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10 Most Famous Greek Demigods and Heroes: Who Are They?

By Andy Watkins


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What is a Greek myth without a great hero. These heroes, some of them demigods, have helped to form some of the more impressive stories from Greek mythology.

And with these heroes often comes some imaginative foe. Be it the Minotaur, the Titan Atlas or the sorceress Circe. They make for some great stories. So without further ado, lets dive in!

Most Famous Greek Demigods and Heroes

1. Theseus

Theseus was the son of Aegeus, the king of Athens and Aethra. He is one of the most famous heroes in the Greek myths and he comes up against some of the most terrible and memorable foes. 

Aegeus was returning to his city one day and met the beautiful Aethra. They fell in love and she became pregnant. Aegeus decided to leave but buried a sword beneath a stone and told Aethra that when his child was strong enough he should retrieve the sword and return it to his father and be reunited. 

After many great adventures Theseus was reunited with his father who tasked him with an even greater challenge. He was to go to Crete and defeat the infamous Minotaur. Many years earlier Aegeus had been defeated by the king of Crete and as tribute had agreed to send 7 boys and 7 girls every year to Crete to be eaten by the Minotaur. Theseus arrived on the island and entered the labyrinth within which the Minotaur lived. He fought a terrible battle with the beast but was eventually victorious. 

2. Heracles

Heracles was the son of Zeus and Alcmene. He was known as the strongest mortal man alive. Although human, his deeds were said to be similar to those of the Gods. 

There are many stories concerning Heracles. In one Heracles competed with a water god Achelous for the attention of a beautiful women Deianira. Achelous transformed himself into many different creatures, all of which were incapable of drowning Heracles. Eventually Achelous was defeated and returned underground. Heracles was also known to have saved Alcestis from Hades, gained a homeland for his people by ridding Aegimius’ kingdom of the Lapiths, and killed Busiris who attempted to chain and kill Heracles in order for a drought to end. 

Heracles was Zeus’ favourite son. Zeus wanted Heracles to become a god, but to first spend his time with humans in order to understand them. The idea being to eventually to teach the other gods about humans. Hera was jealous of Heracles and tormented him throughout his life. At one point, she caused him to go mad. In his madness, he ended up killing his family. As a punishment, Heracles had to perform the Twelve Labours. It was for his Twelve Labours that he gained most fame. Eventually, Heracles was accepted into Olympus and made immortal by Zeus. He married Hera’s daughter and was worshipped as a god. 

3. Achilles

Achilles was the son of Peleus and Thetis. He was the greatest Greek warrior during the Trojan War. 

While raiding Troy, Achilles takes Briseis hostage and keeps her as his concubine. She is later on stolen from Achilles by Agamemnon. This incident ends up angering Achilles’ so much, he stays in his tent and refuses to fight in the Trojan War. Achilles was also known to have killed Hector as punishment for Hector killing Patroclus. 

As an infant, Achilles was dipped into the sea by Thetis who wanted her son to have her immortality. She held him by the ankle, causing his heel to be covered. He ended up being invincible, except for the spot on his heel. On the day of the Trojan war, Achilles, fighting with Agamemnon, gave Patroclus his golden armor. Patroclus would take to the field and people thought Achilles was there. Patroclus ended up being killed by Hector. In retaliation, Achilles killed Hector and three days later was killed himself by Paris. Paris shot an arrow at Achilles’ heel, bringing the greatest warrior down for good. 

4. Odysseus

Odysseus was the son of Sisyphus. He was the King of Ithica, a very intelligent strategist, and eventually one of the most famous Greek explorers. 

Odysseus was known to have convinced Achilles to go to Troy, cheated Ajax out of Achilles’ golden armour, killed Antinuous,  and was given a ship to sail back home in by Alcinous. Odysseus was also known to have taken up with Calypso, spending seven years on an

After ten years and the end of the Trojan war, Odysseus set sail for home. However, Poseidon took an intense dislike to him and plagued his journey with countless obstacles. One obstacle was Odysseus’ meeting with Circe. Circe had also taken an interest in Odysseus. To get his attention, she turned the men he sent to explore the island into pigs. She waited for Odysseus to come and save them. When Odysseus finally showed up, he fell under Circe’s spell and ended up spending three years with her. They had Telegonus before Odysseus ended up leaving to continue on his journey home.   

5. Jason

Jason was the son of Aeson. Jason was said to be the leader of the Argonauts. 

When Jason was a baby, his mother sent him to the centaur Chiron to be raised and kept safe until he was old enough to return and claim his throne. Jason was also the captain of the Argos and had a crew made up of all the best heroes. Meleager, Calais, Euphemus, and even Heracles who joined his crew for a short time. 

Jason was sent on a mission by Pelias to retrieve the Golden Fleece from King Aeetes and Medea. Before setting sail, Jason and his crew made sacrifices to the gods. Jason sacrificed to Aphrodite. The journey was strenuous and the men had lots of obstacles along the way. When they did finally make it to Colchis, Jason led a failed raid for the Golden Fleece. He was captured and had to participate in the deadly trial of the Ordeal of the Plow. Aphrodite intervened and had Eros shoot an arrow at Medea. She fell in love with Jason and she gave him a special oil that would help in the trial. He used it and ended up plowing the field. Medea also went and stole the Golden Fleece which she gave to Jason as a dowery. 

