Greek mythology consists in part of a large collection of narratives that explain the origins of the world and detail the lives and adventures of a wide variety of gods, goddesses, heroes, and heroines. These accounts were initially fashioned and disseminated in an oral-poetic tradition; our surviving sources of Greek mythology are literary reworkings of this oral tradition. Greek mythology was also reflected in artifacts, some of them works of art, notably the repertory of vase-painters. The Greeks themselves referred to the myths and associated artworks to throw light on cult practices and ritual traditions that were already ancient and, at times, poorly understood. Some of the main sources of information on Greek mythology are the Odyssey, the Iliad, the Argonautica, the Theogony, the Aeneid, and the Metamorphoses.
Greek godsEditIn the wide variety of legends and stories that constitute ancient Greek mythology, the deities that were native to the Greek peoples are described as having essentially human but ideal bodies. Although each god's physical appearance is distinct, they have the power to take on whatever form they choose. The few composite or chimerical beings that occur, such as the Sphinx, had their origins in Anatolia or the Near East and were imported into the Greek culture.
Regardless of their underlying forms, the Greek gods have many fantastic abilities: they can disguise themselves or make themselves invisible to humans, they can instantly transport themselves to any location, and are able to act through the words and deeds of humans, often without the knowledge of the human through whom the gods act. To the eyes of the ancient Greeks, gods were often associated with specific themes, locations or elements of nature such as: Zeus (lightning and the sky), Poseidon (water and the seas), Athena (wisdom), Ares (war), Ourea (mountains), ect. Most significantly, the gods are not affected by disease, never age and always stay young (although they can make themselves appear at any age/gender, ect.), can be wounded only under highly unusual circumstances, and are immortal (cannot die). When gods were wounded, they bled a golden liquid substance called Ichor instead of blood. Even though each of the gods were born, most of them growing from infancy to adulthood, once they reached their physical peak of maturity they did not age beyond that point. They also possessed a true, divine form, that consists of pure golden light and energy; anyone who looked upon this form without being shielded would have been completely incinerated and wiped from existence.
Each god descends from his or her own genealogy, pursues differing interests, has a certain area of expertise, and is governed by a unique personality; however, these descriptions arise from a multiplicity of archaic local variants, which do not always agree with one another.
Genealogy of main deities Uranus = Gaea | --------------------------------------- | | | | | Cronus = Rhea Coeus = Phoebe Oceanus = Tethys | | | ---------------------- Leto = Zeus Iapetus | | | | | | | Hestia | Poseidon | Demeter =Zeus | ---------------- Hades Zeus = Hera | | | | | | | Persephone | | Prometheus | Athena | --------- | | | | | Atlas Epimetheus --------------- Apollo Artemis | | | | | | | Ares Hebe Hephaestus Zeus=Maia Zeus=Dione | | Hermes Aphrodite
When these gods were called upon in poetry, prayer or cult, they are referred to by a combination of their name and epithets, that identify them by these distinctions from other manifestations of themselves. A Greek deity's epithet may reflect a particular aspect of that god's role, as Apollo Musagetes is "Apollo, [as] leader of the Muses." Alternatively the epithet may identify a particular and localized aspect of the god, sometimes thought to be already ancient during the classical epoch of Greece.
In such mythic narratives, we are told that the gods are all part of a huge family, spanning multiple generations. The oldest of the gods were responsible for the creation of the world, but younger gods usurped their power. In many familiar epic poems set in the "age of heroes," the twelve Olympians are said to have appeared in person. In order to help out the Greeks' primitive ancestors, the gods performed miracles, instructed them in various areas of practical knowledge, taught them proper methods of worship, rewarded good behavior and chastised immorality, and even had children with them.
The Twelve Olympians
Main article: Greek cosmology
Greek cosmology is wide and depicts the universe and the world as having a limit both on it's sky and ground, the sky limit is known as Heaven of Heavens and it's opposite end, which lies beneath all the world, is the Underworld. The Heaven and any other realm above it, are sustained by the Pillars of Heaven while the Underworld and the rest of the world is hold together by the Pillars of Earth.
