God of the Sky  (Zoos) Distinguishing Features: Pinstriped suit, neatly trimmed grey beard, stormy eyes and a very large, dangerous lightning bolt. Now: On stormy days, he can be found brooding in his throne room in Mount Olympus, over the Empire State Building in New York. Sometimes he travels the world in disguise, so be nice to everyone! You never know when the next person you meet might be packing the master bolt. Then: In the old days, Zeus ruled over his unruly family of Olympians while they bickered and fought and got jealous of each other. Not much different than today, really. Zeus always had an eye for beautiful women, which often got him in trouble with his wife, Hera. A less-than-stellar father figure, Zeus once tossed Hera’s son Hephaestus off the top of Mount Olympus because the baby was too ugly. Symbol:


Roman name: Jupiter


goddess of Marriage, Mothers and Families (Hair’-ah) Distinguishing Features: Usually prefers classic Greek dresses and a simple silver crown, though she can blend in as needed. She usually appears as a beautiful older woman, and enjoys turning into birds when she needs to hide or spy. Now: She hangs out where family life is strongest: the car pool line at school, weekend soccer games, and birthday parties. That strange woman you saw at Laser Quest, serving pizza and singing Happy Birthday? Yes, that was probably her. As the goddess of family, Hera will be happy to pack your lunch or comb your hair or give you a ride to school, but don’t talk back to her. When Hera is mad, she doesn’t just ground you. She’s likely to smash you into the ground. Then: It’s tough to be the goddess of marriage in a family where everyone cheats on everybody. Hera has no patience with demigods, the children of godly affairs. She was the enemy of Heracles and many others, though she did have a soft spot for mortal heroes, like Jason. If an old woman asks you to carry her piggyback across a river, do it. You might win the favor of a goddess! Symbol:

pomegranate, cow (the motherly animal – no comments, please!), peacock


God of the Sea (Po-sigh’-dun) - BEST SERIOUSLY Distinguishing Features: Hawaiian shirt, shorts, flip flops, and a three-pointed trident. Now: Poseidon walks the beaches of Florida, occasionally stopping to chat with fishermen or take pictures for tourists. If he’s in a bad mood, he stirs up a hurricane. Then: Poseidon was always a moody guy. On his good days, he did cool stuff like create horses out of sea foam. On his bad days, he caused minor problems like destroying cities with earthquakes or sinking entire fleets of ships. But hey, a god has the right to throw a temper tantrum, doesn’t he? Symbol:

Three-pointed trident

Roman name: Neptune


God of War (Air’-eez) Distinguishing Features: Biker leathers, Harley Davidson, sunglasses and a 
stinking attitude. Now: Can be found riding his Harley around the suburbs of LA. One of those 
gods who could pick a fight in an empty room. Then: Back in the day, this son of Zeus and Hera used to be inseparable from
 his shield and helmet. Fought on the side of the Trojans during the war of
 Troy, but, frankly, has been involved in every minor skirmish since 
Goldilocks told the three bears that their beds were a little uncomfy. Symbol:

A bloody spear, a wild boar (the animal with the nastiest attitude)

Roman name: Mars


oddess of Wisdom, War, and Useful Arts (Ah-thee’-nah) Distinguishing Features: Dark hair, striking grey eyes, casual yet fashionable clothes (except when she’s going into battle; then it’s full body armor). Athena is always accompanied by at least one owl, her sacred (and fortunately housebroken) animal. Now: You’re likely to spot Athena at an American university, sitting in on lectures about military history or technology. She favors people who invent useful things, and will sometimes appear to reward them with magical gifts or bits of useful advice (like next week’s lottery numbers). So start working on that revolutionary new bread slicer! Then: Athena was one of the most active goddesses in human affairs. She helped out Odysseus, sponsored the entire city of Athens and made sure the Greeks won the Trojan War. On the downside, she’s proud and has a big temper. Just ask Arachne, who got turned into a spider for daring to compare her weaving skills to Athena’s. So whatever you do, DO NOT claim that you fix toilets better than Athena. There’s no telling what she’ll turn you into. Symbol:

The owl

Roman name: Minerva


God of archery, music, poetry, prophecy, medicine, and later on the god of the sun. (Ah-paul’-oh) Distinguishing Features: You’ve got to dig the shades. Apollo likes to look hot, and I don’t mean temperature. He typically looks like a movie star with the fashionably shabby clothes, the laid back attitude, the brilliant smile, and the Ray Ban sunglasses. His sun chariot morphs into a fine Maserati. Now: Do NOT ask him to recite his poetry. Seriously. You can find Apollo cruising down Sunset Avenue looking cool, or hanging out at parties chatting with writers or rock stars. He likes to be the center of attention wherever he goes. He’s a nice enough guy, as long as you agree that he’s the coolest person on earth. Just don’t get him angry, or he can get a little hot under the collar. Then: Apollo was into everything, from music to medicine, probably because he thought he was better at everything than anyone else. When the old sun god Helios retired, Apollo took over that job too, though he was mostly thought of as the god of poetry and music. Apollo didn’t take criticism well. One time he asked King Midas to judge a contest between him and Pan, and when Midas decided Pan’s music was better, Apollo gave the king donkey ears. The lesson: if someone asks your opinion, think carefully before you answer. Symbol:

the lyre, laurel wreath

Roman name: Apollo (you can't improve on perfection, baby!)


