Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


THIS ALL STARTED with Maureen Dowd’s observations about the immutability of human nature. I claim that even the Greek gods are human, often exceedingly so. Today in Part 2 we continue with tidbits concerning the Twelve Olympians, the chief deities of ancient Greece.

Poseidon/Neptune is the god of seas, water, storms, hurricanes, and horses. Why horses? He is Zeus’s brother and, like most male Greek gods, he fools around a lot.

Poseidon, at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Image from Greek Gods & Goddesses.

According to Greek Gods & Goddesses, Poseidon “is considered one of the most bad-tempered, moody, and greedy Olympian gods. He was known to be vengeful when insulted.”

High praise indeed.

Demeter/Ceres is goddess of the harvest, fertility, agriculture, nature, and the seasons. She’s the lover of Zeus and Poseidon. Her symbols include the poppy, wheat, and the pig.

Athena/Minerva is the goddess of wisdom, handicraft, and warfare. An odd mix, but it helps to know that she rose from her father’s head fully grown and in full battle armor.

This Netflix series is getting better and better.

Apollo/Apollon is the god of a whole raft of things, including light, philosophy, truth, music, medicine, and the plague. You can’t have everything, can you? He’s twin brother of Artemis.

Apollo of the Belvedere. Photo by Livioandronico2013.

Artemis/Diana, Apollo’s twin sister, has an odd conglomeration of godly responsibilities: the hunt, virginity, childbirth, and, as she’s Apollo’s sister, also the plague.

Diana of Versailles. c. 1st-2nd centuries A.D.

Ares/Mars is the god of war, violence, bloodshed, and manly virtues. (Guess which gender made this up.) He is despised by all the other gods except Aphrodite, but wait ’til you hear about her birth.

Aphrodite/Venus is the goddess of, among other things, love, passion, beauty, and desire. Wikipedia observes that she was born “of Uranus, Zeus’s grandfather, after Cronus threw his castrated genitals into the sea.”

I’m not sure how Netflix will handle this. But her name does give us the term “aphrodisiac” and its Roman version gives us “venereal.”

Aphrodite of the Syracuse type. Second-century A.D. Roman copy of 4th-century B.C. Greek original; neck, head, and left arm are restorations by Antonio Canova.

Hephaestus/Vulcan is god of the forge, craftsmanship, invention, fire, and volcanos. His principal godly attribute is that he is rarely ever licentious.

Dionysus/Bacchus makes many Twelve Olympian lists for celebrating, among other things, the grape vine, festivity, ecstasy, and madness. He’s the only Olympian with a mortal parent, the Theban princess Semele.

Hermes/Mercury wears several hats, including the god of travel, communication, eloquence, diplomacy, and thieves.

Hermes Ingenui. Roman copy of 2nd century B.C. after 5th-century B.C. Greek original. Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen.

Along with the Jowett Jupiter and various Apollos, there’s a car named after this Olympian. There may be others; akin to Zeus’s birthing Athena, this is off the top of my head. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2019

4 comments on “UNGODLY GODS PART 2

  1. Mark
    November 7, 2019

    Dennis Is great! Loved and miss his R&T Tech Tidbits Columns. Hated that “they” turned R&T into a C&D clone. Thanks for sustaining your entertaining prose!

    • simanaitissays
      November 7, 2019

      Thanks sincerely, Mark, for your kind words. I’m having a ball with the website.

  2. oregoncoaster
    November 7, 2019

    Hi Dennis
    You’re keeping me up late again. Don’t forget about the Belgian Minerva. W.C. Fields had one. “About the size of a switch engine” – quote from one of his movies.
    Again, many thanks for the great and diverse blog.

  3. oregoncoaster5
    November 7, 2019

    Hi Dennis
    You’re keeping me up late again.
    Don’t forget about the Belgian Minerva. W.C. Fields had one. “About the size of a switch engine” – from one of his movies.
    Thanks again for the great and diverse blog.

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