Minor Gods, DemiGods, Nymphs and Rivers

Besides the Olympians, there were many other deities that made up mythology.

Achelous -
The river-god who turned himself into a serpent to defeat his rival, Heracles, for the hand of Deianira. Heracles finally subdued Achelous and won Deianira’s hand.

Acheron -
Acheron was the son of Gaia. For his terrible deed of fetching water for the Titans during their battle, Zeus changed him into the river in the Underworld. The name Acheron means River of Sadness, and is known as the “woeful river” in mythology.

Adrastia -
Adrastia was the nymph daughter of Melisseus, king of Crete. Her and her sister, along with Amalthea, tended the infant Zeus.

Aeolus -
Aeolus was the Greek god of the winds. Aeolus helps Odysseus in Homer’s The Odyssey by imprisoning all the winds in a huge leather bag except the west, which helped Odysseus on his way home. In sight of Ithaca, Odysseus fell asleep and the crew undid the bag expecting treasure. They were blown back out to sea. Aeolus was very angry and refused to help them any longer.

Amalthea -
Amalthea was the goat-nymph that took care of young infant Zeus. When Zeus took over the Universe he sacrificed her, and set her among the stars as Capricorn. He gave her horn to Ida and Adrastia, the other nymphs that took care of him. The horn could never run out of food. He used her skin for his armor, the aegis.

Amphitrite -
Amphitrite was an ancient greek goddess of the sea, she was either the daughter of Nereus or Oceanus. She had forty nine sisters who were the Nereids, this is why Nereus is usually her father. She married Poseidon, but was not happy; on his proposal she fled to the Atlas Mountains. Poseidon sent Delphinus to win her and eventually she consented. Poseidon had three children with her including Triton, the other two were Rhode and Benthescyme. Amphitrite was like Hera in a way that she was jealous of her faithless husband’s mistresses, she was no where near as bad though. His one lover, the beautiful nymph Scylla, was turned into a hideous monster by Amphitrite.

Arethusa -
A naiad (river/fountain nymph). In Ovid’s Metamorpheses, she is pursued by the river god Alpheus. She calls to Artemis to help her; she is changed into a fountain on the island now called Sicily.

Aristaeus -
Aristaeus was an ancient rural greek deity, native to Thessaly. He was the son of Apollo and the nymph Cyrene. He was raised by the nymphs of Hermes (his uncle), who taught him the arts of beekeeping, cheese making and the cultivation of olives. The muses later taught him healing, hunting and th ecare of herds and flocks. He treid to force his attentions on Eurydice the dryad. For this the gods wiped out his bees. Aristaeus asked Proteus what to do, he told him to sacrifice cows to the gods. He did this and was rewarded with hordes of bees from the rotting cattle. He was considered a god because fo his knowledge of crafts that he passed on to man.

Asclepius - [Aesculapius] -
Asclepius was another son of Apollo and Coronis. He was almost always the god of medicine. The center of his cult was Epidaurus, but there were many others including Pergamum and Cos, there, treatments were given to the sick. His emblem was a snake or snakes entwined around a staff called a Caduceus. This is his symbol because the shedding of a snakes skin symbolized renewal and healing. As it happened, Asclepius learned this skill from Chiron; he became so good at it that he could bring people back from the dead. The fates got the threads of lives tangled up and Hades was losing souls. Finally Zeus hit him with a lightning bolt, but brought him back and made him a minor god.

Boreas -
Boreas was the son of Eos and the Titan Astreus. He was the north wind and the father of Clais and Zetes, the winged Argonauts.

Britomartis - (Sweet Virgin) She was a very ancient Cretan deity, but later was the daughter of Zeus. She was a huntress on Crete. King Minos apparently fell in love with her, she was disgusted and threw herself off a cliff. She was caught in a fisherman’s net. She then escaped to the island of Aegina where she was named Dictynna or Lady of the Nests. Artemis, happy about her virginity, made her immortal. She is sometimes called the Cretan Artemis.

Calypso -
Calypso was the daughter of the Titan Atlas. In The Odyssey she is the nymph queen of hte island Ogygia. She also detains the hero Odysseus there for seven years, Zeus finally demands she let him goand she helps him home to Ithaca.

Castor and Polydeuces - [Castor and Pollux] -
Castor and Polydeuces were half brothers, Castor was the son of Zeus and Leda, the full brother of Helen. Polydeuces was the son of Leda and Tyndareus, the full brother of Clytemnestra. They were known as the Dioscurior “Lads of Zeus”. When they died Castor went to Olympus while Polydeuces went to Hades. They missed each other so much that ZEus let them split Castor’s immortality. They spent half each year on Olympus and half in Hades. They were the Gemini sign.

