Greek Mythology:The gods and goddesses (Part 1)
FROM THE BEGINNING:
OURANOS-SKY GOD AND FIRST RULER
He is the son of Gaea-the Earth goddess, who created him without help. He then became the husband of Gaea, and together they had many offspring, including the twelve of the Titans. His rule ended when Cronus, overthrew and castrated him, encouraged by Gaea. He either died from the wound or withdrew from the earth.
CRONUS-SON OF OURANOS AND GAEA
Cronus envied his father to be the ruler of the universe. After he overthrew and castrated his father, Ouranos. Cronus became the ruling Titan. His wife was Rhea. There offspring were the first of the Olympians. But like is father, Cronus hated his children and to assure his safety; he ate each of his children as they were born. This worked until Rhea, unhappy at the loss of her children, tricked Cronus into swallowing a rock, instead of Zeus.
Zeus grew up and revolted against Cronus and the other Titans, defeated them and banished them to Tartarus in the underworld.
But Cronus managed to escape to Italy, where he ruled as Saturn. The period of his rule was said to be a golden age on earth, honored by the Saturnalia feast.
-They are also known as the elder gods, who ruled the earth before the Olympians overthrew them. They were also associated with the various planets. Their ruler was Cronus, who was dethroned by his son Zeus. And the Titans fought with Cronus against his son. But they lost. And as a punishment they were banished to Tartarus.
1. OCEANUS- is the unending stream of water encircling the world. Together with his wife Tethys, they produced the rivers and the three thousand ocean nymphs.
2. HYPERION-the Titan of light, the father of the sun, the moon and the dawn.
3. MNEMOSYNE-the Titan of memory and the mother of Muses.
4. THEMIS-the Titan of justice and order. She was the mother of the Fates and the Seasons.
5. COEUS-the Titan of Intelligence. Father of Leto.
6. PHOEBE-the Titan of the Moon and Mother of Leto.
7. PROMETHEUS-the Wisest Titan. His name means "forethought" and he was able to foretell the future. His father was Iapetu. And his brothers were Epimetheus and Atlas.
When Zeus revolted against Cronus, Prometheus deserted the other Titans and fought on Zeus side. By some accounts, he and his brother Epimetheus were delegated by Zeus to create man. And also Prometheus is know as the protector and benefactor of man. He gave mankind a number of gifts including fire. He also tricked Zeus into allowing man to keep the best part of the animals sacrificed to the gods and to give the gods the worst parts.
For this Zeus punished Prometheus by having him chained to a rock with an eagle tearing at his liver. He was to be left there for all eternity or until he agreed to disclose to Zeus which of his children would try to replace him. He was eventually rescued by Hercules without giving in to Zeus.
8. EPIMETHEUS-was a stupid Titan, whose name means "afterthought". Son of Iapetus and delegated by Zeus with his brother Prometheus to create mankind. He also accepted the gift of Pandora from Zeus, which lead to the introduction of evil into the world.
9. ATLAS- son of Iapetus. Unlike his brothers, Prometheus and Epimetheus, he fought with the other Titans supporting Cronus against Zeus. And due to Cronus' advance age, Atlas led the Titans in battle. And as a result of his lead, Zeus gave him a special punishment, and made him hold up the world on his back.
10. METIS-Titaness of the forth day and the planet Mercury. She presided over all wisdom and knowledge. She was seduced by Zeus and became pregnant with Athena. Zeus became concerned over prophecies that his second child would replace him. So avoid the prophecies to become true, he ate her. It is said that she is the source for Zeus wisdom and that she advises him from his belly.
Metis though have been pregnant with Athena was never mentioned to be her mother. Because classic Greeks believed that children were generated only from the father's sperm. Women was only consider vessel for the fetus to grow. And since Metis was killed well before Athena's birth, her role didn't count. It's so sad.
