Are you Greek by heritage or do you long for the days of the ancient Greek heroes? If you’re looking for a suitable Greek name for your dog or cat, we’ve got an apotheosis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apotheosis of names for you! (By the way, it’s estimated that the Greek language has contributed about 5 percent of the words in English https://www.dailywritingtips.com/list-greek-words/.)
The Greeks are one of the foundation cultures of Western Civilization. Not only does Greek supply many of our root words in English but the Greeks gave us philosophy, theatre, medicine, geometry, and the Olympics, not to mention democracy https://www.history.co.uk/shows/ancient-top-10/articles/10-things-the-ancient-greeks-gave-us. Even after more than 2000 years, much of the way we in the West look at the world still comes from the ancient Greeks.
If you have a fondness for Greek culture, food, and their wonderful mythology, there are lots of names that would be perfect for a pet. Take a look!
When in doubt about pronunciation you can usually pronounce every syllable, with the emphasis on the second syllable. This is only a general rule but it often holds true (but not always). For example, Odysseus is pronounced O-dys-se-us with the emphasis on the second syllabl (dis). Of course, Aphrodite is pronounced Aph-ro-di-te with the emphasis on the third syllable. You can always look famous names up to see how they should be pronounced.
Ancient Greek gods and goddesses
Even after millennia we still know their names. Many of the myths about the Greek gods and goddesses have never been forgotten. Today you can find the stories of these gods and goddesses still being told in comics, movies, and on television. Here are some names to consider for your dog or cat.
The Olympian gods and goddesses
These gods and goddesses lived on Mount Olympus in Greece. They came to power when Zeus overthrew his father, Cronos, and the other Titan gods and goddesses.
AGLAEA (Aglaia) The goddess of beauty and adornment. She was one of the three Charites and the wife of the god Hephaestus.
AEGLE (Aigle) The goddess of the radiant glow of good health. She was a daughter of the medicine-god Asclepius.
AKESO The goddess of curing illness. She was one of the daughters of Asclepius.
ALEXIARES A son of the god Heracles, who with his brother Anicetus guarded the gates of Olympus. His name means “the unconquerable.”
ANICITUS (Aniketos) A son of the god Heraces, named “he-who-wards off war.” He was one of the gate-keepers of Olympus.
APHRODITE One of the ruling twelve great Olympians. She was the goddess of love, beauty and procreation.
APOLLO (Apollon) One of the twelve great Olympian gods. He was the god of music, prophecy and healing.
ARES The great Olympian god of war and conflict.
ARIADNE The wife of the god Dionysos. She was granted a seat beside her husband amongst the gods of heavens.
ARTEMIS One of the twelve ruling Olympians, Artemis was the goddess of hunting, wild animals, childbirth and children.
ASCLEPIUS The god of medicine and healing. He was originally a mortal man who was destroyed by Zeus for the crime of restoring the dead to life. Afterwards he was welcomed into Olympus as a god.
ATHENA One of the twelve great Olympians, Athena was the goddess of war, fortifications and the defence of towns, and of good counsel and heroic endeavour. She was also a patron goddess of craftsmen, presiding over the arts of weaving, pottery, carpentry and the manufacture of oil.
BIA The goddess of force. She was one of four winged daemones who stood attendant on the throne of Zeus.
CALLIOPE (Kalliope) The leader of the nine Muses, and goddess of epic poetry. She also bestowed the gift of eloquence upon kings and princes.
CHARITES (Kharites) The goddesses of joy, pleasure, mirth, beauty, dancing, feasts and banquets. The three Graces were handmaidens of the goddesses Hera and Aphrodite, and attendants of Dionysus.
CLYMENE (Klymene) The Titan goddess of fame and renown. She was a handmaiden of the goddess Hera.
CLIO (Kleio) The Muse of historical writings.
CRATUS The god of strength and power. He was one of four winged Daemones who stood attendant by the throne of Zeus.
DEIMUS (Deimos) The god of fear. He was a son of Ares who accompanied his father on the battlefield.
DEMETER One of the twelve great Olympian gods, Demeter was the goddess of agriculture, from the ploughing of the earth, to the milling of grain for flour.
DIKE The goddess of justice who reported the misdemeanors of man to her father Zeus. She was one of the three Horae, goddesses of the seasons and heavenly order.