Charon -
Charon was the ghostly son of Erebus (Darkness personified) and Nox (Night). He was teh ferryman of the underworld. Supposedly he would row them across the river Styx if presented with an obolus (coin). If not the soul was doomed to wander the Styx banks forever. To prevent this a coin was placed under the tongue or eyelids of the dead.

Chiron -
Chiron was possibly the son of Cronus and Phylira. Chiron lived on Mount Pelion in Thessaly where he taught youg boys to grow up and be heroes. He was the only civilized centaur. It is said that he become so knowledgable due to the education that Artemis and Apollo granted him. Some of his students were Asclepius, Achilles, and Jason. He was loved by gods and man for his loving kindness to all kinds of life. He was accidentally wounded by Heracles when he had a brawl with the rowdy centaurs. Since he was immortal he was doomed to eternal pain. He gave up his immortality to free Prometheus.

Circe -
Circe was the daughter of Helios, the sun god and was teh sister of Phaeton and Aetes. She was the witch in The Odyssey and cast spells on Odysseus’ men. He forced her to restore the pig men. She then helped him return to Ithaca. See the Odyssey. She also cleansed Medea of her sins after she killed her brother on her way home with Jason. In post-Homeric stories she bore Odysseus a son, Telegonus.

Daphne - “Laurel” -
Daphne was a nymph and daughter of the river-god Ladon or of Peneus and Gaia. She was chased by Apollo, but she was stubborn and she hated him. He was catching up and the nymph begged either Ladon or Gaia for help. With Ladon as soon as she touched the banks of the river, she turned into a laurel tree. With Gaia the earth opend up, she disappeared and a laurel tree appeared in its place. Sometimes she was loved by Leucippus who disguised as a woman, befriended her. He was discovered when they were bathing. The nymphs were furious and tore him to pieces.

Dione -
Dione was an obscure, ancient divinity of pre-historic Greece. She was the daughter of OCeanus and Tethys. She was sometimes the mother of Aphrodite by Zeus. Scholars point out that her name is the feminine form of Zeus.

Echo -
Echo was an Oread or mountain-nymph, daughter of Gaia. Hera, who was pissed at her for detaining Hera from Zeus, took her ability to form her own words away. Echo fell in love with Narcissus and he was the death of her (see Echo and Narcissus).

Eileithya - (Ilithya) -
Eileithya was the daughter of Zeus and Hera. She was the goddess of childbirth; no child could be born without her(mortal or divine). She is mentioned in the births of Heracles and Leto’s divine twins, Artemis and Apollo. She was probably a pre-Olympian who took care of birthing mothers, because of this, she is sometimes identified with Hera and Artemis.

Electra 1 -
Electra was one of the Pleiades, the daughters of Atlas and Pleione. She was the mother of Dardanus by Zeus. Dardanus was the founder of Troy. Some say she is the lost Pleiade, she disappeared after the Trojan War.

Electra 2 -
Electra was a sea-nymph and the daughter of Tethys and Oceanus. She was the mother of Iris and the Harpies.

Eos - [Aurora] -
Eos was the daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Thea. Eos was married Tithonus, but had many lovers. Eos is called Rosy-fingered Dawn by the poet Homer. She was the goddess of the dawn. She is depicted riding the dawn skies on Pegasus or a chariot with two horses. Her siblings were Helios the sun god and Selene the moon goddess. With the Titans Astraeus she bore the winds Zephyrus and Boreas and barious other astral bodies.

Eris -
Eris was the spirit of strife. She was the sister or lover of Ares and accompanied him into wars to cause quarrels. She helped cause the Trojan War by causing the contest when she threw the apple of discord to them during the wedding of Achilles parents Peleus and Thetis. Paris gave the apple to Aphrodite and she gave Helen to him which set off the War.

Eros - [Cupid] “Erotic Love” -
Eros has a lot of confusing parentage. Some say he is the son of Aphrodite and either Ares, Hermes or Zeus. Some say his mother is Gaia and that he was a winged dragon. He was the god of erotic love. He was sometimes welcomed, sometimes feared because he caused carelessness and also the havoc brought on by love. In later times he is depcited as a chubby baby, winged, and with a quiver of love arrows that he indiscriminately shot off. His most famous myth would be between him and Psyche.

