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the TITANS & early Greek Mythology

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Author Topic: the TITANS & early Greek Mythology  (Read 14706 times)
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« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2008, 12:22:17 am »


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   posted 07-28-2004 08:40 AM                       
For the next phase in the chronology, I would like to concentrate more on what we know on the individual second generation of Titans, with emphasis first on the generation that contained Gaia and Ouranus, then the second, obviously "myself," Chronos' generation, finally the Titan generation that included Hyperion, Prometheus and obviously Atlas.
The others, Rhea, Oceanus, Tethys, Mnemosyne, Themis, Iapetus, Epimetheus, Metis are fair game as well, but at this point, I've found, at least, there comes a certain levelling off of good material. Very little other than the general information seems to be known of Coeus and Phoebe, and, in the case of Crius and Thea, very little at all.

Ideally, I should like this document to proceed along a linear fashion commencing along these lines:

* The basis for the myth, Titanaomchy

* The original, first generation Titans

* The second and third generation Titans, especially in terms of the ones just mentioned.

* "Titanmochy", the war the Titans fought with the Olympians, explored in greater detail.

* Zeus and his generation, including Hades, Demeter, Hera, and, of course, Poseidon.

* The second war with the Titans, as I like to call it, or rather "Gigantomchy", the war with the giants.

* The second generation that evolved from the gods of Olympus. This would include, of course, Artemis, Apollo, Aphrodite etc.

* The role the gods played in other Greek tales, such as the tales of Troy and Atlantis (which can be shown throughout).

* The demise of the gods, both literally and what Greek literature tells us about it.

I realize that everyone may not be interested in contributing to this material, which is fine. Ideally, the main goal, for me, anyway, is to have a document true to the title of the topic, or some semblance thereof, rather than one that strays away from those ideals.

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"This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together..."
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« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2008, 12:22:31 am »


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   posted 07-28-2004 08:44 AM                       
Incidentally, originally, I meant to also include talk of giants and the Watchers/Nephilim in this thread. That topic still interests me, but since that might confuse things and make the thread needlessly longer than it is, I imagine I might start a separate thread for that topic.
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"This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together..."
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« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2008, 12:23:20 am »

Mythology is everywhere! There are hundreds of places in the United States (and Canada, not to mention the entire world!) named from Greek Mythology. Odds are you'll find a few good examples right in your own state, wherever you live.

Consider that there are at least 16 cities named Athens in the United States! Or, even more amazing, there exist no less than 26 American cities that contain Troy in their names!

I've researched each of the 50 States and have put together a huge list of American cities whose names relate to mythology. Let me know if I've missed any and I'll be happy to add them.

Athens, the capital city of Greece, is named after the goddess Athena:

Athens, Georgia

Athens, Ohio

Athens, Alabama

Athens, Indiana

Athens, Maine

Athens, New York

Athens, Pennsylvania

Athens, Tennessee

Athens, Texas

Athens, West Virginia

Athens, Wisconsin

Athens, Louisiana

Athens, Michigan

Athens, Illinois

Athens, Pennsylvania

New Athens, Illinois

Athens County, Ohio

Athens, Wisconsin

Attica, New York

Athena's Roman equivalent was Minerva:

Minerva, Kentucky

Minerva, New York

Minerva, Ohio

Achilles was the greatest warrior of the Trojan War, killed only when an arrow struck his heel, the only vulnerable spot on his body:

Achille, Oklahoma
(a reader mentioned that this is a Native American derivation, not Greek)

Achilles, Virginia

Ajax was the name of two famous warriors of the Trojan War:

Ajax, South Dakota

Apollo was another Olympian, the god of music and light. After him is named:

Apollo, Pennsylvania

North Apollo, Pennsylvania

Apollo Beach, Florida

Apollo Annex, Florida

Apollo Theater, Chicago

Apollo Theater, New York

Amazons in Greek mythology were a ferocious race of warrior women:

Amazonia, Missouri

Arcadia was a famous place in ancient Greece:

Arcadia, California

Arcadia, Florida

Arcadia, Indiana

Arcadia, Iowa

Arcadia, Kansas

Arcadia, Louisiana

Arcadia, Michigan

Arcadia, Missouri

Arcadia, Nebraska

Arcadia, Pennsylvania

Arcadia, South Carolina

Arcadia, Wisconsin

Ares was one of the 12 Olympians, the despised god of war:

Ares Peak, New Mexico

Argo was the name of the famous ship that Jason and the Argonauts used to sail on their voyage to get the Golden Fleece.

Argo, Texas

Argos was the hundred-eyed watchman of Hera, slain by the Greek messenger god Hermes:

Argos, Indiana

Arion was the poet tossed overboard by Pirates who was saved by a dolphin:

Arion, Iowa
Arion, Ohio

Atlas was the hapless Titan who was doomed to support the heavens on his shoulder forever. Many variations of his name have given us a number of American place names:

Atlantic Beach, Florida

Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Idaho

Atlanta, Illinois

Atlanta, Indiana

Atlantic, Iowa

Atlanta, Kansas

Atlas, Kansas

Atlanta, Louisiana

Atlanta, Michigan

Atlas, Michigan

Atlanta, Missouri

Atlanta, Nebraska

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlanta, New York

Atlantic Beach, New York

Atlantic, North Carolina

Atlantic Beach, North Carolina

Atlantic, Pennsylvania

Atlasburg, Pennsylvania

Atlanta, Texas

Atlantic, Virginia

Aurora was the Roman goddess of the dawn, similar to the Greek Eos:

Aurora, Colorado

Aurora, Illinois

Aurora, Indiana

Aurora, Iowa

Aurora, Kansas

Aurora, Kentucky

Aurora, Maine

Aurora, Minnesota

Aurora, Missouri

Aurora, Nebraska

Aurora, New York

East Aurora, New York

Aurora, North Carolina

Aurora, Ohio

Aurora, Oregon

Aurora, South Dakota

Aurora, Utah

Aurora, West Virginia

Daphne was a beautiful woman who was pursued by the god Apollo. She turned into a laurel tree in order to escape from his amorous advances. After her is named:

Daphne, Alabama

Castor and Polux were famous twins of Greek mythology:

Castor, Louisiana

The Nymph Calypso was a witch who tried to convince the hero Odysseus to stay with her on her island, rather than sailing home:

Calypso, North Carolina

Cassandra was the seer who was cursed by Apollo, so that her prophecies were never believed:

Cassandra, Pennsylvania

Ceres was the Roman goddess of the harvest, similar to the Greek goddess Demeter:

Ceres, California

Ceres, Virginia

Clio was one of the nine Muses of Greek mythology:

Clio, Alabama

Clio, California

Clyo, Georgia

Clio, Iowa

Clio, Michigan

Clio, South Carolina

Clio, West Virginia

Corinth was a famous place in Greek mythology, figuring in numerous myths:

Corinth, Kentucky

Corinth, Mississippi

Corinth, New York

Corinth, Texas

Corinth, Vermont

East Corinth, Vermont

Crete was the island where Zeus was raised as a baby while hiding from the wrath of his father, Cronus:

Crete, Illinois

Crete, Nebraska

Diana was the Roman name for the Greek Artemis, goddess of the forest and the hunt:

Diana, Texas

Diana, West Virginia

Fortuna was the Roman goddess of luck, similar to the Greek Tyche:

Fortuna Ledge, Alaska

Fortuna, California

Fortuna, Missouri

The Oracles in mythology were respected seers who foretold the future:

Oracle, Arizona

The most famous Oracle was Apollo's, at a place called Delphi:

Delphi, Indiana

Delphia, Kentucky

Delphi Falls, New York

Hector was a brave warrior who fought on the Trojan side against the Greeks during the Trojan War. He was killed by Achilles:

Hector, Arkansas

Hector, California

Hector, New York

Homer was the ancient poet and writer who gave us the famous books the Iliad and the Odyssey:

Homer, Alaska

Homer, Georgia

Homerville, Georgia

Homer, Illinois

Homer, Indiana

Homer, Louisiana

Homer, Nebraska

Homer, New York

East Homer, New York

Homer, Ohio

Homerville, Ohio

Hymera was the Greek personification of the Day:

Hymera, Indiana

Hesperia was the Greek goddess who personified the Evening:

Hesperia, California

Hesperus was the elusive god who personified the Evening:

Hesperus, Colorado

Irene was the ancient Greek personification of Peace:

Irene, South Dakota

Irene, Texas

Iris was the Greek goddess of the Rainbow:

Iris, South Carolina

Ithaca was the island home of the Trojan War hero, Odysseus; the Odyssey by Homer detailed his voyage back home to Ithaca:

Ithaca, Nebraska

Ithaca, New York

Ithaca College, New York

Ithaca, Ohio

The Parthenon in Athens was the splendid temple at the Acropolis, built in honor of the great goddess Athena:

Parthenon, Arkansas

Dike (or Dyke, pronounced DEE-key) was the Greek mythological personification of Justice:

Dike, Iowa

Dike, Texas

Dyke, Virginia

Echo was the beautiful maiden who fell in love with the vain Narcissus and was reduced to just an echo:

Echo Lake, California

Echo, Louisiana

Echo, Minnesota

Echo, Oregon

Echo, Texas

Echo, Utah

The Elysian Fields was the final resting place of famous heroes:

Elysian, Minnesota

Elysian Fields, Texas

Eros was the Greek god of love, similar to the mischievous Roman Cupid:

Eros, Louisiana

Eros, Arizona

Flora was the Roman name for the Greek Chloris, goddess of plants and vegetation:

Flora, Illinois

Flora, Indiana

Flora, Louisiana

Flora, Mississippi

Glen Flora, Texas

Glen Flora, Wisconsin

The Griffin was a mythical creature with the face, beak, talons and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion:

Griffin, Georgia

Griffin, Indiana

Hades was the feared god of the Underworld:

Hades Creek, Washington

Hercules (Heracles) was the greatest hero of ancient Greece. He performed the famous 12 labors:

Hercules, California

Luna was the Roman goddess of the moon, equivalent to the Greek goddess Selene:

Luna, New Mexico

The city of Marathon was the setting for a magnificent battle, and where we get the modern day race called the marathon:

Marathon, New York

Mars was the Roman god of war, the equivalent of the Greek god Ares:

Mars Hill, Maine

Mars, Pennsylvania

Medusa was the monster who would turn to stone whomever happened to look upon her:

Medusa, New York

Mentor was a famous tutor/teacher in ancient Greek mythology:

Mentor, Minnesota

Mentor, Ohio

Mercury was the Roman name for the Greek god Hermes, winged messenger to the gods:

Mercury, Nevada

Mount Olympus was the lofty home of the ancient gods. From Olympus we get place names such as:

Olympic Valley, California

Olympia Heights, Florida

Olympia Fields, Illinois

Olympia, Kentucky

East Olympia, Virginia

Olympia, Washington

The nine Muses in Greek mythology were the ones who inspired the arts, sciences, music and all things cultural:

Muse, Pennsylvania

Neptune was the Roman name for Poseidon, Greek god of the sea:

Neptune Beach, Florida

Neptune, New Jersey

Neptune City, New Jersey

Orestes was the tragic figure who killed his mother, Clytaemnestra, and was pursued by the Furies, in the tragedy Oresteia by Aeschylus:

Orestes, Indiana

Pandora (all-gifted) was the first mortal woman. Her curiosity made her open up a jar (box), which unleashed all the world's evils upon the earth:

Pandora, Ohio

Pandora, Texas

Paris was the Trojan prince who ran away with beautiful Helen, an act which caused the famous Trojan War:

Paris, Tennessee

Paris, Texas

Penelope was the faithful wife to Odysseus, of Trojan War and Odyssey fame:

Penelope, Texas

Sparta was a famous city state in ancient Greece, renowned for its highly disciplined and ferocious warriors:

Sparta, Georgia

Sparta, Illinois

Sparta, Kentucky

Sparta, Michigan

Sparta, Mississippi

Sparta, New Jersey

Sparta, New York

East Sparta, Ohio

Sparta, Tennessee

Sparta, Virginia

Sparta, Wisconsin

Thebes was another famous city state, with a storied mythical history:

Thebes, Illinois

Troy was the ancient mythological city where the famous Trojan War took place. Many US places are named Troy:

Troy, Alabama

Troy, Idaho

Troy, Illinois

Troy Grove, Illinois

Troy, Indiana

Troy Mills, Iowa

Troy, Kansas

Troy, Maine

Troy, Michigan

New Troy, Michigan

Troy, Missouri

Troy, Montana

Troy, New Hampshire

Troy, New York

Troy, North Carolina

Troy, Ohio

Troy, Pennsylvania

Troy, South Carolina

Troy, Tennessee

Troy, Texas

Troy, Vermont

North Troy, Vermont

Troy, Virginia

Troy, West Virginia

East Troy, Wisconsin

Venus was the Roman name for gorgeous Aphrodite, Greek goddess of Love:

Venus, Florida

Venus, Pennsylvania

Venus, Texas

Vesta was the Roman name for the Greek goddess Hestia, ancient goddess of the home and hearth. Her attendants were called the Vestal virgins:

Vesta, Minnesota

Vesta, Virginia

Vestal, New York

Victoria was Roman for the Greek Nike, winged goddess of Victory:

Victoria, Minnesota

Victoria, Mississippi

Victoria, Texas

Victoria, Virginia

Vulcan was the Roman name for Hephaestus, Greek god of the forge:

Vulcan, Michigan

Vulcan, Missouri

Vulcan, West Virginia

Zephyr was one of the wind gods, the West Wind:

Zephyrhills, Florida

Zephyr Cove, Nevada

Zephyr, Texas

Notus was another wind god, this one the South Wind:

Notus, Idaho

Orion was a giant in Greek mythology who was placed in the stars as the Constellation Orion:

Orion, Illinois

Orion, Michigan

Juno was the Roman name for Hera, wife to Zeus, the supreme Greek Olympian:

Juno Beach, Florida

Jupiter was the Roman name for the King of the Olympians, Zeus:

Jupiter, Florida

Helen of Troy was the most beautiful woman on earth, and the cause of the Trojan War:

Lake Helen, Florida

Helen, Georgia

Helena, Georgia

Helen, Maryland

Helena, Missouri

Helena, Montana

Helena, New York

Helena, Oklahoma

Helen, West Virginia

Helenville, Wisconsin

Marathon was another famous Greek place and the scene of a decisive ancient battle. We get the modern 26 kilometer Marathon Race from this city:

Marathon, Florida

Marathon Shores, Florida

Marathon, Iowa

Marathon, Texas

Marathon, Wisconsin

The Phoenix was the legendary bird that would perish every few hundred years, only to be reborn from the ashes:

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Maryland

Phoenix, New York

Phoenix, Oregon

Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

Phenix, Virginia

Ulysses was the Roman name for Odysseus, hero of Homer's epic saga The Odyssey:

Ulysses, Kansas

Ulysses, Kentucky

Ulysses, Nebraska

Ulysses, Pennsylvania

Urania was the one of the nine Muses, the Greek Muse of astronomy, astrology and Universal love.

Urania, Louisiana

Uranus (Sky) was an original Titan, husband to Gaea (Mother Earth):

Uranus, Alaska

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"This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together..."
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« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2008, 12:23:48 am »
by Micha F. Lindemans

Atlas is a scion of the Titans, the Greek race of giants, and the son of Iapetus and the nymph Clymene. He is the father of the Hesperides, the Hyades and the Pleiades. He was also thought to be the king of legendary Atlantis ("Land of Atlas").

In the revolt of the Titans against the gods of the Olympic, Atlas stormed the heavens and Zeus punished him for this deed by condemning him to forever bear the heavens upon his shoulders. Hence his name, which means "bearer" or "endurer".

To complete the eleventh of his twelve labors, Heracles had to obtain the golden apples of the Hesperides, and he asked Atlas for help. Heracles offered to bear Atlas's burden in his absence, when he went to retrieve the apples. Atlas agreed to perform the task readily enough, since he did not plan on ever bearing that burden again. When Atlas returned with the apples, Heracles requested him to assume the load for a moment, saying he needed to adjust the pad to ease the pressure on his shoulders. After Atlas bore the heavens again, Heracles walked off with the golden apples.

When Atlas refused to give shelter to Perseus, the latter changed Atlas into stone, using Medusa's head. On the place where Atlas stood, now lie Mount Atlas (north-western Africa). In art, Atlas is usually depicted as a man bearing a globe.

The story of Atlas, as told by Thomas Bulfinch.

He who dares or suffers

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"This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together..."
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« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2008, 12:24:14 am »


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   posted 07-28-2004 08:53 AM                       
Concerning the parentage of Atlas, who is so important in the Atlantis story, we have this quote from Bullfinch:
"Atlas is a scion of the Titans, the Greek race of giants, and the son of Iapetus and the nymph Clymene. He is the father of the Hesperides, the Hyades and the Pleiades. He was also thought to be the king of legendary Atlantis ("Land of Atlas")."
Then there is this one from Critias (the Benjamin Jowett translation):

"He (Poseidon, with Cleito)also begat and brought up five pairs of twin male children; and dividing the island of Atlantis into ten portions, he gave to the first-born of the eldest pair his mother's dwelling and the surrounding allotment, which was the largest and best, and made him king over the rest; the others he made princes, and gave them rule over many men, and a large territory. And he named them all; the eldest, who was the first king, he named Atlas, and after him the whole island and the ocean were called Atlantic."

Classic Greek mythology clearly states that Iapetus and the nymph Clymene were Atlas' parents, not Poseidon and Cleito. In fact, Poseidon was either a contemporary of Atlas or born after him. Of course, prior to the war between the Titans and the Greek gods, Poseidon was one of the children swallowed by his father Chronos, swallowed at birth, I might add, and hardly in any position to father anyone. Poseidon was not released until the war and by this time Atlas was already in command of the Titan forces. It is worth noting that, in the mythology I have seen, only Plato makes this mistake, if it is a mistake...

I submit that the name "Atlas" was a common name, there was more than one Atlas, and modern researchers only link the original Atlas with the story of Atlantis because they are confused by the usage.

That said, when Plato mentions "after him the whole island and the ocean were called Atlantic..." it might be a case of ascribing easy answers to complex solutions. According to the legend, Cleito and her parents were already living on the island before Poseidon reached it, the island could have already had a different name, been named after the original Titan, perhaps even named after someone else with a name similar to "Atlas."

I'm confident that Atlantis existed, that there was perhaps a large island in the Atlantic, or something similar in the vicinity of Gibralter. I also believe, though, that the account itself might be open to some errors, both by the tellers of the story, and by it's translators. The essential truth, though, has to be something along the lines of what we have always believed about it, else that truth wouldn't have been so stressed by greatly by Plato.