DIONE The Titaness mother of the goddess Aphrodite.
DIONYSUS (Dionysos) One of the twelve great Olympian gods. He was the god of wine and wild vegetation.
DIOSCURI (Dioskouroi) The gods of horsemen and gymnasia, patron gods of the Games, and protectors of sailors. Castor and Polydeuces, the Dioscuri twins, were originally a pair of mortal heroes.
EILEITHYIA The goddess of childbirth and the pains of labour. She was a daughter of Zeus and Hera.
EIRENE The goddess of peace. She was one of the three Horae, goddesses of the heavenly order and the seasons.
ENYO The goddess of war, a companion of Ares.
EPIONE The goddess of the soothing of pain. She was the wife of the medicine-god Asclepius.
ERATO The Muse of love poetry and mimicry.
ERIS The goddess of strife. She was a sister and companion of the god Ares.
EROS The god of love and sexual desire. He was the son and divine minion of the goddess Aphrodite.
EROTES The winged gods of love. These three (Himerus, Pothos and Eros) accompanied the goddess Aphrodite.
EUNOMIA The goddess of good order. An attendant of Aphrodite.
EUPHROSYNE The goddess of merriment and good cheer. She was one of the three sister Charites.
EURYNOME The goddess of flowery pastures. Eurynome was mother of the Charites and a handmaiden of the goddess Hera.
EUTERPE One of the nine Muses. She presided over lyric poetry.
GANYMEDES The cupbearer of Zeus who served nectar at the feasts of the gods. He was originally a Trojan prince whose beauty caught the eye of Zeus.
HARMONIA The goddess of harmony. As a daughter of Ares and Aphrodite she was both a goddess of war and of marriage. Harmonia represented unity and harmonious action.
HEBE The goddess of youth. She was a daughter of Zeus and Hera, and wife of Heracles.
HEPHAESTUS (Hephaistos) One of the twelve ruling gods of Olympus. Hephaestus was the craftsman’s god presiding over metalworking, building, sculpture, and artistry.
HERA The Queen of the gods and wife of Zeus. Hera was the goddess of women and the leader of the gods of marriage. She was also a goddess of the sky and stars.
HERACLES The greatest of the Greek heroes. Upon his death he was welcomed into Olympus, becoming the gatekeeper of heaven, and the god of strength and heroic endeavour and the averter of evil.
HERMES One of the twelve great Olympian gods. He was the herald of Zeus and the god of herds and flocks, the country arts, travel, trade, merchants, and thievery.
HESTIA The goddess of the hearth. With Zeus she was the leader of the gods of house and home, who also presided over the feast and the altar flame. Like Artemis and Athena she was a maiden goddess.
HIMERUS (Himeros) The god of sexual desire. The Erotes Himerus, Pothus and Eros were minions of the goddess Aphrodite.
HORAE The goddesses of the seasons and the ordering of heaven. Individually they presided over peace (Eirene), justice (Dike) and good order (Eunomia). The Horae were also guardians of the gates of heaven and handmaidens of the goddess Hera.
HYGEIA The goddess of good health, one of the many daughters of Asclepius.
HYMENAEUS (Hymenaios) The god of the weddings and the marriage hymn. He was a winged minion of the goddess Aphrodite, numbered among the gods of marriage.
IASO The goddess of cures and remedies, a daughter of the medicine-god Asclepius.
IRIS The goddess of the rainbow and messenger of the gods. She was the personal handmaiden of the goddess Hera.
LETO The Titan goddess of motherhood and womanly demure. She was the mother of the twin Olympians Apollo and Artemis.
LEUCIPPIDES (Leukippides) The goddess wives of the Dioscuri twins. They were originally mortal princesses who were carried up to heaven by the gods.
LITAE (Litai) The elderly goddesses of prayer who delivered the prayers of men to the gods in heaven.
MELPOMENE The goddess muse of tragedy plays.
MOIRAI (Moirae) The three goddesses of fate who spun the thread of human destiny.
MUSES (Mousai) Nine sister goddesses of music, song, dance and the other arts.
NIKE The goddess of victory. She was one of four winged siblings who guarded the throne of Zeus, the others being Bia, Cratus and Zelus. Nike was also Zeus’ personal charioteer.
