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Mount Olympus
Home of the Gods
 

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Ancient Greek Gods for Kids 
The Twelve Olympians 
Roman Name: Council of 12 Gods


The ancient Greek mystical world was ruled by a small group of gods called the Olympians. When things had to be decided, the council of 12 gods met on Mount Olympus to discuss things. 

All the Olympians kept a home on Mount Olympus. Unless they were off traveling somewhere, that's where you could find most of them. Hades preferred his home in the Underworld. Poseidon preferred his palace under the sea. But the rest of the Olympians lived on Mount Olympus. 

Hestia was the goddess of hearth and home. She used to be one of the Olympians, but she grew tired of all their fighting and bickering. She gave her seat to Dionysus, the god of wine. Actually, once Dionysus settled down and got married, he was a very good choice. 

Aphrodite was on the council. Her husband, Hephaestus, who built all the gods' homes on Mount Olympus, was not on the council, not according to most Greek myths. However, if you visit the famous temple, the Parthenon,  in Greece, you'll find a statue of each of the 12 Olympians. Hades, king of the Underworld, is not represented with a statue, but Hephaestus is. 

So who was the 12th Olympian? Hades or Hephaestus? The answer is - it depends on the storyteller. That's the thing about myths. Many myths were retold over and over, because the story was so good. But any storyteller might create a new adventure for the gods. What was important is that the gods' personalities remained the same. Everybody in ancient Greece knew the gods' personalities! There was no changing that. 

Here are the twelve Olympians:

Zeus

Hera

Poseidon

Demeter

Athena

Ares

Apollo 

Artemis 

Hermes 

Aphrodite

Hestia, who turned her place over to Dionysus

Last (depending upon who is telling the story) - sometimes Hades, and sometimes Hephaestus 

 

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Written by Lin Donn
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