Twelve Olympians

Fragment of a Hellenistic relief (1st century BC–1st century AD) depicting the twelve Olympians carrying their attributes in procession; from left to right, Hestia (scepter), Hermes (winged cap and staff), Aphrodite (veiled), Ares (helmet and spear), Demeter (scepter and wheat sheaf), Hephaestus (staff), Hera (scepter), Poseidon (trident), Athena (owl and helmet), Zeus (thunderbolt and staff), Artemis (bow and quiver), Apollo (lyre), from the Walters Art Museum.[1]

In ancient Greek religion and mythology, the twelve Olympians are the major deities of the Greek pantheon, commonly considered to be Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hermes, and either Hestia or Dionysus.[2] They were called 'Olympians' because they were considered to reside on Mount Olympus.

Although Hades was a major ancient Greek god, and was the brother of the first generation of Olympians (Zeus, Poseidon, Hera, Demeter, and Hestia), he resided in the underworld, far from Olympus, and thus was not usually considered to be one of the Olympians.

Besides the twelve Olympians, there were many other cultic groupings of twelve gods.


The Olympians were the principal deities of the Greek pantheon, so named because of their residency atop Mount Olympus. They gained their supremacy in a ten-year-long war of gods, in which Zeus led his siblings to victory over the previous generation of ruling gods, the Titans. They were a family of gods, the most important consisting of the first generation of Olympians, offspring of the Titans Cronus and Rhea: Zeus, Poseidon, Hera, Demeter and Hestia, along with the principal offspring of Zeus: Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite,[3] Hephaestus, Hermes, and Dionysus. Although Hades was a major deity in the Greek pantheon, and was the brother of Zeus and the other first generation of Olympians, his realm was far away from Olympus in the underworld, and thus he was not usually considered to be one of the Olympians.[4] Olympic gods can be contrasted to chthonic gods[5] including Hades, by mode of sacrifice, the latter receiving sacrifices in a bothros (βόθρος, "pit") or megaron (μέγαρον, "sunken chamber")[6] rather than an altar.

The canonical number of Olympian gods was twelve, but besides the (thirteen) principal Olympians listed above, there were many other residents of Olympus, who thus might be called Olympians.[7] Heracles became a resident of Olympus after his apotheosis and married another Olympian resident Hebe.[8] Some others who might be considered Olympians, include: the Muses, the Graces, Iris, Dione, Eileithyia, the Horae, and Ganymede.[9]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Olimpiese gode
aragonés: Olimpians
azərbaycanca: Olimp tanrıları
беларуская: Алімпійскія багі
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Алімпійскія багі
català: Olímpics
čeština: Olympané
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norsk nynorsk: Dei olympiske gudane
پنجابی: 12 اولمپی
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sicilianu: Olimpi
Simple English: Twelve Olympians
slovenčina: Olympskí bohovia
slovenščina: Dvanajst bogov Olimpa
српски / srpski: Олимпски богови
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Olimpska božanstva
Türkmençe: Grek Taňrylary
українська: Олімпійські боги
vepsän kel’: Olimpalaižed jumalad