OCEANIDES (Okeanides) Goddess and nymph daughters of the great earth-encircling river Oceanus.
PAEON (Paion) The physician of the Olympian gods. He was perhaps the same as Asclepius.
PANACEIA (Panakeia) The goddess of curatives, literally named “All-Cure.” She was one of the daughters of the medicine god Asclepius.
PEITHO The goddess of persuasion and seductive speech. She was a handmaiden of Aphrodite.
PHOBUS (Phobos) The god of panic. He was a minion of his father Ares.
POLYHYMNIA The goddess muse of religious hymns. She was also known as Polymnia
POSEIDON The King of the sea and one of the twelve ruling gods of Olympus. He was also the lord of rivers, lakes and other sources of fresh-water, and the god of horses and chariots. Unlike the other Olympian gods he had his residence in the sea rather than heaven, although he still attended all the councils and feasts of the heavenly gods.
POTHUS (Pothos) The god of sexual yearning. He was a winged Erote (Love-God) in the service of Aphrodite.
PSYCHE (Psykhe) The goddess of the soul and wife of the god Eros.
TERPSICHORE (Terpsikhore) The Muse of choral dance and song.
THALIA (1) (Thalia) The Muse of comedy drama and idyllic poetry.
THALIA (2) The goddess of banquets and festivities. She was one of the three Graces (Charites).
THEMIS The Titan goddess of divine law and order, custom and tradition. She was also a prophetic goddess, the leader of the assembly, and the personal councilor of Zeus.
THYONE The mother of the god Dionysus. Thyone is the divine name of Semele, who was brought to Olympus by her son subsequent to her death.
TYCHE (Tykhe) The goddess of good fortune. She was sometimes represented as a handmaiden of the goddess Hera.
URANIA (Ourania) The goddess Muse of astronomy and astronomical writings.
ZELUS (Zelos) The god of rivalry and competition. He was one of four winged Daemones who guarded the throne of Zeus.
ZEUS The great King of the Gods, ruler of Olympus and the Heavens, and leader of the Twelve. He was the god of the sky, weather, kings, fate, law and order.
Titan Gods and Goddesses
Before the Olympians, the Titans were the ancient gods and goddesses of Greece. In mythology, Zeus and some of the other Olympic gods were the children of the Titans.
ADANUS (Adanos) An alternate name for one of the elder Titan sons of Uranus.
ANDES An alternate name for one of the elder Titan sons of Uranus. He was perhaps the same as Hyperion.
ANCHIALE (Ankhiale) A younger Titan goddess who perhaps represented the warmth of fire. She was the wife of Hecaterus and the mother of the metal-working Dactyli.
ANYTUS (Anytos) One of the younger Titans or Curetes. Anytus was an attendant of the goddess Demeter who fostered her Arcadian daughter Despoine.
ASTERIA A younger Titan goddess whose name and genealogy suggest she presided over the night, stars and nocturnal prophecy. She was the mother of the goddess Hecate. After the fall of the Titans Asteria was pursued by Zeus but leapt into the sea to escape him where she was transformed into the island of Delos.
ASTRAEUS (Astraios) The younger Titan god of the stars, the winds, and the art of astrology. He was the father of the four directional winds and the five wandering stars (the Planeta) by his wife Eos, the goddess of the dawn.
ATLAS The younger Titan god of astronomy and the revolution of the heavenly constellations. He was arrested by Zeus and condemned to bear the heavens upon his shoulders. Homer suggests he was later released from this torment and appointed guardian of the pillars of heaven.
AURA The younger Titanis goddess of the breezes. She was a virgin huntress raped by the god Dionysos.
CLYMENE (Klymene) The younger Titanis goddess of fame and renown. She was the wife of Iapetos and mother of Prometheus.
COEUS (Koios) The Titan god of the intellect as his name would suggest. He was also known as Polus (the pole) and probably presided over the axis of heaven in the north around which the constellations revolve. Coeus was one of the four Titan brothers who conspired with Cronus in the ambush and castration of Uranus. At the end of the Titan War, he was confined by Zeus in the Tartarean pit. Coeus was sometimes described as leader of the Gigantes who rebelled against Zeus.
