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the TITANS & early Greek Mythology

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Author Topic: the TITANS & early Greek Mythology  (Read 11924 times)
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« on: April 20, 2007, 01:37:37 pm »

In order to have a true understanding of the Atlantis legend, I think it important to have a keen grasp of the mythology it originated from. I do not mean this in the skeptic's way, used as a tool used simply to disprove the tale in it's entirety. As, it seems, most of you, I believe that Atlantis did, in fact, exist and that it shall only be a matter of time before true evidence of that existence is found. Since so much of the Atlantis legend is intertwined with Greek mythology as a whole, I thought it best to devote a topic to this material so that we all might become better acquainted with it.

My focus of this "thread" to begin with, shall be the early mythology, but eventually, should it prove engaging enough, I hope to broaden it into a discussion of the wider Greek mythology as a whole. My ideal plan would be for it would to move in a linear fashion and maintain some semblance of chronology, if at all possible.

I have noted, as have others, that some of the responses seem to wander off topic. While I am certain that these other points have some merit, please confine the discussion to one concerned with soley with Greek mythology. A line of research similar to the ones I see developing in the threads "Sea People" and the "Tribes of Atlantis" threads would be much appreciated.

Might I also take this time to say that, with very few exceptions, I find most of the members of the comments posted at this site to be quite valuable ones. It is unique to find so many people genuinely interested, and knowledgable about this information.


Most of you will probably remember that this thread had already been started previously. Regrettably, that thread seems to have collapsed under the sheer weight of itself, the sheer volume of the material added to it (much like the Titans themselves, I'm afraid).

Don't worry, I've saved everything!

Actually that might be a good thing as it gives us the chance to perhaps condense the material, edit out information that isn't pertinent to the topic, and, of course, save reading space for the rest of you. It is my sincerest wish that my friend Helios be as active in this thread as he was in it's predecessor, although I am aware that might be asking a lot. Helios, your contributions have been most welcome.

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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2007, 01:38:54 pm »

Background information on the Titans:
The Titans

The Titans, also known as the elder gods, ruled the earth before the Olympians overthrew them. The ruler of the Titans was Cronus who was de-throned by his son Zeus. Most of the Titans fought with Cronus against Zeus and were punished by being banished to Tartarus. During their rule the Titans were associated with the various planets.


Gaea is the Earth goddess. She mated with her son Uranus to produce the remaining Titans. Gaea seems to have started as a neolithic earth-mother worshipped before the Indo-European invasion that eventually lead to the Hellenistic civilization.

Uranus is the sky god and first ruler. He is the son of Gaea , who created him without help. He then became the husband of Gaea and together they had many offspring, including twelve of the Titans.

His rule ended when when Cronus, encouraged by Gaea, castrated him. He either died from the wound or withdrew from earth

Cronus was the ruling Titan who came to power by castrating his Father Uranus. His wife was Rhea. There offspring were the first of the Olympians. To insure his safety Cronus ate each of the children as they were born. This worked until Rhea, unhappy at the loss of her children, tricked Cronus into swallowing a rock, instead of Zeus. When he grew up Zeus would revolt against Cronus and the other Titans, defeat them, and banish them to Tartarus in the underworld.

Cronus managed to escape to Italy, where he ruled as Saturn. The period of his rule was said to be a golden age on earth, honored by the Saturnalia feast.

Rhea was the wife of Cronus. Cronus made it a practice to swallow their children. To avoid this, Rhea tricked Cronus into swallowing a rock, saving her son Zeus.

Oceanus is the unending stream of water encircling the world. Together with his wife Tethys produced the rivers and the three thousand ocean nymphs.

Tethys is the wife of Oceanus. Together they produced the rivers and the three thousand ocean nymphs.

Hyperion is the Titan of light, an early sun god. He is the son of Gaea and Uranus. He married his sister Theia. Their children Helius (the sun), Selene (the moon), and Eos (the dawn).

Mnemosyne was the Titan of memory and the mother of Muses.

Themis was the Titan of justice and order. She was the mother of the Fates and the Seasons.

Iapetus was the father of Prometheus, Epimetheus, Menoetius, and Atlas by Clymene.

Titan of Intelligence. Father of Leto.

No details available.

Titan of the Moon. Mother of Leto.

No details available.

Prometheus was the wisest Titan. His name means "forethought" and he was able to foretell the future. He was the son of Iapetus . When Zeus revolted against Cronus Prometheus deserted the other Titans and fought on Zeus side.

By some accounts he and his brother Epimetheus were delegated by Zeus to create man. In all accounts, Prometheus is known as the protector and benefactor of man. He gave mankind a number of gifts including fire. He also tricked Zeus into allowing man to keep the best part of the animals sacrificed to the gods and to give the gods the worst parts.

For this Zeus punished Prometheus by having him chained to a rock with an eagle tearing at his liver. He was to be left there for all eternity or until he agreed to disclose to Zeus which of Zeus children would try to replace him. He was eventually rescued by Heracles without giving in to Zeus.

Epimetheus was a stupid Titan, whose name means "afterthought". He was the son of Iapetus. In some accounts he is delegated, along with his brother Prometheus by Zeus to create mankind. He also accepted the gift of Pandora from Zeus, which lead to the introduction of evil into the world.

Atlas was the son of Iapetus. Unlike his brothers Prometheus and Epimetheus, Atlas fought with the other Titans supporting Cronus against Zeus. Due to Cronus's advance age Atlas lead the Titan's in battle. As a result he was singled out by Zeus for a special punishment and made to hold up the world on his back.

Metis was the Titaness of the forth day and the planet Mercury. She presided over all wisdom and knowledge. She was seduced by Zeus and became pregnant with Athena. Zeus became concerned over prophecies that her second child would replace Zeus. To avoid this Zeus ate her. It is said that she is the source for Zeus wisdom and that she still advises Zeus from his belly.

It may seem odd for Metis to have been pregnant with Athena but, never mentioned as her mother. This is because the classic Greeks believed that children were generated solely from the fathers sperm. The women was thought to be nothing more than a vessel for the fetus to grow in. Since Metis was killed well before Athena's birth her role doesn't count.

According to Homer in the Iliad she is the mother of Aphrodite.


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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2007, 01:40:21 pm »

An interesting gallery of illustrations of the figures that appear in Greek mythology:
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2007, 01:41:09 pm »

Did the Greeks believe their myths?

To the Greeks, mythology was literally a part of their history; few ever doubted that there was truth behind the account of the Trojan War in the Iliad and Odyssey. The Greeks used myth to explain cultural variations, traditional enmities, and friendships. It was a source of pride to be able to trace one's descent from a mythological hero or a god.

On the other hand, philosophers like Xenophanes were already beginning to label the poets' tales as blasphemous lies in the 6th century BC; this line of thought found its most sweeping expression in Plato's Republic and Laws. More sportingly, the 5th century BCE tragedian Euripides often played with the old traditions, mocking them, and through the voice of his characters injecting notes of doubt. In other cases Euripides seems to be directing pointed criticism at the behavior of his gods.

Hellenistic Rationalism
The skeptical turn of the Classical age became even more pronounced in the Hellenistic era. Most daringly, the mythographer Euhemerus claimed that stories about the gods were only confused memories of the cruelty of ancient kings. Although Euhemerus's works are lost, interpretations in his style are frequently found in Diodorus Siculus.

Rationalizing hermeneutics of myth became even more popular under the Roman Empire, thanks to the physicalist theories of Stoic and Epicurean philosophy, as well as the pragmatic bent of the Roman mind. The antiquarian Varro, summarizing centuries' worth of philosophic tradition, distinguished three kinds of gods:

The gods of nature: personifications of phenomena like rain and fire.
The gods of the poets: invented by unscrupulous bards to stir the passions.
The gods of the city: invented by wise legislators to soothe and enlighten the populace.
Cicero's De Natura Deorum is probably the most comprehensive summary of this line of thought.

Syncretizing Trends
One unexpected side-effect of the rationalist view was a popular trend to syncretize multiple Greek and foreign gods in strange, nearly unrecognizable new cults. If Apollo and Serapis and Sabazios and Dionysus and Mithras were all really Helios, why not combine them all together into one Deus Sol Invictus, with conglomerated rites and compound attributes? The surviving 2nd century AD collection of Orphic Hymns and Macrobius's Saturnalia are products of this mind-set.

