There are a lot of stories surrounding the Greek Gods. We covered few stories of Zeus, Poseidon and Hades in an earlier post.
This post is all about interesting stories of Apollo, Ares, Hephaestus and Hermes. They are all sons of Zeus but have very different personalities. Their stories reflect the same. So let’s start with them without wasting more time.
Apollo is the sun god. Son of Zeus and Leto, his birth was not an easy one for Leto. Despite all his childhood troubles, he grew up to be the most good looking god on Mount Olympus. He was admired by mortals and immortals alike. He had a lot of lovers. However, not everyone was charmed by his dashing looks or godly personality.
He had many unsuccessful love interests. One of them was Daphne. She was a water nymph whose father was the river god Peneus himself. Daphne vowed to be an eternal virgin and had rejected every single one of her suitors. Unfortunately for her though she was noticed by Apollo. The sun god instantly fell in love with Daphne and he started his pursuit for her.
Despite Daphne’s constant rejections Apollo continued to chase her. Poor Daphne did everything to avoid Apollo but it’s not so easy to get rid of a god. So she begged her father to help her.
Seeing her daughter in such distress, her father turned her into a laurel tree. This finally stopped Apollo. But his desire for Daphne was so deep that he declared that he would always be associated with the laurel tree. Laurel tree branches and leaves are always shown in pictures or statues of Apollo.
Marpissa was a mortal princess. She was so beautiful that men and gods alike desired her. She had many suitors but her father didn’t think any of them were good enough for his daughter. So he declared that anyone who defeated him a chariot race would be considered a good match for his daughter Marpissa.
Many suitors came and tried their luck. None of them won. Then came a dashing prince Ida who was, in fact, a son of Poseidon. He disguised himself and went to meet Marpissa in her chambers late at night. She was very impressed by him. But she knew that her father won’t let her marry Ida. So the couple in love decided that the best course of action would be to elope and that’s exactly what they did.
Next morning when Marissa’s father found that her daughter was missing he started chasing the couple. But he soon realized that he won’t be able to catch up to them and hence he gave up the chase.
What Marpissa and Ida didn’t know was the fact that Apollo too was in love with the mortal maiden and wanted to marry her. He too was chasing the couple. Apollo being the sun god soon caught up to them. A fierce fight started between Ida and Apollo. Neither backed down and both were fearsome warriors. Their fight was so fierce that Zeus had to come and stop them.
Zeus then asked Marpissa who she wanted to marry. She chooses Ida and told Apollo that she was a mortal who would grow old and die. Apollo being a god was immortal. If she married Apollo, he would stop loving her when she grew old. But Ida would grow old with her. Apollo agreed with her reasoning and left the couple alone.
Ares is the god of war. He is the son of Zeus and Hera. Soon after he was born, two giants – Otus and Ephialtes, tried to sneak into Mouton Olympus and kidnap Hera and Artemis. They wanted to kidnap and marry the goddesses.
When they reached Ares tried to stop them. However, the giants managed to lock Ares in an Urn and hid the Urn on the island of Naxos. When the giants attacked Mount Olympus, Artemis decided to teach them a lesson. She took the form of a beautiful stag and ran between the giants. Now, both the giants were fond of hunting and were mesmerized by the stag.
Both the giants threw their spears at the stag but both missed. Instead, the spears stuck each other and both the giants died.
Ares was trapped in the Urn for almost thirteen months before he could be rescued by Hermes. Not a good childhood for anyone.
Ares daughter Alcippe didn’t have any better luck herself. Alcippe was raped by Halirrhothius – son of Poseidon. In rage Ares killed Halirrhothius. This led to a major dispute between the gods.
Poseidon assembled a tribunal of Olympian Gods to judge Ares for the murder he committed. The trial took place on a hill in Athens. Even today that hill is called Areopagus which translated to ‘Hill of Ares’.
Ares was acquitted by the tribunal of gods. Everyone understood why he committed this murder. However, he was still sent away to work as a slave for one year to do penance for the murder.
Hephaestus is the god of forges and fire. In fact, he is the one who made most of the palaces and weapons for other gods. He is the son of Zeus and Hera. Hephaestus was married to Aphrodite the goddess of love and beauty itself.
Hephaestus was not particularly good looking and had trouble walking. Other gods often made fun of him. As a result, he spent most of his time in his forge building spectacular stuff.
Aphrodite started having numerous affairs. One of her prominent lovers was Ares. They would wait for Hephaestus to go to his forge and then Ares would come and spend the night with Aphrodite in her chambers. Ares would leave before sunrise.
One morning Ares got delayed and was spotted by Helios – the sun god. Helios informed Hephaestus who got enraged. Hephaestus wanted revenge but more than that he wanted to humiliate like he had been humiliated so many times.
So, he used his special tools and made a net so fine that it was invisible but so strong that no one could escape it. He then set the net on his bed as a trap. That night when Ares and Aphrodite were in the bed, the net trapped them. No matter what they did, they could not take to net off.
In the morning Hephaestus called other Olympian gods and they all made fun of Aphrodite and Ares. After this incident, the lovers went their separate ways.
Prometheus and Pandora
We all know that it was Prometheus who stole fire from the gods and gave it to humans. Prometheus stole that fire from Hephaestus forge. After all, Hephaestus was the god of fire as well. After the theft Zeus was angry but Hephaestus was mad too. In fact, he designed the chains that were used to capture Prometheus.
Hephaestus and Zeus were not done by just punishing Prometheus. They wanted to punish mankind as well. So, Hephaestus made a beautiful woman Pandora and brought her to life. The other Olympian gods blessed her with many gifts as well. Zeus gave her a box and told her never to open it and then she was sent to the mortal world.
Zeus knew that Pandora would open the box despite the warning or rather because of the warning. I mean who wouldn’t open a box after being specifically warned against it.
Anyways, Pandora opened the box and unleashed all the evils and diseases and everything vile into the world. Thus Zeus and Hephaestus managed to punish mankind.
Hermes is the god of travels. He is always depicted as gods messenger wearing winged sandals and flying everywhere. He is also the patron god of thieves along with the travellers.
Hermes is the son of Zeus and Maia. When he was born, Maia wrapped him up in baby swaddle and then went to sleep. After all, she was tired after the childbirth. Hermes, however, was a god and unlike any other newborn. He managed to get out of the swaddle and went out to have an adventure of his own.
Hermes ended up where Apollo kept his sacred cattle. Hermes stole Apollo’s cows and hid them in a cave. He then found a tortoise outside the cave and took its shell. Then he killed two cows and used their insides to make strings. Using the tortoiseshell and cow strings, he made the very first lyre.
Hermes then returned to his mother before she woke up. Soon Apollo realized that his cows were stolen and he looked for them everywhere. The locals told him that they saw a small child taking the cows but they didn’t know whereas they left no footprints.
Apollo understood that the thief was someone with divine powers. He checked every god and soon reached Maia. She didn’t know anything about the theft. As far as she knew her baby was still in the swaddle. While Apollo and Maia argued, Hermes started playing the lyre he made from Apollo’s cows.
While the lyre proved that Hermes stole the cows, it also mesmerized Apollo. Hermes agreed to give the lyre to Apollo in exchange for his cattle and Apollo happily agreed.
Hermes did show his affection for travel and stealing from a very young age.