The Palace of Olympus , and Queen , the Mother-. The northern end of the palace, looking across the valley of Tempe towards the wild hills of , consisted of the kitchen, Home of the banqueting hall, armory, workshops, and gods and servants’ quarters. In between came a Ancient square court, open to the , with covered cloisters and private rooms on each , belonging to the other five Olympian gods and the other five Olympian goddesses. Beyond the kitchen and servants’ quarters stood cottages for smaller gods, sheds for , stables for horses, kennels for hounds, and a sort of zoo where the Olympians kept their sacred animals. These included a , a , a peacock, an , , stags, a cow, a , , a , bulls, a wild cat, mice, , herons, an owl, a tortoise, and a tank full of fish. In the Council Hall the Olympians met at to discuss mortal affairs – such as which army on should be allowed to win a war, and whether they ought to punish some king or queen who had been behaving proudly or disgustingly. But for the most part they were too busy with their own quarrels The TWELVE most important gods and lawsuits to take much notice of mortal and goddesses of , called the affairs. King had an enormous Olympians, belonged to the same large, of polished black Egyptian marble, decorated quarrelsome family. Though thinking little of in gold. Seven steps led up to it, each of the smaller, old-fashioned gods over whom them enameled with one of the seven colors they ruled, they thought even less of mortals. of the rainbow. A bright blue covering above All the Olympians lived together in an showed that the whole sky belonged to Zeus enormous palace, well above the usual alone and on the right arm of his throne level of clouds at the top of , perched a ruby-eyed clutching the highest in Greece. Great walls, jagged strips of pure , which meant that too steep for climbing, protected the Palace. Zeus could kill whatever enemies he pleased The Olympians’ masons, gigantic one-eyed by throwing a of forked , had built them on much the same at them. A purple ram’s fleece covered the plan as royal palaces on earth. cold seat. Zeus used it for magical At the southern end, just behind the rainmaking in times of drought. He was a Council Hall, and looking towards the famous strong, brash, stupid, noisy, violent, Greek cities of , Thebes, , conceited god, and always on the watch lest , , and , were the his family should try to get rid of him; having private apartments of King Zeus, the Father- once himself got rid of his wicked, idle, cannibalistic father , King of the

Titans and Titanesses. The Olympians could behaved, Hera felt obliged to set a good not die, but Zeus with the help of his two example to gods and goddesses and elder brothers, and , had mortals, as the Mother of . Her banished Cronus to a distant island in the emblem was the cow, the most motherly of Atlantic – perhaps the Azores, perhaps animals; but not wishing to be thought as Torrey Island, off the coast of . Zeus, plain-looking and placid as a cow, she also Hades, and Poseidon then drew lots for the used the peacock and the lion. three parts of Cronus’ kingdom. Zeus won These two faced down the the sky; Poseidon, the ; Hades, the Council Hall towards the door leading into ; they shared the earth between the open courtyard. Along the sides of the them. One of Zeus’ emblems was the eagle, hall stood ten other thrones- for five another was the woodpecker. goddesses on Hera’s side, for five gods on Cronus managed at last to escape Zeus’. from the island in a small boat and changing Poseidon, god of the and his name to , settled quietly among the rivers, had the second-largest throne. It was Italians, and behaved very well. In fact, until of grey-green white-streaked marble, Zeus discovered his escape and banished ornamented with , gold, and mother-of- him again, Saturn’s reign was known as the pearl. The arms were carved in the shape of . Mortals in lived without sea-beasts, and Poseidon sat on sealskin. work or trouble eating only acorns, wild fruit, For his help in banishing Cronus and the , and pig-nuts, and drinking only , Zeus had married him to , or water. They never fought wars, and spent the former Sea-goddess, and allowed him to their days dancing and singing. take over all her titles. Though Poseidon Queen Hera had an ivory throne hated to be less important than his younger with three crystal steps leading up to it. brother, and always went about scowling, he Golden cuckoos and leaves decorated feared Zeus’ thunderbolt. His only weapon the back, and a full moon hung above it. was a , with which he could stir up the Hera sat on a white cow skin, which she sea and so wreck ships; but Zeus never sometimes used for -making if traveled by ship. When Poseidon felt even Zeus could not be bothered to stop a crosser than usual, he would drive away in drought. She disliked being Zeus’ wife, his to a place under the waves, near because he was frequently marrying mortal the island of , and there let his rage woman and saying, with a sneer, that these cool. As his emblem Poseidon chose the marriages did not count-his brides would horse, an animal which he created. Large soon grow ugly and die; but she was his waves are still called “white horses” because Queen, and perpetually young and beautiful. of this. When first asked to marry him, Hera Opposite Poseidon sat his sister had refused; and had gone on refusing every , goddess of all useful fruits, year for three hundred years. But one grasses, and grains. Her throne of bright springtime Zeus disguised himself as a poor green malachite was ornamented with ears cuckoo caught in a , and tapped of barley in gold, and little golden pigs for at her window. Hera, not seeing through his luck. Demeter seldom smiled, except when disguise, let the cuckoo in, stroked his wet her daughter - unhappily married feathers, and whispered: “Poor bird, I love to the hateful Hades, God of the Dead- came you.” At once Zeus changed back again into to visit her once a year. Demeter had been his true shape, and said: “Now you must rather wild as a girl, and nobody could marry me!” After this, however badly Zeus remember the name of Persephone’s father:

probably some country god married for a was his. Zeus, overcome by a fearful drunken joke at a harvest . Demeter’s headache, howled aloud like a thousand emblem was the poppy, which grows red as hunting in a pack. then blood among the barley. ran up with an axe and kindly split open his Next to Poseidon sat Hephaestus, a skull, and out sprang , dressed in full son of Zeus and Hera. Being the god of armor. Athena was also a Battle-goddess, goldsmiths, jewelers, , masons, yet never went to war unless forced-being and carpenters, he had built all these thrones too sensible to pick quarrels- and when she himself, and made his own a masterpiece of fought, always won. She chose the wise owl every different and precious stone to as her emblem; and had a town house at be found. The seat could move up and down, Athens. and the whole throne rolled along Next to Athena sat , automatically wherever he wished like the Goddess of Love and Beauty. Nobody knew three-legged golden tables in his workshop. who her parents were, either. The South Hephaestus had hobbled ever since birth, Wind said that he had once seen her floating when Zeus roared at Hera: “A brat as weak in a scallop shell off the island of Cythera, as this is unworthy of me!”- and threw him far and steered her gently ashore. She may out over the walls of Olympus. In his fall have been a daughter of Amphitrite by a Hephaestus broke a leg so badly that he had smaller god named , who used to blow to wear a golden leg-iron. He kept a country roaring blasts on a conch, or perhaps by old house on , the island where he had Cronus. Amphitrite refused to say a word on struck earth; and his emblem was the quail, a the subject. Aphrodite’s throne was silver, bird that does a hobbling dance in inlaid with beryls and aquamarines, the back springtime. shaped like a scallop shell, the seat made of Opposite Hephaestus sat Athena, ’s down, and under her feet lay a Goddess of , who first taught him golden mat- an embroidery of golden bees, how to handle tools, and knew more than , and sparrows. Aphrodite had a magic anyone else about pottery, weaving, and all , which she would wear whenever she useful arts. Her silver throne had golden wanted to make anyone love her madly. To basketwork at the back and sides, and a keep Aphrodite out of mischief, Zeus decided crown of violets made from blue lapis lazuli, that she needed a hard-working decent set above it. Its arms ended in grinning husband; and naturally chose his son, ’ heads1. Athena, wise though she Hephaestus. Hephaestus exclaimed: “Now I was, did not know the names of her parents. am the happiest god alive!” But she thought it Poseidon claimed her as his daughter by a disgraceful to be the wife of a sooty-faced, marriage with an African goddess called heavy-handed, crippled smith and insisted on . It is true that, as a child, she had been having a bedroom of her own. Aphrodite’s found wandering in goatskin by the shores of emblem was the dove, and she would visit Libyan lake; but rather than admit herself the , in , once a year to swim in daughter of Poseidon, whom she thought the sea, for good luck. very stupid, she allowed Zeus to pretend she Opposite Aphrodite sat , , Hephaestus’ tall handsome, boastful, cruel brother, who loved fighting for its own 1 ’s heads: A Gorgon (gör’gen) was one of sake. Ares and Aphrodite were continually three winged like sisters who had snakes for holding hands and giggling in corners, which hair and whose looks turned men to stone. The most famous of these terrible sisters was (me dū’ made Hephaestus jealous. Yet if he ever sa). complained to the Council, Zeus would laugh

at him, saying: “Fool, why did you give your took care of 2mothers when their babies were wife that magic girdle? Can you blame your born. She much preferred hunting, fishing, brother if he falls in love with her when she and swimming in moonlit mountain pools. If wears it?” Ares’ throne was built of brass, any mortal happened to see her without strong and ugly- those huge brass knobs in clothes, she used to change him into a stag the shape of skulls, and that cushion cover of and hunt him to death. She chose as her skin! Ares had no manners, no emblem the she-bear, the most dangerous of learning, and the worst of taste; yet all wind animals in Greece. Aphrodite thought him wonderful. His Last in the row of gods sat , emblems were a wild boar and a Zeus’ son by a smaller goddess named bloodstained . He kept a country house , after whom the month of May is called: among the rough woods of . Hermes, the god of merchants, bankers, Next to Ares