Explore mythology and art with information about the classic stories of heroes and gods...from the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, to the legends of the Celts. Mythography presents resources and reference materials about mythology - including recommended books, and lexicons that explain Greek, Roman, and Celtic terms.

Gardner's Art Through the Ages

This book is the classic reference for the study of art. It features a history of artists and their works, as well as lucid and engaging descriptions of the styles and periods of art history. Highly recommended for both students and scholars.

Aphrodite in Art
Aphrodite in Myth
Art Themes

home | greek | gods | chthonians | Hekate

Hekate at a Glance

name | Hekate (’Ekath)

role | goddess of magic

Hekate in Greek Mythology
Hekate (Hecate) was a goddess of magic in Greek mythology. While her association with the dark mysteries of the Underworld places this goddess in the chthonian category (the word chthonian refers to the earth or Underworld), it is important to note that Hekate was also involved with several Olympian deities. She had affinities with Demeter and Artemis, and even Zeus, the ruler of Olympus, admired this chthonian goddess.

The Greek poet Hesiod is one of our best sources for information about Hekate. In his Theogony, Hesiod claims that Hekate was the daughter of Perses and Asteria. Furthermore, the poet includes a long and detailed description of the significance of this goddess in his poem:

"...Hekate, whom Zeus
honored above all others; he gave her dazzling gifts,
a share of the earth and a share of the barren sea.
She was given a place of honor in the starry sky,
and among the deathless gods her rank is high.
For even now, when a mortal propitiates the gods
and, following custom, sacrifices well-chosen victims,
he invokes Hekate, and if she receives his prayers
with favor, then honor goes to him with great ease,
and he is given blessings, because she has power
and a share in all the rights once granted
to the offspring of Ouranos and Gaia."
(Hesiod, Theogony, 411-422)

And there is much more to this passage of the Theogony. In essence, the poem states that Hekate had a great deal of power to help those she favored. However, it is important to remember that as a chthonian goddess, she also had the ability to punish. Indeed, this is where Hekate's role as a goddess of magic comes into play. In myth, for example, the sorceress Medea called upon the goddess for assistance in casting her dark spells.

Hekate was also associated with crossroads in mythology and legend, for it was believed that these areas were important in magical rituals.

In Roman mythology, Hekate was known as Trivia (the goddess of crossroads).

Who's Who in Classical Mythology

Who's Who in Classical Mythology

This book is a great source for information about Greek and Roman mythology! Organized alphabetically, this who's who features information about over 1200 of the most intriguing characters from Classical myth and legend.

Bulfinch's Mythology

Bulfinch's Mythology

The stories of Classical myth come to life in Bulfinch's book. This edition also features legends from other cultures.

Mythography Forums

Mythography Forums

Do you have a specific question about Greek, Roman, and Celtic mythology? Then try the Mythography forum!