Eurydice -
Eurydice was the dryad wife of Orpheus, see Orpheus and Eurydice under myths.

Fates, The - (Moriae, Moirai) [Parcae] -
The Fates were the daughters of Zeus and the Titaness Themis. There were three of them ande they controlled every persons destiny or “fate”. Clotho [Nona] spun the string or web of life; Lachesis [Decuma] measured the web; Atropos [Morta] cut the string and ended the life. The power of these women surpassed their father’s by far. They are not depicted the way Disney’s Hercules has portrayed, which isn’t the only thing. The cartoon has them mixed up the Graea.

Graces, The Three -
The Three Graces were the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome. Their names were Thalia which means Flowering, she is not to be confused with the Muse Thalia. The second is Euphrosyne which means Joy. The third is Aglaia which means Radiance. They were the handmaidens of Aphrodite and were associated with Apollo. These eternally happy sisters were present at human and divine marriages. THey are often pictured dancing with nymphs and having fun.

Graea - (The Gray Sisters) -
The Graea were the daughters of Phorcys and Ceto, they were the sisters of theGorgons. Their names were Dino, Enys, and Pemphredo. They were old age in a nutshell. They had one eye and one tooth between them that they passed around. The eye was stolen by Perseus until hey told him where Medusa lived. He then gave it back, and they went back to be being old.

Hebe - [Juventas] -
Hebe was the daughter of Zeus and Hera. She was the cupbearer of the gods. She married the deified Heracles after his ascent to Olympus, they lived in Olympia. Later she was the goddess of youth and had the power to rejuvenate hance her Roman name Juventas.

Helen -
Helen was the daughter of Zeus and Leda. Helen and her full brother Castor hatched from an egg and their half siblings (Polydeuces and Clytemnestra) hatched from another. They were born from eggs because ZEus came to Leda and mated with her in the form of a swan. She married Menelaus, king of Sparta. She was carried off by Paris, the prince of Troy, which made her a cause of the Trojan War. She is sometimes called Helen of Troy but she was really Helen of Sparta. After the war she went back to Menelaus says Homer. Others say she married Deiphobus or that she was hanged by another queen. She may have hanged herself. She was the most beautiful woman in the world.

Helios - [Sol] (Hyperion) -
Helios was the son of Hyperion and Thea; brother of Eos and Selene. He was te sun god. Every day he drove his fiery chariout across the sky pulled by four fiery steeds. Because of this he is the all-seeing and is often used as a witness. Ex. The abduction of Persephone. His wife was the nymph of Rhodos who lived on his favorite island, Rhodes. Their children were Circe, Acetes, Phaeton, and he had numerous others. The poet Homer calls him by his fathers name, Hyperion. He appears in both of Homers epic poems. He is sometimes identified with Apollo.

Heracles - (Herakles) [Hercules] -
Heracles was the son of Zeus and Alcmene. He was the strongest man in the entire world. When he was born Hera sent two serpents to kill the baby, he wrestled them and killed them. He was raised by his mother and her husband, Amphitryon of Thebes. Amphitryon and Alcmene were bother descendants of Perseus. Hera also drover him insane and made him kill his entire family. This made him the slave of his cousin. His cousin inflicted the twelve labors upon him with the help of Hera. He married Deianira, one of his many wives, she was to be the death of him. She unknowingly put poison on his toga which killed him. Zeus pulled him from his funeral pyre and brought him to Olympus. He then married his half sister Hebe and they moved to Olympia. His name, ironically, means “The Glory of Hera”.

Horae -
The Horae were the goddesses of the seasons and daughters of Zeus and Themis; sisters of the Fates. According to Hesiod there were three of them: Irene (peace), Dike (justice), and Eunomia (order). These names and numbers differ from place to place. Their job was to control the seasons an dwatch over agriculture. They also took care of fruits and flowers. They are depicted as beautiful young women and are usually with the Three Graces. They were especially tender toward children.

Ida -
Ida was possibly the daughter of Gaia. Her and her sister Adrastria with the goat nymph Amalthea, tended young Zeus on Crete.

Iris -
Iris was the daughter of Thaumus and Electra 2; sister of the Harpies. She was the goddess of the rainbow and constant attendant of Hera. She was a female Hermes in th eway that she was a messenger for the gods.

Lethe -
Lethe was the one of the rivers of Hades. Lethe means forgetfullness or oblivion. The dead’s souls were obliged to drink from the river so that they would forget everything they had said or done.

