GREEK AND ROMAN
Greek and Roman
Deities and Mythic Figures
Abundantia: Roman goddess of prosperity, bounty, and abundance; often depicted holding or sitting on a cornucopia.
Achelous: a son of Oceanus and Tethys; horned chief of the river gods.
Acheron: the underworld River of Woe. (In Greek myth, “underground” states like woe, wrath, and sorrow are rivers: they have movement and direction, just as they do in the psyche.)
Achilles: Trojan son of Peleus and Thetis, bathed in the Styx to make him invulnerable–except in the place from which he hung. After desecrating Hector’s body in revenge for the death of Patroclus, Achilles was shot in the heel by Paris and died. Note: Because our personal myth grabs us by our complexes, Achilles is a patron of personal myth work (see Storied Lives).
Acheron: the underworld river of pain.
Acis: Roman son of Faunus and the nymph Symaethis, killed by jealous Polyphemus the cyclops, who wanted the nymph Galatea to himself. In memorial to Acis, the gods used his blood to create the river named after him. It flows at the foot of Mount Aetna.
Acteon: youthful hunter turned into a stag by Artemis after seeing her bathing naked in the woods and turning away to boast to his companions. His own hunting hounds tore him to pieces. Some say this was not because he saw the goddess, but because he turned away to brag about it to his friends.
Adephagia: a goddess of gluttony.
Adonis: beautiful youth raised by Persephone and fought over by her and Aphrodite after being born from a tree shot by an arrow. A wild boar killed him, sent either by Ares (jealous of Aphrodite’s love for the youth) or Artemis (in retaliation for Aphrodite’s killing of Hippolytus). His blood sprang forth renewed as the red anemone, a buttercup. Compare Tammuz, Osiris.
Adrasteia: a nymph who helped raise Zeus while he hid from Cronus.
Aeacus: a judge of souls entering the underworld and former king of the island of Aegina. His sons were Phocus, Peleus, father of Achilles, and Telamon, father of Ajax. Jealous of their brother’s athletic prowess, Peleus and Telamon killed him, for which they were banished. Aeacus’s legendary fairness had the ear of Zeus himself.
Aegina: daughter of the river god Asopus; ravished by Zeus in his eagle form on the island now named after her. To keep her son Aeacus company on the lonely island, Zeus turned some of its ants into human beings called Myrmidons. Hera ravaged the island with a plague, but prayers to Zeus eventually lifted it.
Aegisthus: lover of Clytemnestra and killer of Agamemnon, and slain in turn by Agamemnon’s son Orestes. The father of Aegisthus was Thyestes, and his mother Pelopia, his father’s daughter. Mating with her followed the advice of an orcle: how to produce a son to kill Atreus, a brother of Thyestes who had killed his sons and served them to him as a meal. Pelopia tried to get rid of her incestuously conceived son, but goats suckled him (hence his name, which means “goat strength”), and Atreus unknowingly raised him as his son. Atreus sent Aegisthus to kill Thyestes, but he recognized the sword his son carried as his own, and Aegisthus killed Atreus instead, an act which placed the house of Atreus back in power in Mycenae. Atreus’ sons Agamemnon and Menelaus were exiled to Sparta….for then
Aeolus: god of the winds.
Aequitus: Roman goddess of equity and fair exchanges.
Aether: god of the upper air of heaven breathed by the gods. A son of Nyx and Erebus.
Aetna: the mountain under which Zeus buried the monster Typhon.
Aganippe (“AG-uh-nip-ee”): a well that the Muses gathered around for inspiration; also, the name of the well’s spirit. Nature as the Muses’ muse.
Agdistis: androgynous daughter/son of Zeus and Gaia. When castrated, her/his blood fathered beautiful Attis.
Aglaia: one of the Graces and, in some tales, wife of Hephaestus. As a beauty goddess she might be a byform of Aphrodite.
Aidos: goddess of sexual modesty and chastity. She sometimes holds people back from doing the wrong thing and produces pity for the unfortunate. (More like an intrinsic inner voice than a superego.)
Ajax the Great: son of Peleus and Periboa, a huge, strong warrior of the Achaeans. After the Trojan War he became king of Salamis.
Ajax the Lesser: son of Oileus and Eriopis, leader of the Locrians in the Trojan War. While sailing homeward afterward he died in a shipwreck, one of many proud Greek heroes who come to a bad end.
Alastor: any avenging deity who rights wrongs, especially wrongs against family.
Alcmene: daughter of Electryon and mother of Heracles after Zeus appeared as her husband Amphitryon and lay with her.
Alcyone (“al-SIGH-uh-nee”): daughter of Aeolus and wife of Ceyx, whose ship was struck by a thunderbolt of Zeus after the couple began referring to themselves as Zeus and Hera. When the ghost of Ceyx informed his wife of his death, she drowned herself in the sea. The two were then turned into kingfishers, who lay eggs during the seven-day period of winter calm now known as Halcyon Days.
Alectrona: daughter of Helios and goddess of awakening whose name means “rooster.”
Alexiares and Anicetus: twin sons of Heracles and Hebe. They guard Olympus.
Aloadae: Otus and Ephialtes, giant sons of Queen Iphimedia of Aloeus and Poseidon. When piling up mountains to storm Olympus the gods tricked them into hurling lethal spears at each other.
Alpheus: river god father to Greek royalty. As a hunter he pursued the nymph Arethusa, and turned himself into a river when she became a well to avoid him. In another telling he pursued Artemis, but she put mud on her face, as did her companions, and he could not tell her apart from them. Heracles changed the course of the Alpheus to clean the Augean Stables.
Amazons: legendary female warriors beaten by Bellerophon and finally defeated by Theseus and his men after much fighting. This was so Heracles could take the girdle of Hippolyta, their queen. Theseus abducted Antiope, her sister, who eventually changed sides when the Amazons attacked Attica. They were also called the Antianeira.
Amor: Roman name of Eros.
Amphitrite: a nereid and wife of Poseidon and granddaughter of Oceanus.
Amphitryon (“am-FIGH-try-on”): husband of Alcmene and foster father of Heracles.
Anakes: generic name for the gods, especially when sons of Zeus.
Ananke: Necessity. Winged mate to Chronos.
Anchises (“an-KYE-sees”): son of Capys and Themiste and father of Aeneas with Aphrodite. He was crippled by a thunderbolt from Zeus after boasting of the affair.
Andromeda: princess freed by Perseus from being chained up on a mountain. Her father chained her there as a sacrifice to Poseidon, who sent the sea monster Cetic to ravage the coast after Cassiopeia had declared herself more beautiful than the Nereids. He married her, and their sons became rulers of Mycenae. She was a daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia.
Anemoi: the cardinal winds: Boreas (north), Notus (south), Zephyrus (west), and Eurus (east). Aeolus gave them to Odysseus.
