Located on the border between Thessaly and Macedonia and standing with its highest peak Mytikas at almost 10,000 feet (2,918 m), Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece and one of its most picturesque sites.
Due to its majesty, remoteness, and beauty, it was only natural for the Ancient Greeks to believe that it is also the home of their most important gods since very early times. It was from Olympus that the twelve principal gods – fittingly referred to as the Olympians – presided over the world.
These were five of the children of Cronus and Rhea (Zeus, Poseidon, Hera, Demeter, and Hestia; Hades resided in the Underworld), two of the children of Zeus and Hera (Ares and Hephaestus), four deities who Zeus fathered out of wedlock (Hermes, Hephaestus, Artemis, Apollo) and Aphrodite, the goddess of love born when Uranus’s severed genitals fell into the sea. At a later date, some say that Hestia surrendered her place to Dionysus.
At Olympus, the gods feasted on ambrosia and drank nectar, and reveled to the tunes of Apollo’s lyre; of course, from time to time, they also quarreled between themselves, mostly over the fortunes of mortal beings.
In time, Mount Olympus stopped referring to the actual mountain and became a much more mythical concept, often signifying the unreachable idyllic heaven located above the peaks themselves.
Mount Olympus was considered the home of the gods at least since the time of Homer – and you can find numerous references to this in the “Iliad,” such as, for example, here, here, here, and here. In the tenth book of his “Aeneid,” Virgil vividly describes a divine assembly at Mount Olympus.
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