Symbols of the Gods and Goddesses
In ancient Greek art (and myth), the Olympian gods and goddesses were often portrayed with a specific set of symbols and attributes. Due to the fact that Greek artists tended to idealize their depictions of gods, it is often difficult to distinguish one figure from another based purely upon his or her physical representation (in other words, the goddesses Athena, Aphrodite, Artemis, Hera, and Demeter all tend to have the same faces and bodies, which are uniformly beautiful). This is where knowing the symbols of a particular deity becomes especially useful, as it allows one to identify a god or goddess in art. Here are some of the symbols of the Olympians:
sceptre, myrtle, dove
bow, lyre, laurel
, owl, olive tree
sceptre, torch, corn
grape vine, ivy, thyrsos
sceptre, diadem, peacock
, winged boots
trident, horse, bull
thunderbolt, eagle, oak
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.
The stories of Classical myth come to life in Bulfinch's book. This edition also features legends from other cultures.
Do you have a specific question about Greek, Roman, and Celtic mythology? Then try the Mythography forum!
And there are excellent entries on the Olympian gods and goddesses.