Friday, July 6, 2012

Top 10 Greek Goddesses: The Beauty and the Bitch

Judgement of Paris by Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1638-1639

(Note: For the  original , unadulterated, good-for-your-ten-year-old-kid version, you may check the post here.)

If there’s one group that runs the Greek Pantheon, it would be the goddesses. They are intellectually complex, physically splendid, and most of the time, emotionally unstable. They’re just like women in those beauty pageants, if their talent portion includes turning men into baboons and submerging cities to lava.

And like beauty queens, there are quite a lot of them, but here are the ten that lead the pact with their elegance and wickedness. 

1. Hera

 The Beauty

No list of goddesses is complete without Hera, the Queen of the Gods. The Goddess of Women and Marriage, she is both wife and sister to Zeus (wait, what?). Being the Olympian prima donna, she is of unequaled beauty. She even once went on toe to toe with the appealing Athena, and with the Goddess of Beauty herself, Aphrodite, in the Trojan War prelude, the Judgement of Paris.

The Judgment of Paris.
The Bitch

Also, she’s such a big, big one. As anyone who enjoyed the 90's will know, she constantly posed as a bitchy villain for Kevin Sorbo's Hercules. Apparently, she hates step-sons and step-daughters (which gave her headaches considering she has bazzilions of them). She also casted her son, Hephaestus, out of heaven, for the unforgivable sin of being really, really ugly.  And always castigated Zeus’ mistresses. She might be a patron of matrimony, but her marriage issues with the chief god are few of the best highlights that shape the awesomeness that is Greek Mythology.

"Thou get out of thine house. Asshole."

2. Pallas Athena

The Beauty

The Goddess of Wisdom, War, and Justice; and patron of the Greek Heroes. Basically, Athena is that hot chick in your neighborhood that can punch really hard, and still be able to sport an IQ score twenty steps higher than yours. The Parthenon was constructed in her honor.

The Bitch

Athena was born from the head of Zeus, fully grown and armor-clad. Given that, she always mingled in affairs dominated by men (which she always win). She locked horns with Poseidon for the dominion of Athens (which she obviously nailed). She joined the War of the Giants, and threw an entire freaking island to one of them (because, why not). She also turned one mortal into a spider out of hubris and for daring to disrespect the gods.


    3. Aphrodite

The Beauty

Herself is an epitome of beauty, also Goddess of Love, Pleasure, and Procreation and the forerunner of nude paintings. She is also the mother of Eros (Cupid). Her birth has a lot of quite fantastic versions, but the most believable is the one telling that she was born out of the sea foam in a sea shell. This scene is famously detailed by Sandro Botticelli in the painting The Birth of Venus, which definitely caused a lot of 13th Century boners back then. The term "aphrodisiac" is based from her name. But just like that sweet-looking girl who sleeps with every guy  in your office, nothing good came out of stories involving her. In fact, she…

...also caused 21st Century boners.

The Bitch

inadvertently started the Trojan War by promising Paris the most beautiful mortal in the world, Helen, in exchange of the title “Fairest Goddess of Them All” (the belt was an apple).  She also caused the destruction of Hippolytos. And because she is a very, very bad mother-in-law by any comparison, she caused the punishments of the mortal Psyche for daring to love her son.

The lips are too irresistible.

4. Artemis

The Beauty

Goddess of Hunting, Wilderness, Childbirth, Virginity, and the Moon, which may not seem like things that belong together, but anyway. Artemis seems to be given with quite a boyish personality, as she is twin-sister to Apollo, the god of hunting, music, and drag queens. And what do you always get from boyish girls?


The Bitch

A shitload of punishments! She chastised the hunter Actaeon by turning him into a stag, but because she is also a gentle goddess, she attempted to minimize the damage by releasing the hounds on him. She also murdered her hunting companion, and the only guy who won her heart, Orion. And she turned one of her cohorts, Callisto, into a bear. Yeah, she's sorta big into turning guys into animals.