Angerona: a deity who protected the name of Rome. Images depict her as holding a finger over her mouth.
Angitia: a Roman goddess of healing often shown with a snake. Could be a Roman name for Medea.
Anna Perenna: Roman goddess of renewal of the year (her name appears in the words “annual” and “perennial”). In later tales a daughter of Belus and a sister of Dido. Her festival was held on the Ides of March.
Antaeus: a giant son of Gaia and Poseidon. He liked to wrestle all comers, drawing his strength from contact with the earth. Knowing this, Heracles raised him high overhead and strangled him.
Antevorte (Porrima): Roman personification of the future.
Antiope (“an-TYE-oh-pee”): Amazon wife of Theseus, who abducted her. She was slain while plotting to kill Theseus and Phaedra, his new intended bride.
Apate: goddess of deceit. Daughter of Erebus and Nyx.
Aphrodite: goddess of love and beauty, and, as Venus, of wealth. Wife of Hephaestus and lover of Ares and many others; mother of Eros and Aeneas. An attractive form for what Jung called the transcendent function: the joining together of opposites, from quarks to distant quasars. She was born when Cronus cut off the genitals of his father Uranos; when they fell into the sea, they stirred the foam that she appeared from. Compare the Norse Freya, the Celtic Aine and Deirdre, the Indian Lakshmi, and the Chinese Kwan Yin. Her son Eros shoots arrows into the unwary. The myrtle tree and the dove revere her.
Apollo: island-born son of Zeus and Leto and twin brother of Artemis. God of the golden lyre (music) and silver bow (archery), healing and prophecy. Although Nietzsche set up Apollo as an opposite to Dionysus, clarity and passion work together, as when the god of ecstacy watched over Delphi when his straight-shooting brother was gone. (He took over the Oracle at Delphi after killing Python, a serpent that had tried to eat his mother.) The laurel tree is sacred to him, a reminder of Daphne, who ran from him and was turned by Peneus or Gaia into the laurel.
Arachnae: a gifted weaver who thought herself better at the craft than Athena. After a contest between the two, Athena destroyed Arachnae’s tapestry and loom, and Arachnae hung herself. Athena then turned her into a spider.
Argus: a hundred-eyed giant set by Hera to guard Io, with whom Zeus had had an affair. Hermes lulled the eyes of the Argus closed, then killed it with a boulder and cut its head off.
Ares: impulsive son of Zeus and Hera, lover of Aphrodite, father with her of Harmonia, and god of war and carnage. His sons were Phobos (“fear”) and Deimos (“terror”). The vulture and the dog followed him about. As Mars his appearances in Roman culture were more highly prized and differentiated. Compare him with other personifications of warrior energy and archetypal Strife: Camulos and Tirw, for example.
Arete: personified virtue or excellence.
Arethusa: a nereid loved by the river Alphaeus. When he pursued her, she asked Artemis to turn her into a spring.
Argonauts: the crew of the Argo, Jason’s ship commissioned to find the Golden Fleece.
Ariadne: daughter of King Minos and Queen Pasiphae, lover of Theseus, who left her, and Dionysus, who stayed. Her ball of golden thread allowed Theseus to negotiate the Labyrinth and find and kill the Minotaur.
Aristaeus: inventive son of Apollo and Cyrene. A hunter who invented beekeeping and fathered Acteon.
Artemis: twin to Apollo, whom she helped to be born, and goddess of childbirth, nature, and what is wild and undomesticated. The cypress and the deer are associated with her, although all animals look in her direction. Being dominated by anything masculine is not. Sometimes spotted by lucky eyes while moving through wild places with her nymphs, who like her were all virginal (pure, untouched, cleansed of civilization). She is patron to all who protect the wilderness, just as Demeter is to those who cultivate the land. The Celts knew her as Rhiannon.
Asclepius: son of Apollo and Coronis and god of healing. Chiron trained him in medicine. His daughters included Hygieia, Panacea, and Meditrina. Zeus killed him for resuscitating a corpse for money. His single snake-entwined staff has been replaced over time with the caduceus symbol of the trickster commerce god Hermes.
Astarion: the bull-headed Minotaur killed by Theseus.
Asteria: Titan mother of Hecate and sister of Leto. A goddess of oracles and prophecies, she dove into the Aegean to avoid Zeus and became the island of Delos.
Astraea: celestial virgin daughter of Zeus and Themis. Disgusted with the evil and ignorance of humanity, she ascended to the heavens and became the constellation Virgo. The scales of justice she carried appear as Libra. She hopes to return when human beings learn to live together.
Astraeus: god of dusk and father with Eos of the winds.
Atalanta: athletic daughter of King Iasos and Queen Clymene. The king wanted a son instead and left her outside to die. Bears and hunters summoned by Artemis raised her, and she became so fleet of foot that nobody could catch her. During the Calydonian Boar Hunt she killed two centaurs who intended to rape her. Because of her skill and courage on the hunt she was eventually reconciled with her father. Despite an oracular warning not to marry, she wound up with Melanion after he beat her in a foot race–but only after Aphrodite gave him the idea of slowing her down by dropping golden apples in her path. After making love in a temple of Zeus, the angry Allfather turned the couple into lions.
Ate: goddess whose name means “folly” or “delusion.” Her mother is Eris. She is there whenever a hero is brought down, often by his own hubris.
Athena: daughter of Zeus and Metis and virgin goddess of wisdom, the polis, crafts, technological innovation (she taught Prometheus), and battle in defense of civilization. Her sense of justice turned the Furies into the Kindly Ones. The olive and the owl are sacred to her. Although not primarily a battle goddess, she knocked Ares down twice and helped Odysseus kill the suitors infesting his home. Compare Andraste, Durga, Sophia, Brigid, Hildegard the Valkyrie, and White Buffalo Calf Woman (all highly assertive wisdom goddesses).
Atlantis: a legendary island mentioned by Plato. An earthquake sunk it and its conquest-hungry inhabitants. It keeps being found, most recently six hundred miles off the west coast of Africa.
Atlas: Titan son of Clymene and Iapetus, brother of Prometheus, father of the Hesperides and Pleiades, and bearer of the sky upon his shoulders as he stands frozen at the world’s western limit.
Attis: a young shepherd who although a priest of Cybele (Rhea) slept with a nymph. For this the goddess drove him mad, during which he castrated himself. She then changed him into a fir tree. Cybele’s priests, the Corybantes (Roman Galli), were eunuchs after this.
Aurora: Roman name of Eos.
Bacchus: Roman name of Dionysus.
Baubo: an Eleusinian dry nurse who made mourning Demeter smile by pretending to give birth to Iacchus.
Bacchae: Roman name of the Maenads.
Bellona (also Nerio): Roman name of Enyo.
