Talk:Twelve Olympians

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I was told that Demeter is not allowed to visit her daughter otherwise she would be happy and winter wouldnt be barren. Also Hades has earned a place as an Olympian, however with the way some of the Gods are missing at times or dont bother to show for meetings there is never more then twelve at a time (unless there is an emergency) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rikudemyx (talkcontribs) 05:59, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

I've never read before that Demeter visits Persephone in Hades—I've only read that when Persephone has to spend time down there, Demeter mourns yet again and winter returns. The article on Demeter doesn't say any differen't—either it needs to be updated, or the story is reported erroneously here. Postdlf 08:00, 31 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I have read somewhere that Demeter visited Persephone in Hades, but I can't remember where, and it was only in one story, in a book that contradicted a lot of things that I have read about Greek mythology. So I agree that it is probabaly presented wrongly in this article. marie16

Athena succeeded Zeus[edit]

I never read this before (outside some bad TV show), source? that is not actually true Aphrodite was the one he loved the most it was his favorite —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:48, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Me either... and I believe it is factually untrue. I am removing it until it can be backed up So take it 17:03, 29 January 2006 (UTC)all the sites you go on say different stuff different 12 main gods

Okay morons, if you want to know the true story here it is. Athena IS his favorite. Why else would he trust her with Aegus? His favorite shield with the head of Medusa shown on it! She sprang from his head in full battle armor! DO NOT BELIEVE OTHER CRAP!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:28, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Actually, Athena was indeed his favorite. It even says so in The Odyssey and The Iliad. Those books also give the impression that Athena actually had her own aegis; contrary to what this anonymous guy said. Aphrodite wasn't even Zeus' daughter anyway; her father was Uranus. Nevertheless, nobody succeeded Zeus. (Huey 45 (talk) 12:55, 4 March 2010 (UTC))

The birth of Aphrodite?[edit]

Quoting the article: "The Olympians gained their supremacy in the world of gods after Zeus led his siblings to victory in war with the Titans; Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Hestia, and Hades were siblings; all other Olympians are usually considered the children of Zeus by various mothers, except for Athena, who in some versions of the myth was born of Zeus alone. Additionally, some versions of the myth state that Hephaestus was born of Hera alone as Hera's revenge for Zeus' solo birth of Athena."

I think Aphrodite wasn't a child of Zeus either? She was born from the sea when Cronus cut off Uranus' genitals and threw them into the sea. --Lareine 14:30, 8 March 2006 (UTC)0

From Plato's Symposium (180 d-e): ... there are two goddesses of that name, ... One is an older deity, the motherless daughter of Uranus, the god of heaven: she is known as Urania, or Heavenly Aphrodite. The other goddess is younger, the daughter of Zeus and Dione: her name is Pandemos, or Common Aphrodite. --VonWoland 17:20, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

This is completely wrong! Aphrodite was born from bits of Uranus and sea foam! When she walked on the beach flowers sprang around her feet! Do not believ the other crap! THIS IS TRUE!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:26, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

In Greek myth we have two different sources for Aphrodite's birth: the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite(which calls her a child of Zeus), and the Theogony of Hesiod, where she is one of the first 'primeval' goddesses to be born, along with Chaos and Gaia.Dixontm (talk) 11:27, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

So which Aphrodite was one of the Twelve Olympians? The part of the article that Lareine quoted above implies that it was Zeus's daughter. But the current article seems to imply that it was the older Aphrodite. - Shaheenjim (talk) 02:05, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
I suspect it was Zeus's daughter, since all the other classical ones are siblings or children of Zeus. The edit that changed it to be the older Aphrodite was made by on 15 February 2007, and that guy never made another edit. Seems unreliable. I'm changing it back. But if you have reason to believe that I'm wrong, feel free to change it back again. - Shaheenjim (talk) 02:14, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
Your story about multiple goddesses named "Aphrodite" is very far-fetched and quite frankly sounds like nonsense. There are all sorts of conflicting stories in Greek mythology about a whole range of personalities and it seems to be standard practice to just present them as alternative stories rather than making up explanations involving multiple people. Anyway, most people would say Aphrodite is the daughter of Uranus, simply due to Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" if nothing else. (Huey45 (talk) 12:55, 4 March 2010 (UTC))


If one were to try to attach a specific source for each statement in this article one would soon perceive what is too pat or downright misleading in this account. Some reading might be required. --Wetman 11:21, 3 September 2006 (UTC)


I've heard nothing of Hercules being an Olympian, only him becoming god of strength upon death, but never an Olympian. Therequiembellishere 23:46, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Heracles was originally a son of Hera and Zues, so techniquilly he was an olympian but not one on the council, which is made up of the twelve older Olympians, minus Hepheastes [I don't know if I spelled that right(God of fire and forge also called vulcan)] and Hades. Then Hades tricked Heacles into drinking a potion that made him Mortal. In the end of it all Heracles actually perishes. I forget how though. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:23, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Ugh. Heracles is NOT an Olympian. Neither is Hades. The 12 Olympians are Zeus, Poseidon, Demeter, Hera, Hephaestus, Hermes, Aphrodite, Dionysus, Athena, Artemis, Apollo,and Ares. Hestia was one of the originals but gave up her place for Dionysus to keep the peace. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:31, 25 November 2009 (UTC)


03:29, 14 February 2014 (UTC) Isn't Hades one of the Olympians also? no I don't know I know some weirdo in Indiana named their kid Hades though —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:29, August 28, 2007 (UTC)

The first note still implies that Hades was one of the twelve. I suggest that any such suggestion be deleted until a source can be found that implies Hades was ever considered part of the twelve by any artist or poet. I can understand the Hestia/Dionysus confusion, but I have not come across any source, academic or classic, that ever counted him as one of the twelve. This does not mean he was not important, he obviously was, but the Greeks were weary about mentioning this god's name, they rarely depicted him in art, and only one temple has ever been found dedicated to him (and that one was only used once a year and only by his priests). The fact that he is chthonic does not, as some have suggested, disqualify him, since other deities (especially Demeter) were described as both Olympian and chthonic. I have no personal problem with including him IF I could see even one source. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:02, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

I'm farely certain that Hades was never considered as one of the twelve because of how much he hated Zeus and of how many times he tried to overthrow him. He was allowed on olympus once a year for the winter soltice when the gods were deciding things though. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:22, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Well, I'm fairly certain that he is one of the Twelve. Zeus did not hate Hades. Yes, Hades had tried to overthrow him because he was jealous, but there is a difference between hatred and jealousy.

Confusion over "Twelve Olympians"[edit]

This article is very confused as to what constitutes one of the Twelve Olympians. Olympian-dwelling god and the Twelve who sit on the heavenly council (in the manner of a tradtional Greek council of elders, cf. Homer) should be distinguished from one another. Olympian-dwellers include all the plethora of attendant gods from Hebe, to Themis, Dione, Leto, the Muses, the Graces, Eros, etc, etc. (as in Homer and Hesiod). "The supreme Twelve" were rather standardized in classical times, mostly following the rank suggested by Homer, but with a few localised variations. --Theranos 21:12, 30 December 2006 (UTC) This author doesn't know what he/she is talking about! It says that there are only three non-olympian gods, when I can think of at least 5 right of the top of my head. Go to [1] for a complete list. Seriously, there are thousands of them!

Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Hades, Ares, Hermes, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Demeter, and Hestia are the traditional twelve Olympians.

I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but there are 13 gods listed as the "Twelve Olympians." Seeing as Demeter is listed in the following sentence and further down, during the hierarchy she is listed further down, so maybe her inclusion in this is a mistake? At the moment, I'm going to assume so, and if anyone feels justified in otherwise leaving her in that original list, feel free to revert it. -Demitel (talk) 13:54, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

The 12 Olympians were: Zeus, Hera, Athena, Demeter, Aphrodite, Hestia, Hermes, Apollon, Poseidon, Ares, Hephaestus and Artemis. The fact that some other gods like Hades or Dionysus are important and popular doesn't make them members of the 12. We won't change the mythology according to our will. - Sthenel (talk) 23:22, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

What a bunch of idiots. Of course Dionysus is one of the twelve Olympians. Take a look at the Parthenon frieze of the 12 gods, or a hundred other pieces of Greek art. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:30, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

No he is not! - Sthenel (talk) 08:49, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Dionysus is not traditional god he is in fact in a theory (I forgot which one) he is a demigod and after inventing wine was made a god (hestia gave up her throne for Dionysus). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:29, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

This is all good and fine--edit the gods according to your expertise. I was just making the point that there were thirteen gods listed rather than twelve, and in an article titled "Twelve Olympians," I thought that it was a bit ridiculous. -Demitel (talk) 03:23, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

I'm currently involved in a "Greek gods in Ancient Literature" course during my Classics degree, being taught by one of the top scholars on Greek gods; my lecturer suggestes that Dionysus WAS one of the 12, as is Demeter: but admits there are differences in different accounts of the 12. In the end, there was never any "set" 12 olympians, given the lack of religious texts such as a 'Bible' of Hellenotheism. Dixontm (talk) 11:34, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

I think that his suggestion is a variation of the 12. Dionysus and Hades were significant gods but not part of the 12. Additionally, among the twelve, there were 6 men and 6 women. - Sthenel (talk) 21:29, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Like any scholarly dispute, we should show all sides neutrally rather than decide which is correct. If there are different opinions among scholars and sources about the exact makeup of the list we should give all of the significant variations, while indicating if one is most common. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 02:13, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