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« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2008, 12:24:44 am »

Noun 1. Atlas - (Greek mythology) a Titan who was forced by Zeus to bear the sky on his shoulders
Greek mythology - the mythology of the ancient Greeks
Titan - (Greek mythology) any of the primordial giant gods who ruled the Earth until overthrown by Zeus; the Titans were offspring of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaea (Earth)
2. atlas - a collection of maps in book form
book of maps, map collection
book of facts, reference book, reference work, reference - a book to which you can refer for authoritative facts; "he contributed articles to the basic reference work on that topic"
gazetteer - a geographical dictionary (as at the back of an atlas)
dialect atlas, linguistic atlas - an atlas showing the distribution of distinctive linguistic features
3. atlas - the 1st cervical vertebra
atlas vertebra
cervical vertebra, neck bone - one of 7 vertebrae in the human spine located in the neck region
4. atlas - a figure of a man used as a supporting column
pillar, column - (architeture) a tall cylindrical vertical upright and used to support a structure
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"This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together..."
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« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2008, 12:25:21 am »


Greek: AtlaV Transliteration: Atlas Translation: Daring

ATLAS was the younger TITAN-god of daring thoughts. After rebelling against Zeus he was condemned to bear the heavens upon his shoulders. According to some he was later released from this burden and made guardian of the pillars that were set to hold the heavens aloft in his stead.


(1) IAPETOS & KLYMENE (Theogony 507f, Hyginus Pref)
(2) IAPETOS & ASIA (Apollodorus 1.Cool
(3) IAPETOS (Metamorphoses 4.627)


(1) THE PLEIADES (Works & Days 383f, Of the Origin of Homer & Hesiod & their Contest 1, Homerica The Astronomy Frag 1, Greek Lyric III Simonides Frag 555, Metamorphoses 6.169, Dionysiaca 3.349)
(2) THE PLEIADES (by Pleione) (Apollodorus 3.110, Ovid Fasti 5.79)
(3) THE PLEIADES, THE HYADES, HYAS (by Pleione or Aethra) (Hyginus Fab 192, Hyginus Astronomica 2.21, Ovid Fasti 5.164)
(4) KALYPSO (Odyssey 1.52, Apollodorus E7.23-24)
(5) MAIRA (Pausanias 8.12.7)
(6) THE HESPERIDES (by Hesperis) (Diodorus Sicululs 4.26.2)
(7) DIONE (Hyginus Fabulae 83, Metamorphoses 6.172)

"Now Iapetos took to wife the neat-ankled maid Klymene, daughter of Okeanos, and went up with her into one bed. And she bare him a stout-hearted son, Atlas... And Atlas through hard constraint upholds the wide heaven with unwearying head and arms, standing at the borders of the earth before the clear-voiced Hesperides; for this lot wise Zeus assigned to him." -Theogony 507f

"There [at the sources & ends of earth, sea, Tartaros] stands the awful home of murky Night wrapped in dark clouds. In front of it the son of Iapetos [Atlas] stands immovably upholding the wide heaven upon his head and unwearying hands, where Night and Day draw near and greet one another as they pass the great threshold of bronze." -Theogony 744f

“A wave-washed island [Ogygia], a wooded island in the navel of the seas. A goddess has made her dwelling there whose father is Atlas the magician; he knows the depths of all the seas, and he, no other, guards the tall pillars that keep the sky and earth apart.” –Odyssey 1.52

"The stormy Peleiades ... Lovely Teygeta, and dark-faced Elektra, and Alkyone, and bright Asterope, and Kelaino, and Maia, and Merope, whom glorious Atlas begot." -Homerica, The Astronomy Frag 1

"Olympian Zeus himself from heaven in wrath smote down the insolent bands of Gigantes grim, and shook the boundless earth, Tethys and Okeanos, and the heavens, when reeled the knees of Atlas neath the rush of Zeus." -Quintus Smyrnaeus 11.415

“Does not even now great Atlas struggle to bear up the weight of heaven, far from his fathers’ land and his possessions? But almighty Zeus set free the Titanes, for as time passes and the breeze abates, the sails are set anew.” –Pindar Pythian 4 ant13

"Simonides represents him [Atlas] as holding the sky on his shoulders." -Greek Lyric III Simonides Frag 556 (from Philodemos, Piety)

“Atlas: a mountain in Libya. Polyidos the dithyrambic poet makes Atlas a shepherd: according to him, Perseus arrived on the scene, and Atlas asked who he was and where he had come from; and when Perseus’ words failed to persuade him to allow him to pass, he was compelled to show him the Gorgon’s face and turned him to stone; and the mountain was called Atlas after him. So the commentary on Lykophron.” –Greek Lyric V Polyidus Frag 837 (from Etymologicum Magnum)

“[Prometheus to Okeanos:]’The fate of Atlas grieves me – my own brother, who in the far West stands with his unwieldy load pressing upon his back, the pillar of heaven and earth.” –Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 347-349

"The Titanes had children ... Atlas (who holds the sky on his shoulders), Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Menoitios ... were all sons of Iapetos and Asia." -Apollodorus 1.8

"[The golden apples of the Hesperides] These apples were not, as some maintain, in Libya, but rather were with Atlas among the Hyperboreans. Ge had given them to Zeus when he married Hera." -Apollodorus 2.114

"Prometheus advised Herakles not to go after the apples himself, but rather to relive Atlas of the celestial sphere and dispatch him. So when Herakles reached Atlas among the Hyperboreans, he remembered Prometheus’ advise and took over the sphere. Atlas picked three apples from the garden of the Hesperides, then returned to Herakles. Not wanting to hold up the sphere, he told Herakles that he should carry the applies back to Eurystheus, and that Herakles could hold up the sky in his place. Herakles agreed, but by a trick gave the sphere back to Atlas. On the advise of Prometheus he asked Atlas to take the sky while he put a cushion on his head. Hearing this, Atlas set the apples down on the ground, and relieved Herakles of the sphere. Thus Herakles picked them up and left. (Some say, however, that he did not take the apples from Atlas, but killed the snake that guarded them, and picked them himself.) Returning with the apples he gave them to Eurystheus who made a present of them to Herakles. But Athene retrieved them from him and took them back, for it was not permitted by diving law to locate them anywhere else." -Apollodorus 2.119-120

"To Atlas and Okeanos’ daughter Pleione were born (on Arkadian Kyllene) seven daughters called the Pleiades, whose names are Alkyone, Merope, Kelaino, Elektra, Sterope, Taygete, and Maia." -Apollodorus 3.110-111

“[Illustrated on the throne of the statue of Aphrodite at Amyklai, Lakedaimon] To describe the reliefs … Poseidon and Zeus are carrying Taygete, daughter of Atlas, and her sister Alkyone. There are also reliefs of Atlas.” –Pausanias 3.18.10-16

“[In the temple of Zeus at Olympia are paintings] Among them is Atlas, supporting heaven and earth, by whose side stands Herakles ready to receive the load of Atlas.” –Pausanias 5.11.5

“[Depicted on the chest of Cypselus at Olympia] Atlas too is supporting, just as the story has it, heaven and earth upon his shoulders; he is also carrying the apples of the Hesperides. A man holding a sword is coming towards Atlas. This everybody can see is Herakles, though he is not mentioned especially in the inscription, which reads:- Here is Atlas holding heaven, but he will let go the apples.” –Pausanias 5.18.4

“[A depiction] It shows the heavens upheld be Atlas, and also Herakles and the apple-tree of the Hesperides with the Drakon coiled around it." -Pausanias 6.19.8

"[At Tanagra, Boiotia] is a place called Polos. Here they say that Atlas sat and meditated deeply upon hell and heaven, as Homer says of him: ‘Daughter of baneful Atlas, who knows the depths of every sea, while he himself holds up the tall pillars, which keep apart earth and heaven.” -Pausanias 9.20.3

“They [the Argonauts] found the sacred plot where, till the day before, the serpent Ladon, a son of the Libyan soil, had kept watch over the golden apples in the Garden of Atlas." –Argonautica 4.1390f

“The desolate dwelling place of Atlas [ie Libya].” –Lycophron 877

“But we must not fail to mention what the myths relate about Atlas and about the race of the Hesperides. The account runs like this: In the country known as Hesperitis there were two brothers whose fame was known abroad, Hesperos and Atlas. These brothers possessed flocks of sheep which excelled in beauty and were in colour of a golden yellow, this being the reason why the poets, in speaking of these sheep as mela, called them golden mela. Now Hesperos begat a daughter named Hesperis, who he gave in marriage to his brother and after whom the land was given the name Hesperitis; and Atlas begat by her seven daughters, who were named after their father Atlantides, and after their mother Hesperides. And since these Atlantides excelled in beauty and chastity, Busiris the king of the Aigyptians, the account says, was seized with a desire to get the maidens into his power; and consequently he dispatched pirates by sea with orders to seize the girls and deliver them into his hands …
[Herakles slew Busiris] Meanwhile the pirates had seized the girls while they were playing in a certain garden and carried them off, and fleeing swiftly to their ships had sailed away with them. Herakles came upon the pirates as they were taking their meal on a certain strand, and learning from the maidens what had taken place he slew the pirates to a man and brought the girls back to Atlas their father; and in return Atlas was so grateful to Herakles for his kindly deed that he not only gladly gave him such assistance as his Labour called for, but he also instructed him quite freely in the knowledge of astrology. For Atlas had worked out the science of astrology to a degree surpassing others and had ingeniously discovered the spherical arrangement of the stars, and for that reason was generally believed to be bearing the entire firmament upon his shoulders. Similarly in the case of Herakles, when he had brought to the Greeks the doctrine of the sphere, he gained great fame, as if he had taken over the burden of the firmament which Atlas had borne, since men intimated in this enigmatic way what had actually taken place ” –Diodorus Sicululs 4.26.2 [Diodorus here gives his own rational interpretation of the myth]

"From Iapetus and Clymene [were born]: Atlas, Epimetheus, Prometheus." -Hyginus Preface

"From Atlas and Pleione [were born]: Maia, Calypso, Alcyone, Merope, Electra, Celaeno." -Hyginus Preface

“After Juno [Hera] saw that Epaphus, born of a concubine, ruled such a great kingdom, she saw to it that he should be killed while hunting, and encouraged the Titanes to drive Jove [Zeus] from the kingdom and restore it to Saturn [Kronos]. When they tried to mount to heaven, Jove with the help of Minerva [Athene], Apollo, and Diana [Artemis], cast them headlong into Tartarus. On Atlas, who had been their leader, he put the vault of the sky; even now he is said to hold up the sky on his shoulders.” –Hyginus Fabulae 150

“Atlas by Pleione or an Oceanitide had twelve daughters, and a son, Hyas. The son was killed by a wild boar or a lion, and the sisters, grieving for him, died of this grief. The five of them first put among the stars have their place between the horns of the bull – Phaesyla, Ambrosia, Coronis, Eudora, Polyxo – and are called, from their brother’s name, Hyades ... The rest of the sisters, later dying from grief, were made stars, and because they were many, were called Pleiades.” –Hyginus Fabulae 192

“Hyas, son of Atlas and Pleione, [was killed] by a boar, or by a lion.” –Hyginus Fabulae 248

"[When Phaethon driving the chariot of the sun set the earth aflame] Even Atlas fails, his shoulders scarce sustain the flaming sky." -Metamorphoses 2.296

“Now at dusk, fearing to trust the night, he [Perseus flying on winged sandals] landed on the far Hesperian shore, the realm of Atlas, seeking rest awhile … Atlas Iapetionides surpassed all men in giant size. He ruled the world’s last lands and that far sea that greets the panting horses of the sun and welcomed their tired wheels. A thousand herds roamed on his pastures and a thousand flocks, unchecked, untroubled by a neighbour’s bounds; and there were trees whose glittering leaves of gold clothed golden apples under golden boughs. ‘Good friend’, Perseus addressed him, ‘if renown of lineage may count, I take my line from Juppiter [Zeus], my father; or if deeds can win your admiration, mine you will admire. I ask for rest and lodging.’ But the giant recalled the oracle which Themis Parnasia had given: ‘Atlas, a time shall come when from your tree the gold shall be despoiled, and of that spoil a son of Jove shall boast.’ In fear he had walled his orchards all around with massive ramparts and for guardian set an enormous Draco; and drove off all strangers from the borders of his realm. To Perseus too ‘Away! Begone!’ he cried, ‘Or you shall find no joy in that renown your lies invent, no joy in Juppiter [Zeus].’, and added force to threats, as Perseus tried fair words at first, then bravely grappled him. But when he found his strength surpassed (for who could match the strength of Atlas?) ‘Very well!’ he taunted, ‘If you rate my thanks so low, accept a gift!’ and turned his face away and on his left held out the loathsome head, Medusa’s head. Atlas, so huge, became a mountain; beard and hair were changed to forests, shoulders were cliffs, hands ridges; where his head had lately been, the soaring summit rose; his bones were turned to stone. Then each part grew beyond all measure (so the gods ordained) and on his shoulders rested the whole vault of heaven with all the innumerable stars.” –Metamorphoses 4.627

"My [Niobe's] mother ranks as sister of the Pleiades. That great giant, Atlas, whose shoulders bear the circling sky, is one grandfather." -Metamorphoses 6.172

"This neck [of Herakles] sustained the sky [in place of Atlas]." –Metamorphoses 9.198

“Titan Tethys was once married to Oceanus, whose translucent waters scarf the broad earth. Their child Pleione couples with sky-lifting Atlas – so the story is – and bears the Pleiades.” –Ovid Fasti 5.79

“Atlas did not shoulder the load of Olympus yet, when lovely, eye-catching Hyas was born. Oceanus’ daughter, Aethra, bore him and the Nymphae in timely births, but Hyas was born first ... [Hylas while hunting] sought the lair and brood of the whelped lioness and was bloody prey to the Libyan beast. His mother sobbed for Hyas, his sad sisters sobbed and Atlas, whose neck would haul the world.” –Ovid Fasti 5.164

“[Aeneas to Euander:] Dardanus, the progenitor and founder of Ilium’s city, born, as the Greeks maintain, of Electra, daughter of Atlas, sailed to our Teucrian land: yes, Electra’s father was mighty Atlas who holds aloft on his shoulders the heavenly firmament. Now Mercurius [Hermes] is your father – Mercurius whom fair Maia conceived and bore upon the snowy peak of Cyllene. But Maia, if we believe at all the tales we have heard, was begotten by Atlas, the Atlas who props the starry sky.” –Aeneid 8.134

“You behold Atlas supporting the whole of heaven.” –Propertius 3.22

“These lands … lashed by the ocean, Neptunus’ [Poseidon’s] trident, and the slow workings of time the enemy sundered of yore, even as they did the shores of Sicily and Libya, when Janus [whose home was Italia] and Atlas, lord of the sunset mountains [in North Africa], were struck aghast at the crash.” –Valerius Flaccus 2.616

“There [depicted on the walls of the palace] iron Atlas stands in Oceano, the wave swelling and breaking on his knees; but the god himself [Helios the Sun] on high hurries his shining steeds across the old man’s body, and spreads light about the curving sky; behind with smaller wheel follows his sister [Selene the Moon] and the crowded Pleiades and the fires whose tresses are wet with dripping rain [the Hyades].” –Valerius Flaccus 5.408

"Towering Atlas shuddered and shifted the weight of heaven upon his trembling shoulders." –Thebaid 1.97

"With no effort carriest thyself [Gaia the Earth] star-bearing Atlas who staggers under the weight of the celestial realm." –Thebaid 8.315

“[Typhoeus to Zeus declaring his intentions when he seizes the throne of heaven:] ‘Break the bar of Olympos, self-turning, divine! Drag down to earth the heavenly pillar, let Atlas be shaken and flee away, let him throw down the starry vault of Olympos and fear no more its circling course – for I will not permit a son of Earth to be bowed down with chafed shoulders, while he underprops the revolving compulsion of the sky! No, let him leave his endless burden to the other gods, and battle against the Blessed Ones! Let him break off rocks, and volley with those hard shots the starry vault which he once carried! … Kronion [Zeus] also shall lift the spinning heavens of Atlas, and bear the load on weary shoulders” –Dionysiaca 2.259

“And away by the boundary of Libya my [the Pleiad Elektra’s] father still suffers hardship, old Atlas with chafing shoulders bowed, upholding the seven-zoned vault of the sky.” –Dionysiaca 3.349

“By the Tritonian Lake [in Libya], Kadmos the wanderer lay with rosycheek Harmonia, and the Nymphai Hesperides made a song for them, and Kypris [Aphrodite] together with the Erotes (Loves) decked out a fine bed for the wedding, hanging in the bridal chamber golden fruit from the Nymphai’s garden .... Her mother’s [ie Harmonia's stepmother Elektra] father the stooping Libyan Atlas awoke a tune of the heavenly harp to join the revels, and with tripping foot he twirled the heavens round like a ball, while he sang a stave of harmony himself not far away.” –Dionysiaca 13.333

“The waters of Khremetes [a river of North Africa] in the west, where that afflicted ancient, Libyan Atlas, wearily bends under the whirling heavens.” –Dionysiaca 31.103

"Atlas: He of whom myth tells that he holds up earth and heaven. 'And the iron shoulders of Atlas.' And a proverb: 'Atlas the heaven'; 'you lifted up' is omitted. [This is said] in reference to those who undertake great matters and encounter misfortune." -Suidas 'Atlas'

"According to the Judges of the Judaeans, Prometheus ... first discovered scholarly philosophy ... and Epimetheus, who discovered music; and Atlas, who interpreted astronomy, on account of which they say he holds up the heavens." -Suidas 'Prometheus'


* Hesiod, Theogony - Greek Epic C8th-7th BC
* Homer, The Odyssey - Greek Epic C9th-8th BC
* Homerica The Astronomy, Fragments - Greek Epic BC
* Pindar, Odes - Greek Lyric C5th BC
* Greek Lyric III Simonides, Fragments - Greek Lyric C6th-5th BC
* Greek Lyric V Polyidus, Fragments - Greek Lyric BC
* Apollodorus, The Library - Greek Mythography C2nd BC
* Apollonius Rhodius, The Argonautica - Greek Epic C3rd BC
* Lycophron, Alexandra
* Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy - Greek Epic C4th AD
* Pausanias, Guide to Greece - Greek Geography C2nd AD
* Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History - Greek History C1st BC
* Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd AD
* Ovid, Metamorphoses - Latin Epic C1st BC - C1st AD
* Ovid, Fasti - Latin Epic C1st BC - C1st AD
* Virgil, Aeneid - Latin Epic C1st BC
* Propertius, Elegies – Latin Elegy C1st BC
* Valerius Flaccus, The Argonautica – Latin Epic C1st AD
* Statius, Thebaid - Latin Epic C1st AD
* Nonnos, Dionysiaca - Greek Epic C5th AD
* Suidas - Byzantine Greek Lexicography C10th AD

Other references not currently quoted here: Diodorus Siculus 3.60; Servius on the Aeneid 1.745 & 4.247 & 8.134; Tzetzes on Lycophron 873

« Last Edit: January 02, 2008, 12:27:33 am by Helios » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2008, 12:28:22 am »

The Titanomachia in Hesiod

But when first their father [=Ouranos, father of Chronos] was vexed in his heart with Briareus and Cottus and Gyes, he bound them in cruel bonds, because he was jealous of their exceeding manhood and comeliness and great size: and he made them live beneath the wide-pathed earth, where they were afflicted, being set to dwell under the ground, at the end of the earth, at its great borders, in bitter anguish for a long time and with great grief at heart. But the son of Cronos [=Zeus] and the other deathless gods whom rich-haired Rhea bare from union with Cronos, brought them up again to the light at Earth's advising [=Gea, the mother of Briareus and Cottus and Gyes]. For she herself recounted all things to the gods fully, how that with these [three] they would gain victory and a glorious cause to vaunt themselves. For the Titan gods [on the one hand] and as many as sprang from Cronos [on the other] had long been fighting together in stubborn war with heart-grieving toil: the lordly Titans from high Othyrs; but the gods, givers of good, whom rich-haired Rhea bare in union with Cronos, from Olympus.