But though Apollo might in religion be increasingly identified with Helios or even Dionysus, texts retelling his myths seldom reflected such developments. The traditional literary mythology was increasingly dissociated from actual religious practice.

Christian Views
By the time Christian evangelism and Greek mythology collided, Greek mythology was already being viewed primarily as literature, not religion. This view persisted among the Church fathers, and can still be found among most Christian educators, where Greek mythology is taught as a subset of the Classics.

However, there is a contrary view that has always existed side by side with this idea. Some Christians fear that all gods other than the God of Abraham are real, and are representations of Satan, other fallen angels, or demons, and appeared in the form of false gods in order to lure human beings away from monotheism and other spiritual truths. Among Christians who hold this belief, Greek mythology is understood to be a subset of the subject of demonology.

The Fate of Mythology
In addition to the continuing use of and allusion to mythology in literature, Greek mythology today makes for some wonderful stories that remain enjoyable. Greek mythology continues to be an important cultural reference long after the Greek religion with which it was entwined ceased to be practiced. There was, to be sure, a Christian move to deface or destroy idols and other images that reflected the public cult of the gods when Christianity replaced paganism as the official faith of the Roman Empire. Literature posed a harder problem to the Christians; it would be impossible to erase the influence of Greek mythology there without casting aside the Iliad and Odyssey, Theocritus, Virgil, Ovid, and many other authors that most were not willing to cast aside. Greek mythology thus has persisted for more than a millennium after Greek religion became extinct. Even much classical Christian literature contains allusions to Greek and Roman mythology, as a glimpse at parts of Dante's Inferno or most of Milton's Paradise Lost makes plain.

Several types of primary source are available for the study of Greek mythology.

The poetry of the Archaic and Classical eras — composed primarily for performance at cultic festivals or aristocratic banquets, and thus part of muthos in the Homeric sense (see Etymology above). This includes:
the Homeric Odyssey, Iliad and Hymns
the Hesiodic Theogony.
the dramatic works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes
the choral hymns of Pindar and Bacchylides.
The work of historians, like Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, and geographers, like Pausanias and Strabo, who made travels around the Greek world and noted down the stories they heard at various cities.
The work of mythographers, who wrote prose treatises based on learned research attempting to reconcile the contradictory tales of the poets. The Bibliotheke by Apollodorus of Athens is the largest extant example of this genre.
The poetry of the Hellenistic and Roman ages, which although composed as a literary rather than cultic exercise, nevertheless contains many important details that would otherwise be lost. This category includes the works of:
The Hellenistic poets Apollonius of Rhodes and Callimachus.
The Roman poets Hyginus, Ovid, Statius, Valerius Flaccus and Virgil.
The Late Antique Greek poets Nonnus and Quintus Smyrnaeus.
The ancient novels of Apuleius, Petronius, Lollianus and Heliodorus.

Modern Interpreters
The developers of modern mythography and hermeneutics, starting from Bulfinch's genteel Christian tradition, in approximate chronological order:

Thomas Bulfinch
Johann Jakob Bachofen
James George Frazer
Jane Ellen Harrison
Walter Burkert
Otto Rank
Carl Jung
Walter Otto
Edith Hamilton
Karl Kerenyi
Robert Graves
Marija Gimbutas
Claude Lévi-Strauss
Michael Grant
Joseph Campbell
Timothy Gantz

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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2007, 01:42:49 pm »

Similarities between Roman, Greek, and Etruscan mythologies:
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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2007, 01:46:28 pm »

From Helios:
I found this an interesting article relaying the connections between the Greek gods and Atlantis:

Sacred Texts Atlantis

p. 283




"The mythology of the Greeks, which their oldest writers do not pretend to have invented, was no more than a light air, which had passed from a more ancient people into the flutes of the Greeks, which they modulated to such descants as best suited their fancies."

This profoundly wise and great man, who has illuminated every subject which he has touched, guessed very close to the truth in this utterance.

The Hon. W. E. Gladstone has had quite a debate of late with Mr. Cox as to whether the Greek mythology was underlaid by a nature worship, or a planetary or solar worship.

Peru, worshipping the sun and moon and planets, probably represents very closely the simple and primitive religion of Atlantis, with its sacrifices of fruits and flowers. This passed directly to their colony in Egypt. We find the Egyptians in their early ages sun and planet worshippers. Ptah was the object of their highest adoration. He is the father of the god of the sun, the ruler of the region of light. Ra was the sun-god. He was the supreme divinity at On, or Heliopolis, near Memphis. His symbol was the solar disk, supported by two rings. He created all that exists below the heavens.

The Babylonian trinity was composed of Idea, Anu, and Bel. Bel represented the sun, and was the favorite god. Sin was the goddess of the moon.

The Phœnicians were also sun-worshippers. The sun was

p. 284

represented by Baal-Samin, the great god, the god of light and the heavens, the creator and rejuvenator.

"The attributes of both Baal and Moloch (the good and bad powers of the sun) were united in the Phœnician god Melkart, "king of the city," whom the inhabitants of Tyre considered their special patron. The Greeks called him "Melicertes," and identified him with Hercules. By his great strength and power he turned evil into good, brought life out of destruction, pulled back the sun to the earth at the time of the solstices, lessened excessive beat and cold, and rectified the evil signs of the zodiac. In Phœnician legends he conquers the savage races of distant coasts, founds the ancient settlements on the Mediterranean, and plants the rocks in the Straits of Gibraltar. ("American Cyclopædia," art. Mythology.)

The Egyptians worshipped the sun under the name of Ra; the Hindoos worshipped the sun under the name of Rama; while the great festival of the sun, of the Peruvians, was called Ray-mi.

Sun-worship, as the ancient religion of Atlantis, underlies all the superstitions of the colonies of that country. The Samoyed woman says to the sun, "When thou, god, risest, I too rise from my bed." Every morning even now the Brahmans stand on one foot, with their hands held out before them and their faces turned to the east, adoring the sun. "In Germany or France one may still see the peasant take off his hat to the rising sun." ("Anthropology," p. 361.) The Romans, even, in later times, worshipped the sun at Emesa, under the name of Elagabalus, "typified in the form of a black conical stone, which it was believed had fallen from heaven." The conical stone was the emblem of Bel. Did it have relation to the mounds and pyramids?

Sun-worship was the primitive religion of the red men of America. It was found among all the tribes. (Dorman, "Origin of Primitive Superstitions, p. 338.) The Chichimecs called the sun their father. The Comanches have a similar belief.

But, compared with such ancient nations as the Egyptians

p. 285

and Babylonians, the Greeks were children. A priest of Sais said to Solon,

"You Greeks are novices in knowledge of antiquity. You are ignorant of what passed either here or among yourselves in days of old. The history of eight thousand years is deposited in our sacred books; but I can ascend to a much higher antiquity, and tell you what our fathers have done for nine thousand years; I mean their institutions, their laws, and their most brilliant achievements."

The Greeks, too young to have shared in the religion of Atlantis, but preserving some memory of that great country and its history, proceeded to convert its kings into gods, and to depict Atlantis itself as the heaven of the human race. Thus we find a great solar or nature worship in the elder nations, while Greece has nothing but an incongruous jumble of gods and goddesses, who are born and eat and drink and make love and ravish and steal and die; and who are worshipped as immortal in presence of the very monuments that testify to their death.

"These deities, to whom the affairs of the world were in trusted, were, it is believed, immortal, though not eternal in their existence. In Crete there was even a story of the death of Zeus, his tomb being pointed out." (Murray's "Mythology," p. 2.)

The history of Atlantis is the key of the Greek mythology. There can be no question that these gods of Greece were human beings. The tendency to attach divine attributes to great earthly rulers is one deeply implanted in human nature. The savages who killed Captain Cook firmly believed that he was immortal, that he was yet alive, and would return to punish them. The highly civilized Romans made gods out of their dead emperors. Dr. Livingstone mentions that on one occasion, after talking to a Bushman for some time about the Deity, he found that the savage thought he was speaking of Sekomi, the principal chief of the district.

