Classical Mythology (170)- Chapter 3
The Very Beginning Basics
- Chaos turns to cosmos (the harmony)
- Gaia is the Earth and the source of all that comes after her
- Uranus is her son and they mate to produce the Titans
- Chronus leads the Titans and castrates his father
- Zeus will eventually take power from Chronus
- There are 3 parts
- Olympus (the highest, untouchable by humans), Earth (the middle) and The Realm of Hades (lowest)
- Earth has the mix of joy and pain which is assigned by Fate
- Hades realm is a darkness where souls float around, only a few are able to leave the gloom
- Tartarus- Below Hades realm, this place houses the Titans, Gaia also mates here to produce Typhoeus
- Contains both a cosmogony (more scientific) and a cosmology (more about purpose) for the Earth’s origin
- Main purpose is to show how the gods came about, specifically Zeus - Etiological myths- the source of the world- is common in every culture (typically religious)
- There are many similarities between this version and Mesopotamian retellings (one god who fights his way to power, a divine pantheon, vertically ordered cosmos)
What Inspired This
- A focus on conflict due to Hesiod’s harsh upbringing If you want to learn more check out What motor proteins are associated with microtubules?
- The 9 daughters from Zeus and Mnemosyne- embodiment of memory - They acted as the spiritual link between Zeus and Hesiod (inspiration for the story)
The God’s Origins
- It’s a quick transition from nothingness to everything
- Chaos is replaced by Gaea (the mother of all things) and Tartarus (the place that houses fallen gods), also Eros (sex/love) comes in
- He is the grandson of Gaea and Uranus
- The titans are lead by Chronus, Chronus mates with Rhea (his sister) and Zeus comes out
- Zeus’s siblings are Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades and Poseidon Uranus and Aphrodite Don't forget about the age old question of What are some examples of culture bound syndromes?
- Aprodite’s birth story: Gaea is mad at Uranus because he will not let her have the children in her womb so she teams up with her son Chronus. He takes a sickle and castrates his father. The Earth and sky are separated, but Aphrodite comes from his phallic blood (no female parent). She represents love and sexual desire (specifically from a masculine perspective) If you want to learn more check out What is the atomic number for the atom?
- This brutality shows the two sides of sexual love
- Chronus then attempts to eat his own children to avoid his father’s fate - Zeus avoids this eating and will repeat the act that Chronus was trying to avoid (The titans weren’t very smart- except for Prometheus)
The Earth and the Sky
- This separation was also prevalent in Egyptian myth with Nut (sky) and Gen (Earth)- an embrace that was too tight- they were parted by Shu (air) - Uranus and Gaea must split to allow life to occur
- Uranus is now confined to the night sky- little role
- Sparagmos- tearing apart one's body as a ritual sacrifice, common in myth, specifically Greek myth
- Lots of interpretations apply here (Freudian, feminist)
The Birth of Athene
- Zeus's first wife is Metis (clever)
- Instead of swallowing children, he swallows his pregnant wife. He absorbs the child and births athene without a mom figure (first child, acquires his creative wisdom) We also discuss several other topics like What is the definition of a dependent variable in science?
Goddess of Victory
- Athene is born looking like a soldier, accompanied by Nike
- She is goddess of wisdom and war- a defender
- Hera, his sister wife is goddess of marriage and domesticity, worshipped on her own before Zeus takes her
Hera and Hephaestus
- Hera has a big rivalry, unhealthy relationship with Zeus
- Hera counter's Zeus giving birth by having Hephaestus all on her own - Their respective child always takes their side in fights
- Hephaestus is an imperfect god, Zeus still holds power unlike Chronus and Uranus before him (with thunderbolts)
Gaea and Typhoeus
- Gaea gives Zeus one more test before she lets him rule
- Thyphoes- a monster that Gaea created when she mated with Tartarus, essentially is a dragon
- He defeats him, but some versions say he lost tendons in his hand and feet (variation of castration) but Hermes restores them Don't forget about the age old question of What is the main difference between mass and weight?
- He then buries the monster under Mt. Etna, a fiery volcano
- Lots of opposites in creation
- Very violent conflict oriented changes
- He has a very pessimistic view of the god's ruling
Theogony by Hesiod
First Part: It starts with a call to the Muses, in which they sing their lovely song referring to all of the immortal beings. They give Hesiod the gift of story telling and they also have links to their father Zeus to get their information first hand. They are portrayed in this as beautiful, sweet songstress sisters with amazing hearts. This section ends with Hesiod asking them to please inspire his story.
Second Part: This is the beginning, a revealing of the first gods. It's the story of how Chaos turns to Gaea, then Tartarus and Eros enter. Erebos comes from Abyss (he is the night) and Erebos gives birth to Aether and Day. Gaea also bred with her son to create the Titans and Ocean. If you want to learn more check out What is the difference between a reinforcer and a punisher?