CRIUS (Kreios) The Titan god of the heavenly constellations and the measure of the year. He was probably associated with the constellation Aries, the heavenly ram (which the Greeks called Crius). Its spring rising marked the start of the new year, and the other constellations were said to follow in its wake. Crius was one of the four Titan brothers who conspired with Cronus in the castration of Uranus. He was later cast into the Tartarean pit by Zeus. Crius was sometimes named as a leader of the Gigantes who rebelled against the rule of Zeus.
CRONUS (Kronos) The King of the Titans and the god of destructive time – time which devours all. He led his brothers in the ambush and castration of their father Uranus, but was himself deposed and cast into the pit of Tartarus by his own son Zeus. Some say the old Titan was later released by Zeus and appointed King of Islands of the Blessed, home of the favored dead.
CURETES (Kouretes) A group of shield clashing Daemones or Titan gods who came to the aid of Rhea to act as guardians of her son Zeus. They were sometimes called Gigantes, and were probably the same as those which Hesiod described as being born from the castration of Uranus. Their sisters, the Meliae, were Zeus’ nurses.
DIONE A prophetic Titan goddess who presided over the Oracle at Dodona alongside Zeus. According to some she was the mother of the goddess Aphrodite.
EOS The younger Titan goddess of the dawn. She was the mother of the wandering stars (that is, the planets) and the four directional winds by the Titan Astraeus.
EPIMETHEUS The Titan god of afterthought. He was appointed with the task of creating the beasts of the earth, while his brother Prometheus was busy with the crafting of man. Epimetheus was tricked by Zeus into receiving Pandora, the first woman, and her jar of evils into the house of man.
EURYBIA A Titan goddess of the power of the sea. She was the wife of the Uranid Crius.
EURYNOME (1) The younger Titan goddess of earth’s flowery meadows. She was the mother of the three lovely Graces by Zeus.
EURYNOME (2) The younger Titan goddess of the earth’s meadows. She was the wife of the first Titan King Ophion. The couple were cast from heaven by Cronus and Rhea who wrestled them for the throne. This Eurynome may have been the same as Tethys.
GIGANTES The War of the Giants and its combatants the Gigantes were frequently confounded by the ancients with the Titans and the Titan War. Sometimes the Gigantes were represented as soldiers in the army of the Titan gods or as rebellious supporters of the deposed Titan Cronus.
HECATE (Hekate) The younger Titan goddess of ghosts, witchcraft and necromancy. She supported Zeus in the Titan war and so retained all of her privileges.
HELIUS (Helios) The Titan god of the sun who rode across the sky in a chariot drawn by four fiery, winged steeds. He was an ally of Zeus in the Titan War.
HOPLODAMUS (Hoplodamos) A Titan, Giant, or Curete who with his brothers came to the aid of the Titaness Rhea after Cronus learned of her deceptions surrounding the birth of Zeus.
HYPERION The Titan god of light and of the cycles of time measured by the lights of heaven – the sun, the moon, and the dawn. Hyperion was one of the four brother Titans who held Uranus fast while Cronus castrated him with the sickle. At the end of the Titan War he was cast into the pit of Tartarus by Zeus.
IAPETUS (Iapetos) The Titan god of mortality and the allotment of the mortal life-span. His sons Prometheus and Epimetheus were the creators of animals and men. Iapetus was one of the four brother-Titans who held Uranus fast while Cronus castrated him with the sickle. As punishment he was cast into the Tartarean pit by Zeus at the end of the Titan War.
LELANTOS The Titan god of the breezes of the air. His name means “the unnoticed” or “unseen one.”
LETO The younger Titan goddess of motherhood, light, and womanly demure. She was the mother of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis by Zeus.
MEGAMEDES Another name for the Titan Crios, meaning “the great lord.”
MELISSEUS The Titan or Curete god of honey. He was one of the protectors of the infant Zeus. His daughters were the god’s nurses.
MENOETIUS (Menoitios) The Titan god of violent anger and rash action as his name would suggest. Zeus blasted him into Erebus with a thunderbolt, where he became a bondsman of King Hades.
METIS The younger Titan goddess of good counsel. She was an ally of Zeus in the Titan War who fed Cronus an elixir which forced him to disgorge his five devoured children. Later she was swallowed whole by Zeus who had learned that a son born of their union was destined to depose him. Their only child was instead a daughter, Athena, who sprang fully grown from her father’s head.
