Mythology Monday – Olympians and Olympics

The gods of Olympus, after whom the Solar Syst...

The Olympians:

Spending the first weekend of the Olympics in Olympia was a fun coincidence.  According to Greek Mythology, the Olympian gods are Hermes, Artemis, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Ares, Athena, Poseidon, Hestia and Demeter. Hades was not usually included in lists although he is a brother of Zeus and Poseidon, etc. The Olympians are second generation gods who took over the earth, sky, ocean and underworld after defeating the Titans. The term “Olympian” refers to Mt Olympus. Each god has their own home, made by Hephaestus, the smith-god, but  Mt Olympus is where they hold court. The Milky Way is called the road to Olympus. It bisects the ecliptic, or path of the Sun, which includes the constellations associated with the god’s homes, the Zodiac. Astrologically, a home or domicile, refers to the zodiacal sign ruled by a planetary god:

Apollo (the Sun) rules Leo

Artemis (the Moon) rules Cancer

Ares (Mars) rules Aries and Scorpio

Aphrodite (Venus) rules Taurus and Libra

Hermes (Mercury) rules Gemini and Virgo

Zeus (Jupiter) rules Sagittarius and Pisces

Kronos (Saturn) rules Capricorn and Aquarius. Saturn is not  an Olympian but a Titan. He is the father of most of the Olympian gods.

Click here for an animation of the celestial motion related to the Milky Way.

The Olympic Games:

Named for the Olympian gods, the ancient Olympic Games took place every 4 years, a period of time called an Olympiad. The games were a series of competitions in several sports in honor of Zeus. They began in 776 BC and continued for nearly 12 centuries. In 393 A.D. Emperor Theodosius banned “pagan cults”, including the games. [1]

Click to read this article at Olympic.org

In Greece, the Olympic games were not co-ed. Thomas Scanlon reports that, “Adult women were prohibited from attending the men’s Olympics on penalty of death”. [2] However, young, unmarried women were allowed to watch and there was a separate venue for girls: the Herai, in honor of Hera, Zeus’ wife, which consisted of one event, a footrace. During the Roman Era, women appear to have been able to take part as owner of horses or chariot teams.

Click here to read the article at Archeology.org.

1. The Ancient Olympic Games, the Official Website of the Olympic Movement.

2. Thomas F. Scanlon, Games for Girls, from the “Ancient Olympics Guide”, April 6, 2004.

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