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Olympian family tree v.4 by Aeonna Olympian family tree v.4 by Aeonna
Olympian family tree v.4 by Aeonna (print image)

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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.
Add a Comment:
 
:icon3781:
3781 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2016
Erm, where's Psyche, Eros' wife?
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2016  Professional Interface Designer
Not in there, unfortunately : (
I'm looking into making a new version, and Psyche is definitely on the list of characters I'd like to include.
Reply
:icon3781:
3781 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2016
Cool. Looking forward to that. Also, please include the Legend with lines and what they mean exactly in various colors(i.e; related, married, descendant, engaged or romanced, killed by, etc)...
Thetis' family tree also needed supplement with husband Peleus, Achilles' BFF, Patroclus, and Paris'(or Alexandros') elder brother Hector(Achilles killed Hector).

Boy, this family tree is awesome. Some of those names I had no idea who they were. Also, the circular design was refreshing. I had no idea a family free can be designed this way. Awesome.
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2016  Professional Interface Designer
I think I am gonna have to do a whole new version of this at some point. It could include so much. Thanks for the feedback!
Reply
:icondottypurrs:
dottypurrs Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
thank you so much, no when i have to read books about the gods in my english class, the family connections can make more sence to me. :worship:
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
Glad it came in useful!
Reply
:iconlittleboots-invictus:
LittleBoots-Invictus Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2012  Student General Artist
You're right about the whole "alternate bloodlines" thing. Ovid even contradicted himself a few times. In "Fasti" (Which, by the way is awesome) he says that Ares is the child of Hera produced by parthenogenesis by Flora. And Hesiod's version of the creation myth has no mention of the Titans or the Titanomachy.
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
I heard an explanation once that there are different accounts of deity ancestry because of the many islands in Greece with their own local version. But if even one person - Ovid no less! - can't keep the story straight it seems more likely that origin was subordinate to a good story.

I hadn't heard of Fasti. Thank you for the tip!
Reply
:iconlittleboots-invictus:
LittleBoots-Invictus Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2012  Student General Artist
Fasti actually has a really cool format, it's like an interview with the gods.
Reply
:icondriscolyes79:
driscolyes79 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2011
Wow. I cannot believe you actually tried to make one of these, and not only did you try, you succeeded! Well done, very nice job!
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner May 2, 2011  Professional Interface Designer
Thank you! It sure took a while
Reply
:iconparamore-luvah:
paramore-luvah Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2011   Photographer
my god.....its beautiful....
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2011  Professional Interface Designer
I never thought about the aesthetics of it... thanks!
Reply
:icon0xxbluevelvetxx0:
0xXBlueVelvetXx0 Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love studding these types of things~
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2011  Professional Interface Designer
Glad you like it ^^
Reply
:iconbill-porta:
Bill-Porta Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2010
I love Greek mythology...
Your work is simply perfect...O.O
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2010  Professional Interface Designer
Thanks! Glad you like it ^^
Reply
:iconshi-girl:
Shi-girl Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Aphrodite isn't really Zeus's kid. She just appeared out of the ocean.
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2010  Professional Interface Designer
There are two main versions about her birth. I went with the version that has Zeus and Dione as the parents. I made this piece a long time ago and I've lost my notes since then, so unfortunately I can't tell you my exact source. I do know that whenever I came across two versions of a persons ancestry I used the one with the oldest source.
Reply
:iconshi-girl:
Shi-girl Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
ok. I didn't know that Aphrodite had other linage. cool. Although in my opinion I like the sea one better. less incest involved.
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2010  Professional Interface Designer
I hear you @.@
Reply
:iconzyphra:
Zyphra Featured By Owner May 1, 2008
Wow, this is so cool! It must have been difficult to decide which version of your sources to go with. Do you think I could use this as a reference on a greek gods project?
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner May 1, 2008  Professional Interface Designer
I suppose that could be acceptable to your teacher, depending on how detailed your work needs to be.

My own main sources were, in order of primacy:
"Tales of the Greek Heroes" by Roger Lancelyn Green
"Metamorphosis" by Ovid
[link]

All of which I view as being quite credible.
Reply
:iconlachiro:
lachiro Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2008
...wow that must've taken a long time! Opympian genealogy boggles my mind, but I still love the mythology *geek* and Zeus really had a big appetite...that guy heh.

Lots of arrows twirling here and there ^^;; hehe
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2008  Professional Interface Designer
Research took a few days, luckily there are some helpful online databases over mythological characters.
At first I tried to get the tree to consistently ascend with every generation but that soon proved impossible...
Reply
:iconlachiro:
lachiro Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2008
thanks to Zeus, of course!

Btw, did the different versions of the myth, I mean, was it difficult to choose from? (e.g. Theseus is the son of Ageus and Poseidon, or one of them)
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2008  Professional Interface Designer
Well, I didn't have to deal with the particular problem of Theseus because he didn't fit onto the canvas, but in some cases it was quite difficult. I just had to go with the source that was older and in some cases just chose blindly.
Reply
:icontyrowish:
tyrowish Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2007
I'm a big fan of Hermes, I'm surprised you've put Hermaphrodite, a a lot of people don't seem know about that offspring.