God of blacksmiths and fire (Huh-fess’-tus) Distinguishing Features: Ugly face, scraggly beard, massive powerful hands. Usually wears a mechanic’s uniform with his name embroidered on the pocket so he doesn’t forget who he is. Now: The god likes to hang out in his workshop fixing cars and building inventions. He’s not very good with people, but he can do anything with machines. You want a robot to do your homework, or a life-sized metal giant to stomp on your enemies. Hephaestus can have one ready in a matter of hours. Then: Poor Hephaestus was ugly from birth, but he didn’t get any prettier when his parents chucked him down the side of Mount Olympus, making him a cripple forever after. He’s not much to look at, but he’s clever with his hands. The Olympians made Aphrodite marry him, thinking that it would settle her down, but that didn’t work out too well. Hephaestus is a jealous husband, always on the lookout for that scoundrel Ares and anyone else who might want to flirt with his wife (which is basically every man with a pulse). Symbol:

The anvil and hammer

Roman name: Vulcan (no Star Trek jokes, please)


Goddess of Love and Beauty (Ă-fro-dī’-tee) Distinguishing Features: She’s really, really pretty. It’s hard to be more specific, because Aphrodite can change her appearance to become whatever you find most beautiful. Now: She’s more beautiful than Angelina Jolie. She can often be found shopping on Fifth Avenue or trying on new clothes during Fashion Week in New York. She loves parties, and can’t get enough of gossip. If that sounds like a lot of people you know, you’re probably right. Any of them might be Aphrodite in disguise. Then: She’s more beautiful than Helen of Troy. Aphrodite wasn’t afraid to use her beauty to get what she wanted, either. She promised Prince Paris the most beautiful mortal woman in the world if he judged Aphrodite the fairest goddess in a contest, and Paris readily agreed. When he got Helen for his wife, it started the Trojan War and thousands died, but hey, at least Aphrodite got what she wanted! Symbol:

the dove, which is odd, since it’s a symbol of peace and Aphrodite started a war, but oh well. Looks are everything.

Roman name: Venus


God of the Roadways, Travelers, Merchants and Thieves (Her’-meez)

  • Distinguishing Features: Jogger’s clothes and winged athletic shoes, a cell phone that turns into the caduceus, his symbol of power – a winged staff with two snakes, George and Martha, entwined around it.

Now: Hermes is a hard person to find, because he’s always on the run. When he’s not delivering messages for the gods, he’s running a telecommunications company, an express delivery service, and every other type of business you can imagine that involves travel. Did you have a question about his activities as god of thieves? Leave a message. He’ll get back to you in a few millennia. Then: Hermes got started young as a troublemaker. When he was one day old, he sneaked out of his crib and stole some cattle from his brother Apollo. Apollo probably would’ve blasted the young tyke to bits, but fortunately Hermes appeased him with a new musical instrument he created called the lyre. Apollo liked it so much he forgot all about the cows. The lyre made Apollo very popular with the ladies, which was more than he could say about the cattle. Symbol:

the caduceus

Roman name: Mercury


God of Wine (Dī-oh-nī’-sus)Distinguishing Features: Leopard-skin shirt, walking shorts, purple socks and sandals, the general pasty demeanor of someone who has been up partying much too late.Now: Dionysus has been sentenced to one hundred years of “rehab” as director of Camp Half-Blood. The only thing the god of wine can drink these days is Diet Coke, which doesn’t make him happy. He can usually be found playing pinochle with a group of terrified satyrs on the front porch of the Big House. If you want to join the game, be prepared to bet large.

  • Then: Dionysus invented wine, which so impressed his father Zeus that he promoted Dionysus to god. The guy who invented prune juice, by contrast, got sentenced to the Fields of Punishment. Dionysus mostly spent his time partying it up in Ancient Greece, but once a crew of sailors tried to kill him, thinking the god was too incapacitated to fight back. Dionysus turned them into dolphins and sent them over the side. The moral of this story: Do not mess with a god, even a drunk one.

Symbol:the leopard, the grape vine

Roman name: Bacchus


  • God of the Underworld (Hay’-deez)

Distinguishing Features: Evil smile, helm of darkness (which makes him invisible, so you can’t see the evil smile), black robes sewn from the souls of the damned. He sits on a throne of bones. Now: Hades rarely leaves his obsidian palace in the Underworld, probably because of traffic congestion on the Fields of Asphodel freeway. He oversees a booming population among the dead and has all sorts of employment trouble with his ghouls and specters. This keeps him in a foul mood most of the time. Then: Hades is best known for the romantic way he won his wife, Persephone. He kidnapped her. Really, though, how would you like to marry someone who lives in a dark cave filled with zombies all year round? Symbol:the helm of darkness

Roman name: Pluto


Goddess of the rainbow, messenger of the gods (Eye-ris)

Distinguishing features: Iris appears as a beautiful maiden with wings (rainbow-colored, naturally) carrying the symbolic staff of a herald like Hermes. When she’s not running around delivering messages, she serves nectar to Zeus and Hera in the throne room on Olympus, which is not as exciting but does let her rest her wings.

Now: Iris is constantly in demand to deliver Iris-messages for demigods. While this brings her a lot of supplemental income, she does wish Zeus would let her upgrade her network to 4G, since her coverage is spotty in many metropolitan areas.

Then: Iris was mostly the handmaiden to Hera. She never got much attention in the old myths, but everyone was always happy to see her. Much like a rainbow, she would show up where you least expected her and then disappear quietly. The colorful part of the eye, the Iris, is named after her. Not much of a tribute, but better than nothing, I guess.

Roman name: Iris or Arcus

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