We find the barbarians of the coast of the Mediterranean regarding

p. 286

the civilized people of Atlantis with awe and wonder: "Their physical strength was extraordinary, the earth shaking sometimes under their tread. Whatever they did was done speedily. They moved through space almost without the loss of a moment of time." This probably alluded to the rapid motion of their sailing-vessels. "They were wise, and communicated their wisdom to men." That is to say, they civilized the people they came in contact with. 'They had a strict sense of justice, and punished crime rigorously, and rewarded noble actions, though it is true they were less conspicuous for the latter." (Murray's "Mythology," p. 4.) We should understand this to mean that where they colonized they established a government of law, as contradistinguished from the anarchy of barbarism.

"There were tales of personal visits and adventures of the gods among men, taking part in battles and appearing in dreams. They were conceived to possess the form of human beings, and to be, like men, subject to love and pain, but always characterized by the highest qualities and grandest forms that could be imagined." (Ibid.)

Another proof that the gods of the Greeks were but the deified kings of Atlantis is found in the fact that "the gods were not looked upon as having created the world." They succeeded to the management of a world already in existence.

The gods dwelt on Olympus. They lived together like human beings; they possessed palaces, storehouses, stables, horses, etc.; "they dwelt in a social state which was but a magnified reflection of the social system on earth. Quarrels, love passages, mutual assistance, and such instances as characterize human life, were ascribed to them." (Ibid., p. 10.)

Where was Olympus? It was in Atlantis. "The ocean encircled the earth with a great stream, and was a region of wonders of all kinds." (Ibid., p. 23.) It was a great island, the then civilized world. The encircling ocean "was spoken of in all the ancient legends. Okeanos lived there with his wife

p. 287

[paragraph continues] Tethys: these were the Islands of the Blessed, the garden of the gods, the sources of the nectar and ambrosia on which the gods lived." (Murray's "Mythology," p. 23.) Nectar was probably a fermented intoxicating liquor, and ambrosia bread made from wheat. Soma was a kind of whiskey, and the Hindoos deified it. "The gods lived on nectar and ambrosia" simply meant that the inhabitants of these blessed islands were civilized, and possessed a liquor of some kind and a species of food superior to anything in use among the barbarous tribes with whom they came in contact.

This blessed land answers to the description of Atlantis. It was an island full of wonders. It lay spread out in the ocean "like a disk, with the mountains rising from it." (Ibid.) On the highest point of this mountain dwelt Zeus (the king), "while the mansions of the other deities were arranged upon plateaus, or in ravines lower down the mountain. These deities, including Zeus, were twelve in number: Zeus (or Jupiter), Hera (or Juno), Poseidon (or Neptune), Demeter (or Ceres), Apollo, Artemis (or Diana), Hephæstos (or Vulcan), Pallas Athena (or Minerva), Ares (or Mars), Aphrodite (or Venus), Hermes (or Mercury), and Hestia (or Vesta)." These were doubtless the twelve gods from whom the Egyptians derived their kings. Where two names are given to a deity in the above list, the first name is that bestowed by the Greeks, the last that given by the Romans.

It is not impossible that our division of the year into twelve parts is a reminiscence of the twelve gods of Atlantis. Diodorus Siculus tells us that among the Babylonians there were twelve gods of the heavens, each personified by one of the signs of the zodiac, and worshipped in a certain month of the year. The Hindoos had twelve primal gods, "the Aditya." Moses erected twelve pillars at Sinai. The Mandan Indians celebrated the Flood with twelve typical characters, who danced around the ark. The Scandinavians believed in the twelve gods, the Aesir, who dwelt on Asgard, the Norse Olympus.

p. 288

[paragraph continues] Diligent investigation may yet reveal that the number of a modern jury, twelve, is a survival of the ancient council of Asgard.

"According to the traditions of the Phœnicians, the Gardens of the Hesperides were in the remote west." (Murray's "Manual of Mythology," p. 258.) Atlas lived in these gardens. (Ibid., p. 259.) Atlas, we have seen, was king of Atlantis. "The Elysian Fields (the happy islands) were commonly placed in the remote west. They were ruled over by Chronos." (Ibid., p. 60.) Tartarus, the region of Hades, the gloomy home of the dead, was also located "under the mountains of an island in the midst of the ocean in the remote west." (Ibid., p. 58.) Atlas was described in Greek mythology as "an enormous giant, who stood upon the western confines of the earth, and supported the heavens on his shoulders, in a region of the west where the sun continued to shine after he had set upon Greece." (Ibid., p. 156.)

Greek tradition located the island in which Olympus was situated "in the far west," "in the ocean beyond Africa," "on the western boundary of the known world," "where the sun shone when it had ceased to shine on Greece," and where the mighty Atlas "held up the heavens." And Plato tells us that the land where Poseidon and Atlas ruled was Atlantis.

"The Garden of the Hesperides" (another name for the dwelling-place of the gods) "was situated at the extreme limit of Africa. Atlas was said to have surrounded it on every side with high mountains." (Smith's "Sacred Annals, Patriarchal Age," p. 131.) Here were found the golden apples.

This is very much like the description which Plato gives of the great plain of Atlantis, covered with fruit of every kind, and surrounded by precipitous mountains descending to the sea.

The Greek mythology, in speaking of the Garden of the Hesperides, tells us that "the outer edge of the garden was slightly raised, so that the water might not run in and overflow the land." Another reminiscence of the surrounding mountains of Atlantis as described by Plato, and as revealed by the deep-sea soundings of modern times.

p. 289

Chronos, or Saturn, Dionysos, Hyperion, Atlas, Hercules, were all connected with "a great Saturnian continent;" they were kings that ruled over countries on the western shores of the Mediterranean, Africa and Spain. One account says:

"Hyperion, Atlas, and Saturn, or Chronos, were sons of Uranos, who reigned over a great kingdom composed of countries around the western part of the Mediterranean, with certain islands in the Atlantic. Hyperion succeeded his father, and was then killed by the Titans. The kingdom was then divided between Atlas and Saturn--Atlas taking Northern Africa, with the Atlantic islands, and Saturn the countries on the opposite shore of the Mediterranean to Italy and Sicily." (Baldwin's Prehistoric Nations," p. 357.)

Plato says, speaking of the traditions of the Greeks ("Dialogues, Laws," c. iv., p. 713), "There is a tradition of the happy life of mankind in the days when all things were spontaneous and abundant. . . . In like manner God in his love of mankind placed over us the demons, who are a superior race, and they, with great care and pleasure to themselves and no less to us, taking care of us and giving us place and reverence and order and justice never failing, made the tribes of men happy and peaceful . . . for Cronos knew that no human nature, invested with supreme power, is able to order human affairs and not overflow with insolence and wrong."

In other words, this tradition refers to an ancient time when the forefathers of the Greeks were governed by Chronos, of the Cronian Sea (the Atlantic), king of Atlantis, through civilized Atlantean governors, who by their wisdom preserved peace and created a golden age for all the populations under their control--they were the demons, that is, "the knowing ones," the civilized.

Plato puts into the mouth of Socrates these words ("Dialogues, Cratylus," p. 397): "My notion would be that the sun, moon, and stars, earth, and heaven, which are still the gods of many barbarians, were the only gods known to the aboriginal Hellenes. . . . What shall follow the gods? Must not demons

p. 290

and heroes and men come next? . . . Consider the real meaning of the word demons. You know Hesiod uses the word. He speaks of 'a golden race of men' who came first. He says of them,

But now that fate has closed over this race,
They are holy demons upon earth,
Beneficent averters of ills, guardians of mortal men.'

He means by the golden men not men literally made of gold, but good and noble men; he says we are of the 'age of iron.' He called them demons because they were HuhHuh?? (knowing or wise)."

This is made the more evident when we read that this region of the gods, of Chronos and Uranos and Zeus, passed through, first, a Golden Age, then a Silver Age--these constituting a great period of peace and happiness; then it reached a Bronze Age; then an Iron Age, and finally perished by a great flood, sent upon these people by Zeus as a punishment for their sins. We read:

"Men were rich then (in the Silver Age), as in the Golden Age of Chronos, and lived in plenty; but still they wanted the innocence and contentment which were the true sources of bu man happiness in the former age; and accordingly, while living in luxury and delicacy, they became overbearing in their manners to the highest degree, were never satisfied, and forgot the gods, to whom, in their confidence of prosperity and com fort, they denied the reverence they owed. . . . Then followed the Bronze Age, a period of constant quarrelling and deeds of violence. Instead of cultivated lands, and a life of peaceful occupations and orderly habits, there came a day when every where might was right, and men, big and powerful as they were, became physically worn out. . . . Finally came the Iron Age, in which enfeebled mankind had to toil for bread with their hands, and, bent on gain, did their best to overreach each other. Dike, or Astræa, the goddess of justice and good faith, modesty and truth, turned her back on such scenes, and retired to Olympus, while Zeus determined to destroy the human race by a great flood. The whole of Greece lay under water, and none but Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha were saved." (Murray's "Mythology" p. 44.)

p. 291

It is remarkable that we find here the same succession of the Iron Age after the Bronze Age that has been revealed to scientific men by the patient examination of the relies of antiquity in Europe. And this identification of the land that was destroyed by a flood--the land of Chronos and Poseidon and Zeus--with the Bronze Age, confirms the view expressed in Chapter VIII. (page 237, ante), that the bronze implements and weapons of Europe were mainly imported from Atlantis.