MNEMOSYNE The elder Titanis goddess of memory, words, and language. She was the mother of the nine Muses by Zeus. Mnemosyne was also a prophetic goddess associated with the oracle of Trophonius in Lebadeia.
MUSES ELDER (Mousai) Three Titan goddesses of music and song. One of them, Mneme (Memory), was the mother of the nine younger Muses by Zeus.
MYLINUS (Mylinos) A Titan or Giant of the island of Crete who was destroyed by Zeus. His name means “he of the grinding millstone,” and he was perhaps the same as Cronus “time.”
OCEANUS (Okeanos) The Titan god of the earth-encircling, fresh-water river Oceanus. As a Titan god he presided over the rising and setting of the heavenly bodies : the sun, the moon, the stars, and the dawn. His ever-flowing waters, encircling the edges of the cosmos were associated with the neverending flow of time. Oceanus was the only one of the brother Uranides not to participate in the castration of their father Uranus. In the Titan War he remained neutral, giving his tacit support to Zeus.
OLYMBRUS (Olymbros) An alternate name for one of the elder Titan. He may be the same as Olympus the Cretan, mentor of Zeus.
OLYMPUS (Olympus) A Cretan Titan or Giant who mentored Zeus in his youth. He later roused his kin in an uprising against the god but was destroyed. Olympos (whose name may derive from a word meaning eternal time) was perhaps the same as Cronus or Olymbrus.
OPHION The eldest of the Titan gods whose brother Cronus wrestled him for the throne of heaven and cast him down into the Ocean stream. He was probably the same as Oceanus, or perhaps Uranus.
OSTASUS An alternative name for one of the Titan sons of Uranus.
PALLAS The Titan god of warcraft and the military campaign season. Some say Athena defeated him in battle and crafted her aegis-cape from his goatish skin.
PERSES The Titan god of destruction, and perhaps of summer droughts whose name means “the destroyer.” Like his daughter Hecate, he was probably associated with the dog star: the source of scorching heat of mid-summer.
PHOEBE (Phoibe) The elder Titan goddess of intellect and prophetic goddess of the great Oracle of Delphi. She was the grandmother of the god Apollo.
PHORCYS (Phorkys) The old man of the sea was sometimes named as one of the six Titan sons of Uranus.
POLUS (Polos) The Titan god of the axis of heaven (“polos”). He was usually called Coeus.
PROMETHEUS The Titan god of forethought and the creator and benefactor of man. He defied Zeus on several occasions, including tricking the gods out of the best share of the sacrificial meat, and stealing fire from heaven for the benefit of mankind. Zeus was furious and had Prometheus chained to Mount Caucasus where an eagle was set to devour his ever-regenerating liver. The Titan was eventually released from his tortures by Heracles.
RHEA (Rheia) The Queen of the Titans and goddess of female fertility and the mountain wilds. She saved her son Zeus from the maw of Cronus by substituting the child for a stone wrapped in swaddling cloth. The Titan had devoured her other five children, but these were later freed from his belly by Zeus.
SELENE The younger Titan goddess of the moon.
STYX The younger Titan goddess of oaths of allegiance and of the deadly, netherworld River Styx. She brought her children Victory, Rivalry, Force and Power to the side of Zeus at the start of the Titan War.
SYCEUS (Sykeus) A Titan or giant who fled from Zeus in the course of their war against the gods. He was hidden by his mother in the earth in the guise of a fig tree or its sprouting seed.
TETHYS The elder Titan goddess of the sources of fresh water. She was known as the great nurse (“tethis”) of life, and was sometimes equated with Thesis, the goddess “creation.” Tethys spawned the Rivers, Clouds and Springs.
THEIA The elder Titanis goddess of sight and the shining light of heaven (“aither”). She was the mother of Sun, Moon and Dawn. Her name is also connected with words meaning “foresight” and “prophecy”.
THEMIS The elder Titan goddess of the natural order, divine law and tradition. She was also a goddess of the oracles of Dodona and Delphi. By Zeus she was the mother of the goddess Fates and of the Seasons, and had a seat by his side on Olympus as advisor.
TITAN A Titan god who instructed mankind in the observation of the stars and establishment of the natural or farming calendar. He was perhaps the same as Atlas.
