was generally represented in a brilliant suit of armor, a plumed helmet on his proud young head, a poised spear in one muscular hand and a finely wrought shield on the other. His bird was the vulture and his animal was the dog. Other emblems of Ares were the Wild Boar and a bloodstained Spear.

Artemis.

Artemis is often represented with the Bow and Quiver of the huntress and with emblems representing the Moon and the Stars. She is often seen in the company of a Hind or a Dog. Another emblem of Artemis is the She-Bear.

Dionysus.

The Thyrsus, a staff that is crowned with ivy, is sacred to Dionysus and an emblem of his worship. Also Vine Leaves and Bunches of Grapes are associated with him. The Tiger is another attribute of Dionysus, having once visited India and brought tigers back as souvenirs.

Hephaestus.

This god is mostly seen with the hammer, anvil and tongs of the smith. Because he was lame in the legs, due to his fall from Olympus, one of his symbols was the Quail, a bird that does a hobbling dance in the springtime.

Hermes.

The Petasus, which is a round winged hat and the Winged Sandals are two well known attributes of Hermes. Another one is the Caduceus, which is a winged staff entwined with two serpents (the medical emblem resembles this, but it is not the same). The Crane is also one of Hermes' emblems, because cranes fly in a V - the first letter he wrote, as the inventor of the alphabet.

Persephone.

The Pomegranate is associated with Persephone. Because of having eaten a seed or seeds of Pomegranate Persephone became for ever bound to Hades.

 

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Olympian Gods and Goddesses

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