In this article, we are going to forget what we were taught. In the Greek wikipedia, it's clear who the 12 Olympians were. Here the User:Carlo ms06 changes the most common variation (the template shows it) without any source, according to his will. - Sthenel (talk) 09:22, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Burkert, Greek Religion p.125 "The Greeks came to assemble their most important gods in a soceiety of twelve. The number is fixed; some names vary, especially Hestia/Dionysos." The author provides a full bibliography of sources, and then describes the 12 Olympians of the Parthenon frieze (i.e. including Dionysos). The removal of this god from the list of 12 is simply incorrect. --Lysianna (talk) 10:38, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
"What we were taught" isn't a universal constant. What I was taught is that the Greek mythology was assembled from the mythologies of various groups and localities. I was taught that local centers of worship had different views of the importance and role of various deities. I was taught that later writers, including the Roman Ovid, molded and streamlined the modern perception of the classical gods, but that the original versions were not so neat or even consistent. It's quite possible that the citizens of Athens had a different list of the 12 Olympians than the citizens of Smyrna. It isn't our job to either enforce "what we were taught", nor any other single orthodoxy. Our job, as Wikipedia editors, is to verifiably summarize reliable sources using the neutral point of view. If those sources disagree then we summarize all their viewpoints. Pick up any work of scholarship on ancient Greek religious practices and you'll see there aren't pat answers - rather it's the messy work of anthropolgy and history. Some places worshipped Aphorodite as the goddess of fertility, while others worshipped Demeter or Hera. The sun god may be Apollo or Helios, depending on time and place. It's a mess. Rather than try to straighten it out we should just describe the mess. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 11:04, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Thats correct, however from the body of Greek literature you can draw some generalisations. Homeric epic is dominated by 12 gods. The same re-occur in Greek cult. A survey of Pausanias makes it readily apparent which were the 12 predominate cult gods. Greek art also reveals the same combination of figures again and again. There were regional variations of course, but these should not be given more weight than they deserve. The only mythology of 12 Olympians is the story of Gigantomachy and division of the divine honours by Zeus at the council of Mecone in which the combatants were awarded the title of "Olympian." --Lysianna (talk) 11:31, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

OK, make your favourite list in here then, ignoring the most common one which is what we, as Greeks, were taught. And believe me this is quite important for us. Have a good work on this article! Thank you! - Sthenel (talk) 17:45, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

I still find this article to be confusing. The article uses the words "the Canonical Twelve of art and poetry" but then continues to state that there are different accounts of who the twelve are. The problem here is that, by definition of the word CANONICAL, there must an authoritative source of who the twelve were. However, the article fails to site the source of the canon. The inline citation refers to the sources published in 1997 and 2007. Since these sources did not exist during Greek times, I don't see how they qualify as the dictator of the canon. If there is no definitive list, that's fine, but if you are going to use the word "canon" you need back the claim up by explaining who is dictating the canon. Davypi (talk) 03:58, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

I'd agree with Vesta being struck off the list to make room for Dionysus. Dionysus was a pretty significant figure and was, after all, younger than the rest of them, so could have been given a spot later on. (Huey45 (talk) 13:01, 4 March 2010 (UTC))

Ares is the cowardly god of war[edit]

Exactly what this word "cowardly" talks about?Ares had ALWAYS left his soldiers to die and went to hide to save himself. - Sthenel 09:36, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

On Hades(pluto) issue[edit]

Just one word on that. Hades although a Cronides was never counted part of the 12 Olympians. He was the ruler and most important God of the Underworld, a Chtonios God and not Olympian as he according to the legend he was living within the earth and didn t have a palace on Olympus. So it is a mistake to be referred as part of the Olympian Pantheon —Preceding unsigned comment added by Italiotis (talkcontribs) 10:09, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Alright, just trying to clear things up here. Hades was the ONLY God of the Underworld, so of course he's the most important. I checked 12 websites. 5 out of 12 stated that Hades, in fact, IS one of the 12 Olympians. 5 said he wasn't, although a few of them didn't outright say that, they said he wasn't usually considered one of the 12. 2 said sometimes he is considered one, other times not. My point is, some people think Hades is one of the 12, others don't. I happen to be someone who does, and I respect your opinion as well, but it isn't fully correct. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Spidergirl99 (talkcontribs) 03:57, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Olympian Alternates[edit]

Technically there are fourteen (in all) Olympians, and it is debated between many which 12 are the twelve olympians. Hades, Dionysus, Demeter, and Hestia are the ones that seem to be the ones that are argued over. I agree with the comment above, for Hades really doesn't live on Mount Olympus, but what about the others?

Also, don't you think it would be nice if the article included the roman names too, but still mention that the Greek names were the ones made up first? user:Divya da Animal Lvr —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:49, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

I would say that this would be confusing, given that different gods were paid different levels of homage by the Greeks and Romans respectively; for example, Ares was called "the most hateful of all the gods" in Iliad XI, and there are barely any mention of temples to him in Greek literature, whereas his roman 'counterpart' Mars had huge honour in Rome, eg. the temple of Mars Ultor built by Augustus/Octavian. Dixontm (talk) 11:30, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Vandalism in names[edit]

Ok, please someone revert this to a proper version meta (talk) 20:14, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

The vandal came back. Somebody get the banstick? -- (talk) 23:55, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Will the real Olympians please stand up?[edit]

According to the editor Carlo ms06, Demeter does not belong on the list as one of the Twelve Olympians, but Hades does. This is somewhat credited by the external link. [2] That list includes Hades, and not Demeter. In fact, Demeter is listed specifically as a lesser god.

However, according to the editor Sthenel, Demeter absolutely belongs as one of the Twelve, and not Hades. And this is credited by the other external link, at [3], where Demeter is specifically listed as an Olympian god, and as one of the Twelve. But as for Hades, the site comments:

The thirteenth of the great gods was Haides(sic), King of the Dead. Unlike the other 12, he was never titled Olympian, nor did he partake in the feasts of Heaven. Instead this lord remained ever enthroned within the gloom of the underworld.

And a subpage on that site adds about Demeter:

DEMETER was the great Olympian goddess of agriculture, grain, and bread, the daily sustenance of mankind.

Some discussion of this has already taken place, but the real problem seems to be the lack of any credible third party sources. If any other editors have any light to shed on this it would be quite helpful, as not only do the editors disagree, but so do the the linked web sources. Brando130 (talk) 02:34, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Indeed some sources place Hades amongst the 12 but he was never part of them. He didn't even reside on Olympus. Demeter was one of the most important goddesses of the ancient greek religion. - Sthenel (talk) 12:40, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

There are some contradictions in the current text. Although Hades is initially included as a possible member of the 12 Olympians, it is then mentioned that "And, although Hades was always one of the 12 Olympians ..." So, he "was always" or "usually" one of the 12 gods?! I think that what should be mentioned is that there was a "nucleus" of major gods, and some others sometimes included within this major cycle and sometimes not, such as Demeter, Hades, Dionysus and Hestia. This is how I believe this issue should be treated. We must also have in mind that the categorization of gods in a group of "12 major gods" is mostly a creation of non-ancient sources. So, we should not insist on the creation of unchangeable lists but on the presentation of all possible versions. The current version includes both Hades and Demeter as possible members of the "12", which seems logical, but the major problem is that no editor brings in the article his sources. There are no citations, and not even the numbeer "17" of the intro is supported by any source.

I also believe that not only Sthenel but also Carlo ms06 should participate in this discussion and discuss his/her sources. Especially, User:Carlo ms06 should explain why he insists on the removal of Demeter, and not on its inclusion along with Hades as possible members of the "12". And User:Sthenel should bring here all his sources that support his inclusion of Demeter. Until a solution is found here, I think the better thing to do is to temporarily protect the article, in order to ease the ongoing edit war.--Yannismarou (talk) 13:02, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Some of the edits I made early regarding the twelve Olympians in ancient Greek art have been lost in the edit war between Sthenel & Carlo. I included some references in the discussion above as well. Burkert's volume Greek Religion is a reliable source. The Twelve Olympians are according to him Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Athena, Hephaestus, Ares, Aphrodite, Apollo, Artemis, Hermes, Dionysus. These are the Twelve gods of the Parthenon frieze as well. "Olympian," in Greek Olympios was a title given to the gods who lived on Olympus. Hades was not included in their number, and in Homer never partakes of the feasts and councils of Olympus. Hades also never occurs in ancient Greek representations or cult of the Twelve Gods. --Lysianna (talk) 13:46, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, just my two cents. According to these sites: [4], [5] Demeter and not Hades is an Olympian God. These sites, state Hades and not Demeter is an Olympian God: [6], [7] If anything the article should just state that there are two lists of Olympians, Demeter on the one list and Hades on the other. No harm in both. This website lists them both [8]. El Greco(talk) 19:54, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
It's interesting that one site suggests that Hades was not an Olympian, but remained in the underworld. I thought that Demeter was also a chtonic deity, however I didn't see anything about that on Demeter's article. I had remembered reading about Demeter's similar association with the underworld, however, and was easily able to access the quote, which mentions that an archaeological artifact found in Isthmia (near Corinth), the 'Juventianus inscription,'
"not only provides evidence of Demeter devotion at Roman Istmia and locates the center of cultic activity; it also indicates the orientation of that activity. The gods of the underworld were prominent at Isthmia, and Demeter was associated with them. Persephone or Kore, the queen of the dead, had her own temple in the sacred glen. Moreover, the inscription mentions a religious site dedicated to Hades, a Plutoneion, there. Worship of Hades was virtually nonexistent in ancient Greece, for sacred sites dedicated to him are very rare. That there was a Plutoneion at Isthmia underscores the chtonic disposition of that place. Furthermore, the grouping of Demeter with Persephone and Hades suggests that Demeter devotion in the Roman period had a predominantly chtonic orientation." -- DeMaris, Richard E. "Corinthian Religion and Baptism for the Dead (1 Corinthians 15:29): Insights from Archaeology and Anthropology" Journal of Biblical Literature 114/4 (1995): 667-668
The article further references
  • Garland, Way of Death, 53, 153;
  • A.D. Nock, "The Cult of Heroes," in Essays on Religion and the Ancient World (ed. Z. Stewart; 2 vols.; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972) 2.592.
Brando130 (talk) 22:57, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

At the beginning the article mentioned the 12 gods to be Zeus, Hera, Athena, Apollo, Hephaestus, Hestia, Hermes, Demeter, Ares, Poseidon and Aphrodite. Carlo started to add Hades and remove other gods. I changed the sentence and put Dionysus and Hades as being part of the twelve according to some sources to avoid the edit war, but Carlo kept on editing according to his personal view. The first twelve are the most traditional version according to greek schoolbooks, and this version is accepted in the article of the greek wikipedia, the template in this article include the same gods. Of course some sources include Hades or Dionysus or Heracles in the twelve. - Sthenel (talk) 23:51, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Some further remarks:

  • If I may add something from my sources. A renowned Greek encyclopedia, Helios (ed. 1953) (Volume: Greece, pages: 1147-1160), presents as major gods the following: Zeus, Hera, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Ares, Hermes, Demeter, Dionysus, Poseidon and Hestia. It gives 13 major gods, and does not include Hades.
  • I recall from my editing of Greek mythology (during its successful FARC) what I had written stating H.W. Stoll, Religion and Mythology of the Greeks, 8: "The limitation of their number [of the Olympians] to twelve seems to have been a comparatively modern idea."
  • From a search in "Google Book" I get conflicted information. For instance, Encyclopedia Americana says that Hades was not one of the "12" and that Dionysus often displaces Hera. In Gardner's Art Through the Ages, p. 107, I see a list identical to the one Sthenel gives, but it is also mentioned that "Hades was of equal status". In Lesley Adkins-Roy A. Adkins, Handbook to Life in Ancient Greece, 183, I read: "According to Hesiod there were 12 Olympians: Zeus, Poseidon, Hera, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Aphrodite, Hermes, Demeter, Dionysus, Hephaestus and Ares." So, here Dionysus and Demeter are included but not Hades and Hestia!