6. Perseus

Perseus was the son of Zeus and Danae. He is known as the golden boy of Greek mythology. 

Perseus was said to be conceived by Zeus and Danae when Zeus visited her in her prison cell. Danae was the wife of Acrisius, so Perseus and his mother were eventually cast out to sea by Acrisius in a box. The box landed on Sephiros. When it was opened, Danae was cast in a beautiful golden glow and the King of Sephiros Polydectes fell in love with her. He didn’t want Perseus around, so he told Perseus to go kill Medusa. Perseus was visited by Hermes and Athena who gave him a golden shield that could be used as a mirror and gold-winged sandals that would let him fly. He then visited the Nymphs of the West who gave him a helmet and a wallet. He used the shield to see the reflection of Medusa and cut off her head. He ended up using her head to stop the wedding of his mother to Polydectes, by turning all the guests and the groom to stone. 

In a later myth, there was a Princess called Andromeda. Andromeda’s mother bragged that her daughter was more beautiful than the sea nymphs. This angered Poseidon who sent a monster to cause havoc around their kingdom. The only way to stop the monster was to feed it Andromeda. But, Perseus wandered by when she was chained to a rock. He had the head of Medusa with him.  He turned the monster into stone and was then given Andromeda as his reward for saving her. 

7. Hector

Hector was the son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. He was also known as the crown-prince of Troy and was a great warrior. 

Hector married Andromache and together they had Astyanax. At the end of the Trojan war, Astyanax is thrown off a building and Andromache is carried off by Neoptolemus. 

Hector took control of the Trojan forces when the Trojan war began. He had tried to stop it by telling Paris to give Helen back, but Paris had refused. Doing his duty, Hector fought mercilessly on the battlefield. He fought with Ajax and eventually killed Patroclus who was wearing Achilles’s golden armour. The death of Patroclus angered Achilles immensely. Achilles sought Hector out on the battlefield and killed him. He then dragged his body around Troy. Eventually, Achilles gave Hector’s body back and Hector was cremated. His bodily remains became holy relics. It was said that although Hector had been a favorite of Zeus’, Zeus allowed him to be killed because it was his time to die. 

8. Bellerophon

Bellerophon was the son of Glaucus. He was a hero whose triumphs were said to be similar to those of Heracles and Theseus.

When Bellerophon visited Argos, the queen took a fancy to him. When her advances were not returned, she told her husband Proteus that Bellerophon had tried to seduce her. In a rage, Proteus then sent Bellerophon to Lycia with a letter. The letter told Iobates to kill Bellerophon. Iobates refused to do it in his home, so he sent Bellerophon to kill the Chimera instead. Bellerophon ended up killing the Chimaera while flying on the back of Pegasus. Iobates continued to send him out on dangerous quests, but every time, Bellerophon would come back just fine. Iobates eventually showed him the letter he had been sent. Bellerophon later gets his revenge on Queen Anteia by pushing her off of Pegasus as they flew through the sky. 

It is said that Bellerophon may have become so conceited, that he attempted to fly Pegasus towards the heavens to try and outdo the gods. Zeus didn’t like this, however, so he sent an insect to sting Pegasus who then threw Bellerophon off. Although he didn’t die, he did end up becoming crippled. 

9. Chiron

Chiron was a centaur whose origins are unknown. He was known to be very kind and intelligent and fantastically talented with the bow and arrow. He was the son of Cronus and the Oceanid Philyra. 

Centaurs in general were known for being wild and unruly while Chiron was wise and strategic.

Chiron was said to have raised Jason when his mother dropped him off to be kept hidden from Pelias. He was also known to have educated Achilles, Asclepius, and Actaeon. He was immortal, but one day he was accidentally scratched by a poison arrow of Heracles. He was in so much pain, he let his immortality transfer to someone else and then died.  Some say his immortality went to Prometheus. 

10. Daedalus

Daedalus was said to be the greatest inventor in ancient times. He was also an incredibly skilled sculptor. 

Daedalus made very realistic sculptures that almost seemed to be alive. One day, his apprentice Talos started to show promise in sculpting, so Daedalus killed him. He was put on trial for murder but escaped to Crete. King Minos had him create the Labyrinth where he kept the vicious Minotaur. Thesus arrived and killed the Minotaur. Daedalus helped him to escape.

Minos imprisoned Daedalus and Icharus, but Daedalus made them wings and they flew away. Icharus didn’t listen to his father and flew towards the sun. The wax on his wings melted and so he fell and died. Daedalus wanted revenge on King Minos, so he hatched a plan with Cocalus to kill King Minos. Cocalus convinced King Minos to have a bath, but it was a bath Daedalus had built. Daedalus sent hot water into the bath and King Minos was killed. 

Final Thoughts

So there you have 10 of the greatest heroes and demigods from Greek mythology. These 10 are central to many of the best stories in the Greek myths. The heroes stories have stood the test of time. I hope you enjoyed, thanks!

Bonus – The Myth of Icarus and Daedalus

About Andy Watkins

I have always been interested in mythology. From a very early age in Britain, I was known to sit at the breakfast table reading encyclopedias about many of the major world mythologies. Learn more about MythNerd's Editorial Process.

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