Greek mythology is jam packed with strange and wondrous objects, items, weapons and so on. Be it the shield of a hero, the head of a gorgon or the flute of a god. These items often play an important role in the progression of the story and are truly wonders of the imagination.
So let’s be honest, these powerful objects make for good stories. So without further ado. Lets introduce the most powerful objects, weapons and items from Greek Mythology. Bare in mind, this list is just scratching the surface and only functions as a basic introduction. Enjoy!
- The Most Powerful Objects, Weapons and Items from Greek Mythology
- Food, Drink and Medicine
- Defensive Items
- Rods and Staffs
- Musical Instruments
- Boxes or Containers
- Statues and Furniture
- Random Body Parts
- Final Thoughts
- Bonus – The Trojan War
The Most Powerful Objects, Weapons and Items from Greek Mythology
Once I got going with this article I realised there as just so many items to get through. So I have had to sub categorise each of the different objects into one group or another just to stay organised.
The Cestus aka Aphrodite’s Girdle
The Cestus belonged to the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. It was also occasionally used by the queen of the gods, Hera.
This piece of clothing had the power to ignite in almost anyone the emotions of love and desire.
Some people speculated that the Cestus did not in fact exist in the myths. It was in fact a fiction created by the other Olympian goddesses to explain why Aphrodite was so popular with the Gods, Demigods and mortal men.
The Girdle of Hippolyta
This magic girdle belonged to the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta. It was a gift from Ares, the god of war. It was also the target of the 9th labour of Heracles.
Unlike the Girdle of Aphrodite, it didn’t have any magic powers. The only significance to it was that the wearer should be the Queen of the Amazons.
During the 9th labour Heracles is tasked with retrieving the girdle by Eurystheus as a present for his daughter Admete. In some versions of the myth Theseus comes along with Heracles and together with Hippolyta they all return to Athens with the girdle. In another myth Heracles kills Hippolyta and takes the girdle.
The Tallaria aka The Winged Sandals of Hermes
They were originally the possession of the messenger god Hermes, but he later gave them as a gift to the hero Perseus.
These sandals gave the wearer the ability to fly incredibly fast and dodge any potential monsters.
The hero Perseus was tasked with retrieving the head of the Gorgon Medusa. Knowing that many other men had died in the attempt, the gods Hermes and Athena gave Perseus a number of gifts to help him. Hermes gave the winged sandals and Perseus used them in countless battles with different opponent throughout his adventures.
The Golden Fleece
The Golden Fleece was first worn by a magical ram called Chrysomallos who could both talk, think and fly. The fleece later came into the possession of Jason and his band of Argonauts.
The great Greek story of Jason and his Argonauts centres around their search for the Golden Fleece. They were tasked with finding the fleece by King Pelias. They had to overcome a variety of obstacles including giants, dragons and harpies. There were many famous heroes in the band that set off including Heracles, Castor, Polydeuces, Orpheus, Zetes, and Mopsus. They did eventually get the fleece.
Helm of Hades aka the Cap of Invisibility
The Helm of Hades originally belonged to Hades and was a gift from the Cyclopes for defeating the titans. It did however change hands and in some other myths it is owned by Athena, Hermes and Perseus.
The helm gives the wearer the power of invisibility.
The helm was used by Perseus in his defeat of the Gorgon Medusa. He was tasked with bringing back the head of Medusa. So of he went to her cave. He explored the cave and with the help of the shield of Aegis, he was able to fight and kill Medusa.
The Shirt of Nessus
The Shirt of Nessus was a gift from Deianira to her husband Heracles. It was a poisoned shirt and it killed the hero.
The shirt was coated in the blood of the centaur Nessus. Anyone who wore the shirt would be poisoned.
The centaur Nessus attempted to seduce Deianira the wife of Heracles. So Heracles shot him. As he lay dying he told Deianira that his blood could be used to ensure Heracles stayed loyal to her. In fact, the blood was very dangerous. A while later when Deianira believed Heracles was seducing someone else, she decided to use the blood on a shirt. She gave it as a gift and thus Heracles died.
The Necklace of Harmonia
The Necklace was a gift from the god Hephaestus to Harmonia, the Queen of Thebes.
It was said that the necklace made the wearer eternally youthful. However, Hephaestus had cursed the necklace so that the wearer would also suffer great misfortune.
Hephaestus was married to Aphrodite but she had an affair with Ares, the god of war. Hephaestus cursed any of the children of this union and Harmonia was their daughter.
The Ring of Gyges
The ring of Gyges belonged to a Libyan shepherd who later went on to become a king. He found the ring in a cave following a great and terrible earthquake.
The ring made the wearer invisible.
Gyges used to ring to sneak into the the nearby royal palace. He found the king and killed him. He claimed the throne for himself and married the queen. He actually then went on to become a very successful ruler.
Food, Drink and Medicine
The Herb Moly
Moly was a herb used by Odysseus.