In my version of Britannica (2001-CD ROM), I did not find something helpful; maybe somebody else can research there better! I still have to check the most renowned modern Greek encyclopedia Papyrus-Larousse-Britannica, but I think that the most comprehensive approach is the one I read in Religious Facts:

"There were fourteen different gods recognized at some point as Olympians, though never more than twelve at one time. Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Ares, Hermes, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Athena, Apollo, and Artemis were always considered Olympians. Hestia, Demeter, Dionysus, and Hades are variable gods among the Twelve."

I think that this is quite accurate: there was a clear group of 10 major gods, and some others included or not according to different sources, and this is the spirit I think this article should reflect. Now, if there is a consensus towards this direction, we can find out the exact wording (maybe something similar to "Religious Facts" or any other helpful proposal), include the necessary sources and references, and close this issue.--Yannismarou (talk) 14:00, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

In ancient Greek religion many city states had an altar dedicated to the twelve gods. The altar of the twelve at Athens depicts Zeus, Hera, Demeter, Hestia, Poseidon, Hephaestus, Athena, Ares, Aphrodite, Apollo, Artemis, Hermes.
But on the Parthenon frieze depicting the 12, Hestia is replaced by Dionysus.
The altar of the 12 at Cos has Dionysus and Heracles in place of Ares and Hephaestus.
On Athenian vase paintings depicting the gods feasting on Olympus the missing Olympian is usually Hestia. Dionysus is seated with Ariadne amongst the Twelve.
The only ancient source which mentions Hades as one of the Twelve I believe is Plato. However, that is part of a philosophical discussion and appears contrary to anything else in Greek religion, literature or art. --Lysianna (talk) 14:46, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
The problem with the site is that again, like the problem with many web sources, it is written anonymously with no further assessable resources on either the author of the website or on the references used to compose the list of 12. Certainly the surviving friezes provide important evidence. Relevant to the debate over Demeter or Hades as an Olympian, if I am reading Lysianna correctly, Demeter appears as an Olympian in two friezes at Athens, one at Cos, and in a vase painting. Hades does not appear in any of these, (that is correct?) and add to that the published citation I gave that states Hades worship was virtually non-existent in Greece, and the focus, in my opinion, becomes on finding a reliable, preferably printed source that indicates why Hades would have been included in any ancient mind's idea of the 'Twelve Olympians'
At any rate, if the friezes all include Demeter, there is no reasonable way to remove her entirely from this article. Brando130 (talk) 19:57, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that is correct. Demeter occurs in all the friezes. Numerous Athenian vase paintings represent her at the Olympian feast of the gods and even in the Gigantomachia (War of the Olympian gods against the Giants). Hades is absent from the Giant War both in literature and classical art.
On the literary side there are a few references to the Twelve in myth. In the Homeric Hymn to Hermes the infant god divides a sacrifice into twelve portions, the twelfth of which he reserves for himself as an Olympian to be. The HH to Demeter describes the self-imposed exile of Demeter from Olympus, who later returns to the home of the gods at the urging of Rhea.
On a religious level, Hades was always honoured seperately from the Olympian or Heavenly gods. The Olympian sacrifice was made on an altar fire, but sacrifices to Hades and the dead were fireless pit sacrifices. His cult was predominately funereal. The Greek funeral rites belonged to him as did propitiations to the ghosts of the dead. Death was a pollution, and those who had not been purified after handling the dead were prohibited from sacrificing to the Olympian gods or entering their precincts. Hades, in this sense, was explicitly non-Olympian. When Hades was associated with Zeus and Poseidon, i.e. in contrast to the Titans, the three were titled the Cronides or "sons of Cronus."
The article should be based on classical sources and the works of professional classicists such as the standard academic volume on Greek religion by Walter Burkert. --Lysianna (talk) 08:52, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
I have no concern of removing Demeter out of this article, she is a goddess indeed according to Mythology. She is in fact a lesser god. It clearly states in Myhtology (if any of you have that book) that she is a goddess, but is not part of the 12. The 12 Olympians have power that cannot be created by humans or something that humans cannot gain by themselves. This is where Demeter is very different from Hades. Hades is the god of the Underworld, while Demeter is the goddess of the corn. Humans need food more than death plus, she is closer to the humans than any of the 12. At any rate, the humans need her more than they need the 12. Have you ever heard of a person liking death more than their daily needs such as food or wine? I don't think so, that would be absurd. Hades has a higher role than Demeter which makes him a perfect fit for the 12, which also have their higher role than Demeter. Demeter has a closer relationship with humans than any of the other 12, this makes her a lesser god because her role in earth is more important than being an Olympian up in Olympus. Bottom Line: She has a closer relationship with the humans, that is why she is considered as a lesser god; She is needed more in earth than in Olympus. Carlo_ms06 (talk) 10:35, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Carlo, you insist on mentioning one source of yours (a "Mythology" book for which you provide no further data [ISBN? Author?]),and you make an interesting analysis. But, if you read my thread above, you will see that there are many other classicists, who place Demeter among the 12 Olympians. What about them?! And why is your "Mythology" a better book that my Helios' "Mythology", which places Hades among the lesser gods? And the argument that she had closer relationships with the human beings and did not reside in Olympus is not convincing. Neither Hades was residing in Olympus and he had closer relationship's with the dead people! And what if she was the goddess of corn (which is inaccurate, since she was more than that: She was the goddess fertility)?! Artemis was the goddess of hunting (among other things), and she is still one of the 12 Olympians!!!
As Brando, I also do not understand why you insist on the total removal of Demeter (although a series of sources categorize it as one of the 12! As a matter of fact, more than Hades!!), and do not accept the solution of the inclusion of both Hades and Demeter in a form of prose we'll agree. I also agree with Brando about the mythology sites, who name no scholar and are anonymous. We need to base our editing of the article on strong academic sources. Therefore, please both you and Sthenel use specific academic sources to support your arguments. And, of course, any further help by other editors is welcomed. On this issue, it is an interesting question, Lysianna, what "the standard academic volume on Greek religion by Walter Burkert" says about this issue.--Yannismarou (talk) 14:09, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

I really do not know the full extent about the subject, but I think that the Greeks or anyone who practiced this religon obviously didn't have one place where they wrote down all their main gods, and there were many different variations of the religon. This said, I think that it will be extremely hard, if not impossible to come up with a consesus. So, why don't we just say something along the lines of, 'it is disputed whether or not Hades or Demeter is a major god.' I don't know if a got the names right, but if you state the sources and you're able to appropriatly incorperate the info in the article, it could be a much better solution than arguing over it for another couple of days. ~ Bella Swan 23:00, 7 January 2008 (UTC)


My source is: Olympians; The Oxford Companion to World mythology. David Leeming. Oxford University Press, 2004. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Solihull Libraries. 5 January 2008 <>

Although usually referred to as twelve in number, there were really fourteen Olympians, unless we discount the relatively late addition of Dionysos, the demotion of Hestia, and the designation of Hades as one of the chthomioi, the deities of the depths of the earth.

Aatomic1 (talk) 20:29, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

I think the above source is the best way to handle it - note that 12 is a common number though the actual set of 12 varies, and then delineate the variances and explain why. I've got to say - hard to exclude Demeter on any basis. My understanding is that she's actually a Greek re-interpretation of the more ancient amorphous "Goddess" - you know all the Woman of Willendorf statues. She is the explanation for the seasons, a representative of the Mother in the maiden-mother-crone archetype, a child of Chronus and Rhea, and generally all-round Olympian. Phyesalis (talk) 16:24, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Going one step forward[edit]

  • I agree with Bella Swan, and that is why I proposed to underscore in the main text of the article that there were about 10 undisputed gods and some others sometimes included and sometimes not in the "12", stating the sources we've already gathered here. Anyway, I'll go on within the next days proposing a text, after checking some additional sources I have in mind, and then we'll see if my proposal will be accepted. Any other proposals are welcomed of course, but I do think it is high time we went one step forward by proposing text versions for the issue in dispute.--Yannismarou (talk) 11:19, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

I think that the version which was established before the beginning of this edit war was the most traditional according to most of the sources. - Sthenel (talk) 06:41, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

One Solution[edit]

Why don't you guys just put whatever you think is right in that article and just leave like that. Make the major eidts that you want or whatsoever, then just leave it protected with whoever is protecting this page. If you like Demeter so much, then put her back in that and stop making this a big whole thing. If excluding Hades for the 12 makes everyone so happy, then just take him off the page and continue with all the edits that you want to do. You guys didn't really have to put so much thought about this, geez. (Carlo_ms06 ct 08:31, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

...just put whatever you think is right in that article and just leave like that. Thats what we've been trying to do. The page can't stay permanently protected, thats not a good option for any Wiki article. I'll take your lack of interest to indicate we're never gonna see the citation we've been asking you to provide if you insist on continuing the edit war. That being said, Yannismarou, I'm content with whatever prose you decide, however I'm still yet to see any printed, reliable references naming Hades as an Olympian. Brando130 (talk) 16:11, 9 January 2008 (UTC)


1. The canonical Twelve (which Greek students are instructed in) are Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Hestia, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Athena, Hephaestus, Hermes. This is based on the altar of the Twelve Gods in the Agora of Athens (extant).