Bellerophon: heroic grandson of Sisyphus and killer of the Chimera with help from Pegasus. When he tried to ride the horse he had captured to Olympus, Zeus sent a fly to sting the horse. Bellerophon fell to earth, painfully, where he lived as an isolated cripple.
Bia: a daughter of Pallas and Styx, her name means “Force.” With her siblings Cratos (“Strength”), Zelos (“Rivalry”), and Nike (“Victory”), a guardian of Zeus.
Bona Dea: daughter of Faunus and associated with virginity and healing. The cornucopia and the snake were emblems of hers.
Boreas: wintry god of the North Wind.
Boreads: spirits of the North Wind.
Brizo: goddess of fishermen and mariners.
Cabeiri: earth deities with tongs instead of hands. Sons of, or associates of, Hephaestus.
Cadmus: Phoenician founder of Thebes where a cow lay down (this in lieu of recovering his sister Europa, whom he could not find after Zeus made off with her) and sower of the dragon’s teeth that turned into the Spartans. The gods attended his wedding to Harmonia. After he turned Thebes over to Pentheus he was turned into a serpent for killing the dragon of Ares; Harmonia asked that she be similarly metamorphosed.
Caelus: Roman sky god later merged with Uranos. A son of Ops.
Caerus: god of luck or good fortune.
Calchus (“CAL-kuss”): an expert at interpreting the flight of birds (augury). It was he who advised Agamemnon to sacrifice his daughter Iphigeneia to Artemis to turn aside the goddess’s wrath and permit the fleet to sail to Troy. Calchas died of humiliation after Mopsus bested him in a prophecy contest.
Calliope: the Muse of poetry and mother to Orpheus and Linus, both musically inclined.
Calypso: nymph daughter of Atlas and Tethys and imprisoned on an island for supporting the Titans against the Olympians.
Cancer: a giant crab sent by Hera to help the Hydra against Herakles. He crushed the crab with his foot, and Hera placed it in the sky as a constellation.
Cardia: Roman goddess of thresholds, doorways, handles, and hinges.
Carmenta: goddess of midwives, prophecy, childbirth, and the Latin alphabet.
Cassiopeia: wife of King Cepheus, mother of Andromeda, and boaster of her own beauty, for which Poseidon punished her kingdom.
Castor: one of the Dioscuri (sons of Zeus), along with Pollux, both born of Leda. Their sisters were Clytemnestra and Hellen of Troy. They joined Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece, among other adventures. Because Castor’s father was Tyndareus, he was able to die, whereupon he and his brother appeared in the sky as Gemini.
Cecrops: legendary fish-tailed first king of Athens.
Centaur: half-human half-horse beings who were children of Ixion and Nephele, an ethereal double of Hera created by Zeus to fool Ixion. The centaurs are wild, lusty, and warlike, although some, like Chiron, are noble. Female centaurs are centaurides.
Cephalus: husband of Procris kidnapped by Eos while out hunting and eventually returned to his wife. Because of remarks by Eos, he tested Procris by disguising himself and seducing her. To reconcile with him, Procris offered him a hunting dog named Laelaps that never failed and a javeline that always struck its target. Doubting her husband’s fidelity, Procris climbed a mountain to observe him, and, thinking she was prey, killed her with the javelin.
Cerberus: the three-headed dog who guarded Hades.
Ceres: Roman name of Demeter.
Cetus: daughter of Gaia and Pontus; “sea monster” (hence the word “cetacean”).
Chaos: goddess of the airs between the Aether and the Earth. The first of all deities to emerge from the universe.
Charities: daughters of Zeus and Eurynome: Aglaea (“Beauty” or “Splendor”), who in some stories marries Hephaestus; Euphrosyne (“Mirth”); and Thalia (“Good Cheer”). They often accompany Aphrodite. Others have been named, such as Hegemone.
Charon (pronounced “KAR-on”): the ferryman of Hades.
Charybdis: a large-mouthed sea monster who made whirlpools that wrecked ships.
Chimera: a fire-breathing, winged beast with three heads: a lion, a goat, and a dragon. Killed by Pegasus and Bellerophon.
Chiron: the centaur wounded by accident when an arrow tipped by Hydra venom entered his leg, shot by Herakles to defend himself against other centaurs. He was a master healer who tutored many great heroes.
Chloris: goddess of growth, flowers, and spring. Wife of Zephyrus.
Chronos: god of time, mate to Ananke and often confused with Cronus.
Chrysaor: brother of Pegasus, born when Perseus chopped off Medusa’s head. Father with the naiad Callirrhoe of the giant Geryon.
Circe: the sorceress of Aeaea who entranced Odysseus until Hermes came to get him after she turned the king’s men into pigs. She was the daughter of Helios and the oceanid Perse.
Coeus: Titan father of Asteria and Leto and personification of the celestial pole around which the heavens turn.
Cladeus: a river god in southern Greece. A son of Tethys and Oceanus. The river joins with the Alpheus.
Clementia: Roman goddess of mercy and forgiveness; counterpart to Eleos.
Cleochareia: a naiad whose father was the river god Eurotas and whose husband was King Lelex of Laconia. Through her son Myles she helped found Sparta’s royalty.
Clymene: mother of Atlas.
Clytie: a nymph loved by Apollo but set aside for the sea nymph Leocothea, who was killed by burial in sand after Clytie told her father Orchamus about the affair. After nine days of longing for Apollo she turned into a heliotrope.
Cocytus: the underworld River of Wailing.
Concordia: Roman name for Harmonia.
Crataeis: the nymph who mothered Scylla.
Cratos: “Strength” or “Might,” son of Styx and guardian of Zeus.
Crius: Titan father of Perseus with Eurybia. Sent to Tartarus after the failed Titanomachy.
Cronus: Titan god who castrated his father Uranos with an adamantine sickle, the resulting blood giving rise to the Erinyes and Aphrodite.
Cupid: Roman name of Eros.
Cura: the goddess who fashioned human beings from the earth. Jupiter breathed life into them.
Cyclopes: one-eyed artisan giants similar to the dwarves of Norse myth and the Formorians of Celtic lore.
Cyrene: a princess stolen away by Apollo after he saw her fight off a lion attacking her father King Hypseus’ sheep. After Apollo ravished her she bore Aristaeus. A city carries her name.
Daedalus: artificer who crafted wings for himself and his son Icarus. He also build the labyrinth that held the Minotaur.
Danae (“DAH-nay-ee”): mother of Perseus by Zeus after her father, King Acrisius of Argos, had been warned by an oracle that she would bear a son who would kill him. After Zeus impregnated her in the form of a shower of gold, the king placed Danae in a box and set it adrift in the sea, but the fisherman Dictys fetched it forth.
Daphne: a nymph who asked her father (some say Gaia) to change her into a laurel tree to escape from amorous Apollo.
Deimos: a son of Ares whose name means “Terror.”
Demeter: maternal goddess of food and grains.
