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Greek Mythology Trivia Quiz: Gods of Olympus

How Well Do You Know Greek Mythology?

Try this Greek mythology trivia quiz on the gods of Olympus!

Don't worry if you don't know all the answers. There's some real head-scratchers in it to challenge students of Greek myth. Just enjoy the zany questions, then check out the "mini-myths" and art following the quiz to learn more about the questions and myths you didn't know.

Gods of Olympus Quiz

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What did Athena give Zeus?
    • The gift of prophesy
    • The head of Medusa
    • A splitting headache
    • A restraining order on behalf of Greek women
  2. Who of the following is not one of Zeus' children?
    • Achilles
    • Hermes
    • Dionysos
    • Helen of Troy
  3. Where were Apollo and Artemis born?
    • Athens
    • Atlantis
    • Las Vegas
    • Delos
  4. Greek art often depicts the god Hephaistos' return to Olympus. What is he riding?
    • An eagle
    • A donkey
    • A thunderbolt
    • A Harley
  5. Hades, god of the underworld, sometimes wears:
    • An iron crown
    • Shoes made of the bones of the dead
    • A cap of invisibility
    • Aphrodite's girdle
  6. Who is the mother of Ares' sons, Phobos (Panic) and Deimos (Fear)?
    • Lady Gaga
    • Isis
    • Medea
    • Aphrodite
  7. Delphi houses the Temple of Apollo, but he's not there in the winter. Who's Apollo's house-sitter?
    • Artemis
    • Hermes
    • His pet snake
    • Dionysos
  8. Herakles' name means...
    • Valor in battle
    • Swollen foot
    • Glory of Hera
    • Muscle-bound meathead
  9. Poseidon rules over the sea, and also...
    • Thieves
    • Horses
    • Volcanoes
    • Cruise ships
  10. How did the old woman Baubo comfort Demeter for the loss of her daughter?
    • She established the Eleusinian mysteries in Persephone's honor.
    • She fasted with the goddess.
    • She told dirty jokes and flashed Demeter.
    • She bought Demeter a deluxe spa package to Epidauros.

Answer Key

  1. A splitting headache
  2. Achilles
  3. Delos
  4. A donkey
  5. A cap of invisibility
  6. Aphrodite
  7. Dionysos
  8. Glory of Hera
  9. Horses
  10. She told dirty jokes and flashed Demeter.
Birth of Athena - Greek Vase Painting

Birth of Athena - Greek Vase Painting

Athena's Grand Entrance

Is that a goddess in your cranium, or...

NEWS FLASH: Athena springs fully formed from the head of Zeus! That was the headline of the Olympian Times shortly before the war between the gods and Titans.

Let's back up. Zeus was infamous for hopping into bed with every goddess, nymph, or mortal who caught his fancy. Then he heard a prophecy that if he had a son by Metis, goddess of Thought, the child would rule in his stead. Since he had already deposed his father Cronos, who had deposed his father, this looked like yet another chain-of-revenge story so common in Greek myth.

Metis was already pregnant. Zeus followed his father's example and swallowed Metis! Nine months later, Zeus came down with the mother of all migraines. Hephaistos the smith-god cracked his skull open with an axe. Out popped Athena, fully grown and armed for battle.

For further reading: Birth of Athena according to several Greek poets

Thetis picks up new armor for her son Achilles (scene from the Iliad)

Thetis picks up new armor for her son Achilles (scene from the Iliad)

Not a child of Zeus, but could've been

Achilles the merely mortal

Poseidon and Zeus both courted the minor sea-goddess Thetis. Then the goddess Themis (Justice) said, "oh, by the way, the son of Thetis will be greater than the father." Sound familiar? So Zeus married Thetis off to Peleus, a mortal man. Her son was Achilles, greatest hero of the Trojan War, but not quite immortal.

-- Source: Apollodorus

Helen of Troy was Zeus' daughter by Leda; Dionysos was his son by Semele of Thebes; Hermes was his son by Maia, oldest of the Pleiades.

Delos Island, own photo

Delos Island, own photo

A Clever Marketing Coup

Lousy tourist destination upgrades image with celebrity endorsement!

Delos is a small, rocky, barren island that found a clever way to increase its fortunes. It's connected to yet another affair of Zeus.

Zeu's wife Hera got wind of his latest liaison and threatened to curse any land that offered sanctuary to Leto, now pregnant with twins. Delos didn't have much to lose, so it invited Leto to come there for the birth. Artemis was born first, then turned around and delivered her brother Apollo!