And here we find that the Flood that destroyed this land of the gods was the Flood of Deucalion, and the Flood of Deucalion was the Flood of the Bible, and this, as we have shown, was "the last great Deluge of all," according to the Egyptians, which destroyed Atlantis.

The foregoing description of the Golden Age of Chronos, when "men were rich and lived in plenty," reminds us of Plato's description of the happy age of Atlantis, when "men despised everything but virtue, not caring for their present state of life, and thinking lightly of the possession of gold and other property;" a time when, as the chants of the Delaware Indians stated it (page 109, ante), "all were willingly pleased, all were well-happified." While the description given by Murray in the above extract of the degeneracy of mankind in the land of the gods, "a period of constant quarrelling and deeds of violence, when might was right," agrees with Plato's account of the Atlanteans, when they became "aggressive," "unable to bear their fortune," "unseemly," "base," "filled with unrighteous avarice and power,"--and "in a most wretched state." And here again I might quote from the chant of the Delaware Indians--"they became troubled, hating each other; both were fighting, both were spoiling, both were never peaceful." And in all three instances the gods punished the depravity of mankind by a great deluge. Can all these precise coincidences be the result of accident?

May we not even suppose that the very word "Olympus" is a transformation from "Atlantis" in accordance with the laws

p. 292

that regulate the changes of letters of the same class into each other? Olympus was written by the Greeks "Olumpos." The letter a in Atlantis was sounded by the ancient world broad and full, like the a in our words all or altar; in these words it approximates very closely to the sound of o. It is not far to go to convert Otlontis into Oluntos, and this into Olumpos. We may, therefore, suppose that when the Greeks said that their gods dwelt in "Olympus," it was the same as if they said that they dwelt in "Atlantis."

Nearly all the gods of Greece are connected with Atlantis. We have seen the twelve principal gods all dwelling on the mountain of Olympus, in the midst of an island in the ocean in the far west, which was subsequently destroyed by a deluge on account of the wickedness of its people. And when we turn to Plato's description of Atlantis (p. 13, ante) we find that Poseidon and Atlas dwelt upon a mountain in the midst of the island; and on this mountain were their magnificent temples and palaces, where they lived, separated by great walls from their subjects.

It may be urged that Mount Olympus could not have referred to any mountain in Atlantis, because the Greeks gave that name to a group of mountains partly in Macedonia and partly in Thessaly. But in Mysia, Lycia, Cyprus, and elsewhere there were mountains called Olympus; and on the plain of Olympia, in Elis, there was an eminence bearing the same designation. There is a natural tendency among uncivilized peoples to give a "local habitation" to every general tradition.

"Many of the oldest myths," says Baldwin (" Prehistoric Nations," p. 376), "relate to Spain, North-western Africa, and other regions on the Atlantic, such as those concerning Hercules, the Cronidæ, the Hyperboreans, the Hesperides, and the Islands of the Blessed. Homer described the Atlantic region of Europe in his account of the wanderings of Ulysses. . . . In the ages previous to the decline of Phœnician influence in Greece and around the Ægean Sea, the people of those regions must have had a much better knowledge of Western

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Europe than prevailed there during the Ionian or Hellenic period."

The mythology of Greece is really a history of the kings of Atlantis. The Greek heaven was Atlantis. Hence the references to statues, swords, etc., that fell from heaven, and were preserved in the temples of the different states along the shores of the Mediterranean from a vast antiquity, and which were regarded as the most precious possessions of the people. They were relics of the lost race received in the early ages. Thus we read of the brazen or bronze anvil that was preserved in one city, which fell from heaven, and was nine days and nine nights in falling; in other words, it took nine days and nights of a sailing-voyage to bring it from Atlantis.

The modern theory that the gods of Greece never had any personal existence, but represented atmospheric and meteorological myths, the movements of clouds, planets, and the sun, is absurd. Rude nations repeat, they do not invent; to suppose a barbarous people creating their deities out of clouds and sunsets is to reverse nature. Men first worship stones, then other men, then spirits. Resemblances of names prove nothing; it is as if one would show that the name of the great Napoleon meant "the lion of the desert" (Napo-leon), and should thence argue that Napoleon never existed, that he was a myth, that he represented power in solitude, or some such stuff. When we read that Jove whipped his wife, and threw her son out of the window, the inference is that Jove was a man, and actually did something like the thing described; certainly gods, sublimated spirits, aerial sprites, do not act after this fashion; and it would puzzle the mythmakers to prove that the sun, moon, or stars whipped their wives or flung recalcitrant young men out of windows. The history of Atlantis could be in part reconstructed out of the mythology of Greece; it is a history of kings, queens, and princes; of love-making, adulteries, rebellions, wars, murders, sea-voyages, and colonizations; of palaces, temples, workshops, and forges; of sword-making, engraving and

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metallurgy; of wine, barley, wheat, cattle, sheep, horses, and agriculture generally. Who can doubt that it represents the history of a real people?

Uranos was the first god; that is to say, the first king of the great race. As he was at the commencement of all things, his symbol was the sky. He probably represented the race previous even to the settlement of Atlantis. He was a son of Gæa (the earth). He seems to have been the parent of three races--the Titans, the Hekatoncheires, and the Kyklopes or Cyclops.

I incline to the belief that these were civilized races, and that the peculiarities ascribed to the last two refer to the vessels in which they visited the shores of the barbarians.

The empire of the Titans was clearly the empire of Atlantis. "The most judicious among our mythologists" (says Dr. Rees, "New British Cyclopædia," art. Titans)--"such as Gerard Vossius, Marsham, Bochart, and Father Thomassin--are of opinion that the partition of the world among the sons of Noah-Shem, Ham, and Japheth--was the original of the tradition of the same partition among Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto," upon the breaking up of the great empire of the Titans. "The learned Pezron contends that the division which was made of this vast empire came, in after-times, to be taken for the partition of the whole world; that Asia remaining in the hands of Jupiter (Zeus), the most potent of the three brothers, made him looked upon as the god of Olympus; that the sea and islands which fell to Neptune occasioned their giving him the title of 'god of the sea;' and that Spain, the extremity of the then known world, thought to be a very low country in respect of Asia, and famous for its excellent mines of gold and silver, failing to Pluto, occasioned him to be taken for the 'god of the infernal regions.'" We should suppose that Pluto possibly ruled over the transatlantic possessions of Atlantis in America, over those "portions of the opposite continent" which Plato tells us were dominated by Atlas and his posterity, and which, being far beyond or below sunset, were the "under-world" of

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the ancients; while Atlantis, the Canaries, etc., constituted the island division with Western Africa and Spain. Murray tells us ("Mythology," p. 58) that Pluto's share of the kingdom was supposed to lie "in the remote west." The under-world of the dead was simply the world below the western horizon; "the home of the dead has to do with that far west region where the sun dies at night." ("Anthropology," p. 350.) "On the coast of Brittany, where Cape Raz stands out westward into the ocean, there is 'the Bay of Souls,' the launching-place where the departed spirits sail off across the sea." (Ibid.) In like manner, Odysseus found the land of the dead in the ocean beyond the Pillars of Hercules. There, indeed, was the land of the mighty dead, the grave of the drowned Atlanteans.

"However this be," continues F. Pezron, "the empire of the Titans, according to the ancients, was very extensive; they possessed Phrygia, Thrace, a part of Greece, the island of Crete, and several other provinces to the inmost recesses of Spain. To these Sanchoniathon seems to join Syria; and Diodorus adds a part of Africa, and the kingdoms of Mauritania." The kingdoms of Mauritania embraced all that north-western region of Africa nearest to Atlantis in which are the Atlas Mountains, and in which, in the days of Herodotus, dwelt the Atlantes.

