The Greek Pantheon

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Greek mythology. Perhaps overly so.

At one point, I had twelve chairs and pillows arranged in a circle in my playroom. Most of the chairs had some toy on them to symbolize their particular god or goddess. In the center of my circle, I made a paper fire (once I researched what a “hearth” was) for my imaginary Hestia to tend.

I don’t know when exactly it occurred to me that the twelve chairs left no space for either Hestia or Hades, who actually went unrepresented in my display. I just accepted they were parts of the major pantheon, even if there wasn’t space for them either in seat or number.

It boggles my mind to watch how more scholarly types have viewed this, though. Despite being brother to the older four Olympians, Hades is so often left out of the twelve, simply because he doesn’t live on Olympus. He’s become something of an afterthought (which is where I’ve often felt his wife Persephone belonged instead of him). Similarly, Hestia, sister to the older four Olympians, seemed to be nearly forgotten for a while, simply because she kept the hearth going rather than sit on a throne with her siblings, nieces, and nephews.

It’s a weird dichotomy, one that I haven’t figured out how to resolve personally. I imagine it will be debated by classics scholars for centuries to come.

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