Third Part: Refers to the castration of Ouranos. Gaea also has the cyclopes and the hundred hand people. Both have abnormalities but both are extremely strong. Chronus hates his father. Ouranos hated the abnormal two sets of kids so he hid them in the ground. Gaea got angry so she hands Chronus a sickle. When the blood from the castration hit Earth, much fertility came from it.
Fourth Part: This talks about how Aphrodite came into existence. She is born out of the water from Ouranos's severed genitals. She is gorgeous and the goddess of sex (Eros sticks around her too). Ouranos is still mad at the Titans, understandably.
Fifth Part: This part focuses on other gods in the myths. Dream, Sleep, Grief, Blame to name a few. There are a lot and they all represent aspects of the human condition.
Sixth Part: The birth of the Olympians. Chronus and Rhea get together. They produce Hestia, Demeter, Hades, Poseidon, Hera and Zeus. He swallows them because he doesn't want the fate of his father. Rhea has her baby Zeus and sends him through Lyktos to Crete so he can be nursed. She then gives Kronos a stone to swallow instead. He believes that it is the baby. He eventually vomits up his children, as asked by Zeus, with the stone coming up first.
Seventh Part: The myth of Prometheus. Iapetos and Klymene sleep together. Atlas is born. He holds up the entire sky. Prometheus is known for trickery and is able to outwit Zeus. He steals fire and takes it to Earth. He is punished for this through a bird eating his liver every day even when it grows back in the night.
Eighth Part: All about Pandora. She is a beautiful virgin, draped in nice clothing. This myth makes women a curse to mortal men.
(Seventh and Eighth are not included/important)
Ninth Part: The Titanomachy- The children of Rhea and Chronus free Ouranos's children that were shoved underground. The Titans fight for ten years over power. Zeus essentially gives a pep talk saying to beat the Titans, he himself also has superior intelligence. Ouranos monsterous children fight against the Titans after Zeus saves them. A combination of Zeus's thunderbolts and throwing stones defeats them.
Tenth Part: All about Tartaros. It is a very deep part of the underworld that houses the Titans and other fallen gods. It's very dark and terrifying. This section speaks in detail about how the gods feel about tartaros.
Eleventh Part: Typhoios, Aphrodite's last born child. He is monstrously strong and had war in his blood. Zeus was worried that he could take over so his temper hits an all time high, sending lightning bolts down relentlessly. Zeus burns him and sends him to Tartaros. From this actions, monsoons start to occur.
Twelfth Part: The actions of Zeus in power. Zeus hands out privileges to the other gods. This also talks about how he marries Metis then swallows her. Then he marries Themis, she has the season children. He then sleeps with his daughter Eurynome and creates gorgeous daughters. He also creates Persephone with Demeter, who is eventually stolen by Hades. He had the muses, apollo, artemis. Point being he had lots of children with lots of women. His most famous wife though was Hera, and together they had Ares, Hebe and Eileithyia.
A Little Bit of Chapter 6
Homer has a different, more shared view of Olympian power. Zeus gets the sky, Poseidon the sea, and Hades the underworld. This view shows that Zeus ruled by maintaining stability rather than being a power hungry tyrant.
- Only directly related brother, sister, children of Zeus are allowed in Olympus. There are twelve.
- There is still conflict, especially between him and wife Hera- almost everyone at some point challenges his rule
- The Olympians are shown to be physically perfect
- The leader of the gods consistently portrayed with lightning bolts to show power and fertility of the Earth
- Typically does not intervene in Earthly action (let's fate handle that) - Zeus obviously has a lot of sex and children, but it's arguably good because he produces great children
- There is also a decent amount of seduction (in animal form-bull) and rape (Io and Europa)
- Hera is always watching and nagging him at home and he's going out doing whatever the hell he wants with whoever he wants.
- Humanity's sexual nature overwhelms even the gods
- He is a warrior, a father and a shaper of myths
- Very feminist queen of the goddesses
- Myth has it that she was worshipped independently and had wealth of her own in the Mediterranean agricultural society
- She gives birth without a male (Hephaestus)
- She is the goddess of marriage and subjectivity to the husband, there are still rituals to restore her independence...she definitely does not approve of Zeus's infidelity
- His infidelity starts with Io, but then Io is turned into a heifer (most likely by Hera)
- Hera is angry with him and she expresses it by tormenting his extramarital mistresses and their children. She also manipulates and deceives him as well. - Zeus responds with violent anger saying how he can suspend her from her wrists if he wanted to
- Hera is not portrayed as a nurturing mother, she has Ares with Zeus but his warlike nature shows their fighting. None of the Olympian women have lots of children. Some are virgins and Demeter only has Persephone.