Concept::Twelve Olympians


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Fragment of a Hellenistic relief (1st century BC – 1st century AD) depicting the Twelve Olympians carrying their attributes in procession; from left to right, Hestia (scepter), Hermes (winged cap and staff), Aphrodite (veiled), Ares (helmet and spear), Demeter (scepter and wheat sheaf), Hephaestus (staff), Hera (scepter), Poseidon (trident), Athena (owl and helmet), Zeus (thunderbolt and staff), Artemis (bow and quiver), Apollo (lyre), from the Walters Art Museum.<ref> Walters Art Museum, accession number 23.40.</ref>

The Twelve Olympians, also known as the Dodekatheon (Greek: Δωδεκάθεον,δώδεκα{{#invoke:Category handler|main}},<ref>Used rarely, in Byzantine Greek, e.g. by Nicephorus Callistus Xanthopoulos, Athanasius of Alexandria or Ducas.</ref><ref name="Pap"></ref> dōdeka, "twelve" and θεοί, theoi, "gods"), were the principal deities of the Greek pantheon, residing atop a mythical Mount Olympus. The Olympians gained their supremacy in a war of gods in which Zeus led his siblings to victory over the Titans.

The concept of the "Twelve Gods" is older than any extant Greek or Roman sources.<ref>Burkert, p. 125.</ref> The gods meet in council in the Homeric epics, but the first ancient reference to religious ceremonies for the Olympians collectively is found in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes. The Greek cult of the Twelve Olympians can be traced to 6th-century BC Athens and probably has no precedent in the Mycenaean period. The Altar of the Twelve Gods at Athens is usually dated to the archonship of the younger Pesistratos, in 522/521 BC.

In ancient Greek religion, the "Olympian Gods" and the "Cults of Twelve Gods" were often relatively distinct concepts.<ref name="Long">C.R. Long, The Twelve Gods of Greece and Rome</ref>

Twelve Olympians sections
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