Diana: Roman name of Artemis.
Dies: Roman name of Hemera.
Dioscuri: Castor and Polydeuces (Pollux).
Dike: one of the Horae and personification of fair judgment according to custom.
Dione: in some accounts the mother of Aphrodite, in others an oceanid. Also named as a daughter of Atlas.
Dionysus: wild god of ecstacy, drama, passion, and the vine. Dismembered by Titans, he was reborn from the thigh of Zeus. In some stories husband to Ariadne and leader of the drunken maenads.
Discordia: Roman name for Eris.
Dis Pater: Pluto or Hades.
Doris: sea nymph wife of Nereus and sister of Clymene.
Dryads: tree nymphs.
Echidna: half-snake mate of Typhon who lives in the cave Arima. Their children include the Nemean Lion, the dragon Ladon, the Chimera, the Sphinx, Scylla, the Lernaean Hydra, Orthus (Geryon’s dog), and Cerberus.
Echo: an oread who distracted Hera while Zeus had affairs. For this Hera cursed her to repeat other people’s words without being able to form any of her own. When Narcissus spurned her she withered away until only her lonely voice was left.
Efreisone: a ceremonial fruiting olive tree branch carried only by children whose parents were still living.
Egeria: goddess of wise counsel, prophecy, and childbirth; often associated with Diana.
Eidyia: an oceanid who mothered Medea and was wife to King Aeetes of Colchis.
Eidothea: sea nymph daughter of Proteus. She told Menelaus how to capture her father.
Eileithyia: goddess of midwifery and the pangs of childbirth; daughter of Hera and Zeus.
Eleos: goddess of mercy and compassion.
Elpis: deity of Hope, the last being left in Pandora’s famous jar.
Enceladus: one of the Gigantes slain by Athena and buried under Mount Aetna after the war against the gods.
Endovelicus: a solar healing god similar in some ways to Asclepius.
Endymion: shepherd lover of Selene.
Enyo: war goddess companion of Ares; a destroyer of cities.
Eos: goddess of the dawn; Titan sister to Helios and mother of Hesperus and Eosphorus.
Eosphorus: the morning star.
Epimetheus: “Hindsight”: brother of Prometheus, co-creator of humanity, and husband of Pandora.
Erebus: consort of Nyx (Night) and god of dark mists. Often synonymous with the threshold to the underworld.
Erecura: an underworld goddess similar to Proserpina and Persephone.
Eridanos: the primary river of Hyperborea. It feeds from Oceanus and is populated by swans.
Erinyes (“air-IN-eh-ees”): the avenging, winged, snake-haired goddesses Alecto (“Implacable”), Tisiphone (“avenger”), and Megaera (“Grudging”), daughters of the castration of Uranos by Cronus. They avenge false oaths, family murders, and other breaks with natural law. Compare with the Norse Valkyries.
Eris: goddess of what her name means: “strife.” Her sisters were Lethe (“forgetfulness”), Limos (“hunger”), and Ponos (“pain”). Her daughters were Algo (“griefs”).
Eros: son of Aphrodite, who directs his arrows; personification of sexual passion. Sometimes depicted blindfolded, which figures.
Eumenides: a euphemism for the Furies. It means “Kindly Ones.”
Eunomia: one of the Horae and a goddess of law.
Europa: Phoenician princess and daughter of King Agenor of Tyre. While gathering flowers by the sea she was kidnapped by Zeus in the form of a white bull after which Taurus was patterned in the sky. She became queen of Crete and mother to Rhadamanthus, Minos, and Sarpedon. Europe, named after her, has since given its maidenhood up to many warring kings and queens.
Eurotas: a son of Myles and brother of Lacedaemon, who married his daughter Sparta.
Eurybia: goddess of the outer forces that influence the sea, such as winds, stars, and weather; also a goddess of naval victory. Hesiod says her breast “has a heart of iron.” Wife of the Titan Crius and child of Pontus and Gaia. Her children were Astraeus, Perses, and Pallas.
Eurynome (“you-RIHN-ah-mee”): mother of the Charities and daughter of Oceanus.
Fama: Roman name of trumpet-wielding Pheme.
Fates (Moirae): the goddesses Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. Clotho (Roman Nona) spins the thread of a life, Lachesis (Decima) measures it out, and Atropos (Morta) snipped it to end it. Even the gods were subject to their judgments.
Fauns: see Satyrs.
Faunus: Roman name of Pan.
Fides: white-clad Roman goddess of trust.
Flora: Roman name of Chloris.
Fontus: god of wells and springs.
Fortuna: Roman name of Tyche.
Fraus: Roman goddess of treachery (“fraud”). Roman counterpart to Apate.
Furies: Roman name for the Erinyes.
Gaia: mother goddess whose name means “earth.” She produced the iron that made the sickle that castrated Uranos.
Ganymede: cupbearer to Zeus, who loved him.
Geryon: a three-bodied giant who lost his cattle to Herakles, who shot him in the forehead with a poisoned arrow.
Gigantomachy: the war between the giants and the Olympians.
Glaucus: a fisherman who ate a magic herb and turned into an immortal merman. When he preferred the nymph Scylla (who disliked his ugliness) to Circe (who loved him), Circe turned Scylla into a monster.
Gorgons: fanged monsters like Medusa who could turn people to stone with a glare. Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa were daughters of Phorcys and Ceto and protectors of temples.
Graces: Roman name of the Charities.
Graeae(“GREE-ee”): three old daughters of Phorcys and Ceto who shared an eye and a tooth. Perseus stole these to force the gray-haired sea sisters to reveal the location of the Gorgons. Some say the Graeae personified sea foam.
Griffins: treasure-guarding beasts with a lion body and eagle wings and head.
Hades: brother of Zeus and god of the underworld; husband of Persephone and favorite of James Hillman. Also ruler over the mineral wealth of the underworld and wearer of a helmet of invisibility.
Hamadryads: dryads attached to specific trees.
Harmonia: daughter of Aphrodite and Ares.
Hebe: youth goddess and cupbearer to the gods before being replaced by Ganymede. In one tale she married Heracles.
Hecate: crossroads crone and goddess of witches and borderlines and boundaries. She also grants victory and gifts to those who ask earnestly and who honor her. She avenges the mistreatment of women.
Hecatonchires (“Hundred-Handed Ones”): also known as Briareus, Cottus, Gyres, they were immensely strong giants born to Uranos and Gaia. Zeus enlisted them to help overthrow the Titans, after which three of them guarded the gates of Tartarus.
Heliades: weeping sisters of Phaethon whose tears over his death turned them into amber-shedding poplar trees.
Helios: the sun god who drives his light across the sky every day.
Hemera: goddess of daybreak; daughter to Erebus and Nyx and sister to Aether.