Neptune, or Poseidon, says, in answer to a message from Jupiter,

No vassal god, nor of his train am I.
Three brothers, deities, from Saturn came,
And ancient Rhea, earth's immortal dame;
Assigned by lot our triple rule we know;
Infernal Pluto sways the shades below:
O'er the wide clouds, and o'er the starry plain
Ethereal Jove extends his high domain;
My court beneath the hoary waves I keep,
And hush the roaring of the sacred deep.

Iliad, book xviii.

Homer alludes to Poseidon as

"The god whose liquid arms are hurled
Around the globs, whose earthquakes rock the world."

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Mythology tells us that when the Titans were defeated by Saturn they retreated into the interior of Spain; Jupiter followed them up, and beat them for the last time near Tartessus, and thus terminated a ten-years' war. Here we have a real battle on an actual battle-field.

If we needed any further proof that the empire of the Titans was the empire of Atlantis, we would find it in the names of the Titans: among these were Oceanus, Saturn or Chronos, and Atlas; they were all the sons of Uranos. Oceanus was at the base of the Greek mythology. Plato says ("Dialogues," Timæus, vol. ii., p. 533): "Oceanus and Tethys were the children of Earth and Heaven, and from these sprung Phorcys, and Chronos, and Rhea, and many more with them; and from Chronos and Rhea sprung Zeus and Hera, and all those whom we know as their brethren, and others who were their children." In other words, all their gods came out of the ocean; they were rulers over some ocean realm; Chronos was the son of Oceanus, and Chronos was an Atlantean god, and from him the Atlantic Ocean was called by tho ancients "the Chronian Sea." The elder Minos was called "the Son of the Ocean:" he first gave civilization to the Cretans; he engraved his laws on brass, precisely as Plato tells us the laws of Atlantis were engraved on pillars of brass.

The wanderings of Ulysses, as detailed in the "Odyssey" of Homer, are strangely connected with the Atlantic Ocean. The islands of the Phæacians were apparently in mid-ocean:

We dwell apart, afar
Within the unmeasured deep, amid its waves
The most remote of men; no other race
Hath commerce with us.--Odyssey, book vi.

The description of the Phæacian walls, harbors, cities, palaces, ships, etc., seems like a recollection of Atlantis. The island of Calypso appears also to have been in the Atlantic Ocean, twenty days' sail from the Phæacian isles; and when Ulysses

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goes to the land of Pluto, "the under-world," the home of the dead, he

"Reached the far confines of Oceanus,"

beyond the Pillars of Hercules. It would be curious to inquire how far the poems of Homer are Atlantean in their relations and inspiration. Ulysses's wanderings were a prolonged struggle with Poseidon, the founder and god of Atlantis.

"The Hekatoncheires, or Cetimæni, beings each with a hundred hands, were three in number--Kottos, Gyges or Gyes, and Briareus--and represented the frightful crashing of waves, and its resemblance to the convulsions of earthquakes." (Murray's "Mythology," p. 26.) Are not these hundred arms the oars of the galleys, and the frightful crashing of the waves their movements in the water?

"The Kyklopes also were three in number--Brontes, with his thunder; Steropes, with his lightning; and Arges, with his stream of light. They were represented as having only one eye, which was placed at the juncture between the nose and brow. It was, however, a large, flashing eye, as became beings who were personifications of the storm-cloud, with its flashes of destructive lightning and peals of thunder."

We shall show hereafter that the invention of gunpowder dates back to the days of the Phœnicians, and may have been derived by them from Atlantis. It is not impossible that in this picture of the Kyklopes we see a tradition of sea-going ships, with a light burning at the prow, and armed with some explosive preparation, which, with a roar like thunder, and a flash like lightning, destroyed those against whom it was employed? It at least requires less strain upon our credulity to suppose these monsters were a barbarian's memory of great ships than to believe that human beings ever existed with a hundred arms, and with one eye in the middle of the forehead, and giving out thunder and lightning.

The natives of the West India Islands regarded the ships of Columbus as living creatures, and that their sails were wings.

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Berosus tells us, speaking of the ancient days of Chaldea, "In the first year there appeared, from that part of the Erythræan Sea which borders upon Babylonia, an animal endowed with reason, by name Oannes, whose whole body (according to the account of Apollodorus) was that of a fish; that under the fish's head he had another head, with feet also below, similar to those of a man, subjoined to the fish's tail. His. voice too and language was articulate and human, and a representation of him is preserved even unto this day. This being was accustomed to pass the day among men, but took no food at that season, and he gave them an insight into letters and arts of all kinds. He taught them to construct cities, to found temples, to compile laws, and explained to them the principles of geometrical knowledge. He made them distinguish the seeds of the earth, and showed them how to collect the fruits; in short, be instructed them in everything which could tend to soften manners and humanize their laws. From that time nothing material has been added by way of improvement to his instructions. And when the sun set, this being, Oannes, retired again into the sea, and passed the night in the deep, for he was amphibious. After this there appeared other animals like Oannes."

This is clearly the tradition preserved by a barbarous people of the great ships of a civilized nation, who colonized their coast and introduced the arts and sciences among them. And here we see the same tendency to represent the ship as a living thing, which converted the war-vessels of the Atlanteans (the Kyklopes) into men with one blazing eye in the middle of the forehead.

Uranos was deposed from the throne, and succeeded by his son Chronos. He was called "the ripener, the harvest-god," and was probably identified with the beginning of the Agricultural Period. He married his sister Rhea, who bore him Pluto, Poseidon, Zeus, Hestia, Demeter, and Hera. He anticipated that his sons would dethrone him, as he had dethroned his father, Uranos, and he swallowed his first five children, and would have swallowed the sixth child, Zeus, but that his wife Rhea deceived him with a stone image of the child; and Zeus was conveyed to the island of Crete, and there concealed in a cave

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and raised to manhood. Subsequently Chronos "yielded back to the light the children he had swallowed." This myth probably means that Chronos had his children raised in some secret place, where they could not be used by his enemies as the instruments of a rebellion against his throne; and the stone image of Zeus, palmed off upon him by Rhea, was probably some other child substituted for his own. His precautions seem to have been wise; for as soon as the children returned to the light they commenced a rebellion, and drove the old gentleman from his throne. A rebellion of the Titans followed. The struggle was a tremendous one, and seems to have been decided at last by the use of gunpowder, as I shall show farther on.

We have seen Chronos identified with the Atlantic, called by the Romans the "Chronian Sea." He was known to the Romans under the name of Saturn, and ruled over "a great Saturnian continent" in the Western Ocean. Saturn, or Chronos, came to Italy: he presented himself to the king, Janus, "and proceeded to instruct the subjects of the latter in agriculture, gardening, and many other arts then quite unknown to them; as, for example, how to tend and cultivate the vine. By such means he at length raised the people from a rude and comparatively barbarous condition to one of order and peaceful occupations, in consequence of which he was everywhere held in high esteem, and, in course of time, was selected by Janus to share with him the government of the country, which thereupon assumed the name of Saturnia--'a land of seed and fruit.' The period of Saturn's government was sung in later days by poets as a happy time, when sorrows were unknown, when innocence, freedom, and gladness reigned throughout the land in such a degree as to deserve the title of the Golden Age." (Murray's Mythology," p. 32.)

All this accords with Plato's story. He tells us that the rule of the Atlanteans extended to Italy; that they were a civilized, agricultural, and commercial people. The civilization of Rome

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was therefore an outgrowth directly from the civilization of Atlantis.

The Roman Saturnalia was a remembrance of the Atlantean colonization. It was a period of joy and festivity; master and slave met as equals; the distinctions of poverty and wealth were forgotten; no punishments for crime were inflicted; servants and slaves went about dressed in the clothes of their masters; and children received presents from their parents or relatives. It was a time of jollity and mirth, a recollection of the Golden Age. We find a reminiscence of it in the Roman "Carnival."

The third and last on the throne of the highest god was Zeus. We shall see him, a little farther on, by the aid of some mysterious engine overthrowing the rebels, the Titans, who rose against his power, amid the flash of lightning and the roar of thunder. He was called "the thunderer," and "the mighty thunderer." He was represented with thunder-bolts in his hand and an eagle at his feet.