2. The frieze on the front of the Parthenon depicts the Twelve Gods but Hestia is replaced by Dionysus who was a more important god in the Athenian festival calendar.

3. Plato's 12 from : "Plato in the Laws 828 connected the Twelve Gods with the twelve months, and proposed that the final month be devoted to rites in honor of Plouton and the spirits of the dead, implying that he considered Haides to be one of the Twelve. In the Phaedrus 246 e-f he aligns the Twelve with the Zodiac and would exclude Hestia from their rank."

N.B. The Athenians had a thirteenth leap-month, which may have been re-assigned by Plato to Plouton-Hades. In the actual Athenian calendar both the 12th and 13 months were dedicated to Poseidon. However, Plato is speaking of an idealised city with a perfected calendar.

4. Greece beyond Athens. There were numerous regional variations. The Olympian Twelve at the shrine of Olympia itself was quite unusual. "At Kos Ares and Hephaitos are left behind, replaced by Herakles and Dionysos. (Gratia Berger-Doer, "Dodekatheoi," in Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC), vol. 3 (1986), 646-58.) Herodotos (2:43-44) agrees with this and counts Herakles as one of the Twelve, while Lucian adds Asklepios to Herakles as a member of the Twelve, without explaining which two had to give way for them. Pindar (Olympian Odes 10.49) and Apollodoros (1.251), however, disagree with this. For them Herakles is not one of the Twelve Gods, but the one who established the cult of the Twelve by setting up a series of six altars honoring pairs of deities and performing sacrifices to them by the banks of the Alpheios river at Olympia. Thankfully we do not have to guess who comprised the Dodekatheon in this form, for information has come to light at Olympia itself. According to Wilamowitz (Der Glaube 1.329) the Twelve Gods included Zeus Olympios, Poseidon, Hera, Athene, Hermes, Apollon, the Kharities, Dionysos, Artemis, the Alpheios River, and the Titans Kronos and Rheia."

5. Athenian vase paintings. Various combinations of the Olympian gods occur. Dionysus rather than Hestia occurs in the Gigantomachia. In scenes of feasting gods either Hestia or Dionysus is shown. Hestia is usually paired with Demeter in the seating order. [See The Beazley Archive for examples] --Lysianna (talk) 20:15, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

The Twelve Olympians article should also be synchronised with the wikipedia article Chthonic, which discusses the difference between Olympian and Chthonic god cults. --Lysianna (talk) 10:14, 10 January 2008 (UTC)


Thanks everybody for their helpful edits and providing of sources. I just add that in the most prominent modern Greek encyclopedia "Papyros-Larousse-Britannica" the 12 are the one indicated by Lysianna and mentioned in the article. I think that most sources agree that Demeter was one of the Canonical 12. Its presence there cannot easily be disputed. But Hades should also be mentioned. Thus, I propose a new text for the first two paragraphs, which are now edited as follows:

"The Twelve Olympians, also known as the Dodekatheon (Greek: Δωδεκάθεον < δωδεκα, dodeka, "twelve" + θεον, theon, "of the gods"), in Greek religion, were the principal gods of the Greek pantheon, residing atop Mount Olympus. There were, at various times, seventeen[citation needed] different gods recognized as Olympians, though never more than twelve at one time.

Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Ares, Hermes, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hestia, Hades and Dionysus are usually included in the traditional twelve Olympians. Hebe, Helios and Persephone are other important gods, goddesses, which may also be included in a group of twelve. Persephone spent six months of the year in the underworld (causing the barren landscape of winter and fall), and was allowed to return to Mount Olympus for the other six months in order to be with her mother, Demeter, during this time, would be in woe and not with the Olympians. And, although Hades was always one of the 12 Olympians, his home in the underworld of the dead made his connection to the Olympians more tenuous." (Hades isn't an Olympian. Just saying)

I propose to reedit them as follows:

"The Twelve Olympians, also known as the Dodekatheon (Greek: Δωδεκάθεον < δωδεκα, dodeka, "twelve" + θεον, theon, "of the gods"), in Greek religion, were the principal gods of the Greek pantheon, residing atop Mount Olympus. The classical scheme of the Twelve Olympians (the Canonical Twelve of art and poetry) comprises the following gods: Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Ares, Hermes, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hestia. The respective Roman scheme comprises the following gods: Jupiter, Juno, Neptunus, Ceres, Mars, Mercurius, Vulcanus, Venus, Minerva, Apollo, Diana and Vesta.

There was, however, a great deal of fluidity when it came to who was counted among their number in antiquity; other important gods are sometimes included by certain sources in the group of Twelve replacing some of the above Canonical 12. The first ancient reference of religious ceremonies for the 12 Olympians is found in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes. Around 400 BC Herodorus included in his Dodekatheon the following deities: Zeus, Poseidon, Hera, Athena, Hermes, Apollo, Alpheus, Cronus, Rhea and the Charites. Wilamowitz agrees with Herodorus' version of the 12. There were also numerous regional variations in ancient Greece. For instance, at Kos Ares and Hephaestus are left behind, replaced by Heracles and Dionysus. Herodotus agrees with this and counts Heracles as one of the Twelve, while Lucian adds Asklepios to Herakles as a member of the Twelve, without explaining which two had to give way for them. Pindar and Apollodoros, however, disagree with this. For them, and Herodorus as well, Heracles is not one of the Twelve Gods, but the one who established their cult. Plato connected the Twelve Olympians with the twelve months, and proposed that the final month be devoted to rites in honor of Pluto and the spirits of the dead, implying that he considered Hades, one of the basic chthonic deities to be one of the Twelve. In Phaedrus Plato aligns the Twelve with the Zodiac and would exclude Hestia from their rank. Hebe, Helios and Persephone are other important gods, goddesses, which are sometimes included in a group of twelve. Persephone spent three months of the year in the underworld (causing the barren landscape of winter), and was allowed to return to Mount Olympus for the other nine months in order to be with her mother, Demeter, during this time, would be in woe and not with the Olympians."

There are many sources to add (Lysianna helped a lot with her last edit), and I'll add them in the main article, but I want first to agree on the text. Well, any proposals or comments?--Yannismarou (talk) 19:08, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Nice work! The only inclusion I'd argue for would be to add that Hades is phased out in later groupings due to his chthonic associations. The sentence "For instance, at Kos[,] Ares and Hephaestus are left behind..." could use an extra comma. And I'd rewrite the last sentence. Peresphone does not cause the barren landscape, Demeter does, as punishment for the separation. Also the wording conflicts so as to imply that Demeter isn't in Olympus during the 9 months P isn't in the underworld. How about "Persephone, daughter of Demeter, was forced to spend 3 months a year in the underworld. During this time, Demeter withheld her graces and caused the barren landscape of winter, until her daughter returned to Mount Olympus."? --Phyesalis (talk) 19:31, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Agreed with Yannismarou. - Sthenel (talk) 06:29, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

OK. Then I'll unprotect and edit the page taking into consideration Phyesalis' remarks. Let's hope new edit wars will be avoided.--Yannismarou (talk) 15:47, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Again the same problems[edit]

The User: seems willing to start an edit war by adding Dionysus in the Twelve. What about it? That's how the whole problem started previously. - Sthenel (talk) 22:51, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

I've reverted one of his edits, since a consensus has been established. If the user wishes to, he/she can bring a new discussion here to the talk page. El Greco(talk) 00:42, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Beyond Myth[edit]

Shouldn't an article like this go beyond a simple exploration of myth? I can site a number of sources that specifically state the Greek religion did not use myth as a doctrinal base. Mythos provides a very limited and incomplete perception of this subject. And other question: I read up a little ways someone was using the Sci-Fi Channel as a source, how is that at all scholarly? -- (talk) 19:12, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

The Sci-Fi citation was probably vandalism; if you have information with reliable sources, please post them here and I (or someone else) can fix it for you ;) Thank you! BlackPearl14[talkies!contribs!] 02:24, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Run on[edit]

The article is looking good so far, but the last paragraph in the introduction is odd. It starts out well, but then devolves rather awkwardly into lists and a few random bits of information. I like the first sentence, and I think the establishment of the 12 from their victory over the Titans should be included. (talk) 00:42, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

I don't see any problem with it. If you want to add a transition, that'd be fine. But the Twelve Olympians in most lists are related, and that's worth noting. - Shaheenjim (talk) 03:13, 21 December 2008 (UTC)


asklepios should be spelled as asclepius. (talk) 22:29, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

You misspelled misspelling. You're right though. -- (talk) 18:37, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Zodiac misattribution?[edit]

I followed the link to Phaedrus in footnote 10 and first of all there's no 246f there (247a is apparently what was meant). It doesn't say anything about the zodiac, which would have surprised me because I'm pretty sure the zodiac didn't exist at the time of Plato. I have lots of books laying around about the history of astrology in Mesopotamia and ancient Greece and will return when I come across a more specific reference, but in the meantime if anyone else has more info, do share.Yonderboy (talk) 08:12, 24 July 2009 (UTC)


Currently, the table lists the Roman equivalent of Apollo as Apollo. The Apollo article says that he had no Roman equivalent, but was often referred to as (NO HE WASN'T)Phoebus. However, there is a "citation needed" after it. The article on Phoebus says that it had more to do with the sun, sometimes referring to (WRONG!! IDIOT)Helios. This will probably evolve into some debate, because of the reasons above, but I propose that Apollo should be changed to Phoebus.(DON'T TALK IF YOU AREN'T SMART!!!) --15lsoucy (talk) 22:55, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

There is no Roman name for Apollo! Phobos is the god of fear! Helios is the first sun god!