11. Other Titan-Iapetus, Crius and Thea.
OTHER CREATURES OF GREEK MYTHOLOGY:
- HECATONCHEIRES- It means "hundred handed". They were gigantic and had fifty heads and one hundred arms each of great strength. There were three of them: Briareus or also called Aegaeon, Cottus, and Gyges also called Gyes. Also born from Gaea and Uranus. Their mutual hatred caused Uranus to force them back into Gaea's womb which flared up Gaea's rebellion against Uranus. They also fight side by side with Zeus against Cronus and the Titans. And Briareus served as Zeus' faithful devoted guard.
- THE CYCLOPES- Gigantic one eyed monsters. There were three of them, at that time, representing thunder, lightning, and the lightning bolt. They were the first smiths. Their names were Brontes, Steropes, and Arges. They were also born of Gaea and Uranus. When Cronus overthrew their father, Uranus, they were imprisoned in Tartarus. But they were released by Zeus and fought as allies against the Titans. And as a reward for releasing them, they gave Zeus his weapons of lightning and thunder. And they continued to work as his workers at Mount Olympus forging his thunderbolts.
- Arges was killed by Hermes while he guarded Io for Hera.
- Apollo killed at least one of the other Cyclopes for retribution for Zeus killing his son Aesculapius.
- THE ERINYES or EUMENIDES- also called the Furies, generated at the same time with the giants and Meliae from the blood of Uranus from his castration. They were female personifications of vengeance, namely Alecto ("unceasing"), Megaera("grudging") and Tisiphone ("avenging murder").
- THE GIANTS AND THE ASH TREE NYMPHS-Both generated from the blood of Uranus from his castration.
- The Ash Tree Nymphs or the Meliae, were nurses of the infant Zeus in the Cretan cave of Dicte. They fed him honey.
- The Giants became powerful enough and try to unseat Zeus and the Olympians in their early rule. But the gods won and imprisoned the Giants in Tartarus.
- CENTAUR-They have the body of a horse, but would have the torso, head and arms of a man. They are mostly wild and savage, know for lustfulness and drunkenness. Except for Centaur Chiron, who was known for his exceptional goodness and wisdom. He became the mentor of famous Greek hero, like Achilles, Aesculapius, and Actaeon. Despite his immortality, during a visit of Hercules to Pholus, Hercules open a jar of wine that was the property of the centaurs. They came out running and a fight broke out. During that incident, despite Chiron not taking part in it, he was accidentally wounded by Hercules. But he could not die, and lived in a terrible pain. Thus Chiron traded his life for the release of Prometheus.
- CERBERUS-The guardian of the entrance to the underworld. Described as a ferocious mean three headed dog with a dragon tail. They allowed the dead to enter but never to leave.
- SIRENS-Sisters who lure sailors with their irresistible songs. They reside beyond impassable dangerous reefs from which the sailor's boat would crush, in attempt to reach for them, which would lead them to their death.
- TYPHOEUS-A restless fire breathing dragon with a hundred head, was birthed by Gaea as a last effort to keep the Olympians from defeating her children the Titans. It almost defeated the gods, captured Zeus, but Hermes was able to free him .Then with Zeus with his lightning bolts dispatch Typhoeus and buried him under the Mount Etna in Sicily.
OTHER IMPORTANT FIGURES IN THE GREEK MYTHS:
- STYX-Eldest daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, any immortal who pours the waters of the Styx and swears an oath, is solemnly bound to tell only the truth.
- PONTUS-It means Deep Sea. Son of Gaea and Father of Nereus.
- NEREUS-He is also called the Old Man of the Sea. He is known for being a gentle and a trustworthy god, who never lies and is always full of kind thoughts. His wife is Doris (daughter of Oceanus) and his son is Pontus. They also had fifty lovely daughters the Nereids. They were named in honor of their father. They are Nymphs of the sea. The better known are Thetis(wife of Peleus and mother of Achilles) and Amphitrite (wife of Poseidon and mother of Triton-The trumpeter of the sea).
- RIVERS-Immortals, Children of Oceanus, who have chosen rivers as their earthly bodies.
- KALYPSO-The queenly Nymph and lover of Odysseus.
- ODYSSEUS-The hero of the Trojan War and the long suffering traveler of the Odyssey.(Ulysses). Succeeded against the Sirens.