So they, with bitter wrath, were fighting continually with one another at that time for ten full years, and the hard strife had no close or end for either side, and the issue of the war hung evenly balanced. But when he had provided those three [Briareus and Cottus and Gyes] with all things fitting, nectar and ambrosia which the gods themselves eat, and when their proud spirit revived within them all after they had fed on nectar and delicious ambrosia, then it was that the father of men and gods [Zeus] spoke amongst them: 'Hear me, bright children of Earth and Heaven, that I may say what my heart within me bids. A long while now have we, who are sprung from Cronos, and the Titan gods fought with each other every day to get victory and to prevail. But do you show your great might and unconquerable strength, and face the Titans in bitter strife; for remember our friendly kindness, and from what sufferings you are come back to the light from your cruel bondage under misty gloom through our counsels.'

So he said. And blameless Cottus answered him again: `Divine one, you speak that which we know well: nay, even of ourselves we know that your wisdom and understanding is exceeding, and that you became a defender of the deathless ones from chill doom. And through your devising we are come back again from the murky gloom and from our merciless bonds, enjoying what we looked not for, O lord, son of Cronos. And so now with fixed purpose and deliberate counsel we will aid your power in dreadful strife and will fight against the Titans in hard battle.'

So he said: and the gods, givers of good things, applauded when they heard his word, and their spirit longed for war even more than before, and they all, both male and female, stirred up hated battle that day, the Titan gods, and all that were born of Cronos together with those dread, mighty ones of overwhelming strength whom Zeus brought up to the light from Erebus beneath the earth [Briareus and Cottus and Gyes]. An hundred arms sprang from the shoulders of all [three] alike [therefore their appelation, hecatoncheires or hundred-handed], and each had fifty heads growing upon his shoulders upon stout limbs. These, then, stood against the Titans [who were their brothers] in grim strife, holding huge rocks in their strong hands. And on the other part, the Titans eagerly strengthened their ranks, and both sides at one time showed the work of their hands and their might. The boundless sea rang terribly around, and the earth crashed loudly: wide Heaven was shaken and groaned, and high Olympus reeled from its foundation under the charge of the undying gods, and a heavy quaking reached dim Tartarus and the deep sound of their feet, in the fearful onset, and of their hard missiles. So, then, they launched their grievous shafts upon one another, and the cry of both armies as they shouted reached to starry heaven; and they met together with a great battle-cry.

Then Zeus no longer held back his might; but straight his heart was filled with fury and he showed forth all his strength. From Heaven and from Olympus he came forthwith, hurling his lightning: the bolt flew thick and fast from his strong hand together with thunder and lightning, whirling an awesome flame. The life-giving earth crashed around in burning, and the vast wood crackled loud with fire all about. All the land seethed, and Ocean's streams and the unfruitful sea. The hot vapour lapped round the earthborn Titans: flame unspeakable rose to the bright upper air: the flashing glare of the thunder-stone and lightning blinded their eyes for all their strength. Astounding heat seized Chaos: and to see with eyes and to hear the sound with ears it seemed even as if Earth and wide Heaven above came together; for such a mighty crash would have arisen if Earth were being hurled to ruin, and Heaven from on high were hurling her down; so great a crash was there while the gods were meeting together in strife. Also the winds brought rumbling earthquake and duststorm, thunder and lightning and the lurid thunderbolt, which are the shafts of great Zeus, and carried the clangour and the warcry into the midst of the two hosts. An horrible uproar of terrible strife arose: mighty deeds were shown and the battle inclined. But until then, they kept at one another and fought continually in cruel war.

And amongst the foremost Cottus and Briareos and Gyes insatiate for war raised fierce fighting: three hundred rocks, one upon another, they launched from their strong hands and overshadowed the Titans with their missiles, and buried them beneath the wide-pathed earth, and bound them in bitter chains when they had conquered them by their strength for all their great spirit, as far beneath the earth to Tartarus.
(Hesiod, Theogony, 617ff)

August 30, 2003 in Gigantomachia/Titanomachia, Hesiod | Permalink

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« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2008, 12:29:06 am »

One of the best encapsulations of early

Greek myth and it's source material as a whole:
Theogony of Hesiod
Obscure Creation Myths

Hesiod was a Boeotian poet of either the 8th or 7th century BC, who is believed by many to flourish not long after Homer. Hesiod had written two poems, Works and Days and the Theogony. Both works can actually be combined to form an adequate Creation myth, though I had mostly relied on the Theogony.

The Theogony begins with Chaos and end with Zeus' reign, and it included the tale of Titanomachia, which is the war between the Titans and the Olympians. You will also find the about Prometheus and the Deluge.

It is in Works and Days, where you would find Hesiod's account of the Five Ages of Man, as well as the myth of Prometheus and Pandora. Prometheus stealing fire is also found in the other poem.

Below is the myth of Creation, where I have relied mainly on Hesiod's version, but my other sources included Apollodorus' Library and Ovid's Metamorphoses, to supplement Hesiod's myth.
War in Heaven and on Earth
Rise of the Olympians
Underworld, see House of Hades
Five Ages of Man
Saviour of Mankind

Before the beginning of the universe, there was nothing in existence until Chaos came into being. Who or what was Chaos was, the Greeks not really made clear. The Greeks usually associated Chaos as a male entity. Chaos could be personification of the abyss or void, a formless confusion.

Out of the void, came Nyx ("Night") and Erebus ("Darkness"). Also from Chaos - Eros ("Love"), Gaea ("Earth") and Tartarus came into being. It was Eros that made it possible for propagation between two beings – to produce offspring.

By her brother Erebus, Nyx became mother of Aether ("Upper Air") and Hemera ("Day"). This was the first sexual union. By herself, Nyx became mother of several abstract personifications: Thanatos ("Death"), Moros ("Doom"), Hypnos ("Sleep"), the Fates or Moerae and Nemesis.

Gaea, by herself, bore Uranus (Sky), Ourea (Mountains) and Pontus (Sea).

Gaea mated with her son Pontus and she became mother of two ancient sea-gods, Nereus and Phorcys, as well as Thaumas, Eurybia, and the sea monster Ceto.

Gaea married her other son, Uranus, and he became ruler of the universe. Gaea became the mother of the Titans, Hecatoncheires (Hundred-Handed) and Cyclops ("Wheel-eyed"). The birth of their children resulted in a war by the gods that lasted for generation.

Works written by Hesiod:
Works and Days.
The Iliad was written by Homer.
Library was written by Apollodorus.

War in Heaven and on Earth


Uranus became ruler of the universe after marrying his mother, Gaea. Uranus was the father of the three giant creatures with hundred hands and fifty heads, Briareus, Cottus and Gyges. These giants were known as the Hecatoncheires (Hundred-Handed). They were monstrous in size and strength. They were so ugly that Uranus hid them within their mother's body. Uranus probably did the same to his other three offspring known as the Cyclops. The Cyclopes were also giants, with a single eye in their foreheads. The three Cyclopes were named Arges, Brontes and Steropes. Imprisoning the six gigantic creatures within her body caused Gaea a great deal of pain.

The Titans were also his offspring, but they were smaller in size and fairer in looks. Unlike their ugly brethren they weren't imprisoned. Gaea was furious at the treatment of her earlier sons, so she appealed to her son, Cronus, youngest of the Titans, to overthrow her husband and his father.

At night, when Uranus was about to lay with his mother-wife (Gaea), Cronus castrated his father with an adamantine sickle and threw his father's genitals into the sea, near the island of Cythera. The Giants, Erinyes (Furies) and Meliae were born from the blood that fell on the ground, thereby impregnating her (Gaea). The Olympians would later fight the Giants, aided by the hero Heracles.

In the sea, the water began foaming around the severed genitals of Uranus. This foams drifted across vast distant of sea, before it reached the isle of Cyprus. From the foaming sea, Aphrodite, goddess of love, divinely beautiful and naked, sprang into being, already as fully grown young woman.

Waiting on the shore of Cyprus, Eros (Love) and Himerus (Desire) waited to greet her. The other gods paid honour to her. Aphrodite would later become the member of the Olympians, even though she was technically not an Olympian.

Cronus and the Titans

Cronus succeeded his father as ruler of the universe, and became leader of the Titans. He shared the earth with his brothers and sisters. Cronus married his sister, Rhea, his consort. It was during his reign that he created mankind, and ruled during the Golden Age.

Cronus however did not release his brothers, the Hundred-Handed and the Cyclops, from Tartarus. The whole purpose that Gaea instructed Cronus and the Titans to revolt against Uranus' rule was to release her other sons from Tartarus. Instead, Cronus had the monster Campe to guard the Hundred Handed and the Cyclopes, to prevent their escape from Tartarus.

This caused his mother to become angry with her son that she announced that Cronus would be in turn, be overthrown by his own son, like when Cronus overthrew his father.

Cronus tried to avoid this fate, by swallowing each child that his sister-wife (Rhea) gave birth to. The usual story is that, he swallowed all his children except his youngest Zeus. Rhea realising she would lose all of her children, gave her husband a stone wrapped in swaddling cloth. The unsuspecting Cronus swallowed the stone.

Rhea hid the infant Zeus in Crete, where he was brought up by nymphs and the Curetes. According to some, Zeus was born in Crete, while others say that his birthplace was in Arcadia, but he was hidden from his father at Crete. His home was in the cave of either Mount Ida or Mount Dicte. The infant Zeus was fed from the milk of the goat Amalthea. The Curetes were Cretan spirits or daimones, and were usually described and depicted as youths. The Curetes danced war-dance, clashing their spears against their shields so that Zeus' cries were drowned out by their noise. This part of myth may actually be of pre-Hellenic origin from Minoan Crete.

When Zeus had grown, he married one of daughters of the Titans (the Oceanids), Oceanus and Tethys, named Metis. From Gaea, he received a drug that would make Cronus disgorged the five older children that Cronus had swallowed. Metis gave Cronus the emetic, where he vomited up Zeus' brothers and sisters.

War broke out between the Titans against the younger gods known as the Olympians, led by Zeus. This war was known as the Titanomachia.

Zeus and his brothers required aids, since they were outnumbered. None of the female Titans (Titanesses) took part in the war. Of all the sons of Uranus and Gaea, Oceanus had chosen to remain neutral. When Zeus calls upon the younger Titans to help him, the first to change side was the Styx, the eldest daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. Styx came to Zeus with her children: Bia (violence), Cratus (strength), Nike (victory) and Zelus (emulation). For this reason, Zeus honoured her above the other gods, and gave special places to her children.

Prometheus and Epimetheus, the sons of Titan Iapetus and the Oceanid Clymene or Asia, had also defected to the Olympians, because Prometheus knew that the Zeus and his brothers would eventually win. Prometheus unsuccessfully tried to persuade his father Iapetus and his eldest brother, Atlas, to change side.

Gaea advise Zeus that her other children, the Cyclopes and the Hundred-Handed would help him if he was to release them from their dungeons in Tartarus. So Zeus descended the netherworld and killed the guard, Campe, and released the prisoners.

The Cyclopes became known as master smiths and as master builders. The Cyclops was responsible for making several weapons for the younger gods: Thunderbolt for Zeus, the Trident for Poseidon, and the Cap of Invisibility for Hades.

Victory was ensured when Zeus also released the Hundred-Handed. Because there were three Hundred-Handed and each giant had a hundred hands, they could hurl 300 large boulders at the Titans.

The war last for ten years before the Olympians won, and most of the male Titans were imprisoned in Tartarus, the deepest region in the Underworld. Zeus set the Hundred-Handed to guard the Titans. The Cyclopes or their descendants worked in the forge of Hephaestus.

There was a special punishment for Atlas. In Libya, the western part of North Africa, Atlas had carried the weight of the sky upon his shoulders, for countless centuries.

Theogony and Works and Days were written by Hesiod.
Titanomachy was part of the Epic Cycle.
The Iliad was written by Homer.
Library was written by Apollodorus.
Argonautica was written by Apollonius of Rhodes.

Cronus and the Titans

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« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2008, 12:30:22 am »


Although, Zeus and the Olympians defeated the Titans, they were faced with an even mightier foe, the Typhon. Gaea had conceived the new offspring from her brother Tartarus.

Apollodorus gave a wonderful description of Typhon, in his work called the Library. Typhon was a gigantic winged monster that was part man and part beast. Typhon was also taller than the tallest mountain. Under Typhon's arms there was a hundred dragon-heads. Below his thighs were the massive coils of vipers. Typhon was a terribly horrifying sight and was deadly since flame would gush from his mouth.

Typhon was father by Echidna (daughter of Phorcys and Ceto, or else, Gaea and Tartarus, which make it Typhon's sister) of many monstrous offspring: Cerberus, Chimaera, Orthus, the Hydra, Nemean Lion, Sphinx, the Caucasian Eagle, the Crommyonian Sow and vultures.

There are few different versions on how Zeus defeated the Typhon. Here, I will relate to the most popular version of the myth.

When Typhon came and attacked the heaven, all the Olympians fled south from Typhon, to Egypt. The Olympians had transformed themselves into various animals to escape from the monster. Apollo had disguised himself into a crow, his sister Artemis into a cat, while Dionysus had changed into a goat, Hera into a snowy cow, Hermes into ibis, Aphrodite and Eros into fishes.

Only Zeus dared to confront Typhon. Zeus hurled his deadly thunderbolts, but as the monster drew closer, Zeus would attack Typhon with the sickle of adamantine (note that this is the same sickle that Cronus had used against his father Uranus, see War in Heaven and Earth; and possibly the same sickle used by Perseus to decapitate Medusa). The Typhon fled to Mount Casion in Syria.

Zeus seeing that the monster had being seriously wounded, he became over-confident. Typhon trapped Zeus in his massive coils, and with Zeus' sickle, Typhon managed to cut the sinews and tendons of Zeus' hands and had the god imprisoned in the cave. According to Apollodorus, Typhon had set a she-dragon Delphyne to guard this cave. Without his sinews, Zeus was helpless and could not wield the thunderbolts.

Hermes and Aigipan had somehow retrieved the sinews and rescued Zeus. After Zeus was restored of his sinews, Zeus regained the use of the thunderbolts.

Zeus wielded his mighty thunderbolts against Typhon, pursuing the monster to Sicily. Zeus defeated Typhon, and buried the monster under Mount Etna or the entire island of Sicily. The volcanic eruptions of Mount Etna were the result of Typhon's spewing out his fire.

Theogony and Works and Days were written by Hesiod.
Titanomachy was part of the Epic Cycle.
The Iliad was written by Homer.
Library was written by Apollodorus.
Pythian I was written by Pindar.

Rise of the Olympians

Zeus, the leader of the Olympians, became the supreme ruler of the universe. He shared the world with his two brothers, Poseidon and Hades. Through casting the lot, Zeus receive the heaven and became the god of the sky, including the rain and storm, while Poseidon became god of the sea and Hades ruled the Underworld, the world of the dead.

The younger gods were called Olympians because they made their home on or in the sky above Mount Olympus. Olympus was a mountain almost 3000 metres high, in northern Thessaly.

Five Ages of Man

The creation of mankind can be divided into five ages.

Cronus created the Golden Age. It was the happiest era for mankind, where people lived and died peacefully. There was no illness and no disease. They never suffer from hardship of war or toil of the earth. Foods were wild and plentiful. When they died they became spirits, becoming guardian of mankind.

But when the new gods arrived, they began experimenting on the creation of mankind, creating a new age. Each succeeding age would be inferior from the last, from excellent to worse.

The Silver Age was inferior to the Golden Age. It was time when the gods destroy them, because they refused to honour them.

The third period was the Bronze Age, which was populated with brazen men, who loved war for its own sake, until they destroyed themselves in continuous warfare.

This was followed by the Heroic Age. A race of demigods, heroes who would find themselves rewarded for their courage and heroic feats, at their death, in the Isles of the Blessed (Elysium).

The last age was the Iron Age. This was the worse age, where good will and decency would cease to exist. Men would suffer from great oppression by the wicked rulers. The rulers would only satisfy their own needs, because of their greed and thirst for power, until Zeus would destroy this race.

Related Information
Works and Days was written by Hesiod.
Library was written by Apollodorus.
Metamorphoses was written by Ovid.

Golden Age
Silver Age
Bronze Age
Heroic Age
Iron Age

Saviour of Mankind

Gift of the Fire

When Zeus became the supreme ruler of the universe, he was not interested with mortals, and began experimenting with the creation of mankind. The Titan, Prometheus, however, tried to protect mankind from the other gods. But in doing so Prometheus would bring about his own downfall.

Prometheus was one of the few males Titans to support the Olympians in the war against the Titans. Prometheus knew the Titans would lose the war, so he persuaded his brother to change side. Prometheus was an extremely intelligent and wise god, who was gifted with foresight. He failed to persuade his father Iapetus and his elder brother Atlas not to resist against Zeus, but without avail. Both Iapetus and Atlas were punished for opposing the Olympians.

Prometheus was guardian of mankind, often trying to aid them. Prometheus stole fire from the heaven, hiding the fire within a hollow fennel-stalk, and gave it to man (or he taught them how to make fire).

Prometheus had also tricked Zeus, to select the part of the sacrifice the gods and man will receive. He made sure that man receive the best part.

He cut a bull, and disguised the meat with its hide and entrails on top, while the bones were covered with fat. Zeus was angry with Prometheus, when he found out that he had selected the fat with only bones. The bones and fat were to be used to sacrifice to the gods, while man would keep the best meat for himself.


Zeus took his revenge upon mankind, by creating the first mortal woman, named Pandora. The gods gave her gifts before showing his creation to the rest of the world. Zeus gave Pandora to Prometheus' brother, Epimetheus, in marriage. Prometheus tried to warn his brother not to accept anything from Zeus, but Epimetheus did not listen to his wise brother.

One of the wedding gifts given to the new couple was a beautiful, large box. Pandora was told, to never open the box. But Pandora was curious; she wanted to know what was in the box.

One day, she opened the box. All sorts of misfortunes - sufferings and evils - had escaped, to plague mankind. In horror, Pandora quickly closed the lid, but it was too late. The only thing that did not escape was Hope. This was the only thing that provided comfort for mankind in their suffering.

Prometheus' Punishment

Prometheus did not escape Zeus' punishment, for giving fire to mankind. He was taken to Caucasian Mountains, and chained to the highest peak. Each day, a giant eagle (Caucasian Eagle) would come and feed on Prometheus' liver and entrails, causing the Titan to suffer in great agony.

Prometheus appeared in Aeschylus' play, Prometheus Bound (mid 5th century BC), where the Titan encountered a suffering heifer. This cow was a maiden named Io, daughter of the Argive river god, Inachus. Unfortunately, she was a high priestess of Hera, who was loved by Hera's husband, Zeus. Zeus tried to hide Io from Hera, by transforming the girl into a beautiful white cow. Hera asked for the heifer (Io) as a gift, which Zeus couldn't refuse. Hera knew who the cow was, anyway. Hera set a herdsman, named Argus Panoptes with hundred eyes, to guard Io, so that Zeus couldn't rescue Io. After Hermes had killed Argus Panoptes, Hera sent a gadfly to torment Io. The gadfly stung her repeatedly that Io began to wander through many distant lands.