The herb had the power to stop Odysseus being turned into a pig like his companions.
The sorceress Circe decided to curse Odysseus and his crew. He used the herb to stop the spell from working on him. He spent a year in the company of Circe. She eventually changed the crew back into humans. They were all eventually able to escape.
Ambrosia was a sweet tasting food eaten by the Olympian gods. They also drank a powerful nectar.
The food and drink had the power to keep them immortal. If a human ate ambrosia then they too would become immortal.
When Odysseus meets the cyclops Polyphemus he likens the food he is eating to ambrosia and nectar. Also when Psyche is accepted into Olympus she is given ambrosia as a gift.
The Apple of Discord aka The Golden Apple of Discord
The Apple of Discord was an apple with the words to the fairest written upon it.
It had no mythical powers, rather it was central to a disagreement between the Greek goddesses.
When Eris, the goddess of discord, was banned from going to a wedding on Mt. Olympus she decided to cause some trouble. She wrote the words on the apple and threw it amongst the goddesses. Three of the goddesses, Hera, Athena and Aphrodite argued over who the apple should belong to. Zeus couldn’t decide so he set Paris of Troy the task. He was bribed by Aphrodite with the promise that she could make any women he desired fall in love with him. He chose Helen of Troy. He took her back to Troy with him and the angry Greeks soon followed. Thus began the Trojan War.
The thunderbolt was the preferred weapon of the Olympian god Zeus. They were made by the cyclopes and first given as a gift following the battle of the Titanomarchy.
Zeus could hurl one of these thunderbolts at will at anyone on earth. He would do this very often to a great many mortals.
There are probably hundreds of incidents involving Zeus throwing the thunderbolt. There was when Zeus was defending his wife Hera and he threw a thunderbolt at Porphyrion. There was the time the son of Helios was driving the sun chariot badly and Zeus threw a thunderbolt to kill him. And there was the time Gaia, the grandmother of Zeus sent a monster to overthrow him. He used the thunderbolts to defend Mt. Olympus.
The trident was the favoured weapon of the God of the Sea, Poseidon. He is very often depicted as hold the trident.
It had the power to terraform the land usually involving water and Poseidon used it in many different myths.
He used it to force a spring to erupt on the acropolis in Athens. He also used it to create a horse as a gift by striking the ground.
The Scythe of Cronus
This scythe belonged to the Titan king Cronus and is one of the major symbols he is depicted holding.
When Uranus, the father of Cronus, locked up his brothers the 1-eyed giants and the 100-hand giants, Cronus along with 4 of his brothers decided to overthrow the god of the sky. The 4 brothers held him down and Cronus picked up his scythe and castrated Uranus. Thus Cronus become the King of the Titans.
Spear of Achilles
The spear was the property of Achilles, a gift from his father Peleus. It was made of the wooden ash.
Achilles fought with this spear in his fight against the Trojan hero Hector. The fatal blow came from this spear.
The Bow of Apollo
This was a silver bow owned by the Olympian god Apollo.
He used the bow to kill the monster Python. This monster had attacked his mother Leto and when Apollo was fully grown he set out to the kill the beast. He found Python near the city of Delphi and killed it with the bow and arrows. He then founded the Oracle of Delphi on this site.
The Bow of Eros
This bow belongs to the Greek god of Love, Eros. He was the son of Zeus and Aphrodite.
The arrows had the power to cause whoever was struck to fall passionately in love with anyone or anything else.
The arrows were used to make Apollo fall in love with Daphne. This was a typical case of unrequited love. Eros also accidentally scratched himself with the arrows and he then fell in love with Psyche. He married Psyche but it was forbidden for a mortal like Psyche to look upon Eros so he would only visit her in complete darkness.
The Bow of Heracles
This set of bow and arrows were first the property of Heracles, but later were used by Philoctetes and were very important in the Trojan war,
The arrows tips had been dipped in the blood of the hydra and were therefore incredibly poisonous.
Philoctetes was a famous archer who was gifted the bow and arrows when his father died. He set sail to go to Troy for the war but he ended up stranded on an island for 10 years. The Greek got wind of a prophecy that said the war could only end when an arrow was fired from the bow of Heracles. So, they searched for and found Philoctetes. He was brought to the battle and fired an arrow that killed Paris of Troy.
Aegis aka The Shield of Zeus
The shield was originally the property of Zeus and was made for him by the blacksmith Hephasteus. It was latter used by Athena and Perseus.
When Zeus used the shield it produced terrible thunder and lightning bolts. When it was used by Athena it had upon it the head of Medusa so anyone who looked at it was turned to stone.
In the myth of Perseus and Medusa, Perseus was able to use the shield’s reflection to guide himself through the cave of Medusa and to eventually chop off her head.
The Armour of Achilles
The armour of Achilles was used by Achilles in his fight against Hector. It was made by the blacksmith Hephasteus.