During the time of Zeus Atlantis seems to have reached its greatest height of power. He was recognized as the father of the whole world; he everywhere rewarded uprightness, truth, faithfulness, and kindness; be was merciful to the poor, and punished the cruel. To illustrate his rule on earth the following story is told:

"Philemon and Baukis, an aged couple of the poorer class, were living peacefully and full of piety toward the gods in their cottage in Phrygia, when Zeus, who often visited the earth, disguised, to inquire into the behavior of men, paid a visit, in passing through Phrygia on such a journey, to these poor old people, and was received by them very kindly as a weary traveller, which he pretended to be. Bidding him welcome to the house, they set about preparing for their guest, who was accompanied by Hermes, as excellent a meal as they could afford, and for this purpose were about to kill the only goose they had left, when Zeus interfered; for he was touched by their kindliness and genuine piety, and that all the more because he had

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observed among the other inhabitants of the district nothing but cruelty of disposition and a habit of reproaching and despising the gods. To punish this conduct he determined to visit the country with a flood, but to save from it Philemon and Baukis, the good aged couple, and to reward them in a striking manner. To this end he revealed himself to them before opening the gates of the great flood, transformed their poor cottage on the hill into a splendid temple, installed the aged pair as his priest and priestess, and granted their prayer that they might both die together. When, after many years, death overtook them, they were changed into two trees, that side by side in the neighborhood--an oak and a linden." (Murray's "Mythology," p. 38.)

Here we have another reference to the Flood, and another identification with Atlantis.

Zeus was a kind of Henry VIII., and took to himself a number of wives. By Demeter (Ceres) he had Persephone (Proserpine); by Leto, Apollo and Artemis (Diana); by Dione, Aphrodite (Venus); by Semele, Dionysos (Bacchus); by Maia, Hermes (Mercury); by Alkmene, Hercules, etc., etc.

We have thus the whole family of gods and goddesses traced back to Atlantis.

Hera, or Juno, was the first and principal wife of Zeus. There were numerous conjugal rows between the royal pair, in which, say the poets, Juno was generally to blame. She was naturally jealous of the other wives of Zeus. Zeus on one occasion beat her, and threw her son Hephæstos out of Olympus; on another occasion he hung her out of Olympus with her arms tied and two great weights attached to her feet--a very brutal and ungentlemanly trick--but the Greeks transposed this into a beautiful symbol: the two weights, they say, represent the earth and sea, "an illustration of how all the phenomena of the visible sky were supposed to hang dependent on the highest god of heaven!" (Ibid., p. 47.) Juno probably regarded the transaction in an altogether different light; and she therefore united with Poseidon, the king's brother, and his daughter

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[paragraph continues] Athena, in a rebellion to put the old fellow in a strait-jacket, "and would have succeeded had not Thetis brought to his aid the sea-giant Ægæon," probably a war-ship. She seems in the main, however, to have been a good wife, and was the type of all the womanly virtues.

Poseidon, the first king of Atlantis, according to Plato, was, according to Greek mythology, a brother of Zeus, and a son of Chronos. In the division of the kingdom he fell heir to the ocean and its islands, and to the navigable rivers; in other words, he was king of a maritime and commercial people. His symbol was the horse. "He was the first to train and employ horses;" that is to say, his people first domesticated the horse. This agrees with what Plato tells us of the importance attached to the horse in Atlantis, and of the baths and race-courses provided for him. He was worshipped in the island of Tenos "in the character of a physician," showing that he represented an advanced civilization. He was also master of an agricultural people; "the ram with the golden fleece for which the Argonauts sailed was the offspring of Poseidon." He carried in his hand a three-pronged symbol, the trident, doubtless an emblem of the three continents that were embraced in the empire of Atlantis. He founded many colonies along the shores of the Mediterranean; "he helped to build the walls of Troy;" the tradition thus tracing the Trojan civilization to an Atlantean source. He settled Attica and founded Athens, named after his niece Athena, daughter of Zeus, who had no mother, but had sprung from the head of Zeus, which probably signified that her mother's name was not known--she was a foundling. Athena caused the first olive-tree to grow on the Acropolis of Athens, parent of all the olive-trees of Greece. Poseidon seems to have had settlements at Corinth, Ægina, Naxos, and Delphi. Temples were erected to his honor in nearly all the seaport towns of Greece. He sent a sea-monster, to wit, a ship, to ravage part of the Trojan territory.

In the "Iliad" Poseidon appears "as ruler of the sea, inhabiting

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a brilliant palace in its depths, traversing its surface in a chariot, or stirring the powerful billows until the earth shakes as they crash upon the shores. . . . He is also associated with well-watered plains and valleys." (Murray's "Mythology," p, 51.) The palace in the depths of the sea was the palace upon Olympus in Atlantis; the traversing of the sea referred to the movements of a mercantile race; the shaking of the


earth was an association with earthquakes; the "well-watered plains and valleys" remind us of the great plain of Atlantis described by Plato.

All the traditions of the coming of civilization into Europe point to Atlantis.

For instance, Keleos, who lived at Eleusis, near Athens, hospitably received Demeter, the Greek Ceres, the daughter of Poseidon, when she landed; and in return she taught him the use of the plough, and presented his son with the seed of barley, and sent him out to teach mankind how to sow and utilize that grain. Dionysos, grandson of Poseidon, travelled "through all

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the known world, even into the remotest parts of India, instructing the people, as be proceeded, how to tend the vine, and how to practise many other arts of peace, besides teaching them the value of just and honorable dealings." (Murray's "Mythology," p. 119.) The Greeks celebrated great festivals in his honor down to the coming of Christianity.

"The Nymphs of Grecian mythology were a kind of middle beings between the gods and men, communicating with both, loved and respected by both; . . . living like the gods on ambrosia. In extraordinary cases they were summoned, it was believed, to the councils of the Olympian gods; but they usually remained in their particular spheres, in secluded grottoes and peaceful valleys, occupied in spinning, weaving, bathing, singing sweet songs, dancing, sporting, or accompanying deities who passed through their territories--hunting with Artemis (Diana), rushing about with Dionysos (Bacchus), making merry with Apollo or Hermes (Mercury), but always in a hostile attitude toward the wanton and excited Satyrs."

The Nymphs were plainly the female inhabitants of Atlantis dwelling on the plains, while the aristocracy lived on the higher lands. And this is confirmed by the fact that part of them were called Atlantids, offspring of Atlantis. The Hesperides were also "daughters of Atlas;" their mother was Hesperis, a personification of "the region of the West." Their home was an island in the ocean," Off the north or west coast of Africa.

And here we find a tradition which not only points to Atlantis, but also shows some kinship to the legend in Genesis of the tree and the serpent.

Titæa, "a goddess of the earth," gave Zeus a tree bearing golden apples on it. This tree was put in the care of the Hesperides, but they could not resist the temptation to pluck and eat its fruit; thereupon a serpent named Ladon was put to watch the tree. Hercules slew the serpent, and gave the apples to the Hesperides.

Heracles (Hercules), we have seen, was a son of Zeus, king of Atlantis. One of his twelve labors (the tenth) was the carrying

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off the cattle of Geryon. The meaning of Geryon is the red glow of the sunset." He dwelt on the island of "Erythea, in the remote west, beyond the Pillars of Hercules." Hercules took a ship, and after encountering a storm, reached the island and placed himself on Mount Abas. Hercules killed Geryon, stole the cattle, put them on the ship, and landed them safely, driving them "through Iberia, Gaul, and over the Alps down into Italy." (Murray's "Mythology," p. 257.) This was simply the memory of a cattle raid made by an uncivilized race upon the civilized, cattle-raising people of Atlantis.

It is not necessary to pursue the study of the gods of Greece any farther. They were simply barbarian recollections of the rulers of a great civilized people who in early days visited their shores, and brought with them the arts of peace.

Here then, in conclusion, are the proofs of our proposition that the gods of Greece had been the kings of Atlantis:

1. They were not the makers, but the rulers of the world.

2. They were human in their attributes; they loved, sinned, and fought battles, the very sites of which are given; they founded cities, and civilized the people of the shores of the Mediterranean.

3. They dwelt upon an island in the Atlantic,." in the remote west. . . . where the sun shines after it has ceased to shine on Greece."