When Prometheus met her, the Titan informed her that she would have her natural form restored to her one day, when she reaches Egypt. She would have a son by Zeus, and she would have descendants that produce powerful rulers and great heroes. Prometheus also foretold his own freedom, and reconciliation with Zeus. See Io, in the Heroines page.

The irony of Prometheus' punishment was that Heracles, son of Zeus, would release the Titan from his bondage. In returned for his freedom, Prometheus informed Heracles how to win the apples of Hesperides from Prometheus' own brother, Atlas.

Once Prometheus gained his freedom, the Titan, once again, shared his wisdom to Zeus. Prometheus warned Zeus not to seduce the sea goddess Thetis, because she would bear a son who would be greater than his father. Zeus avoided this fate by marrying Thetis to the hero Peleus.

There was another reason, why Prometheus was released. According to Hesiod, it was simply that Zeus wished to increase the glories and fames of his son (Heracles).

Related Information
Prometheus – "Forethought"
Epimetheus – "Afterthought"
Pandora – "The gift of all" or "All-endowed"

Theogony and Works and Days were written by Hesiod.
Prometheus Bound was written by Aeschylus.

Gift of the Fire
Prometheus' Punishment


Zeus decided to destroy the race of men with flood, for their wickedness and impiety. Zeus sending rain and storm while Poseidon send water from the sea, covering the land with water.

Prometheus managed to save his family, by warning them. Deucalion was his son by Pronoea. Deucalion had married Pyrrha, daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora. They built a chest stored with provision.

The flood lasted nine days and nights, when the chest landed at the peak of Mount Parnassus. Even though Zeus did not like Prometheus, the god was not angry that Deucalion and Pyrrha had survived the flood since they were pious couple.

However, Deucalion and Pyrrha were lonely, being the only survivors. They found a ruin temple and prayed to the goddess Themis. Themis told them to throw the bones of their mother over their shoulders.

At first they were outraged by such suggestion, until Deucalion correctly interpreted that the stones on the ground were the bone of mother earth (Gaea). As the two started throwing stones behind them, people sprung out of the earth. These people became known as the Stone People.

Deucalion and Pyrrha became parents of Hellen, Amphictyon, Protogeneia, Pandora and Thyia. Deucalion ruled in Phthia, and was succeeded by his son, Hellen.

Related Information
Library was written by Apollodorus.
Metamorphoses was written by Ovid.
Catalogues of Women was possibly written by Hesiod.
Olympian IX was written by Pindar.


Obscure Creation Myths

Hesiod was the not the only Greek poet who wrote about the Creation and the origin of gods and mankind. Hesiod's account is just one kind. The world was created from Chaos first, and then by the World Parents – Gaea (Earth) and Uranus (Heaven).

There are several different versions about the Creation. An older poet, Homer, author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, alluded to a different cosmogony to Hesiod. And then there are yet, other different cosmogonies that are involved with the Cosmic Egg.

One source involved the goddess Eurynome and the World Serpent Ophion. This source comes from Apollonius of Rhodes, a Hellenistic poet who wrote the Argonautica in the 3rd century BC.

While another tradition about the Creation by the Cosmic Egg, involved the gods Phanes or Protogonus, and Dionysus/Zagreus. This other tradition had come from the poems of the so-called cult of the Orphic Mysteries.

What these two Creation myths have in common is the Cosmic Egg that usually came into existence from void (chaos) or the abyss. The Cosmic Egg, World Egg or whatever other names it may have, it is a common and universal theme in creation myths, not only in these obscure Greek myths, but also from other cultures and civilisations. However, the Cosmic Egg is noticeably absent in Hesiod's Theogony.
Homeric Creation
Eurynome and Ophion
Orphic Creation
Cosmogony of Diodorus Siculus
Homeric Creation

In the Iliad, Homer had only briefly alluded to the creation. Hera seduced Zeus at Mount Ida, in the hope of turning the tide against the Trojans, by lulling her husband to sleep. To seduce Zeus, Hera required aids from other gods.

First, she sought aid from Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Hera wanted to borrow Aphrodite's girdle, which would make irresistibly seductive. Hera lied to Aphrodite saying that she wish to the relationship between Oceanus and Tethys, who had raised her. In fact, she was using it in the hope to seduce Zeus. Hera says that " see Oceanus, from whom the gods arose, and Mother Tethys" (quoted from Robert Fitzgerald's translation, Book XIV 199).

She used Hypnos to lull Zeus to sleep. Hypnos boasted to Hera that he could even lull Oceanus to slumber, "...the primal source of all that lives" (Book XIV 258-61). However, Hypnos was reluctant to help Hera, because the first time he helped her, he was almost thrown into the deep sea. Fearing Zeus' rage, Hypnos had to take refuge with his mother, Nyx (Night). Powerful as Zeus was, he feared the "all-subduing Night (Nyx)".

When she meet Zeus, Hera lied to him, when she mentioned Oceanus and Tethys that she wanted to patch their relationship up, since they have not slept together in a single bed, since they had last quarrel. Hera was saying the same thing that she said to Aphrodite moment before. (Book XIV 301-304).

To Homer, Oceanus and Tethys were more than Titans; they were referred to as the World Parents (Creators), displacing Uranus and Gaea, or that of Cronus and Rhea. Oceanus have a stream that completely circumvented the earth, which was a flat round disk. And Tethys was the mother of the gods.

Homer was more interested about the war at Troy, than about the Creation, so much have been left unsaid.

Related Information
The Iliad was written by Homer.

Eurynome and Ophion

According to Apollonius Rhodius, who mentioned a creation myth that was very different from that of Hesiod's Theogony. Apollonius' account is very short and rather sketchy.

Apollonius begins the myth, as one of the songs sang by Orpheus after the departure of the Argonauts from Iolcus. Orpheus was the mythical bard who had joined Jason and the Argonauts in the Quest.

Orpheus sang a song about how the world was originally cast in one single mould; the earth, sky and sea was all mixed up in this mould, until the mould was tore sunder from some internal turmoil within the Cosmic Egg. All of the sudden, the earth, sea and heaven were separated; mountains rose from the sea, while the sun and moon and stars travelled followed their path through the sky (something like the Big Bang).

Two of the earliest beings came into existence, during the creation of the world. One was named Eurynome, daughter of the Ocean (Oceanus), while her consort was named Ophion. Together they ruled the entire universe from Olympus.

But one day, the Titans Cronus and Rhea had violently displaced Ophion and Eurynome from Olympus. They had flung Ophion and Eurynome into the Ocean (as opposed to being confined in Tartarus, like in Hesiod's Theogony).

While Cronus and Rhea ruled the world and the Titans, Zeus was living in the Dictaean cave (in Crete), as an infant, long before he received the mighty thunderbolt from the Cyclopes.

The account ended here.

In the beginning, there was Time, which the Greeks called Chronus or Khronos. This was a period called the Unaging Time, when nothing existed and nothing grew old; indeterminate and (almost) limitless time, which some people would call Aeon. Existing at the same time as Chronus was Adrasteia, or Ananke, meaning "Necessity".

Chronus and Adrasteia combined to create primordial Spirit and Matter, which were called Aether and Chaos. (Hesiod had referred to Aether as the upper atmosphere, where the air was clean and pure; he referred to Aether as male entity, while in the Orphic myth, Aether was seen as female being. Chaos was fathomless void, abyss or the yawning gap. With Hesiod, Chaos was a male primordial being, whereas in Orphic myth, the role had changed.) A third primordial being came out of Time and Necessity, Erebus – "Darkness". Chronus then combined with Aether, or possibly with Chaos and Aether, so the primeval beings caused mists to form and solidify into a Cosmic Egg.

The Orphic myth was not the only one to use the Egg motif for their cosmogony. The World Egg can be found in many different Creation myths, such as from Egypt, Persia and India. After all the egg was the symbol of new birth and new life. That the god and the world were created from the Cosmic Egg. It wasn't even original idea in Greek myths. The Athenian comedy playwright, Aristophanes, wrote in the Birds that Nyx (Night) laid the egg, which Eros (Love) was born from. In Apollonius' epic, Argonautica, It was Eurynome who created the Egg, which the world as we know it, came into existence.

The Cosmic Egg was the first definable matter that was created out of infinity. The World Egg was gigantic and silver in colour. When the great resplendent, silver Egg hatched, out sprang Protogonus, which literally means First-born, the first god. According to one Neo-Platonist writer, the Egg shell split in two: the two shells forming heaven and earth.

Protogonus has known by several other names, such as Phanes, the god of light; Ericapaeus "Power", and Metis, which means "Intelligence". Writers often called him – Phanes. As Phanes, he was the primeval sun god with golden wings. He has four eyes, which allowed him to look in any direction. He was said to possess a number of heads in the shapes of various animals. He had a voice of bull and that of a lion. Though, he was said to be invisible, he radiated pure light.

Protogonus had been identified with Eros (Love); Hesiod's Eros was also an earlier god, born at the same time as Gaea and Tartarus. Sometimes, Phanes was called Dionysus; if this is the case, then he was the first of three incarnations of Dionysus.

Though people speak of him as a god, Protogonus/Phanes was in fact an androgynous being. Without a partner, he conceived and gave birth to Nyx (Night). (Different accounts say that it was Nyx, who laid the Cosmic Egg, therefore she was Protogonus' mother, not his daughter.)

Protogonus (Phanes) was the first supreme ruler of heaven. Either Nyx ruled with Protogonus or on her own. Some times later, he lay with his own daughter, and then he became the father of Earth and Heaven, which they were named Gaea and Uranus. So it was Protogonus who created the earth and heaven. It was also Protogonus who had created the Golden Age of Man.

Nyx ruled after Protogonus, before she abdicated in favour of her son, Uranus, who made Gaea as his consort.

What follow is similar to Hesiod's Theogony. Heaven and Earth were the parents of the three Hundred-Handed (Hecatoncheires) and the three Cyclopes. They were also the parents of the Titans; they had seven sons and seven daughters (see the tables for the list of the children of Uranus and Gaea, in the Titans page).

Among Uranus' children was Cronus, the evil Titan, who dethroned his father. In Hesiod's account, it was Gaea who conspired with his son, to rid of her husband, but in the Orphic myth, it was both Nyx and Gaea who brought about Uranus' downfall, using the Titans. Cronus castrated Uranus and threw his father's genitals into the sea. Foam formed in the sea, which drifted until it reach Cyprus and the love goddess Aphrodite sprung out of the sea.

Rhea was Cronus' consort, as well as his sister. In the Orphic myth, she was also confused with Demeter (Ceres), the corn goddess. Perhaps, Demeter was another aspect of Rhea. Cronus and Rhea had 6 children, including Zeus. Like Hesiod's Theogony, Cronus swallowed each child that Rhea bore him, except his youngest child, Zeus. Rhea hid the infant Zeus in a cave. Rhea wrapped a stone in swaddling clothes and gave it to her husband, which Cronus promptly swallowed, thinking he had swallowed his latest baby. Her name changed into Demeter, after Rhea gave birth to Zeus.

The Cretan nymphs Adrasteia and Idaea brought up Zeus, whom they fed milk of the goat Amaltheia. The Curetes had also assisted the nymphs.

How Zeus became the new supreme ruler of universe, which is a different variation to Hesiod's account. Zeus used honey to make Cronus drunk, disgorging Zeus' siblings, before Zeus dismembered his father, just as had Cronus done with his own father (Uranus).

It was Nyx (Night) who had advised Zeus to swallow her father/consort, Protogonus (Phanes), the first god and the original Creator. Zeus swallowed Protogonus and the entire universe that Protogonus had created, which included the other gods. With Protogonus in his belly, Zeus gained new power and knowledge, which he used to create a new universe. Whole new sun, planets, stars, mountains, land and seas were recreated. The other gods were also reborn.

Zeus ruled supreme, but he shared the world with his brothers: Poseidon received the sea and Hades got the subterranean domain of the dead, the netherworld (Underworld). Zeus ruled the sky, but they all shared the earth.

Zeus had married many times. He had as many as seven wives, and three of them were his own sisters: Hestia, Demeter (or Rhea) and Hera. (Well, sometimes Demeter, as Rhea, was seen as Zeus' mother.)

Zeus had many children from various wives and mistresses. Some of these children became important deities; among them were Athena, Hermes, Apollo and Artemis, Ares and Hephaestus. See the Olympians page.

From Demeter, Zeus, became the father of Persephone (Kore). Demeter and Persephone were living in the Dictean cave of the island Crete, where they were guarded by snakes.

(According to other writers, after Zeus had overthrown his father Cronus, Rhea or Demeter tried to escape from nuptials with her own son, by assuming the form of snake. Zeus also turned himself into a snake and raped Rhea. So that Rhea (Demeter) became the mother of Persephone.)

Zeus wanted a son to one-day rule in his place, and decided that his own daughter, Kore or Persephone, would be the mother of that son. Zeus secretly transformed himself into a snake, and lay with his daughter. Persephone became pregnant and became the mother of Dionysus (Zagreus).

Earlier Orphic writers called him Dionysus, but the Neoplatonist writers, sometimes called him Zagreus. The Neoplatonists also believed that Dionysus/Zagreus was a reincarnation of Protogonus/Phanes, whom Zeus had swallowed earlier. For the sake of convenience I will call Dionysus, son of Persephone, as Zagreus, so we can distinguish one Dionysus from the other.

While Zagreus was still an infant, Zeus placed the sceptre in his son's tiny hand, and announced before all the gods that Zagreus will become their new ruler.

Zeus' other wife, Hera, was jealous that Zagreus would become the next ruler of the gods; so she incited the Titans to murder the infant Zagreus (Dionysus). The Titans, who were dispossessed, became Zeus' worse enemies, so they readily agreed.

The Titans painted their face white, and they lured the infant Zagreus from the safety of the cave, with toys, such as mirror, doll, knuckle bones, and spin-top called bull-roarer. Zagreus left the cave before he realised that he was in danger. Zagreus tried to escape, by assuming various transformations. When the Titans caught him, they tore him to pieces before they devoured him. Athena arrived in time to save the Zagreus' heart, which she brought to her father. Athena had managed to keep the heart alive and beating, by breathing life into it.

Enraged that the Titans had attacked his son, Zeus hurled his mighty thunderbolts, blasting the Titans to ashes. From the ashes of the Titans, mankind rose.

(The dual natures of the Orphic belief come from that all men have two different natures: good and evil, earthly and spiritual (immortal), Dionysiac and Titanic. Since the Titans had consumed Dionysus, the evil nature comes from the Titans, while good comes from the Dionysiac part. To gain entry to Elysium, the initiated of the Orphic Mysteries must live a good, ascetic life in three separate incarnations. See Orphic Mysteries.)

It was still Zeus' intention to leave the kingship of the universe to one of his sons, and that son would have been Zageus/Dionysus. Zeus swallowed Zagreus' heart, and visited a mortal woman, named Semele, daughter of Cadmus, king of Thebes, whom he seduced and made pregnant. (According to Hyginus, Zeus created mead out of Zagreus' heart, which he gave to Semele to drink. This was how she became pregnant.)

The myth of Semele's death and the birth of Dionysus is the same with usual myth about Dionysus. The jealous Hera duped Semele into asking for a fatal boon from Zeus, which she died, but Zeus saved the unborn child, by sewing the baby into his thigh. When it was time, Dionysus was born again, from the thigh of Zeus. (Hyginus omitted about Dionysus being born from Zeus' thigh.)

Dionysus was a reincarnation of the god Zagreus, son of Persephone.

There is also an Orphic version, of the abduction and **** of Persephone (Kore) by Hades, and the myth of Demeter's wandering. Several aspects of the myth of Demeter and Persephone have also changed.

Since Dionysus' life in the Orphic myth is the same told elsewhere, the Orphic Creation ends here. But there is no doubt that when the time came, Zeus would step down from the throne; Dionysus would ascend, and be crowned.

According to the Orphic myths, six rulers had reign in heaven: Protogonus/Phanes, Nyx, Uranus, Cronus, Zeus and Dionysus. Dionysus was the reincarnation of Zagreus/Dionysus, as well as the reincarnation of Protogonus.

In Hesiod's account about the creation, he only mentioned Cronus swallowing his children: Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Poseidon and Hades, and later on Zeus swallowing the pregnant Metis.

In the Orphic myths, the cannibalism of the gods is even more evident. Cronus swallowed his children; Zeus swallowed Phanes/Protogonus and the entire universe; Zeus swallowed Metis; the Titans devoured Dionysus/Zagreus and Zeus swallowing the heart of Dionysus/Zagreus. It seemed that birth follow by death, which in turn is then followed by rebirth.

Related Information
Library of History was written by Diodorus Siculus.
Fabulae was written by Hyginus.
Description of Greece was written by Pausanias.
Dionysiaca was written by Nonnus.
Platonic Theology was written by Proclus.
Orphic Fragments.
Orphic Hymns.
The Theogonies was written by Damascius.
Metamorphoses was written by Ovid.
Theogony and Works and Days were written by Hesiod.
Birds was written by Aristophanes.

Cosmogony of Diodorus Siculus

According to the 1st century BC historian, Diodorus Siculus, Oceanus and Tethys were the source of all gods.

To Diodorus, Uranus was the first king, and not really a god at all. Uranus was the first to gather people together into the first walled city, giving them laws, and teaching to how grow their crops and store food.

Uranus was also an astronomer and astrologer, who could foresee the future, and made many predictions.

Uranus was the father of forty-five sons from different wives, but it was from his consort Titaea, that eighteen of his sons became known as the Titans. She had also bore many daughters, including Basileia and Rhea. When Titaea died, she was deified as the goddess, whose name was Ge (Gaea).

Basileia was the eldest, and had reared her brothers, which was why she was known as the Great Mother. Basileia would be identified as Hesiod's Theia, because of her relationship with her brother and children, but Diodorus also identified her with the Phrygian goddess, Cybele. She ruled after her father's death and deification, also as a god. She had married her brother, Hyperion, and became the mother of Helius and Selene.

Her other brothers (Titans) were jealous and feared that Hyperion would keep the royal power to himself. The Titans conspired to remove Hyperion, so they killed him and threw Helius into Eridanus River, where her son drowned. In her grief, Selene threw herself off the high city wall.

Basileia sought along the Eridanus to find her son's body, until she dropped from exhaustion. Here, she had a vision of her son, telling her no to grieve for him or his sister, because they were transformed into the sun god and moon goddess. The Titans would also be punished for their crime.

When Basileia recovered from her swoon, she told her people about her vision, before she was seized by madness, wandering the land with her daughter's playthings, such as the kettledrums and cymbals. One day, in a thunderstorm, she vanished, and her people assumed that she had been transformed into a goddess. They erect an altar in her honour.

After the death of Hyperion and Basileia, the kingdom was divided between her brothers, Atlas and Cronus. Atlas became the ancestor of the Atlantides, the people in western Libya, giving the name to Mount Atlas. Because Atlas was a great astronomer and astrologer, he published the book on the doctrine of the sphere. It was for this reason, why Atlas was usually seen as a man holding the heaven on his shoulders. Atlas was the father of a son, named Hesperus, and of seven daughters, known as the Pleiades.