- THE PLEIADES-The seven daughters of Atlas, namely, Electra, Maia, Taygete, Alcyone, Merope, Celaenao and Sterope. They were constantly pursued by Orion, and to Zeus' pity, he placed them in the heaven as stars to keep them out to reach of Orion. Maia was the mother of Hermes. Electra, the mother of Dardanu, the founder of Troy.
- TEIRESIAS-A famous prophet of Thebes, who was blinded by Athena for seeing her bathing. But for the plea of his mother, Athena gave him the gift of prophecy.
- EPAPHUS-Son of Zeus and Io, founder of the city of Memphis in Egypt.
- MINOS-Son of Zeus and Europa, King of Create. During his reign, Create became the strongest naval power, with an excellent education, trade, buildings, and arts. He was a famous law giver and created a very well known legal code. Thus after his death, he became one of the three judges of the dead in the Underworld.
- RHADAMANTHUS- Son of Zeus and Europa. He also became one of the three judges of the dead in the Underworld.
- ORAI also called THE HOURS- Three sisters, Eunomia(Harmony), Dyke(Justice) and Eirene(Peace). They assist the Olympians by organizing the Seasons and adding balance to Nature.
Yes, it's quite a long list, ~Lol. But don't worry, no need to memorize them all.~lol I just listed down the key characters in the beginning of the Greek mythology namely Ouranos, Gaea, Cronus, Rhea, the Titans, the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires. They played a great part in why and how, Zeus came to be the Ruler of all gods and the most powerful of the Olympians.
And from this brief introduction of some of the other creatures involved in the Greek mythology. You will better enjoy the other hubs I will be writing too about the great Olympians. There is so many things to be said and their stories are so endless, mysterious, passionate, firing...I hope you will enjoy them all.
A brief summary...
The Earth goddess Gaea or Mother Earth, created her son Ouranos, or sometimes called Father Heaven, without any other help. And he became her husband.
The Greeks believed that the universe or nature created the Gods. They made them human but yet unhuman. They were monsters and lived in a world with no life yet. They had tremendous strength, as powerful as an earthquake, as overwhelming as a tornado and volcano.
Their first born were the Hecatoncheires, which means "hundred handed". They were gigantic and had fifty heads and one hundred arms each of great strength. There were three of them, Briareus, Cottus and Gyges. They were huge and strong.
They had tree other children the cyclopes, Brontes, Steropes and Arges. They were also called the Wheel-eyed, for each of them had only one enormous eye, as round as a big wheel in the middle of the forehead. They were also destructive and powerful.
At last came the twelve Titans, Oceanus, Hyperion, Mnemosyne, Themis, Coeus, Phoebe, Prometeus, Epimetheus, Atlas, Metis...etc. But Cronus was the boldest of them all. Unlike the Hecatoncheires and Cyclopes, the Titans were not purely destructive. But they were also beneficent to mankind.
Ouranos was a poor father for he despised his sons the Hetachoncheires. He hated them and they hated him as well. In other stories, it said that Ouranos imprisoned them in a secret place within the earth. While the Cyclopes and the Titans were left at large. Or he forced them back into Gaea's womb which flared her rebellion. She was enraged by that maltreatment and she appealed for help to her children.
Cronus was the boldest and the most ambitious of the titans. He was enticed too by replacing his father. So he overthrew his authority and savagely castrated him. And from his father's blood rose the Giants, the fourth race of monsters, the Meliae (the Ash tree Nymphs) and the Erinyes (Furies) which office was to pursue and punish sinners. They were described as half human, half bird and half monster; with snakes for hairs and eyes that wept tears of blood. Soon all others monsters were banished from the face of the Earth, but not the Erinyes. As long as they were sinners or sin in the world, they could not be banished.
For that time, Cronus became the Lord of the Universe. He was also known as Saturn to the Romans. His wife was Rhea, his sister and queen. But Cronus' reign was to be cut short, for he learned that one of his children was destined to dethrone him.......Zeus.....
To be continued....(^^,)