4. Their land was destroyed in a deluge.

5. They were ruled over by Poseidon and Atlas.

6. Their empire extended to Egypt and Italy and the shores of Africa, precisely as stated by Plato.

7. They existed during the Bronze Age and at the beginning of the Iron Age.

The entire Greek mythology is the recollection, by a degenerate race, of a vast, mighty, and highly civilized empire, which in a remote past covered large parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, and America.

Next: Chapter III: The Gods of the Phoenicians Also Kings of Atlantis.

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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2007, 01:54:22 pm »

Gaia, Earth Mother, a most underrated goddess. Here is an article from, which has much useful information on it conerning the Greek gods and goddesses.
by Ron Leadbetter

Gaia, known as Earth or Mother Earth (the Greek common noun for "land" is ge or ga). She was an early earth goddess and it is written that Gaia was born from Chaos, the great void of emptiness within the universe, and with her came Eros. She gave birth to Pontus (the Sea) and Uranus (the Sky). This was achieved parthenogenetically (without male intervention). Other versions say that Gaia had as siblings Tartarus (the lowest part of the earth, below Hades itself) and Eros, and without a mate, gave birth to Uranus (Sky), Ourea (Mountains) and Pontus (Sea).

Gaia took as her husband Uranus, who was also her son, and their offspring included the Titans, six sons and six daughters. She gave birth to the Cyclopes and to three monsters that became known as the "Hecatonchires". The spirits of punishment known as the Erinyes were also offspring of Gaia and Uranus. The Gigantes, finally, were conceived after Uranus had been castrated by his son Cronus, and his blood fell to earth from the open wound.

To protect her children from her husband, (the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires, as he was fearful of their great strength), Gaia hid them all within herself. One version says that Uranus was aghast at the sight of his offspring so he hid them away in Tartarus, which are the bowels of the earth. Gaia herself found her offspring uncomfortable and at times painful, when the discomfort became to much to bear she asked her youngest son Cronus to help her. She asked him to castrate Uranus, thus severing the union between the Earth and Sky, and also to prevent more monstrous offspring. To help Cronus achieve his goal Gaia produced an adamantine sickle to serve as the weapon. Cronus hid until Uranus came to lay with Gaia and as Uranus drew near, Cronus struck with the sickle, cutting the genitalia from Uranus. Blood fell from the severed genitals and came in contact with the earth and from that union was born the Erinyes (Furies), the Giants and the Meliae (Nymphs of the manna ash trees).

After the separation of the Earth from the Sky, Gaia gave birth to other offspring, these being fathered by Pontus. Their names were the sea-god Nereus, Thaumas, Phorcys, Ceto and Eurybia. In other versions Gaia had offspring to her brother Tartarus; they were Echidna and Typhon, the later being an enemy of Zeus. Apollo killed Typhon when he took control of the oracle at Delphi, which Gaia originally provided, and then the "Sibyl" sang the oracle in Gaia's shrine.

It was Gaia who saved Zeus from being swallowed by Cronus, after Zeus had been born, Gaia helped Rhea to wrap a stone in swaddling clothes, this was to trick Cronus in to thinking it was Zeus, because Cronus had been informed that one of his children would depose him, and so to get rid of his children he had swallowed them, Gaia's trick worked and Zeus was then taken to Crete.

Gaia being the primordial element from which all the gods originated was worshiped throughout Greece, but later she went into decline and was supplanted by other gods. In Roman mythology she was known as Tellus or Terra.


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« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2008, 12:18:07 am »

And now ""Uranus" or "Ouranos":
by Ron Leadbetter

Uranus, also known as Ouranos, was the embodiment of the sky or heavens, and known as the god of the sky. He was the first son of Gaia (the earth) and he also became her husband. According to Hesiod, their children included the Titans: six sons (Oceanus, Coeus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus and Cronus) and six daughters (Theia, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe and Tethys). There were other offspring: the Cyclopes, (who were named Brontes, Steropes and Arges and were later known as "one eyed giants"), and also the three monsters known as the Hecatonchires, who each had one hundred hands and fifty heads. Their names were Briareus, Cottus and Gyes. Other offspring of Uranus and Gaia were the Erinyes, who were spirits of punishment and goddesses of vengeance. The Erinyes avenged wrongs which were done to family, especially murder within a family. After Uranus had been castrated, his blood fell to earth (Gaia) and conceived the Giants. These were of monstrous appearance and had great strength . Similiarly, in some versions Aphrodite is believed to have risen from the foam created by the sex organs of Uranus after they were thrown into the sea by his son Cronus.

Uranus was aghast by the sight of his offspring, the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires. (In a differing version Uranus was frightened of their great strength and the fact that they could easily depose him). He hid them away in Tartarus (the bowels of the earth) inside Gaia, causing her intense pain. The discomfort became so great that she asked her youngest son, Cronus, to castrate his father, as this would cease his fertility and put an end to more monstrous offspring. To accomplish this deed Gaia made an adamantine sickle, which she gave to Cronus. That night Uranus came to lay with Gaia. And as the sky god drew close, Cronus struck with the sickle and cut off Uranus's genitals. From the blood that fell from the open wound were born nymphs and giants, and when Cronus threw the severed genitals into the sea a white foam appeared. From this foam Aphrodite the goddess of love and desire was born.

A slightly differing version tells of Uranus being so vast that he could cover Mother Earth (Gaia) and easily take advantage of her fruitfulness, but Gaia tired of her exuberant fertility and begged her sons to free her from the excessive embrace of Uranus. All refused except Cronus. Armed with a sickle he castrated Uranus, and the blood which fell from the mutilation gave birth to the Erinyes (Furies), the Giants and the Meliae (Nymphs of the manna ash trees). And when Cronus threw the sickle into the sea the island of Corfu, home of the Phaeacians, sprang up).

After Uranus (the sky) had been emasculated, the sky separated from Gaia (the earth) and Cronus became king of the gods. Later, Zeus (the son of Cronus) deposed his father and became the supreme god of the Greek Pantheon.

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« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2008, 12:18:53 am »

Greek myths are, of course, distinctive in that they have more than one Underworld. There is Hades, where Zeus' brother reigns, and, even beneath it, lies Tartarus, where the original Titans are supposedly still imprisoned. The few exceptions to these, of course, are Prometheus and Oceania who sided with Zeus against the Titans, and Atlas, who, as we know, was made to hold the world upon his shoulders. The legends seem divided as to what actually happened to Chronos. Depending on the myth, he seems to have either ruled out the rest of his reign upon the Isles of the Blessed, or joined his brethren in the underworld.
Here is a link that perhaps better explains the geography of the Olympian heaven:
Places in the Greek Myths

* Mount Olympus
* The Underworld
* Tartarus

Mount Olympus
Mount Olympus towers up from the center of the earth. Here the major gods live and hold court. The myths are somewhat vague on weather it is an actual mountain or a region of the heavens.

The Underworld
The underworld is hidden in the earth. It is the kingdom of the dead and ruled over by Hades. Hades is a greedy god who is greatly concerned with increasing his subjects. Those whose calling increase the number of dead are seen favorably. The Erinnyes are welcomed guests. He is exceedingly disinclined to allow any of his subjects leave.

For most, life in the underworld is not particularly unpleasent. It is rather like a miserable dream, full of shadows, without sunlight or hope. A joyless place where the dead slowly fade into nothingness.

Geographically, the underworld is surrounded by a series of rivers: The Acheron (river of woe), The Cocytus (river of lamentation), The Phlegethon (river of fire), The Styx (river of unbreakable oath by which the gods swear), and The Lethe (river of forgetfulness). Once across the rivers an adamantine gate, guarded by Cerberus, forms the entrance to the kingdom. Deep withen the kingdom is Hades vast palace, complete with many guests.

Upon death a soul is lead by Hermes to the entrance of the underworld and the ferry across the Acheron. There is a single ferry run by Rhadamanthus, Minos I, and Aeacus, who pass sentence. The very good go to the Elysian Fields. Others are singled out for special treatment. Sisyphus and Tantalus being prime examples of the later.

Tartarus lies far beneth the disk of the world. Deeper then Hades kingdom of the underworld. It is used as the ultimate of prisons, unpleasent and inaccessable.

J M Hunt
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« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2008, 12:20:04 am »

Perhaps we should pay a little more attention to Tartarus as the Greek underworld needs more attention:

In Greek mythology, Tartarus is both a deity and a place in the underworld - even lower than Hades.

