Goddesses of Greece and Famous Greek Women Who Roared.

Melina Mercuri
Melina Mercuri

"If women didn't exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning."
Aristotle Onassis

Since ancient times women have played a major role in Greek society, going way back to the gorgeous Greek Goddesses and up until today with  scores of women in high profile positions, such as company directors, lawyers, politicians and of course the Greek matriarch!
The Goddesses were not only beautiful, they were made of stern stuff often having magical powers to boot.

The Three Graces. Hellenistic. 2nd - 3rd Century BC
The Three Graces.
Hellenistic. 2nd - 3rd Century BC

The Three Graces, Graces (or Charites) are goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity and fertility.

 They are, from youngest to oldest:

 Aglaea (Splendor)

 Euphrosyne (Mirth)

 Thalia (Good Cheer)

Aphrodite, the most well-known, the Goddess of love and beauty.

SANDRO BOTTICELLI ( 1445 - 1510) | Venus (Aphrodite).  Berlin, Staatliche Museen, Gemäldegalerie
SANDRO BOTTICELLI ( 1445 - 1510) | Venus (Aphrodite).
 Berlin, Staatliche Museen, Gemäldegalerie

Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. Her Roman equivalent is the goddess Venus. She is identified with the planet Venus.
As with many ancient Greek deities, there is more than one story about her origins. According to Hesiod
's Theogony
, she was born when Cronus cut off Uranus's genitals and threw them into the sea, and she arose from the sea foam (aphros). According to Homer's Iliad, she is the daughter of Zeus and Dione. According to Plato (Symposium, 180e), these two origins were of entirely separate entities: Aphrodite Ourania and Aphrodite Pandemos.
Because of her beauty, other gods feared that their rivalry over her would interrupt the peace among them and lead to war, so Zeus married her to Hephaestus, who, because of his ugliness and deformity, was not seen as a threat. Aphrodite had many lovers—both gods, such as Ares.

Athina, Goddess of wisdom, courage and civilization

Pallas Athina  Gustav Klimt
Pallas Athina
 Gustav Klimt

Athena, often given the epithet Pallas, is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, mathematics, strength, war strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill in ancient Greek religion and mythology. Minerva is the Roman goddess identified with Athena. Athena is known for her calm temperament, as she moves slowly to anger. She is noted to have only fought for just reasons, and would not fight without a purpose.[
Athena is portrayed as an astute companion of heroes and is the patron goddess of heroic endeavour. She is the virgin patroness of Athens. The Athenians founded the Parthenon on the Acropolis of her namesake city, Athens (Athena Parthenos), in her honour.
Veneration of Athena was so persistent that archaic myths about her were recast to adapt to cultural changes. In her role as a protector of the city, many people throughout the Greek world worshipped Athena as Athena Polias (Ἀθηνᾶ Πολιάς "Athena of the city"). While the city of Athens and the goddess Athena essentially bear the same name (Athena the goddess, Athenai the city), it is not known which of the two words is derived from the other.

Not all of the Greek Goddess were good:

 The evil sorceress Circe, turned all of Odysseus's men into swine.

All Goddesses had just as much power, if not more, as their male counterparts.

John William Waterhouse   Circe. Offering the Cup to Odysseus
John William Waterhouse
 Circe. Offering the Cup to Odysseus

The Spartans owe their great strength to the famed strong, hardy Spartan women who bore them, the first woman to enter the Olympic games in 396 b.c and again in 392 b.c with her own chariot...and won both times I might add!, was the sister of a Spartan king.

Woman take pride of place in Greek mythology, Penelope, weaving away while waiting for her wandering Odysseus to return, bringing up their son Telemachus alone, fending off a swarm of suitors and ruling an Island nation.

Penelope, weaving to pass the time, waiting for Odysseus. Russell Flint
Penelope, weaving to pass the time, waiting for Odysseus.
Russell Flint

 Who doesn't know the story of Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships and started a war while she was at it!

Helen of Troy by Evelyn de Morgan
Helen of Troy by Evelyn de Morgan

The first female Greek writer must surely be Sappho, a poet from Lesbos.

 Named the tenth muse by Plato, she ran a school for upper-class ladies, while writing poems that dealt with human emotion and feeling.

Sappho John William Godward
John William Godward

Aspasia, the first female philosopher of Athens, hated by all other Athenian women because of her power and influence over the greatest philosophers of Athens who flocked to her feet.

Aspasia Maria Bouliard
Maria Bouliard

Moving forward a few thousand years we come across Bouboulina Laskarina, known as just Bouboulina, a naval admiral in the Greek war of independence.

 She gathered up and organised her own troops, using her own money to feed and arm them, she sailed with eight ships from Spetses to Nafplion to create a naval blockade in 1821.

Bouboulina  Laskarina
Bouboulina  Laskarina
Lithographie d'Adam de Friedel (1827).

Moving forward again, here are a few famous Greek women, famous not only for their talent but for their strength, their determination.

Melina Mercuri, Actress,singer and for a time minister of culture, how hard she tried to have the Parthenon marbles (not the Elgin marbles, there is no such thing as the Elgin marbles) returned to Greece.

Her film "Never On a Sunday" is known world-wide.

"You know, it is said that we Greeks are a fervent and warm blooded breed. Well, let me tell you something, it is true."

Melina Mercuri

Melina Mercuri
Melina Mercuri

Another Great Greek actress, Irene Papa, has made over seventy films, the most well-known being "The Guns Of Navarone", "Zorba the Greek" and "Captain Corelli's Mandolin"

She happends to hail from the village of Chiliomodi, Corinthias, the village of my father-in-law, he knew her well!

Just look at her proud, strong Greek face.

Irene Papa
Irene Papa

The diva who put the D in diva...Maria Kallas, opera singer, sang in the world's top opera houses.Maybe better known for her torrid love affair with Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.

Another strong, proud face.

Maria Callas
Maria Callas

And who familiar with blogging and the internet doesn't know who this is?
Arriane Stassinopoulos Huffington of the Huffington post.

Arianna Huffington
Arianna Huffington 

Finally we come to the Greek Matriarch, found all over Greece.

They rule their families with a rod of iron, the men may be boss in the market place but in the home it's Greek Mama rules!

They have been known to make their adult sons quake in their shoes and reduce Daughters-in-law to tears....I know...I have one!!!

My mother-in -law has eight children, four boys and four girls, my husband being number four in line.

She has worked all her life, ran a petrol station single-handed, then ran a bar & cafe, tourist business, as well as bringing up her family.

There was always,always the big Sunday lunch gathering and woe betide any member who missed it!

She lived through WWII, the German occupation, a civil  war, and a dictatorship.

She is a strong, proud Greek woman of ninety years old.

My Mother-in-law Kyria Konstantina Athanasakou
My Mother-in-law.Kyria Konstantina Athanasakou
Kyria Konstantina Athanasakou
My mother-in-law

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