Homer referred to him as Phoebus repeatedly. btw Phobos is someone totally different and Helios is not Apollo either. (Huey45 (talk) 13:10, 4 March 2010 (UTC))


The beginning states that Eros is depicted alongside his mother Aphrodite. Everyone knows how controversial Eros' lineage is and I hope we could take that out of the top. --15lsoucy (talk) 13:51, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

The painting on the right shows Eros and Aphrodite together. If it weren't for this explanation, then people would wonder why he's in the picture. fgggI think it should stay. (Huey45 (talk) 10:54, 8 March 2010 (UTC))

Edited the table of Classical Olympians[edit]

I edited the table listing the Classical Olympians to include both Hestia (who was strangely absent from all lists) and Dionysos. So there's now fourteen gods and goddess in the list for people to choose their favorite from. :P

(Thats not right), I read the old discussion about who should be in and who not, and I have to say that this is not a matter of personal preference or "playing favorites". The classical Twelve Olympians (with the Hestia/Dionysos switch up) were taught to everybody (I hope) as early as in the elementary school, so there should be really no confusion about them. SamSandy (talk) 23:40, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Olympian gods listing with Hades and Hestia[edit]

In the famous book by E. Hamilton, the original listing of Olympians is:

Zeus Hera Poseidon Hades Athena Apollo Artemis Aphrodite Hermes Ares Hephaestus Hestia

Furthermore, Hamilton considers Dionysus and Demeter to be the "Two Great Gods of Earth", thus clearing any confusion as to the correct status of these two deities.

Generation explanation[edit]

The table states which generation they are, but where does this idea appear in the ancient writers? Please could this be investigated and then included in the article so as to explain the generations. Thanks Classics (talk) 08:24, 6 April 2011 (UTC)


Down below on Aura you need a period at the end of that sentence. All the other sentences have periods so I'm figuring this one should have one as well. The only reason why I won't change it is because right now I really feel like I shouldn't get in trouble with Wikipedia. Please do it for me if you don't mind.-James Pandora Adams —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:37, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

Olympians vs Cults of 12[edit]

Hello Everyone,

This is my first attempt at editing a wiki article so before I go further I thought I’d first communicate with you that are experts and interested in “Greek gods."

I don’t feel that this article will ever be truly correct until we separate the concept of the “Cults of Twelve Gods” from the concept of “Olympian Gods.” There were many “Cults of 12” in the Eastern Mediterranean. There were many Olympian gods. I doubt that any given piece of ancient Greek literature ever mentioned exactly twelve. The wiki article’s first figure, the Monsiau engraving, is titled “The Twelve Olympians,” but the notes for the image list fifteen gods! It seems like modern writers, beginning in the 20th century, have tried to force the two concepts together. I believe that the article should be re-named simply “Olympian Gods” and discuss the various gods mentioned as “Olympian” by the ancient sources.

PLEASE SEE my complete discussion on my User Page at

Thanks, Jack Green Jack Green 16:04, 25 June 2011 (UTC)1GreenJack1


I sorted out the confusion about Hades/Pluto (Greek Plouton) that this article understandably perpetuated. Please see Pluto (mythology), but essentially: the Greek name Plouton came into common usage through the Eleusinian Mysteries, the Athenian playwrights, and Plato. It reflected a theological reinterpretation of the ruler of the underworld as the consort of Persephone as playing a role in the kind of "salvation" offered by the mysteries (in the Hellenistic era, in other mysteries as well) to initiates. It's a misconception that Pluto was a Roman god; the name Pluto isn't really used all that often in the Latin literature of antiquity, and becomes common in Latin usage for the ruler of the underworld in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The Romans also used the name Aidoneus for Hades occasionally too, when they were drawing on the Greek tradition. The Roman Dis pater, "Rich Father," is probably a translation of Plouton "the Rich," as Plato explains it (it's Plouton to whom Plato wants to dedicate the 12th month). Hades and Plouton aren't different gods, but the change in naming seems to reflect a different concept of the afterlife deriving from the mysteries. For instance, the god receives little religious veneration under the name Hades, but quite a bit as Plouton. Among the Romans, Orcus is a more direct equivalent of Hades, in that the name can refer both to a deity and to the underworld as a place. Regrettably, the articles on Dis pater and Orcus aren't up to par at the moment. Cynwolfe (talk) 14:57, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

==IHades vs Pluton

The first ancient reference of religious ceremonies for them is found in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes. The Greek cult of the Twelve Olympians can be traced to the 6th century BC Athens and probably has no precedent in the Mycenaean period. The altar to the Twelve Olympians at Athens is usually dated to the archonship of the younger Pesistratos, in 522/521 BC.
The concept of the "Twelve Gods" is older than any extant Greek or Roman sources, and is likely of Anatolian origin.

Are we saying that the "concept" of a council of twelve goes back to Anatolia (and we can see in the Homeric epics a concept that the gods met in council, whatever their number), but that Athens offer us the first evidence that there was a specific cultus maintained for the Twelve collectively? Otherwise it seems contradictory to say the concept goes back to Anatolia, but the religious practices are attached to Archaic Athens. Cynwolfe (talk) 14:57, 29 June 2012 (UTC) Rohit but — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:55, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

The Twelve Olympians (again)[edit]

In my opinion, this article isn't clear at all (it's rather confusing) and should be rewritten. To name a few points of criticism:

  • The introduction contains more text than the remaining parts of the article together
  • The central picture interrupts the text; in my opinion, it should be slightly smaller and moved to a less prominent position in the right margin, without interrupting the text.
  • The canonical twelve as stated in the introduction (just above the picture) are not the same as the twelve in the list
  • It is vaguely mentioned that many minor gods (actually dozens) lived on the Olympus and were therefore also called 'Olympians', even although most of them weren't part of the Twelve.
  • It should be clearly stated that although everybody agrees there were Twelve Olympians, various (ancient Greek) authors name different deities as the twelve Olympians. Therefore, more than twelve gods should be listed (at least fourteen, including Demeter, Hestia, Hades, and Dionysus). However, there is absolutely not one fixed, canonical set of twelve gods!!!

Michael! (talk) 13:58, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

By the way, the number twelve should probably be interpreted symbolically, not literally. Twelve is a metaphor of completeness (cf. twelve titans; a dozen; twelve months; twelve hours from dawn to sunset and twelve hours from sunset to dawn; the Greek alphabet was standardized to 24 (=2x12) signs and, analogously, the Iliad and the Odyssey were both divided in 24 books; but also in Latin literature: Virgil's Aeneid is divided in twelve books, Suetonius' De Vita Caesarum deals with twelve Roman rulers; the Bible: twelve historical books in the Old Testimonial (Jozua - Ester), the twelve sons of Jacob/Israel, the twelve tribes, the twelve Apostles (also more than twelve candidates); Medieval literature: twelve pairs (paladins) of Charlemagne, twelve Knights of the Round Table (King Arthur); etc. Michael! (talk) 14:04, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
There's now a short and clear introduction; the text of the previous introduction is moved to a new section, called The Twelve Olympians. In my opinion, this article should be renamed to Olympians (mythology). Michael! (talk) 14:42, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
See WP:COMMONNAME for elucidation of the choice. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:04, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, I'll have a look at it. Michael! (talk) 15:07, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
By the way, I've removed the generation column of the tables is removed. Why? Because it's wrong. According to Hesiod's Theogony, Uranus was the first generation; he was replaced by Cronus and the Titan generation is the second generation; then Zeus took over the power, he and his siblings (The Olympians) are the third generation.
The old table named Zeus and his brothers and sisters as generation 1; their children as generation 2; and their children's children as generation 3; these generation numbers didn't make any sense. Michael! (talk) 15:07, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

One further comment: I appreciate the carefulness of your thinking on this, but the introduction no longer meets the requirements of WP:LEDE. It now reads more like a disambiguation page. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:12, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

The introduction is expanded. Is it better now? Feel free to improve it. Michael! (talk) 19:16, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
It still reads like a dab page. I see you are a new editor, so please don't take that as discouragement. For instance, I just visited the dab page Favonius: do you see what I mean about your intro sounding like one? Cynwolfe (talk) 19:25, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I understand what you mean and I agree it looks like a disambiguation page. However, I think it's better in this way than the previous version of the article. Maybe it might even be better to turn this article into a disambiguation page? It's probably a bad idea, but the article as it is contains little more information than the introduction does. Michael! (talk) 20:31, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
No, I certainly wouldn't turn it into a dab page. It's a very well visited page. It should explain the fluidity of the number 12, and what's meant by "Olympian," all in one place, and not send readers (who are often fairly young students) skittering about. It's mostly a list article, but my impression is that the readers who come here want that kind of tabular reference. Cynwolfe (talk) 21:05, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Looking at it again, it's just a matter of structure: an explanatory section for the council of 12 in myth and literature (little more description of how Homer conducts a council might be nice there), followed by their two tables of "main" and "other"; then the list of "Minor residents of Mount Olympus"; followed by a brainier discussion of actual religious practice surrounding the Olympians (at Olympia) and the Cult of Twelve. The sections on religion could end up being summary sections, if the material is developed to article length and could be spun off. Doesn't seem problematic after all. Cynwolfe (talk) 21:38, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Well, in my opinion, it still is a problematic article. It focuses on a relative unimportant cult (the Athenian cult of the Twelve Gods as canonized by Pesistratos) and variations of the gods, while it largely ignores the older, more important, Homeric meaning (the Olympians are the gods who live on Mount Olympos, Zeus in particular). The difference between "Olympian Gods" and the "Cults of Twelve Gods" should be emphasized. Keep in mind that Olympian gods and council of the gods are Homeric, while Twelve Olympians isn't Homeric at all. Besides, I think most visitors and young students are just looking for a clear list of the major gods of the Greek pantheon, which is again something different.Michael! (talk) 22:07, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
By the way, I disagree with the new wording of the introduction. It suggests that in Athens, those twelve gods listed are the Olympians, while outside Athens people replaced or included also other gods. This is not true. Especially in Athens (the largest Greek city state), there was a lot of variation. Yes, a cult was "canonized" here, but in Athens, Dionysus often replaced Hestia, while he was a far more important god in Athens; besides, Eleusis was inside Athenian territory and the Eleusian Mysteries had a lot of influence in Athens and many Athenian citizens were initiated; therefore, Hades and Persephone were sometimes also included in Athens; besides, Plato lived in Athens and he included Hades as well. Michael! (talk) 22:15, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