As to Atlas' brother, Cronus was a greedy and impious ruler, who married his sister Rhea. She bore him Zeus, one of the Olympian. Diodorus also mentioned another Zeus, who was brother of Uranus and king of Crete. Cronus was the king of Libya, Sicily and Italy.

Zeus won the kingdom in a war against his father and the Titans. Unlike his father, Zeus was virtuous ruler - wise and just, and when he died, the people claimed he became god and ruler of the universe.

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« Reply #25 on: January 02, 2008, 12:30:54 am »
Delahoyde & Hughes


"Theogony" means "birth of the gods." This thousand-line poem comes from the end of the 8th century bce. Most generally it is a hymn to Zeus, king of gods and men, but it encompasses the origin of the world (cosmogony) and of the other gods.


As will be conventional in epic poetry hereafter, the work begins with honor to the Muses -- the sources of inspiration for the arts and branches of learning, and "daughters of Zeus" (56). Because Hesiod is introduced as having been visited by the Muses at the foot of Mount Helicon, Helicon becomes synonymous with poetic inspiration in the Western literary tradition forever after. Hesiod presents himself as a shepherd, always a pleasant symbol of benevolent and unpretentious leadership. The Muses make Hesiod aware that "we know how to tell many falsehoods that seem real: but we also know how to speak truth when we wish to" (53). So how much truth do myths contain? (That's the first question, embedded here, in the history of literary criticism.) Because the Greeks had no authorized "sacred" text, there was no fixed myth but rather a host of variations.


"Chaos" or a "yawning void" comes into being and then female and male principles and aspects of nature. At first things generate spontaneously but soon a more abstract sexuality takes over. Gaea and Uranus produce twelve Titans -- six male and six female -- and then incest is responsible for more beings. For much more detail concerning the generations of the Greek gods, click here.


Uranus attempts to repress creation and the story certainly gives Freud material for theorizing about the castration complex. Culturally the story reflects patriarchal paranoia. We hear one version of the birth of Aphrodite, goddess of love and sex, laughter and hoaxes, beauty, and the whisperings of maidens. Here's a case of birth from the father.


The birth of grim personifications includes mention of Medusa and Pegasus. The snake-goddess is cast as a monster now in patriarchal, male-deity worshipping Greek culture. Cerberus and the Hydra are mentioned.


Lots of nymphs are listed.


Zeus makes campaign promises.

Hecate will later be identified with Artemis.


Here's another next-generation attempt at repression: Cronus swallowing his kids. Rhea was originally a fertility goddess, probably identical to Cybele, the eastern goddess whose worship involved mystical frenzies, drums and cymbals, her young lover Attis, animals, and so on. Perhaps this din associated with her worship is etiologically related to the noise made so that the cries of the baby Zeus would not be heard by Cronus.

The stone taking the place of Zeus and then later vomited up by Cronus became a tourist site in ancient Greece. It was exhibited at Delphi and oiled daily by the priests.


Prometheus is a trickster figure and here pulls the old meat switch on Zeus, who in this version is omniscient. Prometheus' further adventures are related at length in Hesiod's Works and Days.


Ten years is the standard length of war in epics. Zeus and the Olympians are not more good or moral; they just outdo the Titans, who are somewhat imprisoned afterwards.


Tartarus is an early stage in the development of Hell.


Zeus is an archetypal dragon-slayer (like Marduk vs. Tiamat in Babylonian myth; Yahweh vs. Leviathan in the remnants of Hebrew myth). His sexploits probably reflect the subjugation of previous goddess religions by the conquering male-god worshipping religion brought by the invading Indo-Europeans.

Zeus has the same impulse but doesn't fall into the mistakes of the previous generations of male rulers. He suppresses the woman, not the child. He forestalls opposition by disposing of the mothers and usurps the female reproductive role, particularly with the Olympians Athena and Dionysus.


Works Consulted

Hesiod's Theogony. Trans. Norman O. Brown. NY: The Liberal Arts Press, 1953.

The Theogony of Hesiod. Trans. Hugh G. Evelyn-White. 1914.


Orpheus: Greek Mythology

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« Reply #26 on: January 02, 2008, 12:31:48 am »

Secretum secretorum - Aspects of Greek Mythology

The Theogony

When considering the ancient tales of the predecessors of the Greek gods we would do well to first consider our ancient sources known or assumed to contain information on the earliest stages in the world and the Greek gods who peopled it. We have first of all the authority the Greeks themselves most revered, Hesiod, whose Theogony (not necessarily Hesiod's title) offers a brief account of the origins of the cosmos as preface to the extolling of Zeus' rule. Since the purpose of the poem is largely to contrast Zeus' organization of the world with the absence of such order in previous times, the lack of any great detail in this account is not surprising. Whether Greek storytelling had developed further details by the seventh century B.C. is a more difficult question. Homer speaks only rarely of the period before Zeus; references to Kronos and the other Titans in Tartaros (where Zeus put them), to Okeanos as the genesis of all the gods (whatever that means), to Tethys as caring for Hera, and to the first union of Zeus and Hera unknown to their parents, are about the extent of the information that the Iliad and the Odyssey offer. Such brief glimpses guarantee at least that Homer knew of an era before the reign of Zeus, and of Zeus' seizure of power from his father. Nevertheless, we cannot be sure that the poet possessed anything like complete stories of these topics or, if he did, that they were the same as Hesiod's.

Of other works to be considered in this context, the most important was probably the lost epic Titanomachia with its account of the battle between the Olympians and the Titans, and presumably what led up to that battle. As always, discussion of such a source inevitably involves us in the problems connected with the antiquity of the Epic Cycle: we simply do not know if the events recounted in those poems were concocted in a post-Homeric/Hesiodic period to flesh out earlier references, or drawn from a genuine pre-Homeric tradition, or combined from both. Photios does tell us that the Epic Cycle began with the union of Gaia and Ouranos and the birth of the Hundred-Handers and Kyklopes (as in Hesiod), but it is not absolutely certain that he is referring to the Titanomachia.On the other hand, definitely from that work is the information that Ouranos is a son of Aither (Tit frr 1,2 PEG), that Helios sailed in a cauldron (fr 8 PEG), and that Aigaion, son of Gaia and Pontos, fought on the side of the Titans (fr 3 PEG). These points suggest that the Titanomachia, like Hesiod's poem, contained some description of the beginning of things as preface to the account of the battle. On the other hand, the first and last items are in direct contrast to Hesiod (if, as in Homer, Aigaion and Briareos are the same figure), so that the author of the Titanomachia may have used a version not simply fuller than what Hesiod has left us but in some respects different. In all, we really know very little of the extent to which the work may have resembled, influenced or copied Hesiod's account.

Still other sources dealing with first causes bring us a variety of details, not always consistent with what we have seen above. In the sixth century, there surface (in fragments) the versions of early mythographers and philosophers such as Akousilaos of Argos and Pherekydes of Syros, and an entire Theogony was credited to the Kretan Epimenides, with Aer and Nyx as the two first principles. Akousilaos would be extremely valuable if only we had more of him (as in Hesiod, everything began from Chaos); Pherekydes of Syros seems for his part more interested in the possibilities of new philosophic beliefs than in preserving traditions.

As for Epimenides, the Theogony recorded under his name is probably a product of the fifth century; with its novel ideas (Aphrodite as daughter of Kronos) it is no less interesting for that, but very little survives. Definitely of the fifth century is Pherekydes of Athens, who like Hesiod produced an account (or section thereof) referred to as a "Theogony"; Typhoeus and Tityos were included, and we hear of a few other minor gods, but we cannot assess the scope of the work. Perhaps a bit later is the Eumolpia ascribed to "Mousaios," where all things began from a union of Tartaros and Nyx, although the poem seems to have focused primarily on Zeus.

Of post-Archaic sources the most obviously relevant is the first section of Apollodoros' Bibliotheke, where we find an account mirroring for the most part that of Hesiod. There are, however, several differences, notably that the Titans released the Kyklopes and Hundred-Handers before Kronos reimprisons them, Gaia and Ouranos predict to Kronos his overthrow by an offspring, Zeus on Krete is cared for by Adrasteia and Ida (daughters of Melisseus) and guarded by the Kouretes, and Zeus defeats Kronos with the aid of Metis and an emetic. On the other hand, Briareos here fulfills the same role as in Hesiod (i.e., supporter of Zeus). Thus (again, if Briareos and Aigaion are the same figure), we might well conclude that while Apollodoros did not use Hesiod exclusively for his account, neither can he have drawn exclusively from the Titanomachia, since there Aigaion aids the Titans. He might, of course, have fused the two works together, but similarities with Orphic versions have prompted the suggestion that an Orphic Theogony (as part of the Epic Cycle) was his source.

Primal Elements

In the beginning, according to the Theogony, there was (or came into being, since the Greek will allow both) Chaos, a neuter noun meaning "yawning" or "gap" (Th 116). Between what objects, previously, Chaos might have been a gap, Hesiod does not say, and perhaps did not know; since this entity comes first, there is logically nothing to frame it. Later references in the poem suggest a place beneath the earth but not beyond Tartaros, one capable of feeling the heat of Zeus' thunderbolts (Th 813-14, 700; cf. 740, where a chasma is located at the roots of Tartaros and Earth). If this is right, then Chaos is a kind of foundation. Chaos is followed by the appearance of Gaia, the Earth, broad-bosomed and a secure seat for the gods yet to come (Th 117-18). Next is Tartaros (here in the neuter plural form Tartara), mistily dark in the recesses of the earth, and then Eros, the limb-loosener who conquers the hearts of mortals and gods (Th 119-22). Tartaros is elsewhere in the poem the lowest part of the cosmos (even lower than Chaos: Th 814) and the place of imprisonment for certain figures. On one occasion, however, he is sufficiently personified to father a child (Typhoeus) on Gaia (Th 821-22).

As for Eros, the third of these primal forces, the remainder of Hesiod's poem mentions him on one occasion only, as attendant at Aphrodite's birth (Th 201); thus his chief function here seems to be as symbol of the process of sexual union and procreation that will populate the world. As a god he does not appear in Homer at all (note, however, the impact of love at Od 18.208-13). Plato quotes a dactylic couplet, possibly from a Homeric Hymn, in which he is called Pteros because of his wings (Phaidros 252b). In Simonides we first find his familiar role as the offspring of Aphrodite and Ares, but this was not as commonly agreed upon as we might suppose: Sappho makes him the child of Ouranos and Gaia according to one source, of Ouranos and Aphrodite according to another, while Alkaios calls him the offspring of Zephyros and Iris, Akousilaos that of Erebos and Nyx or Aither and Nyx, and the undatable "Olen" the child of Eileithuia (Paus. 9.27.2). Such variation is obviously due to the appeal of allegory in the case of this particular figure, and perhaps inability to pin down his identity. His most common parentage in later times - that of Aphrodite and Ares - is probably no more than a by-product of their own popularity as a couple. In Anakreon, Eros comports himself as the playful tempter to love, the role that later becomes his stock-in-trade. Yet the bow and arrows with which we are so familiar do not appear in literature until the late fifth century, when Euripides speaks of them as the god's weapons of love in the Medeia (530-31), and in the Iphigeneia at Aulis as producing good and bad effects (543-51); previously, Sappho has used the notion of being shaken when she discusses his power.

Next, and definitely born from Chaos, arise Erebos (Darkness) and black Nyx (Night) (Th 123-25). Erebos has virtually no character of his own; in both the Iliad and Odyssey, the word is used to indicate the Underworld (Il 8.368, 16.326-27; Od 10.528, 11.37), while later in the Theogony it becomes the place below the earth into which Menoitios is thrown down and from which the Hundred-Handers are brought up (Th 514-15, 669). This Erebos does, however, mate with Nyx (the first sexual union) to produce Aither (Brightness) and Hemere (Day), figures who constitute in the remainder of the poem strictly physical aspects of the cosmos (compare the description of their alternate forays out into the world at Th 748-57).

Nyx's other children, produced without the aid of Erebos or any other partner, are detailed subsequently in the poem: Moros (Doom, Destiny), Ker (Destruction, Death), Thanatos (Death), Hypnos (sleep), the Oneiroi (Dreams), Momos (Blame), Oizus (Pain, Distress), the Hesperides who care for the golden apples and fruit trees beyond the streams of Okeanos, the Moirai (fates), here named as Klotho, Lachesis and Atropos, the Keres who punish the transgressions of gods and men (unless these lines refer to the Moirai: see below), Nemesis (Indignation and Retribution), Apate (Deceit), Philotes (Love, here probably sexual), Geras (Old Age) and Eris (Strife) (Th 211-25).

Some of these figures are strictly allegorized personifications, but others do have occasional functions to serve in the myths. The scholia minora to Iliad 1.5-6 tell us, for example, that Momos advised Zeus to marry Thetis to a mortal and himself beget a daughter (Helen) in order to precipitate the Trojan War; the scholiast adds that the story is found in the Kypria, though the lines he then quotes from that poem would seem to preclude Momos' role. Apollo sends Thanatos and Hypnos (at the command of Zeus) to carry the body of Sarpedon back to Lykia in book 16 of the Iliad (681-83). Homer specifically calls them twins, although he does not name the mother. Hypnos also appears in Iliad 14, when Hera approaches him with a proposal to lull Zeus to sleep (Il 14.231-91). In reply, he reminds her that once before he performed this service, when Herakles was leaving Troy, and that Zeus, upon awakening, would have thrown him into the sea had he not fled to Nyx, whom Zeus feared to anger. Nonetheless, the bargain is concluded upon Hera's promise of Pasithea, one of the Charites, to wife, and Hypnos awaits his task in the nighest fir on Ida, disguised as a bird. Subsequently, he even exceeds his commission by reporting events to Poseidon, so that the latter might stir up the Achaians (Il 14.354-60).

Elsewhere, Hypnos and Thanatos are mentioned together again in the Theogony's description of the ends of the earth, where Nyx and these two of her children have their homes (Th 756-66). Here Hypnos is described as roaming the earth with calm and benevolence for men, but Thanatos as having an iron pitiless heart, which makes him hated even by the gods. In fact, Thanatos is a curious divinity; Hades' role as lord of the dead, and Hermes' as conductor of souls, leaves this personification of death very little to do in most myths. Nor is he always impossible to defeat: Pherekydes relates how, sent by Zeus to claim Sisyphos, the god is instead held in strong bonds by his intended victim, so that no one can die; finally, Ares contrives some way to release him. Thanatos also had a role in Phrynichos' lost Alkestis, apparently appearing on stage (as in Euripides' play) and cutting off a lock of his victim's hair to consecrate her. Whether he, like Euripides' Thanatos, wrestled with Herakles and lost we do not know, although it seems likely. Last, he is mentioned in Aischylos' Niobe as a god who loves not gifts, and from whom persuasion stands apart; probably this is for the most part poetic personification of an abstract concept. On literature Hypnos has little to do after the Iliad, but we encounter him frequently in artistic versions of Herakles' slaying of Alkyoneus, where as a small Eros-like figure, he hovers overhead or actually sits on the sleeping giant.

Of Nyx's other children, the Oneiroi as a race of dreams form part of the landscape to the far west (beyond Okeanos) on the suitor's journey to the Underworld at Odyssey 24.12, while a single destructive Oneiros is Zeus' instrument to deceive Agamemnon at Iliad 2.5-6. The Hesperides are apparently included in the same family by virtue of their association with evening and the West, although one might have expected their name to indicate descent from a god of evening, Hesperos (so Paus. 5.17.2). Elsewhere in the Theogony they are called "shrill-voiced" (Th 275: several post-Archaic sources make them singers) and located near Atlas and the Gorgons at the limit of Okeanos, toward the edge of night (Th 517-18). Hesiod will later describe as well the snake offspring of Phorkys and Keto who guards similar apples in the hollows of dark earth at its limits (a difficult geographical concept: Th 333-35).

The initial reference to the Hesperides in the Theogony is the only mention in Archaic literature to their role as tenders of the golden apples (the next preserved allusion is Euripides' Hipp 742). Pherekydes tells us that Gaia brought apple trees bearing golden fruit to Hera as a gift on the occasion of her wedding, and that Hera promised to plant them in the garden of the gods near Atlas, with a snake (Apollonios is the first to call him Ladon: AR 4.1396-98) to guard the apples from the depredations of Atlas' daughters; another source adds in this connection that Pherekydes made the Hesperides daughters of Zeus and Themis (Jacoby argues confusion with the Eridanos Nymphai here). Akousilaos instead makes the Harpuiai the guardians if Philodemos is to be trusted. From the latter writer we learn that the author of the epic Titanomachia also discussed the matter, but Philodemos' text breaks off just as the guardians are about to be named.

Of Archaic poets, Mimneros too places the Hesperides in the West, and a fragment of Stesichoros describes their golden homes on a lovely island, presumably in connection with Herakles' acquisition of the apples as part of his Labors. For Apollonios they are three in number (Hespere, Erytheis, Aigle) and located in Libya, where the Argonautaika encounter them mourning the recent death of the snake, guardian of the apples, at the hands of Herakles (AR 4.1396-1449). The later account of Apollodoros locates garden and Hesperides, instead, near the Hyperboreans (thus presumably in the far north), and names them Aigle, Erytheia, Hesperia, and Arethousa. The Hellenistic historian Agroitas and Diodoros Siculus both discuss the possibility that what the Hesperides guarded were after all sheep, not apples (since the Greek word méla can mean both); Diodoros also adds an unlikely tale about one Hesperis, daughter of Atlas' brother Hesperos, who lay with Atlas and became the mother of seven Hesperides.

Next are the Moirai. Homer mentions them just once by their collective name, at Iliad 24.49, when they are described as a singular Moira who spins with her thread a particular fate for Hektor at his birth, and Aisa substitutes for Moira in a similar phrase at Iliad 18.20.127-28. For its part, Odyssey 7.197-98 speaks of both Aisa and the stern Klothes (spinners) jointly in the same role; these later are surely the Moirai under a descriptive epithet (the form Klothes is elsewhere unattested). Finally, even Zeus (Od 4.207-8), or the gods as a whole (Od 1.17-18), can do the spinning at times. Moira as a singular noun is quite common in both epics, but except for the above instances never clearly personified.

In Hesiod we first find the goddesses' number and individual names: Klotho (the Spinner), Lachesis (the Apportioner), and Atropos (the Unavoidable), who give good and evil to men at their birth (Th 217-19, 904-6). In the earlier of these two passages, where they and the Keres are children of Nyx, these individual names follow awkwardly in 218 after the mention of the Keres, as does the subsequent task of pursuing wrongdoers in 219; very likely both these lines (West brackets them) are in fact intruders, with the wrongdoers originally hunted down by the Keres. The later passage at 904 revises their genealogy in accordance with the new order and makes them the offspring of Themis and Zeus, who is the source of their power. In the Hesiodic Aspis, the three resurface (on the shield itself), with Atropos the shortest and oldest (258-63), but these lines too are probably interpolated; certainly the following reference to a role in battle, if genuine, indicates again the preceding Keres. Elsewhere the Moirai are not much in evidence. Klotho appears in Pindar's Olympian 1 as the goddess supervising the rebirth of Pelops (1.26: a rare story of bringing the dead to life, in seeming violation of moira, and perhaps invented by Pindar), and Lachesis is present in the same author's Paian 12 at the birth of Artemis and Apollo to Leto, as well as at the allotment of honors to the Olympians in Olympian 7. In Olympian 6 all three attend (with Eileithuia) the birth of Iamos, and likewise in Olympian 10 they are present at Herakles' founding of the Olympian games. More unusually, in a fragment of Pindar they bring Themis as wife to Zeus, thus suggesting that they cannot here be his children by her. Another fragment, which may be simply poetic recasting, calls Tyche the most powerful Moira. In this connection we may also note an unassigned lyric fragment with a prayer to Aisa, Klotho, and Lachesis, the daughters of Nyx (1018 PMG).

