A List Of The Worst Greek Mythological Characters
There is no shortage of drama among the Olympian Gods and Goddesses of Greek mythology. There were treachery, curses, murders, battles, love affairs, friendships, and platonic relationships.
The gods and goddesses were not perfect role models, but they did have admirable qualities. Perhaps this is why their legends continue to captivate modern audiences. This is why the Greeks continue to talk about their gods and why the islands and locations where they originated still maintain their names.
These tales from Greek mythology are among the most fascinating and disturbing ever. Here are the worst of the Greek gods!
The Titan Kronos was the biological father of the Olympian deities. Kronos’ father, Ouranos, was a tyrannical dictator who mistreated his wife and Kronos’ mother, Gaia. His mother’s clever but brutal idea didn’t need much convincing. A plot that ultimately resulted in Kronos using a scythe to attack his own father!
You can’t expect to emerge undamaged and unscathed from an experience like that! Indeed, Kronos was concerned that he might share his father’s destiny. So, to prevent his offspring from ever having the potential to defeat him, he promptly ate them after birth. Kronos is one of the worst Greek gods in mythology, and it’s not hard to understand why.
When Rhea convinced Kronos that he had swallowed their final child, Zeus, he lived out his greatest fears. But Rhea had hidden Zeus on the island of Crete, and after defeating Kronos and freeing his siblings, he returned home.
Hera was the epitome of a resentful spouse, and you can hardly blame her; Zeus was, after all, a serial adultator. She was notorious for venting her anger on Zeus’s mistresses and their offspring.
Leto, the daughter of Phoebe and Coeus, was Titan, and she had an affair with Zeus. Leto had twins, Artemis and Apollo, as a result of the affair, and Hera was not forgiving. Hera, upon learning of Zeus’ infidelity, cast a curse upon Leto that prevented her from giving birth on dry ground.
Zeus’ romance with Leto was likely not his last. Hera also took her punishment out on Io, a mortal servant whom Zeus had set his sights on with passion. Hera wasn’t fooled by Zeus’s attempt to hide his feelings for Io by transforming her into a heifer; instead, she dispatched a gadfly to follow Io about and sting her mercilessly.
Not only was she a terrible deity, but she also gave birth to terrible children. While expecting her first child, a son she named Hephaestus, she was filled with excitement and anticipation. But when he was born, she was horrified by how ugly he was and promptly cast him off Mount Olympus. A persistent limp was the result of Hephaestus’s long fall to Lemnos.
The city of Athens was named for the goddess Athena, who is also its patron saint. Her reputation as the gods’ most astute mind and a cool strategist belies the fact that she, too, was not without her shadowy side.
You’ve probably heard of Medusa, the monster with the serpent head whose glance can turn humans to stone. Medusa wasn’t always a monster, which is something you might not know. In reality, she was a stunning human being. A human who made Poseidon’s acquaintance and was subsequently assaulted by the god in the temple of Athena. Instead of being angry with Poseidon, Athena took her frustration out on poor Medusa, punishing her with a serpent’s head and eyes that could kill.
Athena’s reputation as one of the worst Greek goddesses was further damaged in the myth of Arachne, a lovely and skilled weaver. Arachne erred by claiming to be the finest at what she did in the world. Athena, hearing this, issued a challenge to a weaving competition, but Arachne’s work ridiculed the gods. Athena’s punishment for her disobedience was to transform her into a spider.