─────────────────────────I just pulled that up from deeper in the article, in haste. Look, people who type in "Twelve Olympians" are not looking for a description of a specific Greek cult. These overlapping meanings can be sorted out within the article in a way that serves general readers: see WP:RF. There is indeed such a thing as classical mythology in Western culture, and that's the perspective most readers bring to these articles. Within the classical tradition as a whole, the concept of "Twelve Olympians" is not minor. A Wikipedia article need not be more technical than, say, Hansen's guide to Classical Mythology from Oxford UP, or the treatment of the Twelve Gods in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome, though spin-off articles can be an opportunity to go into more technical depth for those who seek it. (You may have missed my point about summary style.) This article is likely to be of interest to middle schoolers who read Percy Jackson. Or to put it another way, compare the scope of Herakles (which emphasizes Greek sources), Hercules (a terrible and ramshackle article which eventually should represent the mythological tradition as a whole), and Hercules in ancient Rome (a start-class article on the specific religious practices regarding Hercules as a divine figure at Rome: very esoteric). The most likely search term is "Hercules", which is why that article should deal with Hercules in "classical mythology" most broadly. Cynwolfe (talk) 23:31, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Actually, I think we both mean the same. However, we express ourselves quite differently, therefore, it might sometimes seem there's some kind of misunderstanding.
The average visitor is most probably just looking for the names of the (twelve) major gods. I changed the introduction again and removed some "problematic" formulations. It's now more like a summary of the most important information of this article, as it ought to be. Again, feel free to improve it. Michael! (talk) 14:07, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Hey Michael!, would you want to just reformat the wide image as a regular image? I sometimes uses the panorama for extreme horizontals, such as the panel of a sarcophagus, but if you find it hideous, by all means change it to a regular thumbnail. I have rather poor vision, so my inability to "read" the image at a standard size is no indication. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:39, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Well, I don't have much experience with including images. My apologies if I did something wrong. I just wanted to move the image to the right margin, so it won't longer interrupt the text (comparable with the picture of Rafael's fresco below). I tried something else. Is it better this way? Michael! (talk) 18:55, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Nope, you didn't do anything wrong. If you're going to be working on the article and the panorama bothers you, I'll just reformat it, because it's still a little wide for text to flow around it. (When centered, the text jumped to after, but if an image is too wide, you end up with a really skinny band of text on the left.) Best wishes, Cynwolfe (talk) 19:57, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, it's much better this way. Michael! (talk) 19:41, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

The scholarly sources I've read most commonly agree on the following 12 gods as the canonical Olympians:

  • Hestia, Hermes, Demeter, Poseidon, Zeus, Hera, Artemis, Apollo, Hephaistos, Athena, Ares, Aphrodite.

This is also supported by congruence and symmetry in organization, which were important concepts for the Greeks. If Dionysus or Hades are included, it breaks the male/female symmetry of 6 each, the creative/life-giving/protecting/harmonizing groups of 3 each, and the pairings. In light of this, I think Dionysus should be listed under 'Other Olympians', perhaps with a mention that he is the most frequent of the alternative inclusions. Xcalibur (talk) 05:11, 3 November 2017 (UTC)

Having thought about this, I decided to reorganize. Now there are 3 categories: the 12 gods which are most widely considered canonical, the most common alternatives, and the rest. This way, it captures the best ordering while still expressing the ambiguous nature of its canonicity (especially the role of Dionysus). I relied heavily on one author for references, but 1. their scholarship is particularly reliable and informative, and 2. there are many other sources which agree while not being sufficient as RS (greek wiki, ancient greek test wiki, blogs, websites, the relief pictured in the article, etc.). If anyone insists on Hestia being moved to Alternate, I'd be willing to work with that, although I'm confident in the current setup. Xcalibur (talk) 04:57, 5 November 2017 (UTC)


The table lists "The Twelve Olympians" and is supposed to give the Greek name and the Roman name, e.g. Zeus and Jupiter. One entry is problematic: Apollo.

"Apollo" is the name commonly used in English. As usual, English refers to Greek names in their Latin transcription. (Consider Plato for Platon, Alexander for Alexandros, Aristides for Aristeides. The same happened with Apollo, whose Greek name is Apollon.

If the list purports to give Greek names and Roman names, then we should do so and use Apollo's Greek name, which is Apollon.

The list was always confusing as it suggested that Apollo's Greek and Roman name were identical. He is indeed the odd one out: in most entries, the two names are entirely different as the deities mentioned are not originally gods with two names but two gods - one Greek, one Roman - that were later identified. Apollo/n seems to be simply adopted by the Romans from the Greeks and spelled in a Roman way. Still, the Greek name and the Roman name are slightly different.

Str1977 (talk) 06:29, 3 October 2015 (UTC)

While 'Apollo' is the standard form for English, I think Apollon should be used for the specific context of his Greek name vs Roman. I tried to make that change in the chart, only to be overruled by another editor. Xcalibur (talk) 02:01, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
My compromise is to provide both English and Greek spelling. I think that will work. Xcalibur (talk) 04:44, 5 November 2017 (UTC)


Recently Pandia, a very minor and somewhat obscure mythological personage (not even always a goddess), was recently added to the list of "Minor residents of Mount Olympus". I removed it, asking for a source that she was considered such, but it was added back again (no source given). If we really want this list to include all such minor, obscure and uncertain figures, we would need to add hundreds more. In any case we need to make any such list well defined and supported with cites, not just a random and arbitrary list of minor Greek gods. Paul August 13:06, 14 November 2016 (UTC)

Per your request I remove it. But I still don't agree with what you said because we cannot just decide whether a god or deity is minor or not based on our own opinions. Her name was also added to other templates by other users that's why I thought including her name on the list would be a good idea. Keivan.fTalk 00:00, 15 November 2016 (UTC)
Not sure what you don't agree. That Pandia is a minor figure in Greek mythology is clear from reading our article, and the sources cited there. Paul August 01:36, 15 November 2016 (UTC)
@Paul August Let's forget Pandia. I was looking at Zeus' article and I realized that on the article it is said that Hebe, Hephaestus and Ares may have been born merely by Hera. As of Hebe in an alternative version it's said that "Her mother Hera became pregnant merely by eating a lettuce plant when dining with Apollo". As Athena was also born by Zeus without recourse to Hera, it's said that she probably bore Hephaestus alone as a revenge. But what about Ares? In a part of Iliad Zeus tells Ares "And yet I will not long endure to see you in pain, since you are my child, and it was to me that your mother bore you", which obviously means that Ares is his son and Homer supports this theory. In addition to Homer, it seems that Hesiod also lists Ares as a son of Zeus and Hera in his famous Theogony and as you can see Ares is mentioned as Zeus' son on this Wikipedia article and the source is Theogony 912–923. But when I was searching on the internet I found out that in another tradition, Ares also could have been Hera's parthenogenous child. She got herself pregnant by using a magical herb and did this as revenge at Zeus for his birthing of Dionysus whom he implanted under the skin of his thigh (after the death of his mother Semele) where he remained until he was ready to be born. It seems that it is the reason why on Zeus' article it's said that Ares could be produced only by Hera. The main problem is that online sources can't be trusted for these kinds of statements. Do you have any idea on which ancient text (or even a reliable book) this story has been mentioned? Maybe on another part of Iliad or Theogony? Keivan.fTalk 07:54, 15 November 2016 (UTC)
@Keivan.f: The only ancient source I'm aware of for such a story is Ovid Fasti 5.229–259, which tells the story of how Juno, upset that Jupiter had produced Minerva without her, was made pregnant with Mars by touching a certain flower. Paul August 15:21, 15 November 2016 (UTC)
@Paul August: So it's a part of the Roman mythology that Mars was the son of Juno alone. Interesting. Do all of the sources mention him as the parthenogenous child of Juno? And as of Ares, it seems that he was the son of Hera by Zeus. Do you think it's OK to remove that note on Zeus' article which says that he was perhaps produced by Hera alone or should we ask the others' opinions as well? Keivan.fTalk 23:40, 15 November 2016 (UTC)
@Keivan.f: I don't know what to make out of Ovid's story. It could be just be an Ovidian invention. Or it could be Ovid knew of the story, from sources no longer available to us. And just because Ovid, of course, used the Roman names for the gods involved, does not mean that the story was not a Greek story in which Hera produced Ares alone. I can't say. We really need to know how modern scholars treat this story. Paul August 01:44, 16 November 2016 (UTC)
@Paul August: Yes, but I think the Romans had changed some parts of the original Greek myth and that's why as you said we have to find out how modern scholars treat this story. Do you know any user on Wikipedia who might be able to help? Keivan.fTalk 04:20, 16 November 2016 (UTC)
@Keivan.f:You might ask this question here. Paul August 11:08, 16 November 2016 (UTC)

Move of page to "List of Twelve Olympians"?[edit]

This page was recently movved to " "List of Twelve Olympians", I've moved the page back, since I think the page is more than just a list. Paul August 11:47, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

You're right. It's not just a list. Keivan.fTalk 08:50, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
If anyone wants to move this page, I think he/she probably should give a request at WP:RM. Keivan.fTalk 08:52, 9 December 2016 (UTC)

Proposed changes in the article[edit]

Bigdan201 (talk · contribs) made these changes to the article, which I've temporarily undone, as I believe they leave the article inconsistent. I think we should discuss these proposed changes here, so as to reach a consensus as to what changes ought to be made to the article. I will have more to say on this later, when I've had the time to review and consider the proposed changes. Paul August 10:56, 5 November 2017 (UTC)

That's perfectly fine. My change is dramatic in nature, so it's reasonable to discuss this beforehand and try to achieve consensus. It's especially tricky because of all the debates over canonicity of the 12. I will repost my comment here, since it's relevant:
Having thought about this, I decided to reorganize. Now there are 3 categories: the 12 gods which are most widely considered canonical, the most common alternatives, and the rest. This way, it captures the best ordering while still expressing the ambiguous nature of its canonicity (especially the role of Dionysus). I relied heavily on one author for references, but 1. their scholarship is particularly reliable and informative, and 2. there are many other sources which agree while not being sufficient as RS (greek wiki, ancient greek test wiki, blogs, websites, the relief pictured in the article, etc.). If anyone insists on Hestia being moved to Alternate, I'd be willing to work with that, although I'm confident in the current setup.
To add on, I could go digging for more sources if that is a significant issue. All comments/questions welcome. Xcalibur (talk) 11:37, 5 November 2017 (UTC)

Here are my thoughts, so far.