Turning to Aischylos, we find Apollo accused of deceiving and persuading the Moirai (in the matter of Admetos) with the help of wine -- a most surprising notion of which no other trace exists (Eum 723-28: one wonders what Pyrynichos' Alkestis might have said on the matter). The Prometheus Desmotes mentions them in a more respectful vein, as helmsmen (with the Erinyes) of necessity (PD 515-16); to Io's query whether they are stronger than Zeus there is, alas, no direct answer. One other story in which we might expect to encounter them is that of Althaia and the brand given to her at Meleagros' birth. Bakchylides tells this tale in his Ode 5 (140-44), but names simply moira as weaving such a fate for Meleagros; how Althaia learned of the brand's significance, or who created such a situation, we are not told. Phrynichos dramatized the myth in his Pleuroniaia, and there the Moirai may have played a greater role, though presumably not on stage, since the action surely revolved around Meleagros' death years later. As matters stand we must turn to Ovid, Apollodoros and Hyginus for accounts of their involvement in this tale (Met 8.451-57; ApB 1.8.1; Fab 171). Of the three, Hyginus has the most interestung feature, that when they appeared to Althaia Klotho promised that the child would be magnanimous (or noble?), Lachesis that he would be strong, and Atropos that he would love as long as the brand on the heart lasted, conceivably a gift rather than a curse. Whatever the details, it is an odd story -- not fully in accord with other early accounts of Meleagros' fate, and the only preserved suggestion that the Moirai ever communicate directly with mortals regarding their lot. In art they are virtually unknown, but they do appear (as four women, inscribed "Moirai") among the guests at Thetis' wedding on both the François Krater (Florence 4209) and the Erskine Dinos(London 1971.11-1.1).

Closely linked to the Moirai, it seems, are the Keres. Homer knows this word, which means "death" or "destruction," in the plural, but in both poems it appears simply as a synonum for death or divinities brining death (e.g., Il 2.302, 18.535-38; Od 17.547). Of these, the Iliad 18 passage (from the description of Achilleus' shield) is especially noteworthy for its picture of a Ker in bloodstained garment on the battlefield, dragging away a victim by the foot. In hesiod, on the other hand, if Theogony 218-19 is indeed an interpolation, the Keres pursue wrongdoing of men and gods, never ceasing from their anger until they have brought evil to the transgressor; such a role sounds far more like the task usually assigned to the Erinyes. Subsequently, Keres appear in Mimnermos as twin bearers of evils to men, the one of old age, the other of death (2.5-7 W), while on the shield in the Hesiodic Aspis they fight with each other to drink the blood of the newly dead or dying, gnashing their white teeth and snatching up bodies with their claws (Aspis 248-57), and on the chest of Kypselos a single Ker stands behind Polyneikes, displaying teeth like those of a wild beast and long hooked nails (Paus 5.19.6). These last examples again remind us of Aischylos' Erinyes, who may have taken over some of the functions and character of the Keres. Hesiod's own Erinyes are the offspring of Ouranos' blood, as we shall see shortly.

Last of Nyx's children among those requiring comment are Nemesis and Eris. Nemesis (Indignation or Retribution), although she had a cult at Rhamnous in Attika, would scarcely qualify as a mythological figure, were it not for a fragment cited from the Kypria. There we are told that Zeus pursued Nemesis with amorous intent, that she fled over land and sea, changing into every form of animal (including fish) to avoid him, and that, finally captured, she bore to the god a daughter, Helen. Philodemos adds that in the same poem Zeus too in the form of a goose pursued her (implying that she had herself become one), and that their mating resulted in an egg from which Helen was born. Later sources confirm this union of birds (whether geese or swans), with the egg thus produced brought to or found by Leda so that she might raise Helen just as she does when (as in the Iliad) the child is hers; the story was in some way parodied in Kratinos' lost comedy Nemesis.

By contrast, Eris (Strife) is largely just a personification of her name, but Zeus does send her to rouse the Achaians (by shouting) in a memorable passage in Iliad 11 where she comes holding the teras of battle (Il 11.3-14). She also plays one crucial role in Greek mythology as instigator of the Judgment of Paris. Homer knows of this event but just barely alludes to it in the Iliad (24.27-30), with no direct mention of Eris. Our epitome of the Kypria, however, clearly makes her the guilty party (though as part of the plan of Zeus and Themis), and adds that she stirred up the quarrel among the three goddesses at the wedding feast for Peleus and Thetis. That she was not invited to the feast, or used an apple marked "for the fairest," are details that may or may not have been in the Kypria; we find them first in Loukianos, Hyginus and apple only in Apollodoros, although the apple probably goes back to the fifth century in art. Sophokles wrote a play entitled Eris, but nothing survives to indicate even the plot.

In art we find Eris first on the Chest of Kypselos, where she stands between Aias and Hektor, having the most base (aischiste) appearance (Paus 5.19.2), and then named on the tondo of a mid-sixth-century Black-Figure cup, where she is portrayed as quite normal in appearance apart from her wings and winged sandals (Berlin: CH F1775). The later fifth century (c 430 B.C.) Adds to this a Red-Figure calyx krater confirming the narrative of the Kypria: while the lower section presents the Judgment of Paris in its usual form, the upper shows Eris with her hand on the shoulder of Themis (both named) as the two lean toward each other in animated discussion. Hesiod's account goes on to list Eris' own children, born with no father mentioned and virtually all allegories: Ponos (Labor), Lethe (Forgetfulness), Limos (Famine), Algea (Pains), Hysminai (Combats), Machai (Battles), Phonoi (slaughterings), Androktasiai (Slayings of Men), Neikea (Quarrels), Pseudea (Falsehoods), Logoi (Words), Amphillogiai (Unclear Words), Dysnomia (Bad Government), Horkos (Oath), and Ate (Folly) (Th 226-32). Of this list, only the last has any identity, and she, when she appears in the Iliad to deceive Zeus (in the matter of Herakles' birthright: Il 19.91-133), is a daughter of Zeus himself (no mother is mentioned). With regard to that story it may be noted that Hera is the one who actually carries out the deception by rearranging the order of births; Ate merely clouds Zeus' mind so that he does not notice the trick.

Gaia and Ouranos

From Nyx and her children we return in Hesiod to Gaia, who brings into being (1) Ouranos (Sky) to enclose her and be home for the gods (does this mean she foresees the coming of the Olympians?), (2) The Oureau (Mountains), and (3) Pontos (Sea), all expressly without sexual congress (Th 126-32). The Ourea are clearly just a feature of the landscape, but Gaia mates with both Ouranos and Pontos to produce further offspring. To Ouranos she bears first twelve relatively normal children, six male and six female, whom Hesiod will later call "Titans": Okeanos, Koios, Kreios, Hyperion, Iapetos, Kronos, Theia, Rheia, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoibe, and Tethys (Th 132-38). Of these, Kronos is named expressly as the youngest and "crooked-planning" (probably the sense Hesiod gave to the word, even if originally it referred rather to Kronos' sickle), the most terrible of the group, who hated his father.

Next born are the Kyklopes, three in number, and like to the gods in all things save for the single round eye in their foreheads (Th 139-46). Their names - Brontes, Steropes, and Arges - are connected with lightning and thunder, and indeed they will be the ones to forge the thunderbolt for Zeus.

Last come three more brothers, the Hundred-Handers, the most monstrous of all with their fifty heads and hundred hands, Kottos, Briareos (or Obriareos), and Gyges (Th 147-53). What follows in Hesiod is not entirely clear -- Ouranos hates his children, perhaps just the last six but more likely all eighteen, and as soon as they are born imprisons them deep within the earth, that is, both underground and in the womb of their mother. The reason for his hatred may be their terrible appearance, though Hesiod does not quite say this (Th 155 comes close to implying it as the reason). In any event, he delights in the deed, and Gaia in her anger and distress fiashions a sickle of adamant, after which she asks her children to take revenge on their father. Only Kronos has the courage to volunteer, and is placed by his mother in ambush (inside her body, we will understand, if he too is a prisoner) to await Ouranos. When the latter comes to lie with Gaia, bringing with him night, and stretches out beside her, his son reaches out with the sickle and castrates him. The severed testicles are then thrown behind Kronos into the sea, while Gaia receives the drops of blood that fall from them, and thus produces in time the Erinyes, the Gigantes, and the Melian Nymphai. The testicles themselves float past the island of Kythera to Cyprus, where Aphrodite is born and, accompanied from the very beginning by Eros and Himeros (Desire), assumes her role as goddess of erotic encounters (Th 154-206). In passing, Hesiod makes explicit the deriviation of her cult titles ("Kytherea" and "Kyprogeneia") from Kythera and Cyprus, as well as the supposed formation of her name from the foam (aphros) surrounding the testicles. This section of the Theogony then concludes with Ouranos' prediction that retribution will come to the Titans for their deed (Th 207-10).

Homer relates none of this; indeed, in Iliad 14, Okeanos and Tethys seem elevated to the status accorded Ouranos and Gaia in Hesiod (Il 14.200-210, 245-46), while Aphrodite is throughout the poem clearly the daughter of Zeus (by the Okeanid Dione, Il 5.370-71). The first of these points is especially difficult to assess: Hera tells Zeus as part of her Trugrede that she is on her way to the ends of the earth to visit "Okeanos the genesis of gods and mother Tethys, they who raised me well in their home, receiving me from Rheia when Zeus cast Kronos down beneath the earth and the barren sea." Mother Tethys here need be no more than a stepmother to Hera herself, and the phrase "genesis of gods" might be simply a formulaic epithet indicating the numberless rivers and springs descended from Okeanos; so, for example, at Iliad 21.195-97 he is that from which all rivers and springs and the whole sea derive. But in Hera's subsequent interview tih Hypnos, the latter describes the great river as the "genesis for all," leaving us to wonder whether Homer could have supposed Okeanos and Tethys the parents of the Titans (Kronos' father is never specified), for how else can they fit this description? The second part of Hera's statement also seems problematic, for in the Theogony she is swallowed by her father and presumably emerges from his belly full grown, ready to aid her brother; even if she is not in that poem swallowed, as might be argued following Hyginus (Fab 139), she should be full grown by the time of the overthrow, and have no need of a nurse. Just possibly Homer, in contrast to Hesiod, did think of her as still an infant on re-emerging, and thus needing to be cared for, though if he believed this true of all five siblings he probably did not believe in a general battle between Olympians and Titans. Elsewhere, for what it is worth, the Iliad on several occasions calls the Olympians "Ouraniones," presumably meaning "descendants of Ouranos" (Il 1.570: cf. Il 5.898, where the same term clearly applies to the Titans). "Ouraniones" is also used twice at the end of the Theogony, both times of the Olympians (Th 919, 929). In Akousilaos, Ouranos certainly seems to hold his Hesiodic position, since he is said to have thrown the Hundred-Handers down into Tartaros, lest they be greater than he.

From a later time we have Plato's Timaios, where the genealogy offered looks very much like an attempt to bridge a presumed Homer/Hesiod divergence in Iliad 14: Ouranos and Gaia here beget Okeanos and Tethys who in their turn beget Kronos, Rheia, and the others, plus Phorkys (Tim 40d-e). Just possibly, of course, it is instead an early tradition, and the basis for Homer's description of Keanos. Also puzzling are the scattered references to Ouranos as Akmonides, or son of Akmon. A comment that this genealogy appeared in Hesiod is probably a mistake based on manuscript corruption; it first appears for certain in the Hellenistic Simias' Pteruges (c. 290 B.C.: Eros succeeds Akmonides as ruler of the world) and in Eustathios, who ascribes it to Alkman (with "Akmon" derived from the Greek for "unwearying": 61 PMG). Perhaps the word was not in the beginning intended as a proper name. As a matter of strict accuracy, we should also in passing observe that neither Iliad nor Odyssey ever uses the term "Titan: to denote anuthing except those Titans under the earth with Kronos; as a result we cannot say with certainity, however likely it may seem, that Homer thought of figures such as Hyperion, Themis, Mnemosyne, Leto and Atlas as related to Kronos, or indeed that he thought of their parentage at all.

The second difference between Homer and Hesiod here, that of the otherwise unpretentious Dione (Domer says nothing about her parents either) as Aphrodite's mother, is at least in keeping with the Iliad's general tendency to avoid the magical and fantastic, at any rate in comparison with lost epics (for more details see Griffin, J. 1977. "The Epic Cycle and the Uniqueness of Homer." JHS 97:39-53). Yet we have no basis on which to insist that Homer invented rather than selected a version. The beginning of the Theogony lists a Dione (together with Hebe) among those divinities whom the poem will celebrate (Th 17), as if Hesiod involuntarily recognized the Homeric version (or a line was interpolated here); later on in the poem a Dione will appear as one of the Okeanides (Th 353). Apollodoros follows Homer, but with Dione given the rank of a thirteenth offspring of Ouranos and Gaia (ApB 1.1.3). This is probably an attempt to elevate her status after the fact, since later in the same work a Dione is one of the Nereides (ApB 1.2.7), but we cannot be certain that Apollodoros did not find it in early sources. The usual interpretation of Dione's name as a feminine form of Zeus, if correct, may also indicate a greater early importance than Hesiod allows. The epic Titanomachia, with its presumed beginnings from Gaia and Ouranos (the latter sprung from Aither), might have contributed much in this regard. Different altogether is the view if Epimenides Theogony: a two-line fragment quoted by a scholiast makes Aphrodite, the Moirai, and the Erinyes all offspring of the same father, whom the scholiast identifies as Kronos. One other point of interest comes to us from Proklos' comments on the Timaios: he cites seven lines of a hexameter poem, probably of Orphic origin, in which Okeanos ponders whether to join Kronos and his other brothers in the attack on their ather, as their mother desires, or to remain safely at home. As the fragment breaks off we leave Okeanos in his halls, brooding and angry with his mother and especially his brothers; Proklos tells us that he did not in fact join them.

As for other details in Hesiod's account, the Kyklopes of this early period could scarcely be more different from those encountered by Odysseus in Book 9 of the Odyssey. The latter are expressly described as uncultured shepherds, sons of Poseidon (actually Homer says only that Polyphemos is a son of Poseidon) who have little use for the gods and share with their Hesiodic namesakes just the features of the single eye (if in fact they are all so equipped, and not just Polyphemos: the general description at Od 9.106-15 says nothing on the subject). In the later sections of the Theogony, the Ouranian Kyklopes recede into the background as the Hundred-Handers become more prominent. We will certainly expect them to be immortal, and yet the Ehoiai presents them as slain by Apollo, presumably in anger over the killing of his son Asklepios by Zeus' thunderbolt. Pherekydes confirms this story and motive but makes Apollo's victims the sons of the Kyklopes. And a fragment of Pindar suggests that Zeus himself killed them, lest they forge weapons for anyone else. The Catalogue Poet's version of their fate reappears in the prologue to Euripides' Alkestis as motive for Apollo's exile; the latter history of the Hundred-Handers will be considered in connection with the battle of the Olympians and Titans.

Of the birth of the Erinyes, later authors say little, save for the Epimenides Theogony and Aischylos, who makes them daughters of Nyx in his Eumenides Such a descent is logical enough, yet Hesiod's version, in which they are sprung from an act of violence by son against father, seems highly consistent with their general character in Homer. In the Iliad, Amyntor calls upon them to curse Phoinix after the son has taken his father's concubine (Il 9.453-56); Althaua's prayers are heard by them when her son Meleagros kills her brother(s) (Il 15.204); and Athena suggests to Ares that his defeat is caused by them because he abandoned his mother's side in the Trojan War (Il 21.412-14). Likewise in the Odyssey, Telamachos speaks of the potential curses of Penelope if he should expel her from his house, and Odysseus describes the Erinyes of Epikaste working against her son Oidipous (Od 2.134-36; 11.279-80). In all the above instances an intrafamilial offense, usually child against parent, is involved. At other moments, however, a broader range of functions seems indicated. In Iliad 19, the Erinyes are described as punishing under the earth those who have sworn false oaths, and at the end of the same book they, rather than the Moirai, check the voice of the horse Xanthos, while at Odyssey 17.475 we hear of the Erinyes of beggars. Several other references remain uncertain, including the complaint of the Erinyes against Melampous (Od 15.233-34), and the handing over to them of the daughters of Pandareos (to be attendants?: Od 20.77-78), though in this last case one of the daughters (not necessarily one of those handed over) seems to have by mistake killed her own son (Od 19.518-23 and scholia ad loc.).

In most of these passages the actual chastisement imposed by the Erinyes remains lamentably unclear. True, Phoinix is afflicted with childlessness as the curse of his father requested, but Meleagros suffers nothing like the death Althaia prayed for (unless we are to understand that this happens subsequently), nor does Ares' humiliation at the hands of Athena seem very substantial. Again, in the Odyssey, Melampous' quest suffers some obstacles but is ultimately quite successful, and it is difficult to say how the Erinyes might punish Oidipous if he neither blinds himself nor loses his kingdom. Only in the cases of the hypothetical oath-breaker and the daughters of Pandareos do they seem to act directly, and even then we do not learn exactly what they do.

Post-Homeric sources add to this picture some new ideas on their activites. Theogony 472-73 suggests that Kronos' overthrow will be in part aided by the Erinus of Ouranos, although Zeus seems to do all the work; line 473 apparently makes the Erinys concerned about Kronos' treatment of his children, but this is a difficult verse grammatically and may well be an explanatory interpolation. In the Works & Days Erinyes assist at the birth of Horkos (Oath) from Eris, thus confirming their interest in falsely sworn statements (W&D 803-4), and Herekleitos remarks that if the sun should stray from its course the Erinyes, helpers of Dike, would track it down (22B94: thisreassertion of natural law on their part seems of a piece with the halting of Xanthos' speech in Iliad 19). Moreover, an unassigned lyric fragment appears to make them responsible for the changing of Hekabe into a dog (965 PMG).