Hephaestus: crippled blacksmith and artisan of Olympus: crippled from having been thrown into the sea by both Zeus and Hera, his parents. He lived in a mountain, married Aphrodite, and made weapons and beautiful artifacts, including the three-legged tables that dotted his workshop and golden women who kept him company there. He once made a net to trap Aphrodite in bed with Ares, but the gods only laughed.
Hera: Allmother queen of Olympus and wife and brother of Zeus. A goddess of marriage and keeper of connections (in contrast to Aphrodite, maker of connections, especially opposing ones). Protector of heroes and punisher of ungrateful ones. Her animals include the peacock and the cow.
Heracles: muscular Greek counterpart to Cuchulainn, Ogma, Lancelot, Marduk, and Thor. His descendents are known as the Heraclids.
Hercules: Roman name of Hercules.
Hermes: wily son of Zeus and Maia and trickster god of messages, transportation, commerce, fire, healing, and thievery. His name reflects that of herms: piles of stones that mark roadways around the world. Hermes brought messages from Olympus and carried souls to and from the underworld. As Hermes Trismegistus (“Thrice-Blessed”) he oversaw the ancient traditions of alchemy.
Hermaphrodite: son of Hermes and Aphrodite.
Hesperides: the three nymphs who guard Hesperia, a fabled western garden that serves as Hera’s orchard. Its apples are guarded by the serpent Ladon.
Hesperus: the evening star and brother to Eosphorus.
Hestia: quiet but highly honored goddess of the hearth; a divine center of family life. In Rome the Vestal Virgins carried her sacred fire. Compare with the Inuit Sedna.
Hippolyta (“hip-PAHL-ih-tee”): queen of the Amazons.
Hippolytus: son of Theseus and Hippolyta, cursed by his father and drowned by his own horses after rejecting the advances of Phaedra, second wife of Theseus, who claimed to have been raped by him. Some say this was all arranged by Aphrodite, from whom Hippolytus turned away to become a chaste devotee of Artemis.
Horae: daughters of Zeus who controlled the order of time (their name means “hours”). They include Dike, Euonimia, and Eirene; Auxo, Thallo, and Carpo; and Pherusa, Euoprie, and Orthosie.
Horcus: the spirit of oaths. A companion to Dike, he punished perjurors.
Hubris/hybris: a pride so grandiose that it forgets even the gods, arrogating to itself some of their powers and aspects. See Nemesis.
Hyacinth: a youth loved by Zephyrus but who chose Apollo instead. He was killed trying to catch a discus thrown by Apollo. The god’s tears moistened the earth where a beautiful flower grew forth.
Hyades: nymphs who bring rain.
Hydros: primal water god usually appearing as Oceanus.
Hydra: a many-headed, poisonous serpent slain by Herakles and his nephew Iolaus.
Hygieia: daughter of Asclepius and goddess of health and cleanliness.
Hyperboreans: a race of peaceful immortals who live in a land of eternal spring.
Hymenaios (Hymen): god of marriage feasts and songs.
Hyperion: a Titan of the eastern light cast down into Tartarus after the war between the Titans and the Olympians. Husband of his sister Theia and father of Eos, Selene, and Helios. A son of Uranos and Gaia, his name means “watcher from above.”
Hypnos: twin brother of Thanatos and god of sleep. His three sons were the Oneiroi, senders of dreams.
Iacchus: an archetypal Divine Child and byform of Dionysus. He carried the torch into the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Iapetus: Titan father of Prometheus and Atlas. His name means either “the piercer” or “the destroyer.”
Iason: mortal lover of Demeter killed by Zeus when the Allfather saw them lying together in a plowed field.
Icarus: a son of Daedalus whose wings melted when he soared too close to the sun.
Invidia: Roman name of Nemesis.
Io: a priestess of Hera covered one day by an immense cloud and ravished by Zeus, who turned her into a white heifer to hide her from Hera. Hera asked for the heifer as a present and set the many-eyed Argus to watch over her, but Hermes killed it. Io then wandered widely, stung by Hera’s gadfly, until she came to Egypt, where Zeus converted her back into human form. Her descendants included Herakles and Danaus.
Iolasu: heroic nephew of Heracles. He helped kill the Hydra.
Iris: rainbow goddess and sister to Hermes.
Ixion: strapped to a fiery wheel confined to Tartarus after trying to seduce Zeus’s wife. Instead he slept with a cloud Hera named Nephele. The Centaurs were a product of this.
Janus: Roman god of doors, doorways, gates, openings, thresholds, and keys. His heads face in opposite directions. January was named in his honor.
Jason: son of Alcimede and Aeson, student of Chiron, husband of Medea, and heroic leader of the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece. The quest began when Pelias, half-brother of Aeson, offered the throne of Thessaly to Jason for the Fleece, having been told by an oracle that a man wearing one sandal would supplant him one day (Jason lost the sandal helping a disguised Hera cross a river). In Colchis, after many trials, Medea helped him get the Fleece from King Aeetes. In some versions Jason then abandoned Medea to marry Creusa of Corinth; in revenge Medea killed their sons and gave Creusa a wedding dress that incinerated the bride. For breaking his marriage vow to Medea, Hera cursed him, and he died old and lonely when the bow of the Argo fell on him.
Juno: Roman name for Hera.
Jupiter: Roman name of Zeus.
Justitia: Roman name of Themis.
Juturna: wife of Janus.
Juventa: Roman name of Hebe.
Kairos: the fleeting opportune moment that must be seized immediately.
Kampe: the dragon who guarded the Hundred-Handed Ones in Tartarus until Zeus freed them to work as allies against the Titans.
Korybantes / Kouretes: armored dancers who guarded young Zeus and drowned out his infant cries by pounding their shields with their swords. Ovid says they were born of a rain shower.
Ladon: the dragon set by Hera to guard the apples of the Hesperides. Also, the river in which Demeter cleansed herself after being ravished by Poseidon.
Lamia: a female half-serpent spirit that feeds on the blood of young men or children. The first Lamia’s children with Zeus were destroyed by Hera; Lamia went mad and began eating other children. Zeus gave her the gift of prophecy.
Lares: Roman household gods; sons of Mercury and the nymph Larunda.
Larvae: harmful spirits of the dead often contrasted with the beneficial lares.
Latona: Roman name of Leto.
Leda (“LEE-duh”): mother of Castor and Polydeuces (Pollux).
Lethe (“LEE-thee”): the underworld River of Forgetfulness.
Leto: Titan mother of Apollo and Artemis and daughter of Phoebe and Coeus. She gave birth to her children on Delos, then a wandering island to avoid Hera’s curse: that Leto could never give birth on land.
Liber: Roman name of Dionysus.
Libertas: Roman goddess of liberty. The Statue of Liberty wears her robe.
Libitina: goddess of death and funerals.
Mare: Roman name of Thalassa.
Maenads: wild female followers of Dionysus.