The current lead reads as follows:

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.[1] Hades and Persephone were sometimes included as part of the twelve Olympians (primarily due to the influence of the Eleusinian Mysteries), although in general Hades was excluded because he resided permanently in the underworld and never visited Olympus.
  1. ^ Hansen, p. 250; Burkert, pp. 125 ff.; Dowden, p. 43; Chadwick, p. 85; Müller, pp. 419 ff.; Pache, pp. 308 ff.; Thomas, p. 12; Smith, p. 362; Long, pp. 140–141.

Whatever changes we make to the article need to be consistent with the lead and what the sources cited there say.

Here is what these cited sources say:

  • None of the sources cited in the lead include Hades as one of the "Twelve" Olympians.
Includes both Hestia and Dionysus among the Olympians (for thirteen total)
About Hestia and Dionysus: "In lists or works of art representing all the Olympians, Dionysus or Hestia is likely to be omitted, since otherwise amounts to thirteen"
About Hades: "Hades, a sibling of the elder Olympians, resides in Erebos and so is not accounted one of the Olympians"
  • Burkert, pp. 125 ff. (1985)
Includes Dionysus, omits Hestia.
About Hestia and Dionysus: "The number [twelve] is fixed; some of the names vary, especially Hestia/Dionysos."
Includes Hestia, omits Dionysus.
About Hestia and Dionysus: "A pantheon ("all-gods") is the set of gods that any individual culture possesses, and because they are personal gods they will tend to form a family. In modern treatments these tend to be formalized as the twelve Olympian gods: Zeus and Hera, Poseidon and Demeter, Apollo and Artemis, Ares and Aphrodite, Hermes and Athene, Hephaestus and Hestia. Which unfortunately leaves out Dionysus — so sometimes Hestia is relegated.
  • Chadwick, John The Mycenaean World, p. 85 (1976)
Includes Dionysus, omits Hestia
About Hestia and Dionysus: "There were traditionally twelve Olympian deities: Zeus, Poseidon, Hermes, Ares, Apollo, Hepaistos, Dionysos; Hera Artemis, Aphrodite, Athena, Demeter. Of these Demeter is probably a latecomer to this group, being in origin s realization of the Earth-goddess; and Dionysos had always been considered a late introduction, until the revelation of his name on two Pylos tablets upset this comfortable belief."
  • Müller, pp. 419 ff. (1852) [Perhaps too old to now be considered a high quality source?]
Includes Hestia, omits Dionysus.
About Dionysus: listed as the principle "other" diety
Includes Dionysus, omits Hestia
About Hestia and Dionysus: "The notion of the Twelve Gods provides a condensed pantheon. The identity of the Twelve was not fixed and could differ according to location or ritual context. It almost always included the Twelve Olympians listed above, though occasionally one or more gods might be substituted. Hestia for example, is often numbered among the Twelve Gods.
Lists: Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Apollo, Artemis, Hephaestus, Athena, Ares, Aphrodite, Hermes, Hestia. Omits Dionysus.
  • Smith, p. 362 (2012) Should be Shapiro! not Smith, pages may be wrong?]
About Hestia and Dionysus: "Perhaps the best-known surviving depiction of the twelve Olympian gods is found on the east frieze of the Parthenon, completed about 432 BC (Berger and Ghistler-Huwiler 1996; Neils 2001; see Plate 5). It is generally agreed that this monument established for the first time (at least in Classical Athens) a canonical list of the twelve. ... For the Olympian gods, there was little doubt which ones made up the essential core, ever since the time of Homer and Hesiod, but at the edges, there was room for doubt as to who was in and who was out. The Parthenon frieze, for example established Dionysos as definitely in, while Hestia — whom most Greeks of the Archaic period would have considered an idispensible Olympian — was now out."
About Hades [p. 364]: The placement of the latter couple [Hades and Persephone] in the cups tondo may be a sly reference to their usual separation from the rest of the Olympians."
Includes Dionysus, omits Hestia
About Hestia and Dionysus: Wenreich held that the Twelve Gods were the twelve Olympians, among whomindividual members might be dropped to admit other gods. Thus he regarded Dionysos on the Parthenon frieze to be a substitution for Hestia.11
11 ...However Dionysos is included on Athens 1 and 2, both dated to the sixth century B.C. The earliest set with Hewstia is Pherai 1, dated to the late fourth-early third century B.C. ...

Based on the above, I conclude:

1. We must include Dionysus in any list of the "twelve" Olympians we give in the article. Dionysus appeared on the Parthenon Frieze—almost certainly the most famous and influential ancient representation of the "twelve" Olympians. That fact alone probably means that we cannot relegate Dionysus to "other" status.

2. Hades should be described as not usually considered to be an Olympian, and should not be listed along with the other thirteen gods mentioned above.

I haven't yet finished reviewing what the new sources provided say, or what other sources might say. I hope to do that soon. When I do I will have more to say.

Paul August 18:03, 5 November 2017 (UTC)

OK, I've now had a chance to look at the new sources, and I remain unconvinced that the article needs changing. Yes, Long is certainly a reliable source, but its not the best source for us to be using here. Her book The Twelve Gods of Greece and Rome is a large work (372 pages), full of detailed original research, and written for specialists. This makes it difficult for non-experts fully comprehend, especially from a snippet here and a snippet there. Much better, for our purposes, is a general reference work written, by an expert, for the general reader—like most of the works given above—which succinctly summarizes the content we need. For example the popular college text book, Morford, Classical Mythology (2007), is just such a source, and it says (p. 113):

"And so a circle of major deities (fourteen in number) comes into being; their Greek and Roman names are as follows: Zeus (Jupiter), Hera (Juno), Poseidon (Neptune), Hades (Pluto), Hestia (Vesta), Hephaestus (Vulcan), Ares (Mars), Apollo, Artemis (Diana), Demeter (Ceres), Aphrodite (Venus), Athena (Minerva), Hermes (Mercury), and Dionysus (Bacchus). This list was reduced to a canon of twelve Olympians by omitting Hades (whose specific realm is under the earth) and replacing Hestia with Dionysus, a great deity who comes relatively late to Olympus."

Paul August 19:41, 5 November 2017 (UTC)

Note, I've now fixed in the article the "Smith" cite above to Shapiro. Paul August 11:46, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

I think you've made a strong argument for relegating Hades to 'Other' status. While I have seen sources that included Hades, and some that replaced Demeter with Hades, it was relatively uncommon. You've also made a strong argument for acknowledging Dionysus as an Olympian, and as I mentioned in my edits, the Hestia/Dionysus variation is the most common. However, I still think there's room for reorganization. You go to this article to look up the 12 Olympians, and you get a list of 13, which could cause confusion. My idea is to clearly express the ambiguous nature of Olympian canon, and here are a couple more sources that underline this:
[9] "Hebe, Helios, Hestia, Demeter, Dionysos, Hades, and Persephone were the variable gods among the twelve."
[10] "Some ancient sources exclude Dionysos from the august circle of the twelve Olympian gods."
One way would be to list only the 10 consistent Olympians, and include all the rest in an 'Other' category; but this wouldn't accurately represent the sources, which support some 'Other' gods much more than others. My idea is to create an intermediate category for the most common Olympians who are also swapped out at times. Originally I put Dionysus and Hades, but based on the sources, there is more support for Hestia and Dionysus to be in an 'Alternate' category. And so, I alter my proposal to an 'Alternate' or 'Twelfth Olympian' category for Hestia and Dionysus. Would that be acceptable? Xcalibur (talk) 10:45, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
@Bigdan201: This might have some merit (you mean the 11 "consistent Olympians" though). Something like the following? Paul August 11:22, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
Yes, something like the section below would work. I'd like a bolder section divider, but that's a detail. As for the number of 'consistent' Olympians, it would be 10 if one questioned Demeter (as seen in the discussion above). Going by the current consensus, there would be 11 in the 'consistent' category, with Hestia and Dionysus in the twelfth/alternate category (which I agree to). Xcalibur (talk) 14:05, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
@Bigdan201: Feel free to change the table below to make the section divider "bolder". As for Demeter, I think she is solidly in the twelve Olympian category. Something to keep in mind (and something I've been reluctant to bring up, because it is somewhat complicated and nuanced) is the the fact that the concepts of twelve Olympians and the "Twelve Gods" are distinct. The article mentions this, but insufficiently. Most (if not all) of the apparent differences in the above sources can be accounted for by the fact that some are talking about the twelve Olympians, and some are talking about the cult of the Twelve Gods. For example Long's book is about the cult of the Twelve Gods (see for example the title). The concept of the Twelve Gods predates that of the twelve Olympians, and is more reflective of local religious traditions, hence there are many different sets of Twelve Gods, for example, Long lists 54 such local variants. And although Olympians were heavily represented on any such set of the Twelve, not every member of some local region's favored Twelve were Olympians. A famous example was the set of the Twelve Gods at Olympia (mentioned in the article) which included as members Cronus and Rhea, certainly not considered Olympians. So, that some local set of the cultic Twelve Gods included Hades instead of say Demeter, does not mean that Hades was considered to be one of the twelve Olympian, or even an Olympian at all, nor does it mean that Demeter was not considered to be one of the twelve Olympians. Paul August 18:57, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
First of all, pardon my delayed response. I've edited the table by splitting off the 'alternate' category. I want the difference to jump out at the reader. At the same time, I made it a subcategory under the 12, which works better than my original setup.
The difference between the Olympians and the Twelve Gods is significant, and one that I did not entirely grasp until now. I was aware of local variations, and gods that were occasionally included, and the ambiguity between this and the more common 12; I wasn't aware of the nature of that difference. That clears it up. I see it mentioned in the article now, I must've glossed over it before. If this distinction were expanded upon and made more explicit, that might help prevent confusion (as seen on this talk page). Xcalibur (talk) 05:45, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
@Bigdan201: Nothing "delayed" about the response, as far as I'm concerned. We all edit as we find the time and inclination (and in fact I will be traveling for the next few days, so somewhat out of touch).
Your changes below are fine with me. Note, I've made a few tweeks myself:
1. I capitalized 'twelve' only when it refers to the Twelve Gods. This agrees, I think, with how most of the sources do it. It also reflects recent changes I've made in the article, as part of trying to make the distinction between the twelve Olympians and the Twelve Gods more clear.
2. I changed your:
"Most canonical listings include either one or the other of the following deities as an Olympian."
"Most canonical listings include either one or the other of the following deities as one of the twelve Olympians."
This is to underline the point that no ancient notion of the twelve Olympians ever meant that there were only twelve, only that there were twelve principal Olympians, everyone certainly understood that there were many more Olympians than that.
If you agree with these changes feel free to move this table into the article.
I agree that the distinction between the twelve Olympians and the Twelve Gods, is not dealt with in the article satisfactorily. I've been mulling over what exactly to do about this for sometime (one of my faults). A somewhat related issue is that I think that more needs to be said about the Olympians, the larger group of which the twelve (or thirteen) were just a part. In fact I've often wondered if the article should be refocused and renamed—to say the "Olympians (Greek mythology)"—and rewritten accordingly.
Paul August 13:22, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
The tweaks are fine, they add polish. I've added it to the main article. And yes, the article in general needs to be reworked for more comprehensive coverage of this topic. It's especially important to capture the nuances and ambiguities that lead to so much debate and confusion. Xcalibur (talk) 17:03, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

The "twelve" Olympians[edit]

There is no canonical list of the twelve Olympian gods. The thirteen gods and goddesses most commonly considered to be one of the twelve Olympians are listed below.

