In The Iliad, the Greek warrior Diomedes directly attacks and wounds both Aphrodite and Ares in a single day. He does so with the blessing of Athena, but the story makes it clear that it is Diomedes himself delivering the blows, not Athena on his behalf: divine assistance notwithstanding, this is direct human-on-god violence. And the blows, while not life-threatening, are serious enough to immediately drive both gods from the battlefield in distress to go seek healing on Olympus.

I’m sure that world mythologies are full of stories about humans fighting minor sprites and magical creatures, but Aphrodite and Ares are Olympians, the A-List deities of their pantheon.

Do any other mythologies depict their top-tier gods as vulnerable (even through the aid of other gods) to direct violence from mortal humans?

  • 1
    Do avatars of Vishnu, in Sanskrit epic, count? Aug 11, 2021 at 22:56
  • @BrianDonovan They at least seem worth mentioning! Toss 'em in as an answer, and we'll see if they end up being the only one.
    – Nerrolken
    Aug 13, 2021 at 6:26

1 Answer 1


Examples spring to mind from Hindu and Christian traditions:

Krishna himself departed as he had prophesied. . . . a hunter from a distance mistook the soles of his feet for a bird, and shot an arrow, thus ending the tenure of the eighth avatar of Vishnu on earth.

R. K. Narayan. The Mahabharata: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2000. Pp. 178-79.

The Passion of Christ is also represented as human-inflicted.

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