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Among his descendants were nymphs, sea gods, and monsters such as the Hydra*.Demeter (Roman Ceres), a sister of Zeus, was the goddess of grain, farming, and soil. Before merging into the Olympian pantheon, Demeter and Hera were aspects of a much older deity called the Great Goddess, an earth goddess worshiped by the agricultural Greeks.He was the protector of justice, kingship, authority, and the social order. Many myths tell of his love affairs with various goddesses, Titans, and human women—and their effects.

In addition, Pindar*, a poet of around 600 ., wrote poems called odes that contain much myth and legend. The Romans dominated the Mediterranean world after the Greeks and adopted elements of Greek mythology.

For hundreds of years, these myths passed from generation to generation in spoken form.

Then, around the time the classical Greek culture of the city-states arose, people began writing them down.

The underlying moral principle, though, was that the gods rewarded honorable behavior and obedience, and people who dishonored themselves or defied the gods usually paid a high price. Greece is a peninsula surrounded by sea and islands.

Rugged mountains and the jagged coastline break the land into many small, separate areas. Instead, it consisted of small kingdoms that after about 800 . Because travel was easier by sea than by land, the Greeks became a nation of seafarers, and they traded and established colonies all over the Mediterranean and the Near East.