Locations in Greek cosmologyEdit
- Firmament with the Stars
- Ocean of Heaven
- Heaven of Heavens
- Pillars of Heaven
- Pillars of Earth
- Primeval Ocean
Origin and creation of the UniverseEditTheogony, at the beginning there was chaos, a yawning nothingness. From the void in there emerged Gaia (goddess of the Earth and the Earth itself). From the void, other primary divine beings emerged: Eros (Love), the Abyss (Tartarus) and the Erebus. Gaia didn't have male assistance, therefore she gave existence to Uranus (the sky) who then impregnated her. The first wave of Titans were born as product of this union. Gaia gave birth to six males: Coeus, Crius, Cronus, Hyperion, Lapetus, and Oceanus; and six females: Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Rhea, Theia, Themis, and Tethys. After Cronus was born, Gaia and Cronus declared that no more Titans were to born.
Overthrowing of UranusEditAfter Cronus was born, Gaia and Uranus decreed no more Titans were to be born. They were followed by the one-eyed Cyclopes and the Hecatonchires, who were both thrown into Tartarus by Uranus. This made Gaia furious. Cronus ("the wily, youngest and most terrible of Gaia's children"), was convinced by Gaia to castrate his father. He did this, killing Uranus, and became the ruler of the Titans with his sister-wife Rhea as his consort. The other titans became his court.
Main article: TitanomachyThe Titan Cronus devoured all the sons and daughters he procreated with Rhea, again and again. But when Rhea gave birth to Zeus, she could not see another of her sons devoured by Cronus, therefore she hidden Zeus from Cronus. Zeus was raised in Crete, and when he was old and experienced enough, along with the aid of the Cyclopes, he defeated his father and the titans. Cronus and the rest of Titans were imprisoned in Tartarus. After the battle with the titans and his subsequent victory, he shared the world with his brothers Poseidon and Hades.
Age of GodsEdit
The Age gods is the term which defines the period in which Gods interacted with men, but could not intervene in any of the confrontations or events of humanity.
Age of HeroesEdit
Main article: Age of heroesThe age of heroes also known as heroic age, is the period between the coming of the Greeks to Thessaly and their subsequent return from Troy. The age of heroes saw a series of events which would demonstrate the humans did not need to depend on the gods or live their lives as gods demanded, such as Heracles' (Hercules) battle against the supposedly invincible Hydra.
Heracles and the HeracleidaeEdit
Jason and the ArgonautsEditBeen earlier than the Odyssey, Jason and his crew, the Argonauts exploits date back to 3rd Century BC, which was the period in which the poem depicting their adventures was wrote. Jason's voyages are famous in Greek mythology because of the fact, that his crew on the Argo, included various members of the next generation of heroes, including Heracles.
The Trojan WarEdit
In the aftermath of the Trojan War, Odysseus and various surviving soldiers navigated in search of their home, instead they ended on the island of the Cyclops Polyphemus.
External Links Edit
- Greek mythology at Wikipedia.
- Cosmogony of Alcman
- Thetis Creatrix
- The Protogenoi: the first-born Gods
|Greek mythology articles|
|Deities||Zeus • Poseidon • Apollo • Athena • Aphrodite • Ares • Artemis • Hermes • Dionysus • Hera • Hephaestus|
|Heroes||Abderus • Bellerophon • Daedalus • Diomedes • Achilles • Cadmus • Heracles •Perseus • Odysseus • Orpheus • Theseus • Jason • Argonauts|
|Groups||Demigod • God • Titans • Graeae • Gorgons|
|Creatures and monsters||Empusa • Minotaur • Chimera • Typhon • Medusa • Makhai • Hydra • Pegasus • Centaur • Charybdis • Cyclops|
|Titans||Atlas • Coeus • Crius • Cronus • Epimetheus • Gaia • Helios • Iapetos • Pallas • Perses • Prometheus • Oceanus • Hyperion • Rhea • Styx|