In the Trojan War, Achilles was sitting out some of the key fighting. His friend, Patroclus wanted to take the fight to the Trojans so he donned the armour of Achilles and went to fight. Hector thinking he had spotted Achilles fought and killed Patroclus. The Trojans then stripped and stole the original armour. Achilles was angered by the treatment of his friend so through his mother had Hephasteus forge him some new and more powerful armour. He wore this in his famous fight against the Trojan hero Hector.
Rods and Staffs
This was the staff held by the Olympian god Dionysus.
It was said that when this staff was planted in the ground it would take root and produce both flowers and fruit.
The staff is seen as a symbol of fertility and the followers of Dionysus, of which there were very many, would also carry their own Thyrsus.
The Caduceus was a staff with a winged top and two snakes wound around it. It was said to be carried by the Olympian god Hermes.
The symbology of the staff was associated with fertility, wisdom and healing. In later years the staff would become associated with Asclepius, the god of healing.
The Caduceus is now associated with the many medical institutions around the world.
This shell was a musical instrument used by Triton, the son of the sea god Poseidon. The shape of the shell was said to be twisted and misshapen.
It was said that when Triton blew the trumpet he was able to control and calm the waves of the sea.
During the war between the Titans and the Olympians he used his shell to calm the titans and make them less aggressive. Also, he used the shell to help the Argonauts when they encountered a terrible storm.
The Syrinx aka Pan’s Flute
This was a seven reed flute played by Pan the god of herds and flocks.
In one story Pan challenged Apollo to a music content. The judge was King Midas and he announced Pan as the winner. As revenge Apollo gave Midas the ears of a donkey.
The Lyre of Apollo
The lyre was a gift from Hermes to Apollo because he had stolen his cows and sacrificed them. Hermes made the new lyre from the entrails of one of the cows.
Apollo was initially very angry at Hermes, but after playing the lyre and hearing the beautiful music he forgave Hermes.
The Trumpet of Pheme
Pheme was the goddess of gossip, rumour and fame. She would always carry around a trumpet. She would inquire into the affairs of both the gods and mortals and then very often pass on this information.
She would use the trumpet to announce news and to get other people’s attention to tell them about gossip.
Boxes or Containers
The Trojan Horse
The Trojan Horse was a huge wooden model of a horse given as a gift by the Greeks to the Trojans. The idea of the horse came from the Greek hero Odysseus.
In the story of the Trojan war, the Greeks were still fighting the Trojans after 10 long years. The Greeks needed a solution. Odysseus thought up and built the horse and inside hid hundreds of Greek soldiers. The Trojans thinking the Greeks had left, dragged the horse inside the great city walls. In the night the Greek soldiers climbed out and opened the city gates. The Greeks were waiting outside and burst into the city and burnt it to the ground.
Pandora’s box was a vessel containing all of the evil spirits of the world including disease, poverty, misery and death. It was gifted to the world of man by Zeus as revenge for Prometheus giving them the gift of fire.
When the box was opened all the evil spirits rushed out and spread across the world.
The story goes that when Prometheus made humans he also gifted them with the ability to make fire. Zeus was very angry at this and decided to punish humans. He had his sculptor Hephaestos make the first women, Pandora, and gifted her along with the box of evil spirits to Prometheus’s brother Epimetheus. The two were married but Pandora’s mind was often thinking of the box. Curiosity got the better of her and one day she opened it.
Statues and Furniture
The Golden Throne
The Golden Throne was a gift from Hephaestos to the wife of Zeus Hera.
The throne had the power to entrap anyone who sat upon it.
Hera was the mother of Hephaestos and when he was born she had rejected him because he was deformed. Zeus had flung him from Mt. Olympus and he had grown up on earth. As revenge Hephaestos built the throne and gifted it to Hera. When she sat in it she couldn’t get back up. Hephaestos wouldn’t free her until he was admitted back on to Mt. Olympus.
Random Body Parts
The Graeae’s Eye
The Graeae were three weird daughters of Phorcys and Ceto. They were also the sisters of the hideous Gorgon sisters.
They only had one eye which they had to share with each other in order to see.
Perseus went to meet the Graeae when he was searching for the Gorgon Medusa. He had to steal the eye and then threaten the Graeae to get them to tell him where Medusa was. They eventually told him.
The Head of Medusa
Medusa was one of the hideous Gorgon sisters. They were said to have the body of a women and hair that consisted of snakes. She was originally a beautiful maiden and had been wooed by Poseidon in a temple of Athena. Athena was angered by this disrespectful act and so turned Medusa into a monster so hideous that anyone who looked upon her was turned to stone.
Perseus beheaded Medusa and used her head as a weapon against his opponents. He saved Andormeda from a terrible sea monster and turned the Titan Atlas to stone using the head of Medusa.
So there you have it, some of the most powerful objects, weapons and items from Greek mythology. The Greek myths house some fantastically creative ideas. Many of these stories have stood the test of time and continue to pop up even to this day in popular culture.
Feel free to comment below and let us know which objects you think should have made the list. Thanks!