Greek Heroes and Heroines
Ancient Greek literature and mythology literally spanned hundreds of years and it was spread during the Hellenistic era by the Romans and other cultures so it continued long after the classical Greek period had passed. That means that there are too many Greek heroes and heroines to include them all. But here are some of the more famous names.
ACHILLES (Akhilleus) The great hero of the Trojan War, a son of Peleus and the Nereid Thetis.
ACTAEON (Aktaion) A hunter who spied the goddess Artemis bathing and was transformed into a stag and torn apart by his hounds.
ADONIS A handsome youth loved by the goddess Aphrodite who was killed by a boar whilst hunting.
AMYMONE A Greek princess who was seduced by the god Poseidon when she came to Lerna in search of water during a drought.
ANDROMEDA A beautiful Ethiopian princess who was chained to the rocks as a sacrifice for the sea monster ravaging the coast. She was rescued and married by the hero Perseus.
ANTIOPE A Boiotian princess seduced by the god Zeus in the guise of a satyr. She bore him twin sons, Amphion and Zethos.
ARACHNE (Arakhne) An arrogant weaver who challenged Athena to a contest and was turned into a spider.
ASCALABUS (Askalabos) An Attican boy who was transformed into a spotted lizard as punishment for mocking the goddess Demeter when she quaffed a drink to quench her thirst.
ASCLEPIUS (Asklepios) A physician from Thessalian Tricca who was so skilled in the art of medicine that he could restore the dead to life. However, since this was a crime against the natural order, Zeus destroyed him with a thunderbolt. He was later elevated to godhood.
ATALANTA An Arcadian huntress, nursed in the wilderness by a bear. She hunted the Calydonian boar, slew Centaurs, defeated Peleus in wrestling, and was married by Melanion who defeated her in a race.
BELLEROPHON (Bellerophontes) A Corinthian prince who captured the winged horse Pegasus and destroyed the monstrous Chimera which was ravaging the land of Lycia.
BUSIRIS (Bousiris) A king of Egypt who, in accordance with an oracle, sacrificed foreigners passing through his land to the gods. He was slain by Heracles when the hero was brought before the altar.
CALLISTO (Kallisto) An Arcadian princess and hunting companion of the goddess Artemis. She was loved by Zeus, but when her pregnancy was revealed was turned into a bear.
CECROPS (Kekrops) An early, earth-born king who founded the city of Athens. He had a snake’s tail in place of legs.
CORONIS (Koronis) A Triccan princess loved by the god Apollo. When she cheated on him with another man, his sister Artemis slew her with an arrow.
CYCNUS OF COLONAE (Kyknos Kolonaios) A champion of the Trojans in the first battles of the Trojan War. He was a son of Poseidon, invulnerable to weapons, slain by Achilles.
CYCNUS OF ITONUS (Kyknos Itonios) A bandit prince of Thessalian Phthiotis who fought with Heracles, but was slain and transformed into a swan by his father Ares.
CYCNUS OF LIGURIA (Kyknos Ligyrios) A Ligurian prince skilled in song. After the death of his close friend Phaethon, he mourned the boy with dirges on the banks of the river Eridanos, where he was transformed into a swan.
CYCNUS OF THYRIA (Kyknos Thyrios) An Aetolian youth who demanded many difficult labours of his love Phyllius. When the boy died carrying out one of these, Cycnus was stricken with remorse, faded away and was transformed into a swan.
CYPARISSUS (Kyparissos) A handsome youth of the island of Ceos loved by the god Apollo. He died of grief after accidentally killing his pet stag and was turned into a cypress tree.
CYRENE (Kyrene) A Thessalian princess and huntress. She was loved by the god Apollo who first spied her as she was wrestling a lion.
DANAE An Argive princess who was locked in a bronze cell by her father Acrisius. She was impregnated by Zeus in the form of a golden shower and bore him the hero Perseus.
DEUCALION (Deukalion) A King of Thessaly who survived the Great Deluge sent by Zeus to destroy mankind. He recreated the race after the devastation with the casting of stones.
DIOMEDES OF THRACE (Diomedes Thrakios) A king of the Thracian Bistones who fed his mares on human flesh. He was slain by Heracles who was sent to fetch the horses as one of his twelve labors.
