Who is the Greek goddess of animals

All sorts of interesting facts

This website is all about the Greek saga of the Odyssey. We would like to introduce you to the animals and gods that appear in it, and also show the connections between animals and gods. There is also a summary of the saga of the "Odyssey", news about chimera, the offerings to the gods in ancient Greece, ...


Athena is associated with the owl through her eyes, which also glow in the dark. Owl (= glaux) is related to shiny (= glaukos), which underlines the connection between Athene's shiny eyes and the owl. Cleverness is another connection between the Greek goddess and the owl. The little owl, which used to be the heraldic animal and emblem of the capital Athens, is still a popular species of owl today. The association of the wise bird and Athena meant that the residents did not need any advice or help.


The cow is the preferred sacrificial animal of Hera, the wife of Zeus. Hera means "the young woman ready for marriage". This name led to the displacement of a former wife of Zeus, the supreme god. The Aegean goddess Io, who united with Zeus in the form of a cow, was named as the earlier wife. Originally it was claimed that Hera, as the new wife of Zeus, would have taken over the cow eyes from Io. But not only the former wife of Zeus, but also the function of Hera brings her in connection with the cow. As the goddess of marriage, Hera represents a certain sedentary lifestyle, which is connected with house and yard, and since the cattle was called the most important domestic animal, this is another connection. Cattle were also sacrificed for Hera at a festival. Hera's favorite animal is the peacock.


The names "Mistress of the Outside" and "Mistress of the Animals" are assigned to Artemis, as she is often depicted with predators (e.g. big cats). Her temple in Ephesus was particularly well-known and famous, where she was hung with bull testicles and adorned with small animal heads of lions, deer and bulls. Artemis is also accompanied by two hinds. As a virgin hunter, she hunts, which is why the young animals are under her protection. It can both destroy life and save it. Her vengeance is relentless when offended. The hunter Aktaion, who accidentally hitched her while bathing, was allowed to experience her lust for Rachel by turning him into a deer and then feeding it to his own dogs. While the Greeks gathered in Aulis for the Troy campaign, King Agamemnon passed his time hunting. While hunting, he killed a doe that Artemis loved. After this act she demanded as compensation that Agamemnon sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia to her. After the king consented, she took his daughter to Tauris, where she became a priestess. Artemis sacrificed a doe on the site of Iphigenia.


The Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, who came from the sea as the so-called “foam-born”, is also known as the “mistress of animals”. In Paphos on Cyprus, white pigeons, lively sparrows and mating birds were part of their service. Aphrodite is often portrayed floating through the air on a goose, but also with swans. But not only the air, but also the water (from which it came) is one of its strengths. Therefore it is often associated with fish. A myth tells that she can transform herself into a fish too. Fish also once saved her life. In gratitude for this, Aphrodite had the constellations of Pisces placed in the sky.


The bull belongs to Zeus, as he often took the form of this sacrificial animal, as in the kidnapping of the king's daughter Europa. In art, however, the supreme god is often represented with the eagle holding Zeus' lightning bolt in its claws. The eagle served Zeus in some situations, e.g. to find the center of the earth. To do this, he let two eagles soar (one from the western and the other from the eastern edge of the earth's disk), which flew towards each other. They met in Delphi. This city was therefore considered the center of the world.


Hermes is often depicted with a staff, the so-called "magical golden Hermes staff", which is adorned by two snakes looking at each other. But it can also be that it is depicted with a turtle or a ram as an attribute. In some pictures he wears the shell of the turtle as a helmet on his head.


Dionysus also appears as the ruler of wild nature and as the "lord of animals". When he returns from India, where he spread his cult, his chariot is pulled by lions or tigers. But it can also be that you see him riding on a tiger or panther somewhere. E.g. in Pompeii there is a mosaic where Dionysus is depicted with wreaths of flowers in his hair, a mug in his right hand and riding on a tiger. This picture, where he only held the reins of the tiger lightly in his hand, is also known as the picture of the animal peace.


Poseidon is the god of the sea, whereby all sea creatures are subject to him. The horse is particularly dear to him, which is why he is also nicknamed Hippius. The first horse on earth was born from the union of Poseidon and Demetes. Their descendants were the Greek horses. According to history, when Poseidon's team came out of the sea, they were pulled by shiny horses.

Basically there were two types of sacrifice in ancient Greece, the bloodless and the bloody. Bloodless offerings include the offerings of crops, olives, grapes, and flowers. Incense and myrrh offerings are also included. Animal sacrifices are among the bloody sacrifices. Animal sacrifice is the killing of an animal for religious reasons. These sacrificial animals were dedicated to various deities as well as to the forces of nature. Animal sacrifices took place mainly on the altars in front of the holy temples. In front of the temple of Zeus is the large ash altar, which represents the cultic center of the animal sacrifices on Olympus. The ash altar faces east, towards sunrise. Bulls, goats and sheep were killed most frequently, but cattle, pigs and chickens were also popular sacrificial animals.

There are two types of animal sacrifices. During the “thysia” (food offering) part of the meat was burned in honor of the gods and the second part was consumed by the people themselves. In the case of the "sphagia", however, the animals were burned completely and consecrated to the subterranean gods or the dead. The food offerings were made more frequently. It is now referred to as the communal meal of the gods. In Greek and Roman art, numerous pictures are handed down that show sacrificial scenes of animals.

Nowadays animal sacrifices are hardly to be found. The island of Lesbos is an exception, here bulls are sacrificed at rural festivals.

In Christianity and Buddhism animal sacrifices are strictly rejected, while in Islam and Judaism they occur under certain conditions and rules.

With "Odyssey" Homer created an epic that is still considered to be by far one of the greatest milestones in literary history. The work of the Greek poet, which is well over 2000 years old, was able to withstand the ravages of time and today forms the foundation on which our musical is based.

The story tells of the war hero Odysseus, who wants to return to his home island of Ithaca with his men after a decade of war. But since neither luck nor the gods hold their own, the soldiers of the initially twelve ships are successively decimated on this arduous journey through various obstacles. The hurdles of their journey include the fight against the Cyclops Polyphemus, the encounter with the malicious sorceress Kirke and the island of sirens, which the sailors try to cast a spell on with their beguiling chants. At the end of the ten-year odyssey, only the protagonist himself experiences the return home to Ithaca, where he has to face a new problem: in Odysseus ‘absence, suitors have occupied his home and are courting his wife Penelope, who also does not recognize her husband. Only after he has eliminated all intruders and proven his identity to his loved ones can the returnees retire.

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