The Olympians – for the most part, Twelve

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Dionysos (greek god of wine and one of twelve Olympians) discovered Ariadne (daughter of King Minos of Crete) on Naxos and wedded her. As a gift he gave her crown which was set in the heavens as the constellation (known also as Corona Borealis).

The Olympians were the twelve most important gods of ancient Greece pantheon who lived on Mount Olympus. Not to be confused with Olympia, Mount Olympus was the highest mountain in Greece at the border of Thessaly and Macedonia.

The Olympians are Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Aphrodite, Hermes, Demeter, Dionysus, Hephaestus, and Ares. The number of Olympic gods was mostly fixed at twelve, but variations were permissible.

Hades and Persephone were sometimes included as part of the twelve Olympians (primarily due to the influence of the Eleusinian Mysteries), although in general Hades was excluded, because he resided permanently in the underworld and never visited Olympus

Greek myth tends to be more important, I think, to Americans than Canadians. And ancient Greek architecture also plays a more important role in the US.

Myself, I didn’t really come to study the Greeks until my mid-twenties.² At that time, the gods served as so-called archetypes in my quest for self-knowledge. I was studying Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, both of whom reinterpret myth to fit within their respective theoretical frameworks. Freud tends to be more psychoanalytic while Jung extends the reach of psychology to the borders of the metaphysical. In my view, it is inadequate to emphasize one perspective without the other.³

English: Group photo in front of Clark Univers...
Group photo in front of Clark University Sigmund Freud, G. Stanley Hall, Carl Jung; Back row: Abraham A. Brill, Ernest Jones, Sándor Ferenczi. Photo taken for Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts publication. Česky: Foto z Clarkovy univerzity roku 1909. Dole (zleva) Sigmund Freud, G. Stanley Hall, Carl Jung, nahoře (zleva) Abraham A. Brill, Ernest Jones, Sándor Ferenczi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


² One of the very first reference books I bought was Zimmerman’s very handy Dictionary of Classical Mythology, which I still have. Little did I know that I was embarking on a career of buying reference books that would only slow down with the growth of Wikipedia!

³ Not to say that these two innovators capture everything. I think they both fall a bit short when it comes to theological ideas like karma transfer and intercession, especially Freud.

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