ENDYMION A handsome shepherd prince loved by the moon goddess Selene. He was granted immortality and eternal youth in a state of slumber.
ERYSICHTHON (Erysikhthon) A Thessalian king who chopped down the sacred grove of the goddess Demeter and was afflicted with insatiable hunger.
ERYX A Sicilian king who stole the finest bull from the herd of Geryon, which Heracles was herding through the island. He challenged the hero to a wrestling match but was defeated and killed.
EUROPA A Phoenician princess abducted to the island of Crete by the god Zeus who carried her across the sea in the guise of a bull.
EVADNE (Euadne) An Arcadian princess loved by the god Apollo, who abandoned their son Iamus in a bed of violets where he was nursed by bees.
GANYMEDE A handsome Trojan prince who was carried off to heaven by the god Zeus in the guise of an eagle where he became the cupbearer of the gods.
GERYON (Geryones) A three-bodied man who kept a fabulous herd of red-skinned cattle on the island of Erythea. Heracles was sent to fetch these as one of his twelve labors and slew the king in his quest.
HERACLES The great hero of the Greeks who completed the twelve impossible Labors assigned him by King Eurystheus.
HIPPOLYTE A Queen of the Amazons, whose belt Heracles was sent to fetch as one of his twelve labors. She was killed by the hero in his quest.
HYACINTHUS (Hyakinthos) A handsome Spartan prince loved by the god Apollo. The boy was accidentally killed by a discus during a game of quoits and transformed by the god into the larkspur flower.
IAMUS (Iamos) A seer of the shrine of Olympia who was nursed by bees on a bed of violets.
IASION A Samothracian prince loved by the goddess Demeter who was struck dead by Zeus with a thunderbolt.
ICARIUS (Ikarios) An Attican man instructed in the making of wine by the god Dionysus. He was killed by local peasants who thought they had been poisoned by the new beverage.
IO An Argive princess loved by the god Zeus, who turned her into a heifer to hide her from the jealous gaze of Hera. The goddess set a gadfly to torment her and she wandered all the way to Egypt where she birthed her son.
IXION An impious Lapith king who sought to rape the goddess Hera but was fooled with a phantom cloud. He was chained to a fiery wheel for eternity as punishment.
JASON (Iason) A Thessalian hero who led the Argonauts in the quest for the Golden Fleece. In Colchis he won the witch Medea for his bride.
LEDA A queen of Sparta who was seduced by Zeus in the guise of swan. She laid an egg from which was hatched Helen, Clytemnestra, and the Dioscuri twins.
LYCAON (Lykaon) A king of Arcadia who slaughtered a child as a meal for Zeus and was transformed by the disgusted god into a wolf.
LYCURGUS (Lykourgos) A Thracian king who attacked the company of the god Dionysus driving him to seek refuge the sea. As punishment for the crime he was driven mad, murdering his wife and sons, before killing himself by chopping off his own legs.
MELEAGER (Meleagros) A prince of Calydon who led the heroes in the hunt for the giant Calydonian Boar.
MIDAS A king of Phrygia who kindly entertained Dionysus’ companion Silenus when he became separated from the god’s company and as reward was given a golden touch.
MINYADES Three princesses of Orchomenus who scorned the worship of the god Dionysus. They were driven mad and dismembered one of their sons before being transformed into owls and bats.
NARCISSUS (Narkissos) An arrogant Boeotian youth who spurned the attention of others and was cursed to fall in love with his own reflection. Fading away, he was transformed into a daffodil.
ODYSSEUS A hero of the Trojan War, whose fleet was blown off course in a storm on his return.
OEDIPUS (Oidipous) A Boeotian hero who destroyed the Sphinx and was crowned King of Thebes. Tragedy ensued when he unintentionally killed his father and married his mother.
ORION A handsome giant and hunter, companion of the goddess Artemis. Gaea sent a scorpion to destroy him when he boasted he would hunt down all the animals of the earth.
OTRERA A bride of the war god Ares and the mother of the Amazon nation.
PANDORA The first woman created by the gods. She delivered evil into the house of man when she opened a jar containing all of the harmful spirits.
PASIPHAE A Queen of Crete, the wife of King Minos. She fell in love with a bull and by means of a wooden cow, coupled with it and gave birth to the Minotaur.
PELOPS A king of Pisa and the Peloponesse.