Greek Roman Image Functions and attributes
Zeus Jupiter Jupiter Smyrna Louvre Ma13.jpg King of the gods and ruler of Mount Olympus; god of the sky, storms, lightning, thunder, law, order and justice. Youngest child of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. Symbols include the thunderbolt, eagle, oak tree, lion, scepter, and scales. Brother and husband of Hera, although he had many lovers, also brother of Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, and Hestia.
Hera Juno Hera Campana Louvre Ma2283.jpg Queen of the gods and the goddess of marriage, women, childbirth and family. Symbols include the peacock, cuckoo, and cow. Youngest daughter of Cronus and Rhea. Wife and sister of Zeus. Being the goddess of marriage, she frequently tried to get revenge on Zeus' lovers and their children.
Poseidon Neptune 0036MAN Poseidon.jpg God of the seas, water, storms, hurricanes, earthquakes and horses. Symbols include the horse, bull, dolphin, and trident. Middle son of Cronus and Rhea. Brother of Zeus and Hades. Married to the Nereid Amphitrite, although, like most male Greek Gods, he had many lovers.
Demeter Ceres Demeter Altemps Inv8546.jpg Goddess of the harvest, fertility, agriculture, nature and the seasons. Who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth. Symbols include the poppy, wheat, torch, cornucopia, and pig. Middle daughter of Cronus and Rhea. Also the lover of Zeus and Poseidon, and the mother of Persephone.
Athena Minerva Mattei Athena Louvre Ma530 n2.jpg Goddess of wisdom, knowledge, reason, intelligent activity, literature, handicrafts, science, defense and strategic warfare. Symbols include the owl and the olive tree. Daughter of Zeus and the Oceanid Metis, she rose from her father's head fully grown and in full battle armor.
Apollo /
Apollo[A] Apollo of the Belvedere.jpg God of light, the sun, prophecy, philosophy, truth, inspiration, poetry, music, arts, medicine, healing and plaque. Son of Zeus and Leto. Symbols include the sun, lyre, swan, and mouse. Twin brother of Artemis.
Artemis Diana Diane de Versailles Leochares.jpg Goddess of the hunt, virginity, birth, archery, the moon, forests, all animals, protection and plaque. Symbols include the moon, horse, deer, hound, she-bear, snake, cypress tree, and bow and arrow. Daughter of Zeus and Leto and twin sister of Apollo.
Ares Mars Ares Canope Villa Adriana b.jpg God of war, violence, bloodshed and manly virtues. Symbols include the boar, serpent, dog, vulture, spear, and shield. Son of Zeus and Hera, all the other gods despised him. His Latin name, Mars, gave us the word "martial."
Aphrodite Venus NAMA Aphrodite Syracuse.jpg Goddess of love, pleasure, passion, procreation, fertility, beauty and desire. Symbols include the dove, bird, apple, bee, swan, myrtle, and rose. Daughter of Zeus and the Oceanid Dione, or perhaps born from the sea foam after Uranus' semen dripped into the sea after being castrated by his youngest son, Cronus, who then threw his father's genitals into the sea. Married to Hephaestus, although she had many adulterous affairs, most notably with Ares. Her name gave us the word "aphrodisiac", while her Latin name, Venus, gave us the word "venereal".[B]
Hephaestus Vulcan Vulcan Coustou Louvre MR1814.jpg Master blacksmith and craftsman of the gods; god of the forge, craftsmanship, invention, fire and volcanoes. Symbols include fire, anvil, axe, donkey, hammer, tongs, and quail. Son of Hera, either by Zeus or alone. Married to Aphrodite, though unlike most divine husbands, he was rarely ever licentious. His Latin name, Vulcan, gave us the word "volcano."
Hermes Mercury Hermes Ingenui Pio-Clementino Inv544.jpg Messenger of the gods; god of travel, commerce, communication, borders, eloquence, diplomacy, thieves and games. Symbols include the caduceus (staff entwined with two snakes), winged sandals and cap, stork, and tortoise (whose shell he used to invent the lyre). Son of Zeus and the nymph Maia. The second-youngest Olympian, just older than Dionysus.

Most common 'twelfth' Olympians[edit]

Most canonical listings include either one or the other of the following deities as one of the twelve Olympians.

Greek Roman Image Functions and attributes
Hestia Vesta Hestia Giustiniani.jpg Goddess of the hearth, fire and of the right ordering of domesticity and the family; she was born into the first Olympian generation and was one of the original twelve Olympians. Some lists of the Twelve Olympians omit her in favor of Dionysus, but the speculation that she gave her throne to him in order to keep the peace seems to be modern invention. She is the first child of Cronus and Rhea, eldest sister of Hades, Demeter, Poseidon, Hera, and Zeus.
Dionysus (or
Bacchus Dionysos Louvre Ma87 n2.jpg God of wine, the grape vine, fertility, celebrations, ecstasy, madness and resurrection. Patron god of the art of theatre. Symbols include the grapevine, ivy, cup, tiger, panther, leopard, dolphin, goat, and pinecone. Son of Zeus and the mortal Theban princess Semele. Married to the Cretan princess Ariadne. The youngest Olympian god, as well as the only one to have a mortal mother.
  1. ^ Romans also associated Phoebus with Helios and the sun itself,[1][2] however, they also used the Greek name Apollon in a Latinized form Apollo.[3]
  2. ^ According to an alternate version of her birth, Aphrodite was born of Uranus, Zeus' grandfather, after Cronus threw his castrated genitals into the sea. This supports the etymology of her name, "foam-born". As such, Aphrodite would belong to the same generation as Cronus, Zeus' father, and would be Zeus' aunt. See the birth of Aphrodite


  1. ^ North John A., Beard Mary, Price Simon R.F. "The Religions of Imperial Rome". Classical Mythology in English Literature: A Critical Anthology. (Cambridge University Press, 1998), p.259. ISBN 0-521-31682-0.
  2. ^ Hacklin, Joseph. "The Mythology of Persia". Asiatic Mythology (Asian Educational Services, 1994), p.38. ISBN 81-206-0920-4.
  3. ^ See, for example, Ovid's Met. I 441, 473, II 454, 543, 598, 612, 641, XII 585, XVIII 174, 715, 631, and others.

Proposal to remove "other" lists[edit]

I recently removed the subsections of the "Lists" section now titled "Members of other twelve god cults" and "Other residents of Mount Olympus", but my edit was reverted by (talk).

In my view these lists are inherently problematic, not very useful, and probably ought to be removed. In particular inclusion in either of these lists needs to be sourced, and at present adequate sourcing is almost wholly lacking.

I am creating a separate subsection for the discussion of each list separately.

Paul August 17:49, 16 December 2017 (UTC)

As its been a week, and no one has resonded here, I'm going to go ahead and delete the section "Other residents of Mount Olympus", since I suspect that might be less objectionable to the IP. Paul August 17:15, 23 December 2017 (UTC)
Another week and a half or so, and still no response here, so I'm going to delete the other section ""Members of other twelve god cults". Paul August 22:31, 4 January 2018 (UTC)

The list "Other residents of Mount Olympus"[edit]

While a list of other residents of Mount Olympus, has some relevance, currently this list is problematic. Besides those mentioned in the body of the article: Heracles, Hebe, the Muses, the Graces, Iris, Dione, Eileithyia, the Horae, and Ganymede, the current list is otherwise completely unsourced. Any we list here need to be sourced. But I think sourcing for such a list will be difficult.

While there were obviously a great many residents of Olympus, which can be inferred, from various ancient sources, doing so on our parts would constitute original research, and so of course is not allowed. I've spent a fair amount of time looking around, and I can find no adequate sources for any of the others on the current list. Perhaps some reliable secondary source gives such a list we could use (so far I haven't found one) but absent such a list, there will be many obvious residents of Olympus for which no adequate sourcing will be available. This will mean that any such sourceable list will be necessarily uncomprehensive, unrepresentative and idiosyncratic.

In any case (unless we decide to eliminate this list altogether first), I intend to prune this list to include only those members I can find adequate sourcing for, currently only those mentioned above: Heracles, Hebe, the Muses, the Graces, Iris, Dione, Eileithyia, the Horae, and Ganymede.

Paul August 17:49, 16 December 2017 (UTC)

The list "Members of other twelve god cults"[edit]

As this article is about the twelve Olympians, I don't think a list of members of other twelve god cults, is particularly relevant. However, if we are going to keep such a list, it needs to be redone. Its inappropriate as it now exists

Each member of such a list has to be sourced, and the list as a whole should either be a long, comprehensive list (with each entry having a source), or if not that, then a short, representative list of members which are discussed (and sourced) in the body of the article (currently those are: Cronus, Rhea, Alpheius, and the Graces). At present none of these things are true.

Paul August 17:49, 16 December 2017 (UTC)