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Top 10 Greek Goddesses: The Beautiful and the Wicked

By on Jul 4, 2012 in Literature | 3 comments

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The following article is a guest post from Ryan De Guzman, a fellow writer and colleague. Visit his own blog Nevermore Nonsense to read more of his posts.

If there is one group that runs the Greek Mythology universe, it would be the goddesses. They are intellectually complex, physically splendid, and most of the time, morally volatile. There are quite a lot of them, but here are the ten that lead the pact with their elegance and  villainy.

1. Hera

The Beautiful

The Queen of the Gods. She is the Goddess of Women and Marriage, both wife and sister to Zeus, the chief god. Being the Olympian prima donna, she is of almost unequaled appeal. She even once competed toe to toe with the alluring Athena, and with the Goddess of Beauty herself, Aphrodite.

The Wicked

Historically, she is the most atrocious of goddess. She constantly posed as a villain for Hercules, also casted her son out of heaven, and always castigating Zeus’ mistresses. She might be a patron of matrimony, but her marriage issues with the chief god are few of the best highlights that shape Greek Mythology.

2. Pallas Athena

The Beautiful

The Goddess of Wisdom, War, and Justice; and patron of the Greek Heroes. The Parthenon was constructed in her honor.

The Wicked

Athena was born from the head of Zeus, fully grown and armor-clad. Given that, she mingled in affairs dominated by men (and won). She locked horns with Poseidon for the dominion of Athens (which she obviously nailed), joined the War of the Giants (threw an island to one of them), and turned one mortal into a spider out of hubris.

3. Aphrodite

The Beautiful

She herself is an epitome of Beauty, also Goddess of Love, Pleasure, and Procreation; and the mother of Eros (Cupid). She was born out of the sea foam in a shell, as famously detailed by Sandro Botticelli in the painting, The Birth of Venus.  Despite her beauty, a lot of unpleasant things came out, like…

The Wicked

inadvertently starting the Trojan War, the destruction of Hippolytos, and of course, the agonizing of the mortal Psyche (for loving her son).

4. Artemis

The Beautiful

Goddess of Hunting, Wilderness, and the Moon. She is twin-sister to Apollo. Given quite a boyish personality, Artemis’ myth is brimming with retribution.

The Wicked

She punished the hunter Actaeon by turning him into a stag then releasing the hounds on him, murdered her hunting companion Orion, and turned one of her cohorts, Callisto, into a bear.

5. Demeter

The Beautiful

The least volatile among the Olympians. She is the Goddess of Harvest and Agriculture.  She taught mankind farming and crop cultivation, thus marking the start of civilization.

The Wicked

Kind, but a Goddess and a mother nonetheless. Her grief for the loss of her daughter, Persephone, causes vegetation to wither and fall, inducing the autumn season.

6. Hestia

The Beautiful

Goddess of Hearth Fire and Domestic Life, eldest sister to Zeus, and the gentlest among the goddesses. Though she had no throne, she oversaw the sacred fire in Olympus, and every hearth on Earth is her altar.

The Wicked

Nothing so terrible about her, except that despite many suitors (the gods Poseidon and Apollo included), she decided to be a heart breaker and just swore to be a virgin.

7. Gaia

The Beautiful

The Goddess and Personification of the Earth, she was one of the first beings in the Cosmos. Her offsprings included Pontus (the Sea), Uranus (the Sky), and the Titans, who later descended the Olympians.

The Wicked

She also gave birth to the Cyclopes, Erinyes, and Gigantes; monsters that constantly pestered the Greek universe.

8. Rhea

The Beautiful

Daughter of Gaia and Uranus and the Mother of the Olympians. Technically a Titaness, but revered as the Goddess of Female fertility and Motherhood.

The Wicked

She tricked her husband, Cronus, by hiding their son Zeus in from him, so that he can  have his vengeance when he grows up, thus igniting the Titan War.

9. Persephone

The Beautiful

The Goddess of Springtime and Vegetation, she is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Ironically, she is also the Queen of the Underworld.  You might ask why. This is because…

The Wicked

Hades, God of the Underworld,  abducted  her at some point. Thus, dooming her to return to the dark realm every third of the year, ending the Spring season.

10. Nike

The Beautiful

The Winged Goddess of Victory.  During the Titan War, Zeus brought her to his aid for the dominion of Olympus. She assumed the role of the divine charioteer for the gods.

The Wicked

Nike never acquired a cult or myth of her own, though by Classical Times, most gods had their wings already shed, but she retained hers, thus her famous name (and in turn, that famous shoe brand).

 

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