Maia: daughter of Atlas and mother of Hermes.
Manes: Roman shades of the dead.
Mania: personification of madness.
Mantus: ruler of the underworld; his wife was Mania.
Mars: Roman name of Ares.
Medea: daughter of Aeetes of Colchis and wife of Jason. She helped Jason win the Golden Fleece and killed their children when he abandoned her after the quest. She was a powerful magician and priestess of Hecate. Compare La Llorona.
Medusa: a once-beautiful maiden and priestess of Athena ravished by Poseidon in Athena’s temple. For this Athena turned her into an ugly Gorgon with serpents for hair and a lethal gaze. Perseus cut off her head and gave it to Athena to wear as a protective aegis breastplate.
Megara: wife of Heracles and, later, of Iolaus.
Mellona: goddess of bees.
Mercury: Roman name for Hermes.
Metis: Titan daughter of Oceanus and Tethys and mother of Athena. She is a goddess of wise counsel and profound thought.
Metope: river nymph daughter of Ladon and wife of Asopus.
Minerva: Roman name of Athena.
Minos: son of Europa and Zeus, husband of Pasiphae, and king of Crete.
Mnemosyne: Titan goddess of memory, daughter of Gaia and Uranos, and mother of the Muses fathered by Zeus.
Moira: the Fates, to whom (some say) even the gods are subject: Clotho, who spun the thread of life, Lachesis, who measured it, and Atropos, who snipped it. Similar to the Norse Norns; the Romans named them Nona, Decima, and Morta. In some accounts they are daughters of Zeus and Themis.
Momus: mask-lifting god of blame, satire, mockery, unfair criticism, exiled from Olympus for these unpleasant qualities.
Moneta: Roman name for Mnemosyne. Also an epithet of Juno, who looked after money.
Muses: Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Erato (lyric poetry), Euterpe (music), Melpomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia (choral poetry), Terpsichore (dance), Thalia (comedy), Urania (astronomy). Originally there were three: Aoidē (“song” or “voice”), Meletē (“practice” or “occasion”), and Mnēmē (“memory”).
Mutinus Mutunus: Roman name of Priapus.
Myrrha: daughter of King Theias of Assyria, with whom she committed incest at Aphrodite’s bidding. To protect her, Aphrodite turned her into the myrhh tree. When the king shot an arrow into it, Adonis came forth. (In Ovid’s telling, the princess’s father was King Cinyras of Cyprus.)
Naiads: water nymphs who live in brooks, streams, and fountains.
Narcissus: beautiful but vain son of the river god Cephisus and the nymph Lirope, who was told by the prophet Tiresias that her son would live to be old if he never came to know himself. Spurning his male and female suitors, including sad Echo, Narcissus glimpsed his face in a pool of water one day, was entranced by it, and died staring at it, unable even to feed himself. Although “narcissism” as a technical term is neutral, in common use it refers to excessive grandiosity and a need for constant mirroring and admiration.
Natura: Roman name of Phusis.
Necessita: Roman name of Ananke.
Nemesis: goddess of restorative retribution; her name refers to restoring what is due. She distributes fortunes and is apt to be dangerous in the presence of hubris. Gladiators prayed to her Roman counterpart Invidia.
Nephele: the cloud nymph who resembled Hera and slept with Ixion, producing Centaurs. Divorced later by Athamus. Her sons by him, Phrixus and Helle, were rescued by a golden ram sent by Nephele to protect them from their plotting stepmother Ino. The ram flew over the sea, and when Helle looked down, he fell off and drowned, hence the name Hellespont.
Neptune: Roman name of Poseidon.
Nereids: the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris.
Nereus: kindly god of the Mediterranean Sea, husband of Doris and father of the fifty Nereids, including Amphritrite and Thetis.
Nesoi: Ourea (enspirited mountains) planted in the sea by Poseidon. Island goddesses.
Nessus: a centaur who tried to rape Deianeira, wife of Herakles, who shot him with a poisoned arrow. As he died Nessus told her that applying his blood to a garment worn by Herakles would guarantee his fidelity to her. She daubed some on a shirt and sent it to her husband as a gift, and when he put it on, it incinerated him.
Nike: a goddess of victory. An attendant of Zeus and a daughter of Styx, her wings remind that victory is transient.
Niobe: daughter of Tantalus and bragger that she had more children (the fourteen Niobids) than Leto, for which Leto’s children Apollo and Artemis killed them with poisoned arrows. The grief from this turned Niobe into a perpetually weeping stone.
Nixi: helpful Roman birth goddesses, of which the Romans worshipped an abundance.
Nox: Roman name of Nyx.
Nymphs: nature spirits. Amphitrite, Echo, Daphne, the Oreads, Oceanids, Nereids, and Naiads.
Nyx: goddess of night.
Occasio/Tempus: Roman names for Caerus.
Oceanids: the three thousand daughters of Tethys and Oceanus. Water nymphs.
Oceanus: Titan god of the world-circling sea.
Odysseus: the many-sided King of Ithaca, father of Telemachus, and husband of Penelope. As one of Agamemnon’s commanders he devised the famous Horse that ended the Trojan War. His arrogance and hubris, which culminated in the taunting of the cyclops he blinded, resulted in Poseidon blowing him all over the sea until, initiated and humbled, Athena saw him safely back to his homeland.
Ophion: serpent ruler of Olympus with his wife Eurynome before being deposted by Rhea and Cronus.
Olympians: the twelve primary dieties who live on Mount Olympus: Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Ares, Hermes, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hestia.
Olympus: mountain home of the heavenly gods. According to Hesiod’s Theogony, “The halls of father Zeus the thunderer shine with glee and ring, filled with voices lily-soft and heavenly, and the peaks of snowy Olympus and the dwellings of the gods resound.”
Oneiroi: sons of Hypnosis, they send dreams from the underworld. Phobetor formed animal images, Phantasos made objects, and Morpheus dream people.
Ops: Roman name of Rhea.
Orcus: Roman name for Thanatos.
Ourea: bearded mountain gods. Athos, Olympus, and Helicon are examples.
Oreads: mountain and valley nymphs.
Orion: the hunter son of Euryale and Poseidon, shot by accident by Artemis at the behest of Apollo.
Orpheus: Thracian son of Calliope, Argonaut, and master of the lyre, with which he charmed Hades himself to win his dead wife Eurydice back from the underworld. Breaking his oath, he looked back toward her on the journey upward and lost her forever, eventually dismembered by maenads after playing one too many songs of lamentation and forgetting to honor his patron god Dionysus.
Pallas: a Titan killed by Athena.
Pan: randy god of the woodlands, where he chases nymphs and causes pan-ick and pan-demonium with his sudden appearances. His name refers to pastures rather than to the word “all” as is commonly believed. Playful and musical, his goatlike form fathered twelve children.