Delos Island thus acquired several major cults, lots of temples and offerings and a thriving Greek sea-port until the Roman general Sulla sacked the place for his war chest.

The nearby island of Ortygia sometimes tried to steal Delos' fame by claiming it was the real birthplace of the twins, or at least of Artemis. But most myths grant that honor to Delos.

(Above right, my own photo of Delos.)

Hephaistos returns on a donkey

Hephaistos returns on a donkey

Hephaistos' Hot Rod

The lamest of the gods

Hephaistos son of Hera got tossed out of Olympus on his ear. Why? The stories are a little muddy.

Myths aren't too picky about chronology. According to some versions, Hera gave birth to him alone in revenge for Zeus giving birth to Athena without her input -- nevermind that Hephaistos is always present at the birth of Athena. Then Zeus tossed him off Mt. Olympus, breaking his legs in the fall.

Other stories say Hera gave birth to Hephaistos alone and found he was crippled, so she tossed him out because he was lame.

Either way, a lot of semi-comic vases show the lame god riding back to Olympus in triumph on a donkey. As the gods' blacksmith, he became too indispensable to let go.

Hades' Spiffy Hat

"Look, Sephie, I'm invisible!" "Whatever you say, dear."

Hades' cap of invisibility would seem to be a bit of a knick-knack; it's not like he needs to hide from the dead. Maybe it helps his wife Persephone cope.

We don't hear much about it except when Hermes loans it to Perseus to help him slay Medusa. Athena also borrows it in the Iliad so she can use it for a sneak attack on her brother Ares.

Mars and its moons, Phobos and Deimos

Mars and its moons, Phobos and Deimos

All's fair in love and war

...and fear and panic?

Phobos and Deimos, fear and panic, are the sons of Aphrodite and Ares. (Sad but true: Aphrodite is Hephaistos' wife, but she considers him lame.)

Aphrodite and Ares are the gods of love and war. Their steamy affair pops up in classical poetry from Homer to Ovid. In Latin (i.e. Roman mythology), they are named Venus and Mars. So women are from Venus, men are from Mars, and kids are scary!

At right are the moons of the planet of Mars: Phobos and Deimos. They're probably stray asteroids.

Temple of Apollo, Delphi

Temple of Apollo, Delphi

Delphi, Sacred Time-Share of Mt. Parnassos

Apollo's summer home

Delphi is sometimes considered the navel of the ancient Greek world. It was the site of the famous Oracle of Apollo, where rich and poor made pilgrimages to learn their future.

Apollo was the god of reason, mathematics, music, medicine and self-control. Therefore it's a little surprising to find that he traded place with Dionysos, god of wine and loosened inhibitions, the flip side of everything Apollo stood for. Or is it? In a way, giving Dionysos part time in Delphi was a sort of counterbalance to Apollo's extreme rationality.

At right is my photo of what's left of the Temple of Apollo and its famous oracle.

Hera Suckling Herakles

Hera Suckling Herakles

Hera and Herakles

A semi-divine relationship that went bad

Greek mythology is full of hints of older myths. Herakles' name, "Glory of Hera," betrays one of them. By classical times, Hera had been demoted to the shrewish wife of Zeus. She was portrayed as a jealous rival of his mortal and divine paramours. They were originally local goddesses whose divinity was later "explained" by marrying them off to Zeus.

That meant that Hera was at odds with Herakles' mother and also with him. So why does he have Hera's name?

Long before Greece was Greece, Hera was the Lady half of a "Lord and Lady" pair of divinities. These god-goddess pairs appear in many world mythologies, and often have a divine child. Because of Herakles' name, I have a suspicion that he may have been Hera's son in some local traditions. But don't put that on a test, since that's just my guess! Later myths offer awkward explanations trying to account for the early stories of Hera nursing the hero.

"Poseidon and Ajax" by 19th-century artist Bonaventura Genelli

"Poseidon and Ajax" by 19th-century artist Bonaventura Genelli

Earth-Shaking Poseidon

God of horses and other forces of nature

Poseidon is the lord of the sea, earthquakes, and ... horses! Bulls, too, sometimes. Things that make the ground shake, from crashing surf to pounding hooves, are under his control.

Roman portraits often show him in a chariot drawn by hippocamps, giant sea-horses.

