Myths are stories that people make up to explain things they do not understand. The ancient Greeks created myths to explain why the seasons changed, why it stormed, or why people got sick. They believed that gods and goddesses controlled events in nature and the lives of humans. When things went wrong, it was because the gods were angry.
Zeus, king of the gods
Zeus ruled Mount Olympus, the sacred home of the gods. He controlled the sky and the weather and threw thunderbolts when he was angry. He wrapped Mount Olympus in clouds so people could not see what the gods were doing. According to the ancient Greeks, this was why mist covered the mountain most of the time.
Athena, goddess of war and wisdom
Athena, the patron goddess of the ancient city-state of Athens, was Zeus's daughter. According to myth, Zeus swallowed his pregnant wife Metis because he was afraid she would bear a son mightier than himself. Athena then sprang in full armor from Zeus's head.
Apollo, god of light and prophecy
Apollo was the son of the god Zeus and twin brother of Artemis the huntress, goddess of wild animals and childbirth. As the god of prophecy, Apollo became more revered than his father. Worshippers from Greece and beyond flocked to his temple at Delphi. They came to consult the oracle, a priestess who gave advice and told the future.
Demeter, goddess of agriculture
Hades, the god of death, lived in a dark palace under the earth, where he ruled the ghosts of the dead. He fell in love with Persephone, Demeter's daughter. With Zeus's permission, Hades took her to live in the world of the dead. Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, was heartbroken at the loss of her beloved child. She forbade the trees to bear fruit and the grasses to grow. Cattle died of starvation, and famine hit the land. Something had to be done. Zeus ordered Persephone to stay with Hades half the year, but…