Leto - [Latona] -
Leto was the daughter of Coeus and Phoebe. Leto with Zeus was the mother of the divine twins Apollo and Artemis. In Hesiods literature she was noted for her gentleness. Leto was harassed and pursued by Hera. Leto ran every where and finally rested on Delos. She gave birth to Artemis first who immediatley matured and became the midwife for Apollo’s birth. Zeus made the island fertile and said that no one shall be born or die there.

Maenads - [Bacchants, Bacchantes] -
The Maenads were the follwers of Dionysus. They were drunk and crazed women. In their ritual orgies the Maenads were said to sacrifice wild animals and humans, tearing off and eating their flesh.

Maia -
Maia was the daughter of Atlas and Pleione, eldest and most beautiful of the seven sisters called the Pleaides. She was romanced by Zeus and bore him a son, Hermes, in a cave in Mount Cyllene. There she was safe from Hera’s wrath. Maia’s only mention is in this story by Hesiod. Her Roman counterpart, Maia, was a deity of spring, which no doubt makes our month May a tribute to her.

Medea -
Medea was the witch daughter of King Aetes of Colchis; niece of Circe. Medea fell in love with Jason during his quest for the Golden Fleece, and he loved her back, some say. After they eloped and fled, Aetes gave chase. Medea killed her brother and spread his body over the sea, deterring her father from the pursuit. She kept getting eviler and more vengeful. She was left by Jason so she killed his new wife by poisoning her dress. Then she killed her own children by Jason. No one knows what happened to this evil witch after the myth.

Merope -
Merope was the daughter of Atlas and Pleione, one of the Pleiades. She married the cunning but disrespectful Sisyphus. Merope was sometimes called “the lost star” the one invisible to the naked eye. She hid her light in shame for having married Sisyphus.

Metis -
Metis was the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. Metis was the first wife of Zeus and used her wisdom to help Zeus rescue his siblings from his cannibalistic father. Zeus was advised by his grandparents to swallow Metis or else her child son would overthrow him. He this, and, in doing so united his power and her wisdom. After a while Zeus had a headache, it kept getting worse until finally he ordered Hephaestus to cut his head open. His lame son did so. Athena sprang from the wound, fully grown and dressed in armor.

Minthe -
Minthe was a nymph of the river Cocytus which flowed to the Underworld. Hades, king of the dead, loved her. Persephone was so jealous that she kicked and stomped Minthe to death. Hades made her into the mint plant.

Muses -
The Muses were the nine daughters of Zeus and the Titaness Mnemosyne. The Muses were the goddesses of the arts and entertainment. They were led by the god Apollo. They are as listed below.
Calliope -
Muse of epic poetry, she was considered the most important Muse and mother of Orpheus. She carried a stylus and tablet, sometimes a trumpet.
Clio -
Muse of history. She carried a trumpet and scrolls.
Erato -
Muse of love poetry or Lyric and hymns. She is depicted with a lyre.
Euterpe -
Muse of flute playing, she obviously carried a flute.
Melpomene -
Muse of tragedy. She carried the tragedy mask.
Polyhymnia -
Muse of mime. She had a pensive attitude.
Terpsichore -
Muse of dance. She carried a lyre and plectrum.
Thalia -
Muse of comedy, my personal Muse. She held the happy mask and a sheperd’s crook. Not to be confused with the Grace, Thalia.
Urania -
Muse of astronomy. She had a globe and a compass.

Nemesis -
Nemesis was the daughter of Nox and Erebus. Her job was to take vengeance on people who had hubris which means “over self confidence and pride in achievments and good fortune.” She also rewarded virtue. In english nemesis means and agent or an act of punishment that can’t be defeated which is what she was.

Nereus -
Nereus was the old man of the sea. His kingdom was mostly in the Aegean sea. He had fiftty daughters, the nereids or sea-nymphs. Amphitrite was one of them. He retired his kingdom gratefully when Poseidon came to rule.

Nike - [Victoria] -
Nike was the winged daughter of Pallas and Styx. She was the spirit of victory. She was to Athena what Eris was to Ares. Her most famous temple is on the Acropolis in Athens.

