Ok, today I am going to break down the Olympians (the 6 original gods and the 6 who came later), but first a little back story as to how they came into power.
To dumb it down somewhat, Uranus(the sky) and Gaia (the earth) had 12 children, the Titans. They also had the Cyclopes and the "Hundred Handed Ones", but they aren't crucial to the story.
While the Titans all married each other (I guess they didn't have much choice...), Cronus and Rhea were the "leaders". Cronus was told by his mother, Gaia, that he would sire a child who would overthrow him as ruler of earth.
Being tremendously opposed to that idea, the first time Rhea had a child, he swallowed it. And almost every time there after, he would swallow his children, ensuring he would remain 'king of the hill' forever.
After he swallowed 5 children, Rhea grew weary of watching her babies slide down her husbands throat, and asked her mother for help. Gaia told her next time she had a child, hide it on the far side of the world, and present her husband with a swaddled up rock. Rhea did just that, and thus Zeus was spared from having to slosh around in his fathers stomach acid (thats a wonderful image, isn't it?).
When Zeus grew strong enough, he decided it was time for him to reunite with his siblings and usurp his father. He asked Gaia and Rhea to help bring his siblings "back from the bile". Gaia gave Rhea a herb and told her to mix it into Cronus's drink, for the herb would make him regurgitate all his children right back out (whole new meaning to projectile vomit).
Rhea mixed the drink, and Cronus urped up his offspring. Following that, Zeus and his siblings engaged with the Titans in a battle, the winner gaining control of everything (fun), the loser spending the rest of eternity in Tartarus (not fun).
In the end, Cronus and the other Titans were defeated (except the few who helped the Olympians) and sent to Tartarus.
That was how the Olympians came into power. Now, for the promised break down (bom chika bom chika laka boo bang bop! get it? break down? beat boxing, break dancing? never mind...).
Zeus, King of the Universe, god of sky, thunder and justice. He honestly irks me no end. Yes, he over threw his evil father, rescued his sibs, blah blah blah. You read any tale or story about him, and he always has some consort or lover. Despite the fact he is married. He is also obnoxiously cantankerous, and if anybody so much as looks at him wrong (i.e. men don't worship him, women don't lust after him), he nails you with a thunderbolt. Thats just rude.
Hera, Queen of the Gods, goddess of women, marriage and motherhood. Became Zeus's bride when he created a thunderstorm and turned into a little cuckoo, flying right into her open arms. I don't know how that amounts to "Yes, I'll marry you!", but it apparently does. She has her bad moments, and the occasional good ones. She is pretty entertaining, however, and very creative when it comes to punishments for Zeus's various mistresses. Sometimes comes off as cruel, but I believe her to be intriguing.
Poseidon, god of the sea, horses and earthquakes. Shortly after the city was built, the came time for Athens to pick a patron god. Poseidon wanted it, but Athena also showed interest. It was decided the fairest way to determine who would become patron of the city was for each god to give the people something, and let them decide which was more useful. Poseidon struck the ground with is trident, and up came a spring of water, but it was salt water and had little use for the city. Athena gave the citizens an olive tree, from which they could gather food, oil and wood. It was decided by the people that Athena's gift was more useful, and she was named patron of the city. Poseidon is also believed to be father to the hero Theseus.
Demeter, goddess of agriculture, nature and the seasons. Mother of Persephone, Queen of the Underworld. I am pretty luke warm about her. The only story I can remember off the top of my head about her is when Persephone was kidnapped by Hades. She was depressed and distraught so much so that she neglected to help the crops grow, and as a result a famine settled across the world. Eventually the Earth was in such a state of disrepair that Zeus had to force Hades to give Demeter back her daughter to prevent human being wiped out by hunger. Hades agreed, but Persephone had to go and live with him for 6 months out of the year, because she ate while in the Underworld (if anybody ate in the Underworld, they would have to come back, rather snappish like). That, according to Greek myth, is why we have the seasons. Spring and summer is when Demeter is with her daughter, but in fall and winter Persephone is with Hades, while her mother mourns and neglects the earth above.
Hestia, goddess of the hearth and home. I love her. She is very quiet and calm, never doing crazy things like causing plagues and kidnapping people. Another point in her favor, she selflessly gave up her chair on Mount Olympus so Dionysus may sit among them, and took up her seat by the hearth.
Hades, Lord of the Dead, god of the Underworld and wealth. Husband of Persephone and all around awesome god. He has a bad reputation because of the whole "god of the Underworld" thing, which is often jumbled up, giving people the impression he is the god of death. That is erroneous, as Thanatos is the personification of Life and Death, not Hades. It has been asserted that he tricked Persephone into eating in the Underworld, while others argue that she fell in love and ate to ensure her return.
Well, now that I throughly and completely confused bored you all (I think there are six of you) and just generally ranted, I shall take my leave. Tomorrow (or the next day) I will finish up the Olympians, but at this moment I have developed a severe case of the hiccups, and this must be immediately remedied.