sat , the god of thieves, fortunetellers, and heralds, was born music, , medicine, archery, and young in . His throne was cut out of a single unmarried men- Zeus’ son by , one of piece of solid grey rock, the arms shaped like the smaller goddesses, whom he married to rams’ heads, and a goatskin for the seat. On annoy Hera. Apollo rebelled against his its back he had carved a , this being father once or twice, but got well punished the shape of a fire-making machine invented each , and learned to behave more by him- the fire-drill. Until then, housewives sensibly. His highly polished golden throne used to borrow glowing pieces of charcoal had magical inscriptions carved all over it, a from their neighbors. Hermes also invented back shaped like a , and a skin to the alphabet; and one of his emblems was sit on. Above hung a golden sundisk with the crane, because cranes in a V- the first twenty-one rays shaped like arrows, because letter he wrote. Another of Hermes’ emblems he pretended to manage the Sun. Apollo’s was a peeled stick, which he carried as emblem was a mouse; mice were supposed the Messenger of the Olympians: white to know the secrets of the earth, and tell ribbons dangled from it, which foolish people them to him. (He preferred white mice to often mistook for snakes.3 ordinary ones; ) Apollo owned a splendid Last in the row of goddesses sat house at on the top of Mount Zeus’ eldest sister, , Goddess of the Parnassus, built around the famous oracle2 Home: on a plain, un-carved, wooden throne, which he stole from Mother Earth, Zeus’ and a plain cushion woven of un-dyed wool. grandmother. Hestia, the kindest and most peaceable of all Opposite Apollo sat his twin sister the Olympians, hated the continual family , goddess of hunting and of quarrels, and never troubled to choose any unmarried girls, from whom he had learned particular emblem of her own. She used to medicine and archery. Her throne was of pure silver, with a skin to sit on, and the back shaped like two date palms, one on 2 . The oracle was said to reside in the temple each side of a new-moon boat. Apollo of Apollo at Delphi (del’ fi) and to speak through the priestesses, uttering and answering married several mortal wives at different important questions submitted by people who times. Once he chased a girl named , journeyed there. who cried out for help to Mother Earth and got turned into a laurel tree before he could 3 peeled hazel stick…snakes. Hermes’ staff, know catch and kiss her. Artemis, however, hated as a (ke dü’ sē es), has two snakes twined around it, with a pair of wings on top. It was supposed the idea of marriage, although she kindly to possess magical powers over sleeping, walking, and dreams.

tend the charcoal hearth in the middle of the named , , and . They Council Hall. were the oldest goddesses in existence, too That made six gods and six old for anybody to remember where they goddesses. But one day Zeus announced came from. The decided how long that , his son by a mortal woman each mortal should live: spinning a linen named , had invented , and must thread, to measure exactly so many inches be given a seat in the Council. Thirteen and feet for months and years, and then Olympians would have been an unlucky snipping it off with a pair of shears. They also number so Hestia offered him her seat, just knew, but seldom revealed, what would be to keep the . Now there were seven the fate of each Olympian god. Even Zeus gods and five goddesses; an unjust state of feared them for that reason. affairs because, when questions about The Olympians drank nectar, a women had to be discussed, the gods sweet made from fermented honey; outvoted the goddesses. Dionysus’ throne and ate , said to be an uncooked was gold-plated fir wood, ornamented with mixture of honey, water, fruit, oil, bunches of carved in (a cheese, and barley – though some claim that violet-colored stone), snakes carved in certain speckled mushrooms were the true serpentine (a stone with many markings), food of the Olympians, created whenever and various horned animals besides, carved Zeus’ thunderbolt struck the earth and that in (a black and white stone), sard (a this kept them immortal. Because the dark green stone), and carnelian (a pink Olympians also loved the smell though not stone). He took the for his emblem, the taste of roast beef and mutton, mortals having once visited at the head of a used to sheep and to them, drunken army and brought tigers back as afterwards eating the meat themselves. souvenirs. Of the other gods and goddesses Who is missing? living on Olympus, the Porter slept Who doesn’t have a throne? in the gatehouse; and Poseidon’s wife Amphitrite has already been mentioned. There were also Dionysus’ mother Semele, whom he persuaded Zeus to turn into a goddess; Ares’ hateful sister , Goddess of Quarrels; , Hera’s messenger & goddess of the rainbow; the Goddess , who kept a list for the Olympians of proud mortals due to be punished; Aphrodite’s wicked little son , God of Love, who enjoyed shooting arrows at people to make them fall ridiculously in love; , Goddess of Youth, who married Heracles; , Zeus’ handsome young cupbearer; the nine , who sang in the Banqueting Hall; and Zeus’ ancient mother, , whom he treated very shabbily, though she had once saved his by a trick when Cronus wanted to eat him. In a room behind the kitchen sat the three Fates,