This chart would have been very helpful when I was studying Greek Mythology!

I shall :+favlove: it nonetheless~
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2007  Professional Interface Designer
Hermes is my favourite! I think it's his mischievous personality, or maybe it's just because he isn't quite as immoral as the others.
Thank you for the :+fav:!
Reply
:icontyrowish:
tyrowish Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2007
No prob~
Thats pretty much why Hermes is my fav :heart:
He seems like the "normal" one out of those Olympians xD
Reply
:iconmythological-club:
mythological-club Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2007
Holy crud...
That's worse than the Herodians!
Reply
:iconhades06:
Hades06 Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2007
wow, must have taken a lot of time. this map is really helpful considering every attempt I made at making a family tree of the gods failed...miserably. And just to to help out, um...Aphrodite was born of Uranus and Gaia, not Zeus, and she was married to Hefaistos. And if you want, you can add the Morai (the fates), they were the daughters of Zeus and Themis. But even without these ever so minor details, this concept map is AWESOME!!!truly, nice work
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2007  Professional Interface Designer
I think the story in which Aphrodite/Venus is parented by Uranos is a Roman version, though it is possible that it existed long before and parallell with other accounts. I have mainly used Ovid and the Illiad as sources. The latter names Dione as the mother. It's difficult to know... their family tree is tangled as it is.
Ah yes, Hefaistos' and Aphrodite's brief marriage. You see I put them next to eachother to enable a bridge, but in the end I must have forgotten to put it in. I suppose I could squash the Moirae in there somewhere as well...
Thank you for the help!
Reply
:iconhades06:
Hades06 Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2007
hey, no problem at all, i mean your family tree is most definetely a fine piece of art, and you know what they say, if someone's criticizes your work, it means they're looking at it. (wow, that was corny but its true, lol)
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2007  Professional Interface Designer
How very true. Indifference is worse.
Reply
:iconcentauran:
Centauran Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh - a PS - All I have on Aeneas is that he was the son of Aphrodite and the beautiful (mortal) Trojan, Anchises, who was wooed by Aphrodite under the influence of Zeus. (Thus Aeneas was also mortal.)
Reply
:iconcentauran:
Centauran Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
This is brilliant, Emily. Must have taken ages - makes me want to restart my own cross-linked reference, now languishing since I discovered 3D and fractals!
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2007  Professional Interface Designer
Thank you!
I'd love to see your chart if you put it on Devart. It would be cool to compare.
Reply
:iconcentauran:
Centauran Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
It's not a chart, actually. I started a card-index file way before computers came along, and have since commenced putting it up as a cross-linked computerised index - it even contains all the boulders, rocks, trees, bushes, pools, animals etc that various poor souls were turned into. I'll probably get back into it some day, but the sheer size of the thing daunted me!
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2007  Professional Interface Designer
Sounds impressive. If you ever finish it you could sell it.
Reply
:iconcentauran:
Centauran Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
One of the reasons I got discouraged was that there are already a number 'Mythology' sites on the web, some of them very good. Mine would just be another!
Reply
:iconmaychanlj:
Maychanlj Featured By Owner May 19, 2007
I love the Greek/Roman mythology and this is a really neat visual aid.

But I don't see Aeneas T_T ... I suppose he's Roman not Greek though... Poor Aeneas, always outshone by the much inferior Odysseus T_T
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner May 24, 2007  Professional Interface Designer
Thank you!
Yes, I think Aeneas was a Roman addition. I haven't read Virgil's Aeneid yet but I'm looking forward to it.
Reply
:iconalmightyramtha:
AlmightyRamtha Featured By Owner May 16, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Zeus was such a player....
Reply
:iconalienette:
Alienette Featured By Owner May 5, 2007
Some work you put in there! Nice and smooth it became too, mine are usually looking more like spaghetti carbonara than a swithcboard cheme. But I guess that has to do with the family constellation. Zeus is papa to all children :D
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner May 5, 2007  Professional Interface Designer
Yeah, It's impossible to make the tree ascending with each generation because Zeus is everywhere! He just doesn't stop @.@
Reply
:iconalienette:
Alienette Featured By Owner May 6, 2007
No he really don't! He just keeps on having fun with every female deity there is save for a few odd ones, like Iris and Hecate. And then moving on to mortals... Poor Hera, she must have been feeling terrible. No wonder she was jealous and petty all the time! She just didn't know what do do with all those feelings of rejectness and spurn.
Reply
:iconaeonna:
Aeonna Featured By Owner May 6, 2007  Professional Interface Designer
I concur. Zeus deserves all the nagging he can get.
Reply
:iconalienette:
Alienette Featured By Owner May 20, 2007
:nod: he's such a lousy husband
Reply
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