The Greek poet Hesiod asserts that a bronze anvil falling from heaven would fall 9 days before it reached the Earth. The anvil would take 9 more days to fall from Earth to Tartarus. As a place so far from the sun and so deep in the earth, Tartarus is hemmed in by 3 layers of night, which surrounds a bronze wall which in turn encompasses Tartarus. It is a dank and wretched pit engulfed in murky gloom. It is one of the primordial objects, along with Chaos, Earth, and Eros, that emerged into the universe.

While, according to Greek mythology, Hades is the place of the dead, Tartarus also has a number of inhabitants. When Cronus, the ruling Titan, came to power he imprisoned the Cyclopes in Tartarus. Zeus released them to aid in his conflict with the Titan giants. The gods of Olympus eventually defeated them and they were cast into Tartarus. They were guarded by giants, each with 50 enormous heads and 100 strong arms, who were called Hecatonchires. Later, when Zeus overcame the monster Typhus, the offspring of Tartarus and Gaia, he threw it, too, into the same pit.

Tartarus is also the place where the punishment fits the crime. For example Sisyphus, who was both a thief and murderer, was condemned for eternity to push a boulder up a hill only to have it roll down at the top. Also found there was Ixion, the first human to spill the blood of a relative. He caused his father in-law to fall into a pit of burning coals to avoid paying the bride-price. The fitting punishment was to spend eternity on a flaming wheel. Tantalus, who enjoyed the confidence of the gods by conversing and dining with them, shared the food and the secrets of the gods with his friends. The fitting punishment was to be immersed up to his neck in cool water, which disappeared whenever he attempted to quench his thirst.

Rhadamanthus, Aeacus and Minos were the judges of the dead and chose who went to Tartarus. Rhadamanthus judged Asian souls; Aeacus judged European souls and Minos was the deciding vote.

Hesiod, Theogony; Homer, Odyssey, XI, 576 ff; Virgil, Aeneid, VI, 539-627.

Another worthy link:

[This message has been edited by Helios (edited 07-16-2004).]

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« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2008, 12:20:29 am »

A most interesting description:
"Zeus banished Cronus and the Titans who had supported him to Tartarus, an underground region. This is the where Tartarus first enters Greek Mythology.
"Tartarus, pronounced TAHR tuhr uhs, was a deep pit below the surface of the earth in early Greek mythology. It was as far below the surface as heaven was above the earth. High walls and a river of fire called Phlegethon encircled Tartarus.

"Styx, pronounced stihks, was a gloomy river of the underworld in Greek and Roman mythology. The Styx supposedly began as an actual waterfall in the region of ancient Greece called Arcadia. Its waters, which were said to be poisonous, plunged down a steep gorge to the underworld
"In later Greek and Roman belief, Tartarus was a place of punishment for the most wicked sinners and was part of Hades, the kingdom of the dead. In some ways, Tartarus resembled the Christian idea of hell."

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« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2008, 12:20:49 am »

Here is another quote from yet another article, be thankful I edited it before it droned on about the "monstrous nonsense of paganism." Who knows? Perhaps paganism shall return in force someday:
The Bible Hell
Part 5


We now consider the word Tartarus: "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to Hell (Tartarus), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment." II Peter 2:4. The word in the Greek is Tartarus, or rather it is a very from that noun. "Cast down to hell" should be tartarused, (tartarosas). The Greeks held Tartarus, says Anthon, in his Classical Dictionary to be "the fabled place of punishment in the lower world." "According to the ideas of the Homeric and Hesiodic ages, it would seem that the world or universe was a hollow globe, divided into two equal portions by the flat disk of the earth. The external shell of this globe is called by the poets brazen and iron, probably only to express its solidity. The superior hemisphere was called Heaven, and the inferior one Tartarus. The length of the diameter of the hollow sphere is given thus by Hesiod. It would take, he says, nine days for an anvil to fall from Heaven to Earth; and an equal space of time would be occupied by its fall from Earth to the bottom of Tartarus. The luminaries which give light to gods and men, shed their radiance through all the interior of the upper hemisphere, while that of the inferior one was filled with eternal darkness, and its still air was unmoved by any wind. Tartarus was regarded at this period as the prison of the gods and not as the place of torment for wicked men; being to the gods, what Erebus was to men, the abode of those who were driven from the celestial world. The Titans, when conquered were shut up in it and Jupiter menaces the gods with banishment to its murky regions. The Oceanus of Homer encompassed the whole earth, and beyond it was a region unvisited by the sun, and therefore shrouded in perpetual darkness, the abode of a people whom he names Cimmerians. Here the poet of the Odyssey also places Erebus, the realm of Pluto and Proserpina, the final dwelling place of all the race of men, a place which the pet of the Iliad describes as lying within the bosom of the earth. At a later period the change of religions gradually affected Erebus, the place of the reward of the good; and Tartarus was raised up to form the prison in which the wicked suffered the punishment due to their crimes." Virgil illustrates this view, (Dryden's Virgil, Encid, 6): 'Tis here, in different paths, the way divides: -- The right to Pluto's golden palace guides, The left to that unhappy region tends. Which to the depths of Tartarus descends - The scat of night profound and punished fiends.

The gaping gulf low to the centre lies,
And twice as deep as earth is from the skies.
The rivals of the gods, the Titan race,
Here, singed with lightning, roll within th'unfathomed space.

[This message has been edited by Helios (edited 07-16-2004).]

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« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2008, 12:21:09 am »

Castration of Uranus
Aphrodite, born from the white foam which spread around Uranus' genitals

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« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2008, 12:21:27 am »

The war between the TITANS and the OLYMPIANS

"... for it is a disease that is somehow inherent in tyranny to have no faith in friends." [Prometheus 1. Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 225]

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« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2008, 12:21:46 am »

Zeus Grown Up in a Cave
The Titans are a race of godlike giants who were the personifications of the forces of nature. They are the twelve children (six sons and six daughters) of Gaia (Mother Earth) and Uranus (the god of the sky). Each son married (or had children of) one of his sisters. Two of them were Cronus and his wife Rhea.

But Cronus was warned, that one of his children would depose him. He knew the consequences, as he had overthrown his father Uranus. So he tried to secure his dominion by eating his own children. He took them immediately after birth and swallowed them whole, retaining them inside his body. He ate Demeter, Hades, Hera, Hestia, and Poseidon this way.

Cronus' wife Rhea did not want to loose all her children, and with the help of her mother Gaia, she managed to rescue one son, Zeus. She hid him in a cave on Crete and gave Cronus a stone, wrapped in the clothes of the infant, which he swallowed. Thus Rhea succeeded in making him believe that he had killed all of his children.

Some versions of the legend tell, Zeus was born in the last chamber of this cave, and he somtimes has the epithet "the one born on Crete".

The Nymphs Adrasteia and Ida raised Zeus, feeding him wild honey and milk from the divine goat Amaltheia. Adrasteia is an epithet of Rhea Cybele in her attribute of the Mother who punishes human injustice, which is a transgression of the natural right order of things. She is also called Nemesis. Other legends tell, Amaltheia suckled and raised Zeus. Some legend say, Amaltheia was a nymph, who nourished Zeus with honey and the milk of a goat.

When Zeus cried, the Kourites (five Cretans) covered his cries by hitting their swords against their shields.

When Zeus reached maturity he overpowered and dethroned his father Cronus and made him disgorge his siblings. Again there are several versions of the legend. Some tell that he compelled his father with the help of Gaia to regurgitate them. In other version his first wife Metis helped him by giving Cronus an emetic potion, which made him vomit up the children.

Zeus led a revolt against his father and the dynasty of the titans, called Titanomachy. He defeated them in a ten year war and placed them in Tartarus, where they are guarded for eternity by the Hecatonchires.

This tale is part of the Greek mythology and was told many times. A important version was written by Hesiod in his Theogony.

The cave where Zeus was risen, is described as being a cave on Crete, on Mount Dicte. Two caves in Crete consider as well to be this palce, the Dictean Cave near Psichro and the Idaian Cave at Mount Psiloritis.

Very interesting are several deatils of this story. All three generations of emperors, Uranus, Cronos and Zeus died being killed by their own child. All three were warned by an oracle that this would happen and all three tried to avoid this fate by eating the chirdren (or the mother in the case of Zeus). And by doing so they brought their children in rage which lead to their destruction. The self fulfilling oracle is a rather common motive in Greek mythology.

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