Pandora: “All-Gifted”: wife of Epimetheus, created by Hephaestus and decked out by Athena and Aphrodite as part of Zeus’s revenge against upstart brother Prometheus. She carried the jar that when opened released death and disease and other pestilences into the world, along with Hope.
Parcae: Roman name of the Moira (Fates).
Pasiphae: queen of King Minos of Crete and daughter of Helios and the oceanid Perse. Mother of Ariadne, Deucalion, Paedra, and Asterion, the Minotaur, after Poseidon caused her to fall in love with a white bull. Daedalus built her a device shaped like a cow so she could mate with the bull. A magician like her niece Medea, she cast a spell to cause Minos to ejaculate scorpions and deadly serpents into his paramours until Procris, helped by a magic herb, slept with him before being reconciled with her husband Cephalus.
Pax: Roman name of Eirene.
Pegasus: winged horse who sprang from Medusa when Perseus killed her. Mount of unfortunate Bellerophon.
Peitho: attendent of Aphrodite and deity of persuasion and seduction.
Pelops (“PEE-lops”): a son of Dione and Tantalus, husband of Hippodameia after Poseidon helped him win her hand, father of Atreus, and recipient of a curse by Myrtilus, a son of Hermes and charioteer for Oenomaus, who also sought Hippodameia. Pelops agreed to let Myrtilus sleep once with Hippodameia for throwing the chariot race but went back on his word, throwing him off a cliff. Pelops was eventually banished, and Hippodameia hung herself. The curse was handed down all through the house of Atreus, which included Agamemnon, slain by the lover of his wife Clytemnestra, Menelaus, Orestes, and Aegisthus. Pelops gave his name to the Peloponnesus.
Penelope: patient wife of Odysseus and queen of Ithaca.
Peneus: a river god who was father to Daphne.
Persephone: goddess of springtime and death, hauled as an innocent, flower-picking girl into the underworld by Hades, who wanted a consort. Homer called her the Iron Queen.
Perses: Titan husband of Asteria and father of Hecate; a god of destruction. Also, a son of Andromeda and Perseus and a brother of Hesiod (see the Works and Days).
Perseus: hero son of Danae and Zeus, founder of Mycenae, father of Perses, killer of the Gorgon Medusa, and husband of Andromeda, whom he rescued from a terrible sea monster. He killed his father-in-law Acrisius accidentally while throwing a discus in a competition.
Phaedra: second wife of Theseus, who fell in love with his son Hippolytus and, when rejected, falsely claimed to have been raped by him. Upon learning of his death she killed herself in remorse.
Phaethon (“FAY-uh-thun”): son of Helios killed by a thunderbolt thrown by Zeus for riding the sun’s chariot so wildly that it scorched earth and sky.
Phanes: Orphic generator of all life, born at the dawn of creation. Ananke and Chronos divided a great primordial egg to make him. Some say Zeus ate him to gain his reproductive power and cosmic luminescence.
Pheme (“fay-may”): goddess of fame and rumor.
Philoctetes: son of King Poeas of Thessaly and famous archer and hero of the Trojan War. He inherited the bow and arrows of Herakles.
Phlegethon: the underworld River of Flame.
Phobos: a son of Ares whose name means “Fear.”
Phoebe: Titan whose name means “bright” and who wears a golden crown. Mother of Leto and Asteria by her brother Coeus.
Phorcys: father of the Phorcydes. the children of Phorcys and Ceto as Echidna, The Gorgons (Euryale, Stheno, and the famous Medusa), The Graeae (Deino, Enyo, and Pemphredo), and Ladon, also called the Drakon Hesperios (“Hesperian Dragon”, or dragon of the Hesperides).
Phrixus: son of Nephele and Athamas, taken by a flying golden ram to Colchis. After marrying King Aeetes’s daughter Chalciope, he gave the king the ram’s golden fleece, an object Jason the Argonaut later obtained.
Phusis: primordial goddess of nature and material being.
Pietas: Roman personification of duty to the gods and the state.
Pilumnus: a god who protected women giving birth and young children. Also taught how to grind grain.
Pitys: a nymph who escaped the clutches of wild Pan by turning into a pine tree.
Pleides: the seven daughters of Atlas and the sea nymph Pleione; they gather around Artemis and helped raise Dionysus. Zeus turned them into a constellation to keep them from Orion, to the relief of Atlas. They are Maia (mother of Hermes and Iris), Electra, Taygete, Alcyone, Celaeno, Sterope, and Merope, who married Sisyphus.
Pluto: Roman name for Hades.
Pollux: immortal brother of Castor and son of Zeus and Leda. An expert boxer and horseman. When his brother was killed after warning Pollux about an ambush, Pollus gave up his immortality so that both brothers would shine in the sky as Gemini.
Polyphemus: Cyclops son of the water nymph Thoosa and Poseidon. Odysseus put out his eye to avoid being eaten by him.
Pomona: Roman goddess of orchards and fruit and blooming trees.
Polus: Roman name of Coeus, the celestial axis.
Pontus: primordial sea god father of Nereus and Thaumas and of the Telchines. A son of Gaia and consort to Thalassa. His realm was the deep sea, hers the surface.
Portunes: protective Roman deity of locks, keys, doors, and ports.
Postverta: Roman goddess of the past.
Poseidon: tempestuous god of the ocean, earthquakes, and horses, which he gave to humankind. Husband to Amphritrite and brother to Zeus. The Cyclopes equipped him with his trident.
Pothos: a vine-carrying follower of Aphrodite. His name means “longing.”
Priapus: ugly, large-membered god cursed with impotence by Hera, who was avenging herself on his mother Aphrodite.
Procris: wife of Cephalus and daughter of Erechtheus.
Prometheus: Titan son of Iapetus, brother of Epimetheus, and bringer of fire to humanity. For serving the gods a false sacrificial meal he was chained to the Caucasus for millennia, an eagle or vulture picking at his liver every night. Once liberated he wore a chunk of the mountain set in a ring and a laurel leaf around his head in remembrance of the authority of Olympus.
Proserpina (also Averna): Roman name for Persephone.
Proteus: “The Old Man of the Sea”: a shape-shifting god who herds Poseidon’s seals and foretells the future, if reluctantly. Aristaeus captured him to find out why all the bees were dying. His daughter was Eidothea. Compare Manannan mac Lir.
Protogenoi: the primal gods who emerged as universal forces at the dawn of time. They include Aether, Ananke, Chaos, Cronus, Erebus, Eros, Gaia, Hemera, Hydros, Nesoi, Nyx, Oceanus, Ourea, Phanes, Phusis, Pontus, Tartarus, Tethys, Thalassa, and Uranos.
Providentia: Roman goddess of forethought.
Psychai: souls of the dead.
Psyche: told only by Apuleius.
Pudicitia: Roman name for Aidos.
Quirinus: a pre-Roman war god often conflated with Romulus.