But the Erinyes' best-known roles in Greek myth are their pursuit of the matricides Orestes and Alkmaion, and their involvement with the family of Oidipous. Of the harassment of Orestes Homer knows nothing, but since his Orestes serves as a model for the punishment of faithless wives, such a silence is hardly surprising. Stesichoros at least told the story, if a papyrus commentary on his value as a source may be trusted; apparently he had Apollo give Orestes a bow with which the latter might ward off the goddesses. Subsequently, of course, the tale appears in Aischylos' Eumenides, where the Erinyes are given full stage exposure as disgusting, loathsome creatures, dripping with blood and crawling around on all fours to scent their prey. Yet even here their exact function remains obscure: we are told that they want to drink Orestes' blood (like the Keres of the Aspis) and drag him down to the Underworld, but with no indication of the order or consequences of these torments (Eum 264-69). In the same way, their stated purpose of avenging kindred bloodshed seems especially tailored to the needs of the play, and even then that purpose will not explain why they did not punish Agamemnon for the slaying of his daughter, or Atreus for that of his nephews. At one point, too, they appear to claim responsibility for the protection of strangers, much as was suggested for beggars in the Odyssey (Eum 545-49). Ultimately, they reveal fertility connections in their prayers for and against the welfare of Athens, a detail that may or may notarise strictly from the poet's dramatic purposes. Earlier in the same trilogy, Kassandra has suggested that they have brought about disaster to the house of Atreus in response to Thyestes' adultery with his brother's wife (Ag 1188-93), and the chorus has involved an Erinys in the destruction of Troy, possibly in the guise of or at least by using Helen (Ag 744-49). The story of Alkmaion's killing of Eriphyle is largely a blank in early sources; Homer mentions her crime in the Nekuia, but says nothing of her fate (Od 11.326-27). And though Stesichoros obviously dealt with the tale in his lost Eriphyle, the few preserved fragments do not cover this part; the same is true of the shadowy epic Alkmaionis mentioned by Apollodoros ApB 1.8.5). Later accounts of the Alkmaion myth indicate that he secured relief from the Erinyes through long travel and purification, much as Orestes does in the Eumenides (ApB 3.7.5). If this was also the early version, it might suggest that their function was ordeal by pursuit, rather than s specific punishment. But possibly, too, Alkmaion's harassment is simply modeled on that of Orestes, or vice versa.

From matricides we turn to the house of Oidipous. We have seen that in Homer the Erinyes of Epikaste cause trouble of some sort for her son; presumably his offense was marrying his mother, though Homer might know of other deeds that we do not. In Pindar's Olympian 2, on the other hand, the Erinys destroys the sons of Oidipous with mutual slaughter, having seen their father slay his father as Delphi has predicted (Ol 2.38-42). This notion, that the Erinys might punish anyone but the transgressor himself for his crime, appears here for the first time in preserved literature. Subsequently, we find the goddesses exercising an important role in Seven against Thebes, the last play of Aischylos' trilogy on the legend. But the loss of the first two plays, Laios and Oidipous, leaves us very uncertain as to the goddesses' significance. Clearly Eteokles believes, and Aischylos probably meant the audience to agree, that an Erinys brings about his fatal meeting with his brother Polyneikes. But we do not know whether such intervention was caused by an offense of Laios, Oidipous, or Eteokles himself. Here again, however, it may be noted that the Erinyes operate through manipulation of mortals, as often in Homer, rather than by direct intervention. The name "Eumenides," which forms the title of Aischylos' play on the fate of Orestes (but does not actually appear in the preserved drama), represents perhaps Aischylos' own fusion of the Erinyes with these divinities of Kolonos and elsewhere, as well as with the Semnai Theai of the Areopagos. The individual names -- Alekto, Tisiphone and Megaira -- first occur in the Aeneid (although it is not clear whether Vergil thought of them all as Erinyes: Aen 6.570-72; 7.324-26 [Alekto as daughter of Plouton]; 12.845-48 [Megaira and the twin Dirae]). Subsequently, Apollodoros confirms these names as those of the three Erinyes born from the blood of Ouranos (ApB 1.1.4).

The other major offspring of Ouranos' blood, the Gigantes, do not share the same obvious rationale for birth in this unusual fashion, and indeed there is little mention of them in Archaic sources. Homer notes a people of this name ruled by one Eurymedon, and adds that he and his atê-possessed subjects perished, but we are not told how (Od 7.58-60; possibly this is the same Eurymedon guilty of the **** of Hera). Bakchylides confirms what the name "Gigantes" implies, that they were children of the earth; he speaks of the hubris that destroyed them, but he too does not offer details. The equally sparse tradition of the Gigantes' battle with the Olympians needs to be discussed later. As for the Melian Nymphai, the final product of Ouranos' castration, they too shall be dealt with in more detail latter. We should, however, note that Alkaios and Akousilaos both add another set of offspring, the Phaiacians, as resulting from the castration.

Turning to Aphrodite's birth, we find that sources after Homer and Hesiod have little to add. The opening of Homeric Hymn 6, the only other Archaic evidence, rather supports Hesiod's view of the matter, since it makes the goddess arise from the sea foam near Cyprus (though with no direct mention of Ouranos). One notable change here is that, after the birth, the Horai, rather than Hesiod's Eros and Himeros, come to adorn her and accompany her to Olympos; in Hesiod's account the Horai, as daughters of Zeus, have not yet been born. Oddly enough, nothing we have from Pindar, Bakchylides, or Aischylos commits itself on the subject of Aphrodite's father. In later literature, she is almost universally the daughter of Zeus, though the Epimendies Theogony as noted before does make her spring from Kronos. Artistic representations of her rising up from the sea (in presumably a birth scene) do not begin before the mid-fifth century.

Gaia and Pontos

Next in Hesiod's account are the children sprung from Gaia and her other offspring/consort, Pontos. These are five in number (though the first is not actually called a child of Gaia): Nereus, Thaumas, Phorkys, Keto and Eurybia (Th 233-39). For Nereus, Hesiod offers a brief description - honest and unlying, knower of laws and just counsels, gentle and unerring -- but his primary function, like that of his siblings, is to produce further offspring. His one real appearance in myth occurs when Herakles seizes and holds him in a successful attempt to extract information necessary to his labors (the way to the Cattle of Geryoneus or to the Hesperides). According to Pherekydes, the sea god turns himself into fire and water in an effort to escape, but to no avail. Prior to the fifth century, Attic Black-Figure shows this tale, with Triton unaccountably the wrestler while Nereus watches.

Nereus marries Doris, a convenient daughter of Okeanos and Tethys, and their children - all female - are the fifty Nereides, for whom Hesiod gives a complete set of names (Th 240-64). Of these daughters, only four - Amphitrite, Thetis, Galateia and Psamathe - will have any further role to play in Greek myth as individuals, though as a group the fifty appear with Thetis in the Iliad to lament the death of Patroklos, rising up together from the depths of the sea and their cave where they live with their father (Il 18.35-51). Homer, on this occasion, names thirty-four Nereides (thirteen on his list do not appear on Hesiod's), although he specifies that all the others came as well. The same mourning of Patroklos was dramatized by Aischylos in his Nereides, where the daughters were presumably the chorus, as they may have been also in the Hoplon Krisis, if in that play Thetis actually came in response to the request that she judge the contest for her dead son's arms. In any case, the Odyssey certainly presents the Nereides as attending also the funeral of Achilleus (Od 24.47-59), and this is repeated in Proklos' summary of the Aithiopis (in both sources they are accompanied by the Mousai). Aischylos and Pindar (Is 6.6) further agree that they were fifty in number.

Pontos' second son, Thaumas, also marries an Okeanid, Elektra, by whom he fathers Iris and the two Harpuiai, Aello and Okypetes (Th 265-69). For Iris we must look to the Iliad, for she is never mentioned in the Odyssey, and only rarely in subsequent literature (despite her popularity in vase-painting). Oddly enough, Homer never discusses her parentage (although Il 11.201 comes close to calling Zeus her father); the epithets applied to her focus rather on her speed and her function as the messenger of the gods. In this latter capacity she plays a variety of roles. On three occasions she is sent by Zeus to bear his commands to other gods (Hera and Athena, Poseidon, Thetis: Il 8.398-425; 15:55, 144-200; 24.77-99), while on two others he sends her to mortals (Hektor, Priam, both times in her own form: Il 11.185-210; 24.143-88). For her part, Hera sends the goddess to Achilleus (again in her own form) to advise him, in secret from Zeus (Il 18.165-202). On two further occasions Iris appears to mortals (Priam, Helen) disguised as a human; here we are not specifically told that she has been sent by anyone, and what she offers is basically information combined with practical advice (Il 2.786-807, where she comes "from the side of Zeus"; 3.125-40). Finally there are two points at which she clearly acts of her own accord, first in helping Aphrodite to leave the battlefield (by chariot) after her wounding by Diomedes (Il 5.353-69 [note that she also unhitches the chariot and feeds the horses]), and second in conveying Achilleus' prayer to Zephyros and Boreas by flying to the former's home (Il 23.198-212). In this last instance she stresses that, upon completion of her errand, she will return to the land of the Aithiopes to share in the sacrifices they are preparing for the gods. To be fair, we should add that the Odyssey certainly knows of her, even if she is not mentioned, since the beggar Arnaios is nicknamed "Iros" after her (Od 18.6-7).

In Hesiod, she makers only one real appearance, as the divinity who journeys to the Styx and brings back water when one of the gods who wishes to take an oath (Th 780-86). Proklos' summary of the Kypria shows her revealing to Menealos the departure of Helen with Paris, and in two of the Homeric Hymns she also functions as a messenger: in that to Apollo she is sent by the other goddesses to fetch Eileithuia for Leto's lying-in (HAp 102-14), while in the Hymn to Demeter Zeus sends her (unsuccessfully) to summon Demeter to Olympos after the famine has arisen (HDem 314-24). In this instance we should note that, after Iris has failed, Zeus sends Hermes to Hades; thus, both gods serve as messengers in the same work. The only other early mention of Iris is from a fragment of Alkaios where she becomes by Zephyros the mother of Eros. She is almost always represented with wings (the Iliad, in fact, twice calls her chrysopteros, "golden-winged": Il 8.938; 11.185).

The Harpuiai would appear to share parentage with Iris on the basis of their tremendous speed; the Epimenides Theogony, however, calls them daughters of Okeanos and Gaia, while Pherekydes of Syros assigns as their father Boreas (and as sister Thyella). In a separate fragment the Epimenides Theogony also equates them with the Hesperides, andin this same connection both that work and Akousilaos put them in charge of the apples; Pherekydes has them guard Tartaros. In the Iliad there is mention of a single Harpuia, Podarge, who mates in the form of a mare with Zephyros and produces Xanthos and Balios, the horses of Achilleus (Il 16.150-51). The Odyssey offers the more familiar plural "Harpuiai" for windspirits whom Telemachos and Eumaios describe, perhaps figuratively, as carrying off Odysseus, and to whome Penelope refers as the abductors of the daughters of Pandareos (Od 1.241; 14.371; 20.77-78); their role in this last event seems to be as agents of the Erinyes, to whom they hand over the daughters. In the same context, Penelope calls them thuellai (storm-winds), and that may have been another name for them. We see the two of them illustrated in flight on a spouted bowl by the Nessos Painter with the word "Arepuia" inscribed; the artist has depicted them as normal-looking women marked out only by their large wings. Their tormenting of Phineus and their flight from the sons of Boreas is not a story for which we have early sources (although it was recounted in the Ehoiai.

Pontos and Gaia's third son, Phorkys, marries his own sister Keto, and the resulting offspring are the most monstrous of all Pontos' progeny - the two Graia, three Gorgons, Echidna, and the snake Ophis (Th 270-336). As for Phorkys himself, the Odyssey calls him "old man of the sea" like his brother Nereus (Od 13.96, 345), and makes him the grandfather of Polyphemos through a daughter, Thoosa (Od 1.72). Elsewhere in Archaic literature he appears only as progenitor of the Graiai, a role he serves in Akousilaos, Pherekydes, Pindar and Aischylos, as well as in Hesiod.

The Graiai are described in the Theogony simply as gray from birth (Th 270-73). Aischylos gives them one eye among them and one tooth at Prometheus Desmotes 792-97; it is not clear whether the tooth is also shared, or whether they have one each. The same play makes them three in number, long-lived and "swan-shaped"; whether this should be taken literally, or simply refers to their white hair, is a difficult point. Whatever Aischylos intended, they live near their sisters, the Gorgons, somewhere far to the east (and apparently on dry land, where Io could reach them). Aischylos' lost Perseus trilogy included a play entitled Phorkides in which Perseus stole the eye (and threw it away) so as to thwart their task; unfortunately, we cannot be certain that they appeared in the play (though it seems very likely), and if so, whether they were chorus or actors. Neither does there survive from the play any indication of where the sisters are located (save that the eye is thrown into the Tritonian lake). The same is true of Pherekydes' account, where the sisters are named Pemphredo, Enyo and Deino. Here they clearly have one eye and one tooth among them, and Perseus steals both in order to obtain information needed for his task. The information acquired, he returns both items and continues on his journey. Pindar's brief mention, with is use of the word "darkened" for Perseus' treatment of the Graiai (Py 12.13), rather suggests agreement with Aischylos' version.

Unlike the Graiai, the Gorgons are from the beginning (in Hesiod) three in number (Th 274-83). Hesiod names them as Sthenno, Euryale, and Medousa, and places them toward the edge of night, beyond Okeanos, near the Hesperides, in other words to the far west (he does not say whether the Graiai lived near them). Of the three, Sthenno and Euryale and immortal and ageless, but Medousa is mortal (Hesiod offers no explanation of this odd situation). She alone mates with Poseidon (assuming that Kyanochaites is here, as elsewhere, an epithet of the sea god), and after her beheading by Perseus, Chrysaor and the horse Pegasos spring forth from her neck. Hesiod simply says that Pegasos flew up to Olympos to carry the lightning and thunderbolts for Zeus. Chrysaor marries another convenient Okeanid, Kallirhoe, who bears the three-headed Geryoneus later to be slain by Herakles (Th 287-94; 979-83).

In contrast to the Theogony, Homer, although he describes several Gorgon heads on bucklers (e.g., Il 11.36-37) and conjured up yet another to frighten Odysseus in the Nekuia (Od 11.633-35), never directly alludes to the tale of Medousa, save perhaps in Iliad 5, where the description of Zeus' aigis worn by Athena includes the Gorgon head customarily donated by Perseus (Il 5.738-42). In the Kypria (context not clear, although the point of reference seems to be Phorkys and Keto), the Gorgons are pictured as living on a rocky island named Sarpedon in the stream of Okeanos. Pherekydes also puts them somewhere in Okeanos; the summary of his account says little about their physical appearance, but does note that Medousa's face turned men to stone, and adds that the head was ultimately given to Athena for the aigis. The Aspis offers a typically garish portrait: Gorgons with twin snakes - glaring and gnashing their teeth -- wrapped around their waists, and possibly a vague reference to snakes for hair (Aspis 229-37). Snaky locks are in any case well attested by Pindar (Py 10.46-48; 12.9-12), and here again Medousa's head lithifies, while Euryale's lament becomes the model for the song of the flute. In Pythian 10, we also see Perseus journeying to the land of the Hyperboreans in the far north on his quest for the head; the Gorgons may or may not have been located there. For Aischylos, we must again be content with the description in Prometheus Desmotes, since there are no relevant fragments from the Phorkides. As noted above, his Gorgons live near their sister Graiai to the far east; they have wings and snaky hair, and no mortal can look upon them and live. This last detail suggests that Aischylos believed all three sisters could turn men to stone, but he may be exaggerating for effect, or perhaps he refers to their generally ferocious character. The tale that Medousa was once beautiful, and fell prey to Athena's anger by mating with Poseidon in the goddess' temple, first appears in Ovid (Met 4.790-803); something of the same sort also surfaces in Apollodoros, who says that Medousa wished to rival Athena in beauty (ApB 2.4.3). Such an idea may have been developed at some later point in time to dignify Poseidon's union with the Gorgon; certianly it will not explain the equally hideous condition of her two sisters. Euripides' surprsing statement in Ion that Athena herself slew a Gorgon (not actually called Medousa) at Phlegra, where the gods fought the Gigantes, might be relevant to a tale of rivalry, though the text's implication is that Gaia spawned the monster especially for that battle (Ion 989-96).

After the Graiai and Gorgons, Phorkys and Keto produce Echnida, half fair maiden (presumably the upper half) and half terrible snake, a monster who lives alone in a cave under the earth, far from men and gods. The one variant of her parentage comes from the Epimenides Theogony, where she is the offspring of Styx and one Peiras. Echidna mates with Typhoeus, the challenger of Zeus, and the results are all animals: Orthos, the watchdog of Geryoneus, Kerberos, the fifty-headed watchdog of Hades, the snaky Hydra of Lerna, and possibly the fire-breathing Chmaira with its three heads, one of a lion, one of a goat and one of a snake, arranged respectively at the front, middle and back (Th 304-25). Alternatively, the mother of the Chimaira could be the Hydra (by an unnamed father) depending on the pronoun referent at 319. To this list, Akousilaos and Pherekydes agree in adding the eagle who devoured Prometheus' liver; Hesiod gives it no parentage.

About Orthos we find nothing more than that he was killed by Herakles during the raid on Geryoneus' cattle. Artistic representations sometimes include him (always dead, usually with arrows protruding from his body) in scenes of the combat; on several occasions (including the earliest), he has two heads. Kereberos' duties as watchdog (and devourer of any who try to leave Hades) are described later in the Theogony (769-74). He is mentioned in connection with Herakles' task in both the Iliad and the Odyssey (Il 8.367-68; Od 11.620-26), but without any further details of his appearance, and the same is true in Bakcyhlides, where his parentage from Echidna is repeated (5.60-62). Pindar's lost dithyramb on Herakles in the Underworld seems, however, to have given the creature one hundred heads, if the scholia minora to the Iliad can be trusted. The earliest artistic portrayal, a Middle Corinthian kotyle from Argos, shows only one head, but has snakes growing out all over his body. A Lakonian cup from the middle of the sixth century increases the number of heads to three and adds a snake for tail as well, and this (with sometimes only two heads) becomes the standard representation in both art and literature. On the Corinthian kotyle mentioned above, Kereberos appears to run from Herakles, but on all subsequent examples it is Herakles (and even his divine helpers) who display caution. Presumably the frequent variant of two heads arose from logistical problems in draftsmanship.

As for the Hydra, Hesiod says simply that Hera raised her to be a danger to Herakles, and that he slew her with the aid of Iolaos, but a scholion adds that Alkaios gave her nine heads, and Simonides fifty. Pausanias adds that, in his opinion, she had originally just one, and that the epic poet Peisandros added additional heads in order to make her more fearsome; whether he is right to suppose Peisandros the first in this respect we cannot, of course, say. The representations in vase-paintings usually show a multitude of snaky heads and bodies (joined together towards the tail), often as many as ten. For the actual detail that two heads grew from each severed neck, or that one head was immortal, we must await Ovid (Met 9.69-74: two heads only) and Apollodoros (ApB 2.5.2); nevertheless the sickle (usually for Iolaos) is a standard element in early representations of the battle (together with a sword or club for Herakles). As for the searing of the necks to prevent regrowth, the first evidence is a late sixth-century Black-Figure amphora on which Iolaos holds a torch; Euripides in the Herakles Mainomenos adds that Herakles "burnt out" the Hydra, which may well confirm this idea. Sophokles' Tracinai together with the Herakles appear to be our earliest firm sources for the idea that the blood of the Hydra was poisonous and could be applied to Herakles' arrows.

