Are Greek Gods Evil? (Are Greek Gods Considered Good or Bad?)

Recently, my kids started watching Class of the Titans, a cartoon depicting the adventures of teenagers caught in the middle of a war between gods and Titans.

This cartoon got me thinking about good and evil gods in Greek mythology. I scoured the internet and visited my local library in search of answers.

Additionally, I joined an online forum and raised my questions there. I gathered information that came in handy during a class.

My students wanted to know if Greek gods were good or evil. I relied on my brief research stint and theology background to answer their question.

Here’s my take on the question, “Are Greek gods evil?”

The Bible acknowledges the belief in idols among the Greeks (Acts 17:22-23). However, it doesn’t talk about them as evil. Historians believe that Greek gods were neither good nor evil. Instead, they consider them a complex mesh of both. According to historians, the gods acted for their benefit. As such, they were benevolent or cruel when it suited them. However, most agree that some gods were kinder than others.

Join me in exploring this topic. I’ll discuss the origins of the Greek gods, whether they are good or evil, and what made them so. Let’s get started.

Where did the myth of Greek gods come from?

Historians believe that Greek myths started as oral tales in the Bronze Age. In particular, historians credit the Minoan civilization as the cradle of Greek mythology.

It wasn’t until the 8th century BCE that these stories were incorporated into written literature.

Homer’s poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey, are among the earliest written sources referencing the Greek gods. These poems narrate the events preceding and following the Trojan War.

Homer described the gods in a way familiar to Greek readers. Historians speculate these descriptions were already part of the Greek religion, hence their familiarity.

Additionally, historians cite Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days as foundational writings that give us an insight into the Greek religion.

In the Theogony, Hesiod created a genealogy of the gods and incorporated stories of their origins. In the Works and Days, Hesiod shares some of the myths relating to the Greek gods.

It is believed that later writers built from the foundations created by Homer and Hesiod.

Were there any good gods in Greek mythology?

Are Greek Gods Evil? 
Were there any good gods in Greek mythology? Image source: Pixabay

Yes. There were good gods in Greek mythology. The Greeks believed Hestia was the kindest goddess. She was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea.

According to the myths, Apollo and Poseidon sought Hestia’s hand in marriage. She refused their requests, preferring to remain a maiden.

Zeus acquiesced to her choice and appointed her to preside over all sacrifices. She was the goddess of the hearth.

Hestia avoided Olympian politics and was rarely mentioned negatively.

Were there any evil gods in Greek mythology?

Yes. Most Greek gods were capable of evil and cruelty. For instance, Zeus was famous for dishing out harsh punishments.

An example is the myth of Prometheus, the titan and god of fire. According to this story, Prometheus defied the Olympians and brought fire to humanity.

Zeus had Prometheus nailed to a mountain and sent an eagle to eat his liver. Unfortunately, Prometheus was immortal, so his liver regenerated, only for the eagle to return and eat it again.

Who is the most evil god in Greek mythology?

Eris was considered the most evil goddess in Greek mythology. She was the goddess of discord and strife. The Greeks so hated her that they didn’t have temples in her honor.

She is credited for igniting the Trojan War by starting a fight between Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena over who was the most beautiful.

Historians believe the events that followed this argument culminated in the decade-long Trojan War.

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