The Iliad depicts him riding in a chariot drawn by horses with bronze feet and golden manes. He also gifts horses to several heroes, including Achilles.

Second century BCE sculpture of a drunken old woman

Second century BCE sculpture of a drunken old woman

Baubo, trickster goddess of Eleusis

"When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple..."

Baubo is an eccentric figure in the myth-cycle connected to the Eleusinian Mysteries. The mysteries dramatize the story of how Demeter, goddess of grain and earth, travels the world in mourning after her daughter Persephone is abducted by the underworld-god Hades.

Eventually she comes to the king's palace at Eleusis. There an odd crone-figure, Baubo, tries to loosen her up with wine, but Demeter is too distraught to eat or drink. The old woman finally employs a crude form of shock therapy by lifting up her skirts and displaying her private parts. Demeter bursts out laughing! In some variants of the myth, Baubo (or Iambe, who may be a younger version of the same goddess) also amuses Demeter with dirty jokes. Demeter is cheered enough to eat something. Moral: humor is good for what ails you.

The figure at right is not Baubo, but a Hellenistic Greek sculpture of a drunk old woman.

© 2009 Ellen Brundige

Greek Mythology Guestbook - How did you do?

Scribbling Geek from Singapore on August 21, 2016:

Argg! I thought I knew it well but got two wrong!

Scindhia from Chennai on April 29, 2014:

Had great fun and learnt some facts too!

John Dyhouse from UK on March 19, 2014:

I thought I would have done better but I failed miserably. I should do a little work and then try again.

Baddew Fibes on December 16, 2013:

Lots of wrong answers, but learnt loads too. Thanks!

anonymous on September 08, 2013:

Well not so good LOL Greek Mythology is one topic I would eventually like to read about, it is on my list! I find it fascinating, but don't know enough yet to love it!

suepogson on February 07, 2013:

I really enjoyed that. Thanks!

HarrietC LM on December 15, 2012:

I really enjoyed your quizzes, learned loads too. Thanks a lot! =)

Baddew Fibes on December 03, 2012:

Learned lots on this lens, including the fact that I'm rubbish at Greek Mythology. :)

AstroGremlin on December 02, 2012:

60% and that involved some lucky guesses!

saludsalud on November 24, 2012:

great lense

VspaBotanicals on October 14, 2012:

Love this.

anonymous on September 02, 2012:

70% . . . Fun and informative lens!

anonymous on August 30, 2012:

i only got six...

Stanley Green from Czech Republic on July 27, 2012:

Nice quiz. I like it. Thanx for sharing.

OrlandoTipster on July 24, 2012:

Not well but enjoyed the challenge.

kevkev227 lm on July 13, 2012:

Fun quiz...I got 4/10. Guess I need to brush up a bit :)

anonymous on July 03, 2012:

A great Quiz, and I love the way its set out.

Mandy Stradley from Riverton, Utah on June 21, 2012:

Oh boy I only got one!!

melissiaoliver on April 19, 2012:

Oh dear, 0/10! I'd better brush up some more on my mythology!

NoYouAreNot on April 02, 2012:

Still going strong at Greek mythology ;)

Lindrus on March 23, 2012:

I wish the quiz would've been at the end of the lens, then I would have done much better... But I learned something new. Thanks for a great lens!

huvalbd on February 20, 2012:

Enjoyable summary. Would have made my study of Greek mythology in school a lot easier to remember!

Malu Couttolenc on January 30, 2012:

Another fabulous page with Greek Mythology history, trivia and quizzes :)

Hypersapien2 from U.S. on January 23, 2012:

Really fun lens!

anonymous on December 10, 2011:

enjoyed reading this lens, loved the quiz too.

JoyfulReviewer on November 17, 2011:

Thanks for the fun and informative lens.

anonymous on October 24, 2011:

Great fun and very instructive. Thanks!

Shadrosky on October 22, 2011:

Ouch! 2 of 10 :/

anonymous on October 22, 2011:

Lol, scored badly, didn't really know about Greek stuff! Great info!

goo2eyes lm on October 16, 2011:

learned a lot and earned points too

Jim Sterling from Franklin, Tennessee on October 14, 2011:

I really need to brush up.