Jon wasn't lucky either.

5. Demeter

The Beauty

The least volatile among the Olympians. She is the Goddess of Harvest and Agriculture. She taught mankind the farming and cultivation of crops and cereals (Kellog’s taught mankind of boxing them), thus marking the start of civilization.

The Bitch

Kind, but a powerful Goddess and a loving mother nonetheless. Her grief for the loss of her daughter, Persephone, causes vegetation life to wither and fall, thus marking the autumn season.

She made this to Chernobyl when her post-trauma kicked in.

6. Hestia

The Beauty

Goddess of Hearth Fire, Domestic Life, and Guy Dumping. Eldest sister to Zeus, and the gentlest among the goddesses. Though she had no throne, she oversaw the sacred fire in Olympus, and every hearth on Earth is her altar. The cult of Arsonists is formed in her honor [citation needed].

What happens when you combine hearth fire and domestic life these days.

The Bitch

Nothing so bitchy about her, except that despite many suitors (the gods Poseidon and Apollo among them), she just decided to friendzone the jerks and swore to be a virgin. 

"You're a nice guy. But I'm not into hentai."

7. Gaia

The Beauty

The Goddess and Personification of the Earth, she was one of the first beings in the Cosmos. Her offspring included, Pontus (the Sea), Uranus (the Sky), and the Titans, who later descended the Olympians. 

On the other hand, we'd love to descend on the Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders. 

The Bitch

She also gave birth to the Cyclopes, Erinyes, and Gigantes; creatures that constantly pestered the Greek heroes. Also, she double-crossed Kratos. 

8. Rhea

The Beauty

Daughter of Gaia and Uranus (yes, Uranus slept with her mom) and the Mother of the Olympians. Technically a Titaness, but revered as the Goddess of Female fertility and Motherhood.

Despite that, Oedipus still unfairly got the "sexing your mom" infamy.

The Bitch

Rhea is the reason why the Titan War became possible and Zeus ruled the world, humping women. When her husband, Cronus was still so into devouring his children (Hestia, Hades, Demeter, Poseidon, Hera), she hid the youngest child, Zeus in Crete and gave Cronus a stone draped in cloth and ate it, thinking it’s his last child (apparently, all baby gods taste hard-rock crunchy). Zeus eventually grew up, and warred with the Titans, overthrew them, saved his siblings, and became the Big Boss. If you’ve played God of War 2, then I don’t have to tell you these.

Because of this game, most of us survived classical literature without lifting a single textbook.

 9. Persephone

The Beauty

The daughter of Zeus and his sister Demeter, she is the Goddess of Springtime and Vegetation. Ironically, she also the Queen of the Underworld.  You might ask why the hell. It’s because…

She's a rock star. Rock Metal, mostly.
The Bitch

… she was abducted, forced married, and tentacled-raped (probably) by the God of the Underworld, Hades, who is also Zeus' and Ceres' brother. Thus, dooming her to return to the dark realm every third of the year, ending the Spring season. Summing up, she is a result of marriage between two siblings, but then kidnapped by her uncle so she could be his wife. Yeah, they're kinda big into incest, which seems to be a mildly daily occurrence in their world. 

There are more incest cases in their town than there are bicycles in China.

10. Nike

The Beauty

The Winged Goddess of Victory. Zeus brought her to his aid during Titan War so he could dominate Olympus and bang his sisters. She assumed the role of the divine charioteer for the gods.

We're pretty sure those horses are nitrogen-powered.
The Bitch

Nike never acquired a cult or myth of her own. Though by Classical Times, most gods had their wings shed, she still retained hers, thus her famous name. Now she is only known as a sports shoe brand being endorsed by Katy Perry. Not Bad.

Not bad at all.

You've read about the goddesses, Now read about gods in Why Science Will Kick Religion's Ass, Riddle of God, and Only Human First Part: Why Batman Is Awesome. Or learn how to be one in Only Human Second Part: A Guide On How To Become Batman.