The Net Pantheary

The Greco-Roman Pantheon

I. Introduction

To begin with, realize that the Greco-Roman Pantheon is more than one with passing familiarity with Earth's classical mythology might suppose it to be. It is, in fact, extremely large and diverse, with scattered deities offered service in only small corners, and overlapping (and sometimes conflicting) deities and myths. This material attempts to cultivate both sides, the Grecian and the Roman, in a manner that is compatible with the milieu of AErth and Mythus game-play. Therefore, the reader should bear in mind throughout that there will be subtle (and occasionally major) differences between the Greco-Roman gods of AErth and those of Earth's Ancient Greece and Rome.

For the moment, it will suffice to outline the similarities. Differences will be stressed later. Both have the same general outline, in that the AErth and the Sky mated, producing Titans of varying sorts, among whom Kronos/Saturn emerged as the leader. Marrying and mating his sister, he bore children, but swallowed them. Eventually, Rhea tricked him, and Zeus/Jupiter was raised, only to overthrow his father and reign from Mount Olympus. The twelve gods most closely associated with Zeus and Olympus are referred to as the Olympians. It is their worship that is the primary mark of the Greco-Roman pantheon, although there is conflict amongst the Olympians, conflict with the remaining Titans/Numina, as well as plenty of deities and personages of lesser potency.

The Grecian Synod is based in Achaea's city of Athens, denoted generally as Greco-Roman (G) or simply (G) where there is no confusion. The Roman branch is not so centrally organized, however, and the hierarchy of the clergy is considerably looser, tending to be limited by national borders. It is denoted by Greco-Roman (R) or simply (R).

II. The Olympians

Before introducing individual gods and personages, it is necessary to outline the twelve major figures, their ruler (Zeus), and their purview:

~~~~~~~    ~~~~~   ~~~~~            ~~~~~~~
Zeus       Jupiter Balance          Head of pantheon, thunder, sky
Aphrodite  Venus   Moonlight        Sensual love and beauty
Apollo     Apollo  Sunlight         Sun, music, prophecy, healing
Ares       Mars    Sunlight         War and bravery
Artemis    Diana   Moonlight        Moon, hunting, the chase
Athena     Minerva Moonlight        Wisdom, skill, defensive warfare
Demeter    Ceres   Shadowy Darkness Grain, spring, fertility
Hades      Pluto   Shadowy Darkness Underworld
Hephaestus Vulcan  Shadowy Darkness Fire and smithing
Hera       Juno    Moonlight        Marriage, fidelity
Hermes     Mercury Balance          Messenger, merchants, thieves
Hestia     Vesta   Sunlight         Hearth and home
Poseidon   Neptune Moonlight        Seas, horses, aerthquakes

The following is a (basic) genealogy of the Olympians, with some others. Note that the Grecian name is used, for reasons of space and simplicity.

          Kronos === Rhea
  |       |       |     |        |       |
Hestia Demeter  Hera  Hades   Poseidon Zeus
                  |                      |
                  |              +-------+---+-----------+---------+
                  |              |           |           |         |
                 (1)            (2)      +--(3)--+      (4)       (5)
                  |              |       |       |       |         |
              Hephaestus      Athena   Apollo Artemis  Ares    Aphrodite
  1. Perhaps jealous of Zeus' independant birthing of Athena, she bore Hephaestus, and Zeus, in a fit of rage, cast him from Olympus, making him lame
  2. After consorting with and swallowing Metis, Athena sprang from her father's brow fully-grown
  3. Apollo and Artemis are twins born of Zeus and Leto
  4. Ares (plus others) came of the marriage of Zeus and Hera
  5. Aphrodite was born of Zeus and Dione, an Oceanid

III. Notes on the Layout of each Deity's Information

Except for the introductory material for each deity or where there is no Grecian equivalent, all deities and personages will be referred to by their Grecian name. Where it is not possible, the Roman name will be used, with due notation (R).

Each diety's section will consist of several sections:

Name and Description: This gives a brief overview of the god or goddess, as well as some personality notes, the name or names, and basic contrasts (if any) between the two nationalities.
The very first part of each description consists of a few quick descriptions of the deity, namely its power, ethos, and tendencies. The tendencies are:

Benign or Agathocacological or Malign
Ordered or Intermediate or Chaotic

The powers are:
Power or Potency (Immortal Being or Supernatural creature)
Quasi-Deity (Powerful Supernatural Being)
Demigod (weak Entital)
Greatest (Extremely Rare, usually a creator Deity)

In general, the weaker deities will be more active in a given campaign, with the more powerful deities working through intermediaries, weaker avatars (since avatars can function autonomously), and various allied or servant deities.

Symbols, Rituals: Here are described animals, objects, and the like which are sacred to the deity, as well as holy days and festivals (if any).

Description of the Clergy: Here is described the general ecclesiastical hierarchy, as well as special accoutrements and customs.

Priestly Castings: These are Castings known only to the priests of this particular deity. Some Castings are marked with a (G) or (R). If this is the case, then the Casting is only known to the Grecian or Roman clergy, respectively, of the deity. For instance, the Fieldbless Ritual listed under Zeus has (R) next to it, therefore it is known only to priests of Jupiter.

Servants and Avatars: This section includes information on servants of the deity, avatars in which the deity might appear, and occasionally items of great import belonging to servants, avatars, or the deity.

Myths: A (very) brief treatment of myths appropriate to the deity is included, as well as some thoughts on the source of the myths (what the actual deital actions were, and how the earlier Grecians and Romans translated them into a more limited understanding).

IV. The Grecian Synod

Unlike the Roman church, the Grecian followers of the pantheon are fairly well-organized, centered in Athens, and tend to a certain uniformity. The myths are generally similar throughout the lands (with some minor local variations), thanks to the consolidation performed by the Synod.
The Synod meets in full once every four years, and irregularly as other crises demand meetings. Deliberations typically include suggested additions or modifications to the accepted theology, cosmology, and occasional petitions. The actual membership is thirty-nine, being the Grand Priest or Priestess of each of the twelve Olympians, plus Zeus, plus two others chosen by the Grand Priest(ess). The meetings are generally presided over by the current Archpriest (the Grand Priest of Zeus is the Archpriest).
Representatives from additional faiths are often invited or often petition the Synod for a place within the accepted pantheon. As a rule, all Grecian deities described herein are accepted members of the 'official' Synod pantheon, unless otherwise noted in the text.