Heather Burns from Wexford, Ireland on September 18, 2011:

really badly:(

dahlia369 on September 16, 2011:

Nicely done lens & great resource. ***Angel blessed*** :)

verkeerd on September 07, 2011:

I didn't do that well on the quiz, but did learn/remember things from this lens!

louvilejames on August 16, 2011:

Very interesting quiz... I enjoy it... :)

pramodbisht on July 22, 2011:

Great quiz,had fun,thanks!

Tolovaj Publishing House from Ljubljana on July 12, 2011:

Great quiz, thanks!

ellagis on July 10, 2011:

half and half. What a funny and interesting lens!

Strangelet on July 08, 2011:

haha great fun! And here i was thinking that all the ridiculous options were there just for the heck of it! Very educational, great job!

anonymous on July 07, 2011:

educational lense and fun! didn't do so well on the quiz, would have done better if it was at the end:)

Traderski on June 24, 2011:

Great lens, loved the quiz even though I didn't do to well I learned something.

anonymous on June 17, 2011:

nice 90%...awesome mythology quiz!

CarynJSwift56889 on June 02, 2011:

that's amazing lens, thanks a lot

pimbels lm on May 26, 2011:

Very interesting. Great lens.

anonymous on May 22, 2011:

Very nice. 90%, but it was tricky.

sukkran trichy from Trichy/Tamil Nadu on May 01, 2011:

very interesting and informative lens.

JeremyCrow on April 18, 2011:

Excellent quiz lens! I didn't expect the answers and found them after doing the quiz. That is a great idea. Thanks for this.

JanezKranjski on April 17, 2011:

Nice job. I didn't did very well.

termit_bronx on February 25, 2011:

Good job on the lens :)

fashionality lm on February 12, 2011:

very educational.

Lemming13 on January 31, 2011:

Four out of 10 - oh, the shame! Still, I did study Romans, not Greeks,,, Super lens, super quiz. Blessed.

Cheryl57 LM on January 24, 2011:

3/10, My worst score yet!! Thank goodness for your informative lenses, so I can remedy this appalling lack of knowledge.

anonymous on January 10, 2011:

You did a great job on this lens, totally fun!

chocsie on January 02, 2011:

wow, 10%. i guess i'm not that good at this. although some of the answers were rather shocking :p

anonymous on December 29, 2010:

@Demaw: So did I..also learned a few new interesting Greek trivia!

MargoPArrowsmith on December 19, 2010:

Wow, I am shocked, I did terrible!

Demaw on December 14, 2010:

I enjoyed doing this quiz, interesting subject.

anonymous on December 11, 2010:

When will I learn to cheat on your quizzes and read the lens first, I would do very well then! You must split a gut coming up with some of your answers! Always, brilliantly done! {{Hugs}}

sponias lm on December 10, 2010:

Iâm Brazilian because I was born in Brazil, but also Greek because my parents are Greek. The Greek mythology is a very complex topic, usually very seriously analyzed. However, you found a way to transmit this knowledge with simplicity, and humor. Very interesting!

Linda Pogue from Missouri on December 07, 2010:

Messed that one up! LOL! Need to study more, I guess.

MoonandMagic on December 07, 2010:

I liked the quiz, thought I was going to swim through, but no! nice choice of question thanks

GrinningFool on December 02, 2010:

Ahhhhh, bombed that quiz like I bombed the ancient mythology class in college!

JimH on November 20, 2010:

I think your quiz answers are inaccurate, I only got 30% and consider myself a genius.

Jeremy from Tokyo, Japan on November 04, 2010:

Oooh. Only 60%. I should have known another one or two. Fun quiz, and I like how you used it to introduce the rest of your lens. Blessed.

jgelien on October 19, 2010:

Wow, I did a spectacularly terrible job on that quiz. Great questions!

Sensitive Fern on October 13, 2010:

Yup, the quizzes are hard but I like them that way. I especially like how the information follows them.

Thomas F. Wuthrich from Michigan on October 07, 2010:

Way back when I was in grade school, I excelled at Greek (and Roman) mythology. Unfortunately, you didn't ask any of the questions they asked me in grade school. :) That is as much as I am willing to admit at this time. Aha...I see a quiz up there which may be more my speed; the "EASY Myth Trivia Quiz."

rootadesigns lm on October 06, 2010:

I was terrible at that quiz!

isabella lm on October 01, 2010:

your quizzes are fun...and hard

damagedinc on September 30, 2010:

I really sucked at that quiz. WOW

emcueto on September 29, 2010:

haha, only got half of the questions right!

emcueto on September 29, 2010:

haha, only got half of the questions right!

