Possibly my favorite review of The Trials of Hercules included a line that went something like this, “Seeing the gods behaving badly was a treat!”
Yes, the gods do get up to some dirty tricks, some adulterous liaisons, and some petty revenge, but they have to be careful. After all, the gods only exist because the humans of Osteria believe in them. So, if the gods push their luck too far, they’ll cease to exist…something the titans would very much like to see happen.
Because Domna features a story line that involves humans interacting with other humans (and some centaurs), the gods don’t have much of a role in that novel. However, in The Osteria Chronicles, the gods play a vital part in every plot’s twists and turns.
And no re-imagining of Greek mythology would be complete without some mythical creatures.
So, if you’re ready for this little meet and greet, slap on your “Hello, My Name Is…” sticker and let’s meet a few gods and creatures from Osteria. And maybe have some laughs along the way.
The Gods & Goddesses of Osteria
Each polis (city-state) within the land of Osteria is ruled primarily by one of the twelve Olympian gods or goddesses (known simply as The Twelve).
HERA: Wife of the ever-philandering Zeus, Hera does little but seethe in jealousy and make deals to her advantage. At the start of The Osteria Chronicles, her jealousy has blinded her to all the problems in her polis, causing the once-great Portaceae to be on the brink of ruin. Although one of the oldest goddesses, Hera has an everlasting beauty and little patience for lust, deceit or adultery. Hera is honored in Portaceae by the Order of the Herenes who, among other duties, guard over her sacred flock of peacocks.
HERMES: The messenger of the gods, Hermes loves being the first bearer of gossip or sharer of secrets. He’s a bit of a dandy over his winged sandals and helmet, and loves to preen and show them off. His polis is Tillaceae which is situated west of Portaceae on the Western Sea. He also serves Hades by bringing the dead to the underworld.
ARTEMIS: Goddess of wild places and wild creatures, Artemis is very protective of her animals. Although the gods of Osteria aren’t allowed to kill mortals, Artemis seems to fire a fair number of stray (and deadly) arrows if her beasts are threatened. Her realm is Cedonia, the polis just east of Portaceae.
ARES: This troublemaker rules the war-mongering polis of Aryana. His symbol is the vulture and his primary goal, besides bedding Aphrodite, is to become the sole god of Osteria. And he doesn’t care who he has to side with to achieve this aim.
APHRODITE: The goddess of beauty loves nothing more than to be admired…except by her own husband, Hephaestus. With one wave of her hand she can make people fall in love, but trouble comes in The Voyage when this love is one-sided and in The Maze when love is lost. She is the patron goddess of Vancuse, a gorgeous land populated by gorgeous people. Unfortunately, she and her people don’t realize how much trouble beauty can cause.
APOLLO: The god who guides the chariot that makes the sun rise and set, is the patron god of the sun-loving polis of Bendria. Apollo holds out hope that his sister, Aphrodite, will come to her senses and fall madly in lust with him. In the meantime, he will have to make do with mortal woman…if Aphrodite would ever let him.
ATHENA: Goddess of justice, Athena often lends a helping hand to people she feels have been treated unfairly. Her polis is Athenos, located far north of Portaceae and not far from Mount Olympus. When angered, Athena sometimes forgets to judge others fairly, leading to dire consequences in The Bonds of Osteria.
HADES: The god of the underworld (known as The Chasm) spends little time with the other gods on Olympus, but he does try to play the good host on the rare occasions when any gods do stop by. However, he can be a trickster when the living dare to enter his realm and often fails to mention his residents’ taste for living flesh. He is devoted to the well-being of his favorite pet: Cerberus, a three-headed dog.
POSEIDON: God of waterways and horses, Poseidon’s realm of Astoria (north of Tillaceae on the Western Sea) breeds and trains the finest horses in Osteria. As Hera’s brother, he tries to offer her advice and steer her away from meddling in mortal affairs….often to little avail.
ZEUS: The god of the gods would rather spend his time between a mortal’s legs than bothering with the concerns of Osteria. He tends to fall head over heels for mortal women (and occasionally men) to the point of distraction. He is overly proud of his rebellious son, Ares, and can be cruel to Hermes, especially when Hermes doesn’t agree with what Zeus demands of him.
DIONYSUS: The patron god of the fertile Illamos Valley polis cares little for politics and meddling in mortal affairs. His only concerns are his grape vines and vineyards (and their fermented product). As long as whoever controls Illamos Valley doesn’t harm the vines, Dionysus ignores what is happening in Salemnos, the capital of his polis. While Illamos Valley wine is the best in Osteria and brings great wealth to the polis, his lackadaisical approach to patronage can mean hard times when the ruler of Illamos Valley is in trouble.
HEPHAESTUS: This metal-working god, rules the polis of Helena, at the center of which is the volcanic Mount Helena. Hephaestus is no prima donna like the other gods and works alongside his people to forge weapons and create stunningly beautiful metalwork. Hephaestus has the bad luck of being married to the forever-unfaithful Aphrodite.
DEMETER: This goddess can often be found in the common room on Olympus sorting her grain seeds, tallying up the annual grain production, and planning next year’s crop rotation. She’s a no-nonsense goddess, which is for the best since she rules Demos and if Demos falls, all of Osteria risks starvation.
Other Inhabitants of Osteria
Due to the environmental problems caused during The Disaster, there’s been a fair bit of mutation in Osteria. Here’s just a small selection of what you might find while roaming down the Osterian Road….
Centaurs: Most of these half-man, half-horse creatures are intelligent and wise. The ones that dwell in the Colchian Forest will kill you first and ask questions later. You can learn more about the centaurs of Osteria in my article “Centaurs: The Good, The Bad, and The Big Debate.”
Satyrs: Part man, part goat, all party animal. Really, if you want to have fun, go find a herd of satyrs.
Giants: They’re big and they mostly keep to themselves, but they make excellent allies in a fight.
Titans: The forerunners to the gods, titans have many of the gods’ powers, but they are rough around the edges. Ones such as Typhon want to return the world to chaos by destroying all the gods and humans of Osteria.
The Middish: A strange band of mutants who live in the foothills of northeastern Osteria. They’re mostly harmless, but they do like to kick up a raiding party now and then.
There you have it. There’s still plenty of mortals I could introduce you to, but I’ll let you meet them yourself in the pages of the books.
Ready to Continue The Tour?
Just click the helmet or choose your next destination from the list below!
- If you want to take a tour of Osteria and do some sightseeing, then visit THIS PAGE.
- What inspired and influenced the world of Osteria? Click HERE to find out.
- Curious about the myths behind the books? Head to THIS PAGE.
- If you want to discover more about the series, you’ll want to go HERE
- If you want to go back to the beginning, Pegasus will take you there.
The Books of Osteria
If you haven’t already, be sure to grab your free short story from Osteria!