PENTHESILEA (Penthesileia) An Amazon queen who led her troops to the Trojan War. She was slain by Achilles.
PERSEUS A hero commanded by King Polydectes of Seriphus to fetch the Gorgon’s head. He returned with the prize and turned the king to stone.
PHAETHON A child of Helius the sun, who persuaded his father to let him ride the solar chariot, but lost control and was blasted from the sky by Zeus.
PSYCHE (Psykhe) A princess loved by Eros, the god of love. He abandoned her when she tried to discover his true identity, but they were reconciled after she performed many hard labors in the service of the goddess Aphrodite.
PYGMALION A Cypriot king who fell in love with an ivory statue. In answer to his prayers the goddess Aphrodite gave it life.
PYRRHA The wife of King Deucalion, who with her husband survived the Great Deluge.
SALMONEUS A king of Salmonia (Pylos) who pretended to be Zeus and was struck dead by the god with a thunderbolt.
SISYPHUS (Sisyphos) A king of Corinth who tried to cheat death, but was forcibly carried off to the underworld and condemned to eternal torment.
TANTALUS (Tantalos) A king of Lydia who served his slaughtered son at a feast of the gods. As punishment he was condemned to eternal torture in Hades.
TENNES A king of the island of Tenedos who was killed by Akhilleus in a skirmish on the way to Troy.
THESEUS The great Athenian hero, slayer of the Minotaur and the bandits of the Isthmus.
TITHONUS (Tithonos) A handsome Trojan prince abducted by the goddess Eos for a husband. She requested immortality for her spouse but neglected to ask for eternal youth, and he shrivelled up with time.
TRIPTOLEMUS (Triptolemos) An agricultural hero of Eleusis who was given a winged chariot by the goddess Demeter to spread knowledge of agriculture throughout the world.
TYRO A Thessalian princess who was seduced by the god Poseidon in the guise of the river Enipeus. She bore him the sons Neleus and Pelias.
Greek Poets, Writers, and Stories
All discussion of Greek literature has to start with The Iliad and its author, Homer. This is the story of the Trojan War between the Greeks and the Trojans. The war lasted 10 years. It began when Paris, the brother of the Trojan King, met Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world and the wife of King Menelaus of Sparta, while staying as a guest at Menelaus’s home. Paris instantly fell in love with Helen. He broke the Greek laws regarding respecting your host and abducted Helen – who apparently went with him very willingly. They returned to Troy which was, at that time, a powerful, beautiful city (located in Turkey) compared to the rough, militaristic Greek city-states. (The Iliad was probably first written down in the 8th century BC, though it may have existed as part of an oral tradition for much longer. It’s been estimated that it refers to a war that took place during the Bronze age, around the 12 century BC https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trojan_War.) Menelaus’s brother was Agamemnon, a strong military leader. Agamemnon was also married to Clytemnestra, Helen’s sister. Agamemnon raised an army of Greek city-states and they declared war on Troy. Naturally, various gods and goddesses became involved on each side. The great Trojan walls protected the city for 10 years but Troy finally fell by trickery – everyone has heard of the Trojan horse. The royal family of Troy was killed or taken captive and the city was destroyed. It’s theorized that The Iliad tells, in epic form, the story of how the Greeks expanded during the Bronze age from small tribes to the advanced culture they became.
Homer’s tale is a timeless epic, full of individual accounts of the heroes on both sides of the conflict. There are good translations of the story in English. The Iliad is followed by The Odyssey, also by Homer. It tells the story of Odysseus, one of the Greek leaders, and his exciting 10-year journey home after the fall of Troy. This story also has many wonderful individual tales.
If you are interested in Greek mythological stories, one of the best sources is The Metamorphoses by Ovid. Ovid was a Roman but The Metamorphoses is dedicated to the myths. Some of the characters have Roman names (Jupiter instead of Zeus) but they are usually close to their Greek names. Ovid’s writing style is very enjoyable even after hundreds of years.
The Greeks invented many kinds of literature. Some of their great writers, storytellers, and philosophers include:
Greece today is a modern democracy. It’s extremely popular as a tourist destination. Some current Greek names would make great names for pets. The most popular names in Greece today are:
- Ioannis/Yiannis (John)
- Vassiliki/Vaso (a girl’s name)