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Olympian family tree v.4

The purpose of this family tree is to be a memory aid for of the best loved myths and stories about the Olympians, in their Greek version. My main selection criteria for what characters to include has been
1) which are the best stories,
2) that can be hinted at through maps of family relations, and
3) that are linked to the gods or their close descendants.

The close descendant criteria means that the heroes of the Iliad are too many generations off to qualify, but some key figures appear as they relate to children of the gods, such as Helen of Troy. Some generations are passed over if they are only interesting, from a story perspective, as parents or grand-parents of more prominent figures.

What does this chart attempt to show us? Most obviously, an incredible amount of divine meddling and fraternization with mortals. Giving each god a complicated and often contradictory set of loyalties.

The many in-family marriages seem strange to us, so it is worth remembering that the gods are immortal, and have a long time to live and fall in love. Greece is also an island country, and each island would have its own myths or versions of myths that would later be fitted to the larger scheme. As the Greeks of the ancient world came into contact with new cultures and their accompanying gods, they tried to adapt and fit all deities into the ancestry of the Olympians, with at times tangled results.

Prometheus is sometimes regarded as the son of Themis, Aphrodite as the daughter of Zeus and Dione, in Theogeny Eros is a primordial being. There are multiple genealogies for figures such as Gaia, Echidna, Styx, Orpheus, Ares and Pegasus. How can one determine which version is right, when truth is not relevant? One way would be to use the oldest source, and assume this one is the most true, but this would be a shame, as stories develop and gain interest with each retelling. In the question of the origin of the world, I have used one of the oldest sources as the model; the beginning of this family tree uses Hesiod's Theogeny (700 BC) as a base. From there on, mixed sources are used and I have simply chosen whatever version is best known, or has the better story connected to it.

The distinction between Titan and Olympian is significant because there was a ten-year war between these two generations of immortals. The Olympians one and the titans areas of influence were the spoils. The remits were distributed among the Olympians, so Poseidon is the new god of the sea, after Oceanus and Nereus.

The chart shows the ancient Greeks' fascination with eternity, mortality, birth and death. The Olympians are immortal and even as the Titans were defeated and imprisoned they not destroyed. What does it mean to be immortal, and more importantly, what does it mean for us who aren't? As generations go by, and the immortal ichor is diluted with blood, the children become less powerful. There are various forms of half-mortal states that the characters find themselves in: resurrection, eternity as star constellations for those who lead significant lives or near-invunerability for the beloved.
Pregnancy was something of a biological mystery and speculation on the subject gives us several supernatural births (Dionysos, Zeus-Leda-Tyndaeus, Athena and Pandora).

The chart is not, and cannot be, complete. To make it I have had to make omissions and compromises that leave many family origins unclear. My hope is that if you come across a name not in the tree, you will at least find their principal ancestors and know their place in the greater picture.

Characters I would have liked to include:
* Io, great-great-grandmother of Europa and Cadmus (sibblings), nymph transformed into a heifer (Europa and Minos' adoptive son the Minotaur continue the family's special relationship to cows). Also the ancestor of Danaë.
* Daedalus and his son Icarus
* King Priam & Hecuba and their children Hector & Cassandra
* Alcmena, mother of Hercules
* Callisto, transformed into a bear by Hera, for obvious reasons.
* Atlanta, famed maiden runner.
* The centaurs, children of Centaurus, the child of Ixion and Nephele (masquerading as Hera).
* Peleus, father of Achilles, friend to Jason
* Nephele, the mother of Phrixus (included) and Helle (not included).
* The golden ram, offspring of Poseidon, cause for the star-sign Aries
* The furies, who like Aphrodite, are born from Uranus after his mutilation
* Figures from Odysseus' journeys: Nausicaa, Sirens, Scylla and Charybdis
* Helen was abducted by Theseus as a child. This should not constitute a relationship and has been omitted.
* Tyndareus and Icarius are descendants of Perseus.
* Anchises is descended from Zeus and Electra and the cousin of King Priam.
* Aeneas' wife Creusa is also his second cousin, daughter of King Priam.

Additions to this version:
Aeneas, Actaeon, Phrixus, Ino, Penelope, Calais & Zethes, Astraeus, Bellerophon, Hippolyta, Megara (whose children Heracles killed), Orestes & Electra (both should be outside the scope, but included for the Freudian concept named after Electra and to avoid confusion with the daugther of Oceanus by the same name).

Some stations visited by Odysseus marked with dotted lines.

Removed in this version compared to v.2:
Primordial beings Hemera (day), Nyx (night), Erebus (darkness), Aether (air).
Styx, Pallas (due to multiple figures with the same name), Nike.
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akeel1701's avatar

Very nicely done