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Greek Mythology: The Earth & The Sky

Updated on July 31, 2013

The Theogony of Hesiod

" (II. 116-138) Verily at first Chaos came to be, but next wide-bosomed Earth, the ever-sure foundations of all (4) the deathless ones who hold the peaks of snowy Olympus, and dim Tartarus in the depth of the wide-pathed Earth, and Eros ( Love), fairest among the deathless gods, who unnerves the limbs and overcomes the mind and wise counsels of all gods and all men within them. From Chaos came forth Erebus and black Night; but of Night were born Aether (5) and Day, whom she conceived and bare from the union in love with Erebus. And Earth first bare starry Heaven, equal to herself to cover her on every side, and to be an ever-abiding place for the blessed gods. And she brought forth long Hills, graceful haunts of the goddess-Nymphs who dwell amongst the glens of the hills. She bare also the fruitless deep with raging swell, Pontus, without the sweet union of love. But afterwards she lay with Heaven and bare deep-swirling Oceanus, Coeus and Cruis and Hyperion and Iapetus, Theia, and Rhea, Themis and Mnemosyne and goldencrowned Phoebe and lovely Tethys. After them was born Cronos the wily, youngest and most terrible of her children, and he hated his lusty sire." ~Hesiod

The Origins of Greek Mythology

The origins of Greek Mythology date back to Hesiod's Theogony which describes the beginnings of the universe as a gaping abyss of Chaos.

From the Chaos came Erebus, the unknowable place where death and night linger.

Later came Eros, signifying the birth of love, lust, and desire.

Next came night and day..enabling Earth to appear through the settling chaos.

For most, the beginning of Greek Mythology starts with the union of Gaea (The Earth) and Uranus (The Sky).

Gaea & Uranus

The earth was empty and alone for a very long time. When she looked up she saw only darkness and her lands were bare of all living things. No people or plants inhabited the earth. Gaea was completely and utterly alone...

One day she opened her eyes to find Uranus (The Sky) hovering above her. She was mystified by the twinkle of his stars and fell in love with him instantly.

Gaea ~The Earth~

Source

Birth of the Gods

When Gaea and Uranus united, Gaea became Mother Earth giving birth to everything on earth, as well as, the titans, and the giants.

The Titans

"The Titans were the first children of Mother Earth. They were the first Gods, taller than the mountains she created to serve them as thrones, and both Earth and Sky were proud of them." ~D'Aulaire's, 1962~

Gaea's first twelve children were evenly split. There were six male titans and six female titanesses.

Throughout the years stories have been told of these immortal beings whose strength and stamina outweighed all others. The most famous of these stories is the battle between the Titans and the Olympians and how the older more powerful titans were overthrown by their younger predecessors.

"The Greeks did not believe that the gods created the universe. It was the other way about: the universe created the gods. Before there were gods heaven and earth had been formed. They were the first parents. The titans were their children, and the gods were their grandchildren" (Hamilton, 1942).

Cyclopes
Cyclopes
Hecctoncheires
Hecctoncheires

The Giants

In later years Gaea gave birth to three more children. These babies were not beautiful or even remotely normal in the eyes of their father Uranus; however, Gaea loved them without prejudice. When Uranus saw the Cyclopes children that he had fathered he was revolted.

Imagine his displeasure when Gaea bore another three horrifying sons a few years later. These three sons, later referred to as Hecctoncheires, were even more revolting than the last. The abominations had at least fifty heads and one hundred long arms.

Uranus hated the ugly creatures he and Gaea created so he gathered them up and "flung them into Tartarus, the deepest ,darkest pit under the earth" (D'Aulaire's, 1962).

Mother Earth was furious with Uranus for what he did to their sons and sought revenge against him from her first sons and daughters (the titans). It was Cronus that responded with eagerness due to the hatred he had for his sire. Gaea made a sickle from the hardest piece of flint on earth. Cronus was young and strong. He easily over powered his father and became the new Lord of the Universe.

Do you enjoy reading about Greek Mythology?

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Cronus (Saturn) castrates his father Uranus, the Greek sky god (before Zeus)
Cronus (Saturn) castrates his father Uranus, the Greek sky god (before Zeus) | Source

Greek Mythology Family Tree

References

D’Aulaire’s, Ingri and Edgar. (1962). D’Aulaires’ Book of Mythology. Delacorte Press. ISBN 9780440406945

Hamilton, Edith. (1942) Mythology. Hachette Book Group. ISBN 9780316032162

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    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      So very interesting; thank you for sharing and looking forward to many more.

      Eddy.

    • LeslieOutlaw profile image
      Author

      Leslie 3 years ago from South Carolina

      Hi Eiddwen. Thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the read :)

      ~Leslie

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Very interesting hub, Leslie! I didn't know that the Greeks did not believe that the gods created the universe but that it was the other way around!

      Thanks for sharing!

    • LeslieOutlaw profile image
      Author

      Leslie 3 years ago from South Carolina

      Thanks for reading kidscrafts, its amazing how much we learn when writing and/or reading these articles.

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