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Origin of the greek gods

July 17, 2009

The ancient Greek mankind, trying to explain certain metaphysical phenomena and anxieties, invented amazing myths concerning the Cosmogony (the creation of the World) and the Theogony (the birth of the Gods). Thus, the ancient Greek people created their own splendid, yet human-like world of gods, justifying the various abstract significances like Love, Birth or Death. The origins of the gods of ancient Greek religion are described in the Theogony, the famous poem of the Greek writer Hesiod. According to Hesiod(800-700 B.C.), the creation of the gods needs to be divided into four parts: 1. The Coming into Existence of Chaos First there was Chaos, a rough unordered mass of things, also considered as a void. Chaos was followed by Gaea (Earth) and Eros(Desire), who came to cancel every logical thought or act. Gaea then brought Uranus (the Heaven), Pontus (the Sea) and the Mountains to the world. 2. The Castration of Uranus The Castration of Uranus, as interpreted by historian Giorgio Vasari Uranus’ task was to surround and cover Gaea with his starry coat, however, it very soon came to a union between Uranus and Gaea and they became the first divine couple in the world. Gaea bore Uranus twelve Titans and furthermore three Cyclops, Brontes, Steropes and heady Arges, and three Hecatonchires(Hundred-Handed creatures). Uranus was fearful of his children overthrowing him, so he pushed his children back one by one into the womb of Gaea. His wife Gaea was in deep grief and sorrow over the loss of her own children, so in the end she handed a sickle to her son Cronus, the youngest of the Titans, in order to castrate his father. Cronus castrated his father while he was sleeping; the blood from Uranus was collected by Mother Earth Gaea and she produced Erinyes (Furies), Giants and Melian nymphs. Cronus then threw his father’s genitals into the sea, around which foams developed, that started in Kythera and then slowly made their way to the island of Paphos. In Paphos, the foams transformed into Aphrodite, the Olympian goddess of Love and Beauty. 3. Zeus’ Escape from the Threat of Cronus votive relief-rhea gives cronus a huge stone in swaddling clothes to swallow Soon afterwards, Cronus rescues his brothers and sisters and shares the World (Cosmos) with them. He then marries Rhea and together they created children who later on would become the Olympian gods. But Cronus developed the same fear as his father so he started to swallow his own children as well. Rhea was highly discomforted so, on her attempt to save her youngest child, Zeus, she deceived Cronus by giving a huge stone to swallow. To protect her son afterwards, Rhea then sent Zeus to Crete. 4. The Victorious Battle of the Olympian Gods against the Titans (Titanomachy) Zeus grew up in Crete, fed by the goat Amaltheia and been taken good care of by the Nymphs. When he reached manhood, as prophesied, Zeus rescued his five elder brothers and sisters and then made war on his father and the Titans, also known as “Titanomachy”. In this battle, Zeus succeeded in overthrowing Cronus, casting him and the other titans into the depths of the Underworld. A huge battle with the Giants followed, where the Olympian Gods excelled and then time had come for the Olympian gods to rule the world.

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