Greek Pantheon Picture

Twelve Olympians, also known as the Dodekatheon (Greek: Δωδεκάθεον < δώδεκα,[1][2] dōdeka, "twelve"+ θεοί, theoi, "gods"), in Greek mythology, were the principal deities of the Greek pantheon, residing atop Mount Olympus. The Olympians gained their supremacy in a war of gods in which Zeus led his siblings to victory over the Titans.

The first ancient reference of religious ceremonies for them is found in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes. The Greek cult of the Twelve Olympians can be traced to the 6th century BC Athens and probably has no precedent in the Mycenaean period. The altar to the Twelve Olympians at Athens is usually dated to the archonship of the younger Pesistratos, in 522/521 BC. The concept of the "Twelve Gods" is older than any of our Greek or Roman sources, and is likely of Anatolian origin.[3] There seems to have been a great deal of fluidity when it came to who was counted among their number in antiquity.[4]

The classical scheme of the Twelve Olympians (the Canonical Twelve of art and poetry) comprises the following gods:

Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Hestia, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus and Hermes and later on Dionysus who took the place of Hestia

Hades (Roman: Pluto) was not generally included in this list. He did not have a seat in the pantheon because he spent almost all of his time in the underworld, in which he was the king. The respective Roman scheme as given by Ennius gives the Roman equivalents of these Greek gods,[5] but replaces Dionysus (Bacchus) with Hestia (Vesta) so as to list six gods and six goddesses.
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