14

A typical Greek hero origin story was being born to a mortal woman and an Olympic god (usually, though not exclusively, Zeus the Philanderer). See Herakles, Perseus, Bellerophon, etc...

Were there any heroes in Classical Greek Myth (a single example will suffice) that were the reverse, i.e. born to an Olympic goddess from a mortal human father? I couldn't find any in my Googling, and my Mythology textbooks are long gone.

closed as off-topic by Gallifreyan, Politank-Z, Edlothiad, Skooba, Paulie_D Sep 5 '17 at 12:03

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  • 4
    The Olympians had access to birth control. The Greeks didn't. – Sean McMillan Oct 9 '12 at 19:14
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    How is this not off-topic? "Fantasy" doesn't include "classical mythology". I suggest CLOSE – ThePopMachine Oct 10 '12 at 2:51
  • There's a Mythology.SE nowadays ... – Rand al'Thor Jan 31 '16 at 1:10
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about mythology and not science fiction or fantasy. – Gallifreyan Sep 5 '17 at 11:15
  • @Gallifreyan - I'm pretty sure mythology was consiered in-scope – DVK-on-Ahch-To Sep 5 '17 at 11:17
18

There are very few examples, one of which is Aeneas:

a Trojan hero, the son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite.

The Wikipedia article on demigods gives a good cultural explanation as to why there were not many:

The fact that male deities of Greek myth had far more notable children with mortals than the female goddesses can be attributable to the Greek male-dominated society being reflected in their religion. Zeus, primarily, and also Poseidon, both had a multitude of affairs with mortal women, with Zeus having to shield them from his wife Hera after she was alerted to the infidelity. The females were expected to remain loyal to their husbands, while the males were almost expected to take multiple lovers, meaning that far more of the demigods in Greek myths were born on earth to human mothers than on Olympus to divine mothers.

  • Yeah, the latter was why I was kind of assuming there would be none. Excellent answer. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 9 '12 at 15:54
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    Leave it to Aecheans/Mycenians to make a "lower-status" demigod hero be a Trojan one :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 9 '12 at 15:56
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    Achilles was also born of an immortal mother as was Orpheus. – terdon Oct 9 '12 at 17:43
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    @terdon - Good point. But strictly speaking, Thetis (Achilles' mother) wasn't an Olympian but a nymph/lesser goddess. Ditto Orpheus - mother was a muse (Calliope), not an Olympian goddess. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 9 '12 at 19:44
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    Never said they were, note the coy "immortals" in my original comment. – terdon Oct 9 '12 at 22:35
8

Demi-gods and heros were often "city gods" -- the rulers of a given city-state would claim descent from the gods by way of a specific hero. Heroes born to Olympian mothers would be raised in Olympus, and not available to rule Greek city-states. Only mortal mothers are useful to establishing the "divine right of kings."

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    That is fascinating....where did you hear that? – AncientSwordRage Oct 10 '12 at 1:39
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    +1 for "yeah, that makes sense" but -1 for no references. – Sardathrion Oct 10 '12 at 7:22
  • Gah. "City gods" being used to provide divine heritage I learned in a seminar on Greek religion over 15 years ago. I have no idea what the reference was, or even what the textbook was. The use of mortal mothers over Olympian mothers is a straightforward extrapolation. – Sean McMillan Oct 10 '12 at 15:15

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