Rhadamanthus: a son of Zeus and Europa and a judge of the dead. Legendary for his integrity and for the code of laws he gave Crete.
Rhea: Titan wife and brother of Cronus (Saturn), daughter of Gaia and Uranos (earth and sky), and mother of the Olympians. Often associated (like Cybele) with images of Earth’s bounty and abundance (but not just agricultural). The name of her Roman counterpart, Ops, or Opis, connects to “opus” (work). Rhea can be imagined as the work done by Earth (Gaia).
Robigo and Robigus: sister and brother deities who protected crops from disease.
Romulus and Remus: legendary warrior brothers and sons of Mars who founded Rome.
Salacia: Roman name of Amphritrite.
Sarpedon (“sar-PEE-duhn”): brother to Rhadamanthus, with whom he fought over Miletus, a youthful son of Areia and Apollo. Miletus ended up with Sarpedon, but they had to flee to Lycia. Also, a Trojan hero and king slain by Patroclus even though Sarpedon was Zeus’s own son.
Saturn: Roman name of Cronus.
Satyrs: half men and half goats, lovers of wine, sex, and play; often found accompanying Pan and Dionysus.
Scylla: a six-headed, twelve-legged sea monster who was once a beautiful nymph.
Selene (“suh-LEE-nee”): goddess of the moon.
Semele (“SEM-uh-lee”): mother of Dionysus and daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia. Jealous Hera tricked her into asking Zeus to show himself in his true form, which killed her.
Silenus: chief of the satyrs.
Sisyphus: Sisyphus, who was punished for telling the father of Aegina, a young woman kidnapped by Zeus for one of his sexual gratifications, where she was and who had initially taken her. Zeus considered this an ultimate betrayal
Somnus: Roman name of Hypnos.
Spes: Roman name of Elpis.
Styx: the underworld River of Hatred. For her help with fighting off the Titans, Zeus made her the river by which all the gods swear oaths.
Suadela: Roman name of Peitho.
Sylvanus: Roman name of Pan.
Syrinx: a chaste nymph pursued by Pan. To escape him she was turned into river reeds from which he fashioned the first pan pipes.
Tantalus: a king who when invited to Zeus’s table offered his dismembered son Pelops for dinner. After Pelops was brought back to life, Tantalus was sentenced to sit in Tartarus below a tree whose fruit he couldn’t eat near a pool whose water receded when he tried to drink it.
Tartarus: the lower region of the underworld. Souls judged evil (Ixion, Tantalus, Sisyphus, and others) by the judges Rhadamanthus, Minos, and Aeacus are imprisoned there.
Telchines: flippered, dog-headed artificers of Rhodes who raised Poseidon and forged his trident and the sickle of Cronus. When they became powerful the gods killed them.
Telesphorus (“accomplisher” or “finisher”): cloaked and hooded dwarf who was the son of Asclepius. He signifies cure from illness.
Tempestes: Roman storm god.
Terminus: god of boundary markers.
Terra (or Tellus) Mater: Roman name of Gaia.
Tethys: Titan goddess of Earth’s fresh water. Wife of Oceanus and mother of the Potamoi (rivers), Oceanides (springs and streams), and Nephelai (clouds).
Thalassa: the sea in its calm aspect. Consort to Pontus.
Thanatos: winged death god who fetched corpses. His parents were Nyx and Erebus. A brother of Hypnos.
Thaumas: “wonder” child of Pontus and Gaia and father with Electra (“amber-tinged clouds”) of the Harpies and Iris.
Theia: “wide-shining” wife of Hyperion and mother of Eos, Helios, and Selene. Theia is brilliance personified, especially that of the sky.
Themis: bringer of divine, rather than human, justice. Her name means “established custom.”
Theseus: king of Athens and slayer of many men and beasts, among them the Minotaur, Cercyon the wrestler, Eurytus the centaur, the highwayman Sciron, and Procrustes. His mother was Aethra, his father Poseidon and his human father Aegeus. For abandoning Ariadne he lost his human father; for kidnapping Helen of Troy he ended up stuck to a throne in Hades, from which Herakles had to free him. He abandoned his bride Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, for Phaedra, who fell in love with Theseus’ son Hippolytus.
Phaedra killed herself after Theseus killed his son. Theseus died in exile when Lycomedes (Lycurgus) hurled him off a cliff.
Thetis: a sea nymph, mother of Achilles, wife of Peleus, and leader of Nereids (daughter of Doris and Nereus).
Titans: the giant offspring of Gaia and Uranos. Similar archetypally to the Celtic Formorians and the Norse Frost Giants.
Tityos: giant son of Zeus and Elara. Born in the earth, he tried to rape Leto and was slain by Artemis and Apollo. In the underworld two vultures eat his liver.
Triton: conch-blowing son (and herald) of Poseidon and Amphritrite and father of Pallas. The sound of his shell could raise or calm the waves. He helped raise Athena, who killed Pallas by accident.
Tyche: goddess of luck.
Typhon: a monstrous son of Gaia who attacked Zeus for imprisoning the Titans. After frightening the Olympians by hurling mountains at them, he battled Zeus, who finally buried him under Mount Aetna.
Ulysses: Roman name of Odysseus.
Uranos: sky-god mate and son of Gaia and father of Cronus, who castrated him to free his siblings imprisoned in the earth by Father Sky.
Vejovis: ancient Roman healing god eventually linked to Asclepius.
Venti: Roman name of the Anemoi.
Venus: Roman name of Aphrodite.
Veritas: Roman goddess of truth who hid in the bottom of a well. Daughter of Saturn.
Vertumnus: shape-changing Roman god of change, growth, gardens, and seasons. Seducer of Pomona.
Vesta: Roman name of Hestia.
Vica Pota: Roman victory goddess similar to Nike.
Victoria: Roman name of Nike.
Viduus: Roman god who at death divided the soul from the body.
Virbius: Roman name of Hippolytus.
Virtus: Roman name of Arete.
Volturnus: Roman river god.
Vulcan: Roman name of Hephaestus.
Zephyrus: the west wind, and husband of Iris, his sister.
Zeus: Allfather of Olympus and Greek counterpart to the Dagda (Irish), Yahweh (Hebrew), and Odin (Norse). A son of Rhea and of Cronus, whom he overthrew in the war against the Titans. As husband of Hera he ruled the world with his brothers Poseidon (the sea) and Hades (the underworld). The Cyclopes made his thunderbolt; his oracle translated the stirrings of oak leaves and the dips and cries of eagles into messages from above. Zeus’s habit of waylaying and ravishing females has generally been interpreted very literally. Psychologically, an appearance by Zeus in dreams, active imagination, or synchronicity could prompt inquiries about the uses of authority, claiming one’s kingliness, achieving a higher perspective, contact with the sacred masculine, wise use of power, etc.