BetsiGoutal1 on September 27, 2010:

I recommend adding an Amazon Spotlight module featuring Greek Mythology for Dummies because I sure feel the need to buy a book like that now! Only got 2 / 10 and I see I'm not lagging too far behind the curve either. Interesting quiz!!

KokoTravel on September 26, 2010:

Great lens! Challenging and revealing!

Megal LM on September 26, 2010:

Wow I know nothing about Greek Mythology...

C A Chancellor from US/TN on September 25, 2010:

Wow -- I thought I knew a lot of mythology but this quiz was hard! Artemis is my favorite.

GardenArbor on September 25, 2010:

Only 40% - back to the classroom - great lens! Apollo is my favorite!

Health-Gal on September 25, 2010:

planning a trip to the Greek Islands to this was great info for me!

Diana Grant from United Kingdom on September 24, 2010:

Well, I didn't get much right - sad really!

Oosquid on September 18, 2010:

Well I didn't think that I knew much about Greek mythology and your quiz proved me right :0)

It was fun though.

drifter0658 lm on September 16, 2010:

egads.....great quiz!

teemu on September 16, 2010:

Horribly. 30%

Sheilamarie from British Columbia on September 16, 2010:

Not great, actually! But I had fun! Now I know what I don't know.

KatPriebe on September 15, 2010:

it's amazing how much you think you know and don't...I better get reading!

ImmatureEntrepr on September 14, 2010:

Okay, so know I now I need to brush up on my mythology. I haven't studied since high school. It was one of the few things about school I actually enjoyed. :)

Indigo Janson from UK on September 14, 2010:

I did very badly indeed.... but you did make me laugh so I'm glad I had a go!

Liz Mackay from United Kingdom on September 13, 2010:

Wow! I'm no good at this Grecian stuff. Another area I need to brush up on. Thanks for an interesting quiz

missbat on September 12, 2010:

Ouch, only 3! I guess it's time to brush up on my Greek mythology. Fun quiz!

eclecticeducati1 on September 10, 2010:

I actually got 4 right (by guessing! lol!!!). It's been a long time since I have had a chance to study mythology. The closest I have come lately is Percy Jackson. :) Blessed by an Angel.

AlaskaHydro LM on September 10, 2010:

I only got 1 out of 10. Horrible.

seegreen on September 10, 2010:

Wow, did worse than I thought I would, but I do owe my correct answers to Percy and the Lightning Thief. Not a bad series ... of course my kids made me read it ... that's my story anyway. Blessed by an Angel.

Ellen Brundige (author) from California on September 09, 2010:

@JJNW: It is funny, isn't it? Scholars tie themselves in knots trying to explain the fact that in many of the world's solemn rites and festivals, there are moments of humor, inappropriate behavior, and acting out!

Baubo is like the crazy old aunt or grandma who shocks you by saying things you'd NEVER think a lady her age would say or do. Obviously a founding member of the Purple Hat Club.

Here's more about this intriguing "zooty goddess" figure:

http://www.goddessgift.com/goddess-myths/greek_god...

JJNW from USA on September 09, 2010:

Why would the correct answer be "C. She told dirty jokes and flashed Demeter."??? Maybe something is off here? ha ha

In any case, I need to study!

Pete D on September 08, 2010:

cool quiz, not as good results as I thought :)

LadyLovelace LM on September 04, 2010:

I failed miserably at the quiz, which is a little more terrifying for the fact that I'm taking a class in Mythology this semester, but I enjoyed it anyway :)

Elizabeth Sheppard from Bowling Green, Kentucky on July 25, 2010:

I have always liked Hera, but I also like Diana and Athena. It's hard to pick just one. Hera sure has gone through a lot.

anonymous on May 24, 2010:

Now that I've read everybody else's comments, I feel better. Yay. :) :) :) :)

anonymous on May 24, 2010:

50%. 5/10. 0.5. Half. I didn't do very well at this.

P.S. Who in their right mind would flash a goddess??

Kitsune64 on April 15, 2010:

Woot! 9 out of 10 - Baubo got me. XD Great quiz. As always, much love for your lenses. 5*

Mythological on April 10, 2010:

Ahem, I only got 30%. And I thought I knew this stuff! OH well, I will have to read and try again. By the way, that slideshow is really annoying, the bigger and smaller pictures are horrible because they make the page move depending on their size. They should all be one size to make it smoother in my opinion.