The home of the Greek gods. At first it was held to be a mountain top, Mount Olympus in Thessaly, in the northeast of Greece, but later this notion is beginning to give way to the idea of a mysterious region far above all the mountains of the earth. In a passage of the earliest Greek poem, the Iliad, Zeus talks to the gods from "the topmost peak of many-ridged Olympus," which clearly refers to a mountain. However, only a little further on Zeus says that if he willed, he could hang earth and sea from a pinnacle of Olympus.
Olympus is not heaven for Homer makes Poseidon say that he rules the sea, Hades the dead, and Zeus the heavens, but Olympus is all three. It contained a town, built by Hephaestus, and its entrance was a great gate of clouds kept by the Horae (the seasons). The gods had their dwellings within, where they lived and slept, feasted on nectar and ambrosia, and listened to Apollo's lyre.
Olympus was an abode of perfect blessedness. Homer describes it as a place where no wind ever shakes the untroubled peace and where no rain or snow ever falls, and the cloudless firmament stretches around it on all sides and the white glory of sunshine is diffused upon its walls.
- Aken, Dr. A.R.A. van. (1961). Elseviers Mythologische Encyclopedie. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
- Homer. Iliad v, 749 ff; xi, 76; xx, 5.
- Homer. Odyssey vi, 42.