Nymphs -
Nymphs were the many minor goddesses who lived in different parts of the world. They were young, beautiful maidens and, even though they weren’t immortal they lived for hundreds of thousands of years. There were many different kinds, some of them are listed below.
Dryads and Hama-dryads - tree and fores nymphs.
Maenads - a type of Naphaeae, the followers of Dionysus.
Naiads - freshwater and fountain nymphs.
Naphaeae - valley nymphs.
Nereids - sea-nymphs; usually daughters of Nereus.
Oceanides - nymphs of the ocean.
Oreads - mountain and cave nymphs.
Some of the best known nymphs were Amphitrite, Arethusa, Calypso, Echo, Oenone, and Thetis. Nymphs might not belong to any of the groups and are just the companians of a goddess or god.

Oenone -
Oenone was the nymph daughter of the river god Cebren. Her and Paris were lovers until he left her for Helen. Oenone warned him that if he went for Helen, Troy would be destroyed, she was right.

Pan - [Faunus] -
Pan was the satyr-like son of Hermes and the nymph Penelope (not Odysseus’ wife). He was an ancient deity of flocks, fertility, forests and wildlife. He got real good at playing the syrinx or Pan- pipe, a seven reed flute. He challenged Apollo to a music contest. He was worshipped as a fertility god too. He is depicted as playful yet at times sinister. He caused fear in man and beasts, this felling was called “panic”.

Pleiades -
The Pleiades were the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione. Their names were Alycone, Asterope, Celaene, Electra, Maia, Merope, and Taygete. Astronomically, they are a group of stars effortlessly seen in the Taurus constellation. There is one star invisible to the naked eye, that star is probably Merope. She is invisible because of her shame of marrying Sisyphus.

Proteus -
Proteus was a minor but very ancient god. He was extremely knoweldgable and had the power to change hsi shape if he didn’t want to stick around and talk to someone, because it wasn’t usually his decision. In one story, he was caught by Menelaus, who was unable to leave from Egypt. Proteus told him to pay honor to Zeus, Menelaus did this and was able to sail home to Sparta.

Selene - (Phoebe) [Luna] -
Selene was the daughter of Theia and Hyperion; sister of Helios and Eos. She was the goddess of the moon and thus is identified with Artemis. She was a very beautiful woman, depicted with long wings and a golden crown that shed a peaceful light in the dark of night. She drove across the sky in a milk white chariot drawn by 3 equally white horses. She was the mother of Pandia, Erse (the dew) and Nemea, she may have been the mother of the Nemean Lion. Her most famous love was with Endymion who was granted eternal sleep by Selene, some say Zeus; she bore him 50 daughters.

Sirens -
The Sirens were nymphs but because of the deaths they caused, they will be under monsters.

Styx - (River of hate)
Styx was the nymph daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. Styx was one of the rivers leading into the Underworld, she was the river that Charon eternally rowed souls across. She was the mother of Zelos (Jealousy), Nike (Victory), Kratos (Force), and Bia (Violence). She mothered them by the Titan Pallas. As a reward for helping the Olympians during the Titan/Olympian war, Zeus decreed that all vows in her name were eternally sacred.

Syrinx -
Syrinx was the nymph daughter of Ladon, a river god. She was chased by Pan and called to Ladon for help. Her father turned her into a reed. Pan, very sad, fashioned the reeds into a seven reed pipe called the syrinx in her name, or the Pan-pipe. Apparently Greek farmers still use them today.

Thanatos - [Mors] -
Thanatos was the son of Nox (Night) with no father and was the personification of death. He was the twin brother of Hypnos(sleep). Sisyphus was the only mortal to ever outwit Thanatos, at least for a while.

Thetis -
Thetis was a nereid, the daughter of Nereus. Thetis was pursued by Zeus and Poseidon, but Themis, the Titaness told the gods that if she bore them a son he would overthrow the Olympians. Zeus persuaded her to marry Peleus, Thetis was very disapointed on marrying a mortal, but she bore him a son, Achilles. Since Achilles was mortal his mother wasn’t happy, she dipped the infant into the river Styx. Unfortunately she held him by the heel and that heel never became invincible or immortal or whatever you want to call it. His heel caused his death in the Trojan War.

Triton -
Triton was the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite. He was a water god and helped his father by trumpeting on a conch shell to calm the waves. Because of his calming job he was benevolent and peaceful. He is depicted as a merman; the torso of a man and a fishtail instead of legs. Somethimes Poseidon is depicted as being escorted by many Tritons. He was also a very helpful deity, during the Titan/Olympian war he used his conch shell to scare the Titans. Triton also saved the Argonauts from a storm and helped them to the Mediteranean Sea. Triton is one of Neptune’s moons in our solar system.