Greek Creation Myth
The Coming Of the Gods
At first there was Chaos -- a vast seething confusion. there were no limits
or bounds in the world, there was no plan or outline. It was all a
tremendous disorder, but in it were hidden all things that now exist.
Gradually after a long lapse of ages, Chaos ceased to be mere darkness and
confusion. It resolved itself into two great beings, two majestic deities -
Gaea or Mother Earth and Uranus, or the Over hanging Heavens. But a constant
memory of Chaos remained and still remains in Night, the mysterious darkness
in which chaos lived. From the marriage of Gaea and Uranus many children
were born. Some of the children were very beautiful; others were terrifying
monsters. The former were called Titans. They were twelve in number and of
great size and strength; like men only much grander.
Among the most famous of them were Oceanus and Tethys, who ruled the sea;
Hyperion and Thea, deities of the sun and moon; Rhea, later known as the
"Great Mother"; Themis, guardian of law and justice; Mnemosyne, goddess of
memory, and Cronus the youngest and most powerful of all. The monsters born
to Gaea and Uranus were of two kinds. three of them had each a hundred
hands. Three others had each only one eye. The former were called
Hecatoncheires, the latter Cyclopes.
Now Uranus hated all his children, but above all he hated the six monsters
and he therefore confined them to the lower regions of the Earth called
Tartarus. Mother Earth, to whom none of her brood was hateful, was angry at
the imprisonment of her six children, and she called upon the Titans to help
her against their father. None would help her except Cronus (whom the Romans
held to be the same as their Saturn). He took a sharp sickle and slew his
father. From the blood of Uranus sprang the giants, more like men than gods,
who wore the skins of wild beasts, and who were fierce fighters. From his
blood sprang too, the Furies, or Eumenides, whose hair was writhing serpents.
Having overthrown his father, Cronus seized the rule of the world. He took
Rhea to be his wife, and divided his empire among his fellow Titans. But his
own reign came in time to an end. He feared that a fate similar to that of
his father would overtake him, so he swallowed eah of his children as it was
born -- three daughters, Vesta, Ceres and Juno; and three sons Pluto, Neptune
and Jupiter. At least he thought he had swallowed Jupiter, but when it came
to their youngest Rhea cunningly substituted a stone in place of the infant.
Jupiter was secretly conveyed to teh isle of Crete, and there the nymphs Ida
and Adrastes fed him on the milk of the goat Amalthaea. When Jupiter
attained full growth and strength, he resolved to conquer Cronus. With the
aid of Gaea he managed to make Cronus disgorge the five deities he had
swallowed; and then with the help of these he made war on the ancient god.
On the side of Cronus were ranged almost all the Titans; on the side of
Jupiter were not only his brothers and sisters, but also the hundred handed
and the one eyed monsters who Cronus like Uranus, had confined in Tartarus.
When the Cyclpoes, in gratitude for their release by Jupiter, forged for him
the thunderbolt and the lightening. The Hecatoncheires, on teh other hand,
provided him with teh shoch of earthquakes as a weapon.
One mountain stood the old gods, on another the young gods. For ages war
lasted, and everytime a battle took place the whole earth shook with the
tread of the divine warriors and the air resounded withtheir tremendous
battle cries. Jupiter hurled thunderbolt upon thunderbolt. The forests
burst into flames, the rivers boiled and the skies were very scorched. At
last the Titans could withstand the might of Jupiter no longer. They were
hurled in fire from their mountain stronghold. The young gods pursued and
overcame them. Most of the Titans were confined to tartarus. The son of one
of them, Atlas, was assigned the task of bearing the world on his shoulders
forever. Another Titans two sons, Prometheus and Epimetheus, who has refused
totake arms against Jupiter, likewise escaped imprisonment; and for a time
Prometheus was the chief adviser of Jupiter. Now the gods divided teh world
among themselves. To Jupiter (Greek: Zeus, also called Jove by Romans) was
given the overlordship of gods and men, and he was to rule as king on their
mountain stronghold, Mount Olympus. As his queen Jupiter chose Juno
(greek:Hera). Neptune (Greek: Poseidon) was assigned government of the
ocean. To Pluto (sometimes called Hades) went sway of the underworld. Vests
(Greek: Hestia) became goddess of hearth and home, Ceres (Greek: Demeter)
goddess of Agriculture.