Greek-Roman Mythology Discussion Board 2

This assignment consisted of picking out favorite and least favorite of the Greek Pantheon, discussion them, and justifying why picked them.

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Of the main Olympian Pantheon my least favorite of the gods and goddesses is Zeus the King of the Heavens, divine patron of concepts such as general hospitality, and the typical regulator of social order and weather. Zeus, usurper of his father Cronus who himself was the usurper of his father Uranus, was the last and most successful leading deity of the Greco-Roman pantheon; among Zeus’ most recognized accomplishments are his successful conquest of the titans, by imprisoning them within Tartarus, and his successful vanquish of Typhon that solidified his right to rule. Compared to his predecessors Zeus’ reign was substantially tamer, though without its own share of problems. Zeus sired numerous children, some gods themselves and others mortals, as a result of his promiscuous and adulterous tendencies that did not discriminate god from mortal, kin from not kin, or even male from female. Zeus’ large brood, or at least the divine members of his brood, contribute greatly to his success over his predecessors despite the occasional conspiracy to thwart his will; his fabled mortal spawn, as well as the mortal spawn of other divine figures from the time, were thought to have blessed the gene pool of the ancient world which lead to many individuals of noble stature to claim lineage from the mortal offspring of the gods.

Conversely my favorite of the Pantheon gods and goddesses is Hades, Zeus’ brother who was assigned ruler of the underworld, which is often also called Hades. Very little is mentioned of Hades aside from his implied participation in the conquest of the titans and his minute appearances in various myths. As ruler of the underworld, the inevitable destination of all mortal souls, Hades receives an unfair amount of negativity for what his position entails; it is never explicitly stated that Hades was the cause of natural death, the true source of fear that comes from the concept of the underworld, and it is an oddity that this part of the otherwise revered cycle of life, death, and rebirth received explicit negative attention. Little is ever written of Hades; the few times he is mentioned after the usurping of Cronus and the titans he merely defends the rules of his dominion, which happened to have an explicit rule against leaving, such as the case when heroes travel into his domain as part of their trials and the case of Persephone. In fact the myth involving Persephone and Demeter features the most action by Hades out of all the myths he features in; in this story Hades abducts Persephone and makes her his wife, her mother Demeter seeks her out, which causes issues with the seasons, and intervention by Zeus is required to resolve the situation. Compared to his siblings and other kin Hades seems to be less promiscuous, though since little myth features Hades this could be a skewed comparison.

Hades is my favorite of the Olympians specifically because he is an underdog; with the highest praised of the gods typically displayed a disproportionate amount of negative traits compared to the positive aspects they bring to the table. In the case of Hades the very few instances we do hear of him involve him simply doing his job of ruling the underworld; his single instance of abduction and rape compared to his brothers’ hundreds of unsuspecting lovers is offset by the part where he wanted her as a wife and not a one night stand, and he wasn’t in the form of an animal so that is loads better generally speaking for the culture. Hades job, while not glamorous, was a necessity of nature; nobody seemed to bat an eye to Zeus’ and Poseidon’s wanton destruction that actually caused deaths whereas Hades was like a custodian to their messes, all else considering Hades had the least amount of reasons to dislike him in my book whereas Zeus, the either direct or indirect source of a good chunk of all the Greek-Roman myths, has many qualities that make him quite unlikeable. Zeus’ promiscuity and, in the early years of his rule, temper were among the most prominent of his negative qualities; even with the understanding that religious beliefs are reflective of the society they are practiced in his behaviors and overall inability to be rightfully called out on those behaviors, as he was at the peak of the power ladder, made for a very unlikeable god indeed.

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