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.

  • 4
    The Olympians had access to birth control. The Greeks didn't. Oct 9, 2012 at 19:14
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    How is this not off-topic? "Fantasy" doesn't include "classical mythology". I suggest CLOSE Oct 10, 2012 at 2:51
  • There's a Mythology.SE nowadays ...
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 31, 2016 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. Sep 5, 2017 at 11:15
  • @Gallifreyan - I'm pretty sure mythology was consiered in-scope Sep 5, 2017 at 11:17

2 Answers 2


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. Oct 9, 2012 at 15:54
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    Leave it to Aecheans/Mycenians to make a "lower-status" demigod hero be a Trojan one :) Oct 9, 2012 at 15:56
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    Achilles was also born of an immortal mother as was Orpheus.
    – terdon
    Oct 9, 2012 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. Oct 9, 2012 at 19:44
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    Never said they were, note the coy "immortals" in my original comment.
    – terdon
    Oct 9, 2012 at 22:35

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, 2012 at 1:39
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    +1 for "yeah, that makes sense" but -1 for no references. Oct 10, 2012 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. Oct 10, 2012 at 15:15

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