• Imagining History

A-Z of Ancient Greek Heroes - A Quick Introduction for Kids

Updated: Apr 21

Looking for some top trivia on the Mythological Heroes of Ancient Greece? Look no further, we've got you covered. We're adding more heroes all the time to this list!



Achilles


Famous for:

Being the greatest of the Greeks. Achilles fought during the Trojan war in which the Greeks laid siege to the city of Troy.


Defeated:

Achilles was a demi-god - the son of King Pelius and the goddess Thetis. As such he had super human speed and strength and was really rather good at killing lots of people. In fact, that's what he spent the majority of the nine year siege of Troy doing. The most notable foe he defeated during this time was the Trojan prince Hector


Did You Know:

Achilles was invulnerable so couldn't be killed. Well, kind of. The only part of him that could be harmed was his heel. Which is unfortunate as that is where the Trojan price Paris shot Achilles with an arrow - killing him instantly. That's where we get the phrase 'Achilles heel' from.




Atalanta:

Famous for:

Demanding would-be suiters defeat her in a footrace. Those who lost would be killed. A lot of young men ended up dead.


Defeated:

Drew first blood in the hunt of the Calydonian Boar. Wrestled and defeated Achilles’ dad, Peleus.


Did You Know:

In some account Atalanta joined Jason and the Argonauts on the Argo to quest for the Golden Fleece.




Bellerophon:

Famous for:

Defeating the fire breathing creature - The Chimera - and riding the winged horse, Pegasus.


Defeated:

The Chimera, a monstrous creature with a lion's body and three heads - one, unsurprisingly, was a Lion's head, the others the head of a goat an


d a snake. Bellerophon bested the beast by shooting a lead tipped arrow into its mouth. The Chimera's fiery breath melted the lead and then swallowed the toxic liquid, thus poisoning itself.


Did You Know:

Things didn't end well for Bellerophon. He decided to fly to Mounty Olympus on Pegasus and live with the gods. Zeus had had enough of Bellerophon's impudence and sent a gadfly to sting Pegasus. Bellerophon plummeted to the ground and was crippled and blinded upon crashing into a bush. He spent the rest of his life alone. What a downer!




Hercules:


Famous for:

Being the son of Zeus and completing 12 impossible labours.


Defeated:

Pretty much every monster going, including the Lernean Hydra, Nemean Lion, and entire armies of Centaurs.


Did You Know:

The Ancient Greeks called Hercules, ‘Heracles’. He was renamed ‘Hercules’ by the Romans.




Perseus:

Famous for:

Slaying the snake-haired Gorgon, Medusa. Perseus was a son of Zeus.


Defeated:

Medusa (as above) and Cetus, a giant sea serpent, to save Andromeda.


Did You Know:

Perseus is one of the only Greek Heroes who lived happily ever after. He married Andromeda and ruled as King of Mycenae for a long and successful reign.




Theseus:


Famous for:

Navigating the labyrinth and killing the vicious Bull of Minos; the Minotaur. The Minotaur had the body of a man and the head of a bull - this terrifying creature killed every person it met - until that person was Theseus!


Defeated:

In addition to the above: a variety of bandits and the Crommyonian Sow (a super evil pig - sounds awesome!).


Did You Know:

Theseus wasn’t always a good guy, often he was a baddie. He had an unfortunate habit of kidnapping women. Most notably Hades’ wife, Persephone.


Are you a teacher? Yes? Then you'll definitely want Imagining History to bring their 'Ancient Greece: Hero Training' Interactive workshop to your school.


Our Award-Winning sessions combine role-play, storytelling, demonstrations and drama and performance to bring history to life for your students.


Find out more here.


Further Reading

We found the following books very handy in researching this article. If you'd like to learn more about Ancient Greece then they are well worth a look.


For Teens and Adults:

30 Second Mythology by Robert A. Segal


Why we like it:

Tons of info about Ancient Greek mythology delivered in teeny articles that only take half a minute to read? Yes please!







For Children:

Greek Myths by DK Children


Why we like it:

Beautifully illustrated, DK Children's Greek Myths is an excellent introduction to Greek Mythology for 7 to 9 year olds.







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