Greek Mythology and Greek myths are filled with an impressive array of Greek heroes, each one having his or her own story to tell. These mythological figures, are unique and very distinctive in their own right.
The English word hero comes from the Greek word heroas (iroas, ήρωας). The word has different meanings depending on its use, but in one of its meanings, the word heroes refers to the great men who have fought hard and became deities or famous. These heroes are also known to have protected their land during the times of danger and crisis.
Since most of these heroes died young, their sons and daughters would share a fair part of their glory, fame, immortality and thrones. Some of them even became heroes as well.
The heroes in Greek mythology are known for many different reasons; some of them went to the Underworld and fought with monsters, others fought with giants, sea serpents and dragons, while others are known due to their family tragedies more than anything else.
The heroes of the Greek mythology became immortals, since the Gods acknowledged their fame and courage. The enduring fights and stories of these heroes moved the Gods who made them immortal, offering them a place among the Gods and deities of the Mt Olympus. However, these heroes were most popular because they were human and because they would exhibit weaknesses, they would make mistakes and would share their passions with other people – characteristics that all humans can identify with.
Greek mythology presents us with the adventures and passions of Greek heroes; it also reveals us many secrets of their lives and their ability to endure pain, withstand the tear and wear of time and remain so popular throughout the ages.
The most important heroes in Greek Mythology
Hercules(or Heracles as better known by the Greeks) is probably the most known Greek hero. He is mostly known due to the 12 labors that he had to accomplish, in order to regain his fame and redemption for an older crime.
Perseus is also a very known and popular hero. Perseus is mostly known as the killer of Medusa, a hideous monster who had the ability to turn everyone and everything into a stone just by looking at its face. Perseus myths are among the most popular in Greek mythology.
Theseus was the king of Athens and one of the greatest heroes of the Greeks. He is mostly known due to the Minotaur, the ferocious monster that he managed to kill. Theseus killed the monster and escaped the most complicated maze and labyrinth of all times, the one found at the Minoan Palace of King Minos in Crete.
Achilles is probably synonymous to a fearless and strong warrior. He is known due to the Trojan War. While still a baby, his mother dipped him in the River Styx to make him immortal and invulnerable. However, she was holding him from his heel and this part was the only vulnerable part in his body – the one that led to his death as well. Achilles was the fear of the Trojans during the War but was killed by Paris, when Aphrodite advised him to aim at Achilles’ heel.
A celebrated and genius figure of Greek mythology was Odysseus, the man who helped the Greeks win the Trojan War. He is known due to the Trojan horse that was his idea, but also because one of the most important books in history, the Odyssey is dedicated to his adventures in the sea, returning after the war to his home, Ithaca. Along this way Odysseus had to fight with Gods and monsters and it took him another 10 years to be able to see his wife Penelope and his homeland. Homer created the Odyssey, making Odysseus a very known hero all over the world.
Jason is another great hero in Greek mythology. He was the leader of the 50 Argonauts who sailed to the far seas to find the Golden Fleece. Pelias, who was Jason’s uncle, had stolen the throne of their homeland – the throne that would be Jason’s throne. He said that he would return it if Jason could bring the Fleece, believing that such thing would be impossible. Jason and the Argonauts had to fight with great monsters and dangers, such as the Sirens and other sea creatures. At the end, Jason managed to bring the fleece back, with the help of a witch – princess Medea that fell inlove with him.
The heroes in Greek mythology have inspired numerous art pieces throughout the centuries, becoming symbols of life, courage and endurance.