Greek Mythology 101

Chapter One: The Origin


(A vase depicting Athena bursting out of zeus’s head)

Greek mythology, although confusing, can be very interesting. This series will tell you all about mythology without having to read through the endless scrolling of wikipedia or dozens of pages from a text book of analogy. So, today’s lesson will be the origin, the start of this horrendous, but hexing tale. Also please remember that this whole idea of Greek mythology came from philosophers and scholars from ancient Greece, which include the Library by Pseudo-Apollodorus, the Odyssey and Iliad by Homer, and others.


 So the beginning of Greek mythology all started with Chaos, complete nothingness, but then Gaia came out of Chaos. Gaia is depicted as the earth in the mythology and is referred to as the ancestral mother or the personification of Earth. Other primary deities or beings like Eros (love), the Abyss (Tartarus), and the Erebus (darkness). Gaia then, single handedly, gave birth to Uranus (the sky), Uranus then proceeded to fertilize (or impregnate her, which is very weird, but so is Greek mythology) Gaia, who then miraculously gave birth to twelve titans. Half of the titans were males; Coeus, Crius, Cronus, Hyperion, Iapetus and Oceanus. The other half were females; Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Rhea, Theia, Themis, and last but not least Tethys.


Our story then continues with the Cyclopes and Hecatonchires being thrown into Tartarus by Uranus. This infuriated Gaia, who then convinced Cronus to castrate, and cut up Uranus. After Cronus did this he and his sister wife, Rhea, became the ruler of titans. 


Cronus then got the prophecy that one of his sons would overthrow him, which then led to Cronus gobbling up his children as soon as Rhea gave birth to them. But Rhea tricked Cronus into eating a rock instead of  Zeus (the youngest) from getting eaten. Zeus was raised on top of a mountain, protected from Cronus. Zeus then drugged Cronus which caused him to throw up Zeus’ siblings which include Poseidon, Hera, Hades, Hestia, and Demeter. Chronus then declared war with Zeus, but with the help of the Cyclopes (Zeus freed him) defeated  Cronus and his Titans who were then banished to Tartarus.


Zeus then was given the same prophecy, that the first offspring of his first wife(Metis) would overthrow him. With worry, Zeus turned his wife into a water droplet and swallowed her. But without a doubt that offspring still came into the world. Athena, the goddess of strategy and battle, emerged from Zeus’ head in full armor. 


As a bunch of you know, there are a lot of different versions of the origin of Greek mythology. For example, these stories were probably influenced by Roman mythology too. Another thing to recognize is that poets and philosophers might have changed rivers and the sun and moon later on. Another prime example about changes or confusion in that time could be because Homer, and some other poets described the earth as a flat disc, drifting on the river of Oceanus, that was enclosed by a hemisphere-ish sky, with the sun, moon, and stars. We then introduce Helios (the sun), who cruised around the heavens in his sun chariot .


Well, that was our first lesson ,and hopefully simpler than wikipedia, about Greek mythology! I hope you enjoyed this article and look forward to our next lesson!