The Chimaira is the offspring of either Echidna or the Hydra.. Hesiod's description (heads of lion, goat, snake, fire-breathing capacity) is paralleled word for word in the Iliad's accounts of Bellerophontes' exploits (Il 6.179-82); later in the poem a certain Amisodaros of Lykia is named as the one who raised the monster (Il 16.328-29), and in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, Apollo boasts that neither Typhoeus nor Chimaira will avail the dead Python (Hap 367-68). Typhoeus (earlier in the poem the Python's fosterling) is reasonable here, but the Chimaira remains unexplained. Her capacity for breathing fire recurs in an extremely fragmentary remnant of the Ehoiai. The artistic tradition, beginning with the Protocorinthian vessels of the early seventh century, interprets the creature as a lion with the goat's head growing out of the back (not from the same neck as the lion's) and the snake serving in place of the tail (in one early Black-Figure example, the whole rear of the body may end in a snake: Kerameikos 154). Whether the goat's head was responsible for the name "Chimaira" or vice versa is an open question. In any case, she (or just possibly Echidna) mates with the dog Orthos (her brother, if she is descended from Echidna, and uncle, if from the Hydra), and the results here are both lion types, the Phix (elsewhere Sphinx) and the Nemean Lion (Th 326-32).

Hesiod calls the Phix a bringer of destruction to the Thebans, but says nothing about physical appearance or method of operation. Sphinxes as a type, with the canonical lion's body, women's head and wings, are well known in sculpture and metalwork from the Near East and Crete, and in painting from Protocorinthian vase designs; in the Greek world the Sphinx also becomes a popular corwning device on columns and grave stelae. The name "Sphinx" (or "Sphix") is assured for the type from its use on an Attic Black-Figure band cup of about 540 B.C. (Munich 2243). But in all these representations, the creature is employed without mythological context. Our earliest portrayal in which she actually does something is probably the architectural relief from Mycenae of about 630 B.C. on which two sphinxes are reconstructed as standing over a **** male body. Subsequently, a Siana cup by the C Painter shows a Spinx pursuing a number of men (one of whom she seems to have caught: Syracuse 25418), and several other Black_Figure pots of the sixth century repeat that pattern. The first recorded association of Sphinx with Oidipous dates to about 530 B.C., a Chalkidian amphora on which Oidipous sits before the Sphinx, as he does on the famous Red-Figure cup in the Vatican. Here the solving of her riddle (first attested i
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« Reply #27 on: January 02, 2008, 12:32:24 am »

From Atalante:
Hesiod's Theogony speaks about (among many other things) the "children of the Titans".
These include the so-called 6 Elder Olympians:
Zeus, Poseidon, Hades (men); and Hestia, Demeter, Hera (women).

Counterbalancing the Elder Olympians are the children of Iapetus the Titan -- Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus, etc. (who originally lived in Asia Minor, before the Titans were banished by Zeus).

quote from:

Children of the Titans (337 - )
Line of Okeanos and Thetys (337 - 370)
Line of Hyperion and Theia (371 - )
Line of Kreios and Eurybia : Astraios and Pallas
Children of Astraios and Eos
Children of Styx and Pallas
line of Phoibe and Koios (404 - )
Line of Rhea and Kronos: The Elder Olympians
Line of Iapetos and Klymene (506 - )

One of the more interesting issues regarding these sons of the Titans is that Hades inherited the land of Asia Minor. (Hades himself is a sublimation of the land of Hatti, which was absorbed into the Hittite capital city Hattusas.) Poseidon inherited the Aegean and Mediteranean Sea; while Zeus inherited the land portions of Crete and mainland Greece.

And another interesting issue regarding these children of the Titans is that Demeter was assumed (by Greek mythology) to have invented agriculture-- but after traveling (presumably sailing) from Asia Minor TO THE ISLAND OF SICILY.

[This message has been edited by atalante (edited 07-20-2004).]

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« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2008, 12:33:23 am »

[ Titans & Titanesses | The Battle against the Titans (Titanomachy) ]
THE TITANS & TITANESSES: After the departure of Uranus from secular power, immediately after the execution of Earth's plans Cronus (Time), released his brothers and sisters, the Titans and the Titanesses from dark Tartarus. All of them acknowledged him immediately as the new ruler of the world in place of Uranus and helped him to establish his power. It is with their help that Cronus was able to get rid of the terrible Cyclopes (Ring eyed) and the gigantic Ekatoncheires (the Hundred Handed), despite the strong objections of his mother who wanted to have all her children around her.

Cronus took his sister Rhea (the one who flows) to be his wife, and thus, these two became the second divine couple after Uranus (King of the Mountains - Time) and Gaia (Earth) and they ruled the world together. Cronus, the most eminent of all the Titans, undertook to rule time, the seasons and to direct the movement of things. That is, he became the ruler of the whole universe, the almighty master. Rhea, at Cronus' side, first among her sisters, helped her husband in settling the flow of things. In the kingdom of Cronus she regulated movement and succession. Later she became goddess of fertility and gave birth to the first Olympian gods.

The other Titans and Titanesses sat on sumptuous thrones, next to the first couple and they helped Cronus to rule. They were all committed to taking care and protecting each other. Each one responsible for a different, lesser part of the world. Most of them became couples and gave birth to numerous smaller divinities. Oceanus, the eldest son of Uranus and Gaia, ruled over the liquid element. He was a large river flowing around the circular Earth and he laid his body over her, from one end to the other, that is, from the East to the West and from the North to the South. Oceanus was the personification of water and he coupled with Tethys (Disposer), the youngest of the Oceanids, who protected the liquid element and personified the fertile female divinity of the sea. Oceanus was dazzled by his sister's beauty and fascinated by her deep-blue eyes and her undulating hair. She wanted to spend all day and night in the waters. Innumerable children were born of their mating and thus, Oceanus is considered to be the father of all the rivers. Hesiod says that his sons were the rivers Nile, Alfius, Grackhus, Penius, Sangarius, Evinus, Heridanus, Strimon, Meandrus, Achelous, Aliakmon, Skamandrus, Nestus, Granikus, Rodius, Ladon and more than three thousand other rivers. Tethys also bore him fifty daughters, the Oceanids, among them being Styga, the eldest of all, Electra, Doris, Ianeira, Dione, Tyche, Prymno, Hippo, Callirrhoe, Zeuxo, Calypso, Xanthe, Petrea and Asia. They protected the streams and the springs and, in general, they were water-divinities, just as their respected parents.

Cottus, the second son of Uranus, had gigantic dimensions and was the first child that Uranus saw before starting to throw his children into Tartarus. He was virile, had a beautiful body and represented masculine strength and beauty. When Cronus had released his brothers and sisters from Tartarus, Cottus met the Titaness Phoebe (Bright), who represented light, and he was enchanted by her beauty. Phoebe also, responded to her brother's love. Leto and Asteria were born from their mating. That is to say that Phoebe and Cottus are the grandparents of Apollo whose mother was Leto.

Hyperion was also one of Uranus's victims. When he had escaped from Tartarus and come to the surface of Earth, all his majesty was revealed. A dazzling light flashed in all directions. His name means "the one who is going over". Some times he was identified with the sun. He symbolized eternal brilliance. He fell in love with his sister, the Titanness Theia (Divine). Theia was also fascinated by his splendid appearance and she surrendered to him. This beautiful couple begot three exquisite children: Helios (Sun) who traversed the sky by day from east to west, Selene (Moon), who shone in the darkness of Nyx (Night) and Eos (Dawn), the pink-fingered Dawn.

The Titan Iapetus married his niece Clymene (Famous Might), a daughter of Oceanus and Tythea who was not a Titaness. She gave birth to the immense Atlas who carried Uranus (Sky) on his shoulders, as well as Menoetius, Prometheus (forethought) and Epimetheus (afterthought). Iapetus, through Prometheus, is related to Deucalion, the founder of the human race, after Zeus had destroyed the world with a great flood. Others say that Iapetus was married an other Oceanid, Asia, the grand-daughter of Oceanus, or to Asopis or even to Libya.

Crius is one of the Titans whose exact duties in ruling the universe are not specifically known. Most probably, he was also a divinity of the Sky. He coupled with the Nymph Eurybia who gave him three sons: Astraeus, who symbolised the stars, Pallas and Perses. Astraeus mated with the daughter of Hyperion and Phoebe, the all-fresh Dawn and they had three sons, Zephyrus, Notus and Boreus, the strong west, south and north winds.

Themis and Mnemosyne are the two Titanesses who differed from their other brothers and sisters. They did not join the divine Titans, nor did they support them during the ten-year war they waged against Zeus and the other Olympian gods. Themis protected the Eternal Laws. She was the most serious and most humble of all the other Titanesses. She did not accept either Iapetus' or Crios' marriage proposals-Both of them had fallen in love with her. On the contrary, she fell in love with Zeus and she gave birth to several children. So she had the Seasons / Hours (Hores), the three Fates (Moirai), Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, the virgin Astarte and the Nymphs of Heridanus river. She helped her beloved during the Gigantomachy (the War of the Giants) and advised him to put on the awesome aegis (shield).

Themis was the only member of the Titan generation who was welcome on Mount Olympus, even after the total victory of the Olympian gods. She was honored by all, not only for her relationship with Zeus, but also because she had invented the oracles (divinations), the rituals and the laws. Mnemosyne was the personification of memory, of recollection. She was the wisest of all the Titanesses and the favourite sister of Themis. She violently rejected the love of her brother Crios and was on very good terms with the Olympian gods. It is also said that she fell in love with Zeus too. He joined with her into the woods of Pieria for nine consecutive nights. A year later, Mnemosyne had nine daughters, the Muses whose throne was situated on Mount Helicon.

The Titans represented the forces of nature and natural phenomena. These powers ruled the world during the early history creation. Only Themis and Mnemosyne represented more intellectual attributes, justice and memory, and therefore they continued their course next to the Olympian gods.

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THE BATTLE AGAINST THE TITANS: Zeus, before establishing his power and becoming the absolute ruler of the Universe, had to face many difficulties. Always, of course, he had by his side his brothers and sisters, whom he had released from the stomach of the child-eating Cronus.

In time, the Titans, embittered at the defeat of Cronus and not considering it right to be ruled by a younger god, proclaimed war against the Olympian gods. The immortals were divided into two rival camps: on one side, the Titans, headed by Cronus, using as their fortress mount Othre, and on the other side, Zeus with mount Olympus as his base of operations. Old and new gods, men and women, participated in this war. Not all the Titans supported Cronus. The abominable Oceanid, Styga, ("abomination") together with her four children, Cratos (Might), Bia (Force), Zelus (Zeal) and Nike (Victory) were the first to come to Zeus' aid. Her own father, Oceanus, the firstborn son of Uranus, is said to have either helped his nephew or remained neutral in this terrible war of gods. Prometheus, the son of the Titan Iapetus, became the first warrior and advisor of Zeus during this war. The most important thing, however, for the Olympian front was that Mother-Earth, this universal goddess of fertility, did not support her children, but stood by her grand-son, giving him valuable advice at each difficult moment. Furthermore, the Titanesses Themis and Mnemosyne did not participate in the war and, later, they became spouses of Zeus and were honored on Mount Olympus.

This terrible confrontation lasted for ten whole years, but the struggle was undecided with the balance some times tipping in favor of the Titans and some time of the Olympians. The whole universe was trembling, with no final result. At a very difficult moment for his side, Zeus ran to his grand-mother Gaia in anguish. He kissed her hands with respect and asked for her advise. Then, she, who very much liked her grand-son and had protected him in this great disturbance, gave him her wise omen: Zeus was destined to defeat the Titans only if he could get on his side those gods who were imprisoned in Tartarus. He thanked his divine grand-mother and made his way to Tartarus. He traveled for nine days into the profound depths of the earth, confronting huge bats and poisonous spiders en route. But with the magic herbs that his grand-mother had given him he was able to surmount all difficulties. When he reached the cells where the Cyclopes were kept, he first had to kill the dreadful Campi, a hideous monster appointed by the Titans to guard their giant brothers. This creature had green scaly skin and a lizard's tail. On its countless feet grew vipers. Zeus fought for long hours with it with no result. Then he remembered the magic herb Gaia had given him. He forced it into the mouth of the Campi and the abominable monster fell into deep lethargy. After that, Zeus released Bronte, Asteropes and Arges. He asked them to come to his aid in the war against the Titans and promised them that under his reign they would enjoy divine honors, just as his other allies, such as Styga and her children, Earth and his own brothers and sisters. The Cyclopes, were grateful that Zeus had freed them, and agreed to help him. They also wanted to avenge the Titans, for whom they felt implacable hatred because they were the ones who had flung them into Tartarus keeping the power for themselves.

Arriving on the surface where the battles were being fought, the Cyclopes gave Zeus and his brothers precious gifts that helped them in their struggle. To the leader of the Olympian gods, they offered, the lightning and the thunderbolt. Poseidon was given the trident which became his eternal symbol and Pluto received the "cynea", a cap of dog's hide that made him invisible. Then, the one-eyed Cyclopes, accomplished smiths, forged an iron curtain so that the Titans could not see the flash of the lightning and the thunderbolt. They also constructed a fine altar for their mother, Earth. There, the Olympian gods and their allies made a tremendous vow in the name of the Universal Mother. Reinforced with these new forces and new weapons they dashed into battle. The Titans used this brief respite to re-organize their forces and to forge new weapons. Their resistance was strong and a fierce struggle began which shook the whole Universe.

Hesiod dramatically describes the situation throughout the universe. The gods of both sides were grabbing huge rocks from the mountains where they sheltered, Othre and Olympus respectively, and threw them against their rivals. The whole earth trembled and wounds appeared on her immense body. Some times these huge rocks collided in the air and the bang was heard all over the Sky. Other times they would miss their course and fall into Pontos (the Sea) who moaned in pain and then they sank into the water and ended up in Nereus's palaces. Olympus and Othre were shaking up and down each time the terrible gods found their target. The tremors, the tremblings and the noise reached even remote Tartarus. This disorder became more and more intense when the two sides abandoned their permanent camps and made assaults on the enemy's positions. Then their immense feet left traces on the surface of the earth. During a very difficult moment for the Olympians, Zeus, who until then had been planning the strategy and giving instructions to his allies, felt that he couldn't bear the situation anymore and dashed raging into battle. Then he used the weapons the Cyclopes had given him. Uranus and Olympus shook by his thunderbolts. Zeus, projected his thunderbolts with rage in all directions. The flame was spread all over. A big blaze broke out that hungrily devoured the vast forests. The living flame covered the whole surface of the earth. High temperatures began to influence the liquid element. The blue waters of Oceanus and of Pontus were boiling. Enormous quantities of water began to evaporate. In the sky they merged with the black smoke released by the burning forests.

The blaze reached Chaos, the infinite, that, after so long now began to flash and glow in the tongues of flames. The babble and the mist were such, that if somebody heard and watched what was happening, they would recall the turbulences of Cosmogony (the beginning of creation) when Uranus mated with Earth to create the Universe. This time, it seemed that even Uranus himself would fall from his heights and that Earth would be uprooted from its mighty foundations. Everything turned upside down. The black smoke and the hot steam encircled the Titans, who could not breathe easily or see clearly. The thunderbolts, the lightning and the flames blinded the giant rivals of Zeus. They had already started to become exhausted and their camp was going through extreme difficulties.

Right at this crucial moment, when after ten years the struggle seemed as if it would be won by Zeus's side, he thought again of Gaia's omen. Apart from the Cyclopes, Cronus and his brothers he had imprisoned in Tartarus three more terrible giants, the Hundred-handed. So he rushed to their dark prison. Campi was awake and tried to stop him. But this time Zeus used his new weapons. He crushed Campi with a thunderbolt. He began to burn and scream. In the end all that was left of Campi was her burnt carcass. Zeus, using his grand-mother's magic herbs released Cottus, Aegaeon and Gyes (Gyges). The Hundred-handed, in great enthusiasm promised him eternal loyalty. They all rose to the surface where the terrible battle was still going on. The moment the Titans weakened from the battle and made their last stand to contain the Olympians, the Hundred-handed blinded by their hate for the ingratitude at their brothers, grabbed with their hundred hands three-hundred huge rocks and buried the Titans under them.

After this unbelievable outcome, they flung them into dark Tartarus. That is there where Uranus had locked them when they were just born. There, where their brothers had imprisoned the Cyclopes and the Hundred-hundred, against the advice of Earth. Immediately after, the Cyclopes forged copper fences around the Titans' cells, as well as a triple iron wall. The doors were locked by Poseidon and Zeus appointed the Hundred-handed to guard them for him. Thus ended the Titanomachy, one of the most important and long-lasting tests that Zeus had to go through until he became the sole lord of Universe. Some time later the universe began to simmer down and the blaze caused by Zeus's countless thunderbolts receded. The gods of Mount Olympus celebrated their victory and thanked Gaia for her so invaluable help.

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« Reply #29 on: January 02, 2008, 12:33:50 am »

Poseidon-Prehistoric Hellenes and the Sea

Poseidon was the Lord of the seas, the son of Cronus and Rhea. Cronus had swallowed him as well but then he brought him up again together with his brothers and sisters. After the Titanomachy and the defeat of Cronus, Poseidon became the King of the Sea and the Islands. He was the top-ranking among the sea-deities, to whom they were subjected.

They used to paint him as an old white-bearded man with fair-white hair and blue eyes, a peaceful look but sometimes a wrathful one, with a band round his head -like Zeus- sometimes naked and sometimes in clothes, carrying a trident in his hand which Cyclopes had given to him before the Titanomachy. The trident was said to symbolize the third kingdom of the Universe which was the Sea, i.e. Poseidon's Kingdom. A huge shell was his carriage drawn by two sea-horses and he was usually accompanied by Glaucus, Palaemon, Thetis, Nereides and Triton who was his "trumpeter".

However, Poseidon should not be strictly connected with the narrow sense of the "Sea" since he captures the driving-force of every phenomenon occurring either at the bottom of it or on its surface: earthquakes, volcanoes, typhoons etc. His ability to agitate the water indicates his connection with the sea-storms as well as with the seismic-waves which are usually caused after an earthquake tremor. Moreover, Poseidon's quarrels with other Olympian gods (Poseidon-Athena, Poseidon-Hera) take place in regions which are in or near seismic zones even today or were such in the past.

Poseidon's attributes and abilities are unfolded before the reader in the Orphic Hymn to Poseidon:

"I'm calling upon thee, Poseidon, the Lord of the Earth and the Sea,

thou who disturb the water and shake the Earth causing plenty of waves...."

In the same hymn Poseidon is said to be one of the oldest gods who dominates over the Earth, second after Zeus.

Apart from Poseidon there is a plethora of other sea-deities: Oceanus, Pontus, Thalassa (Sea) or Tethys, Forkys, Thaumas, Nereus, Nereides, Oceanides, Triton, Proteus, Glaucus etc. This plethora of sea-gods and goddesses indicates how much associated Prehistoric Hellenes were with Water which constituted one of the three fundamental forms of the Universe. We could even say that all these sea-deities were invented by ancient Hellenes in their effort to give a complete and detailed description of Poseidon's attributes i.e. Water-Sea properties.

In the hymn to Oceanus, on the other hand -where Orpheas is calling upon the immortal lord, the everlasting, the greatest among gods and mortal humans, the god who surrounds the Earth and causes the creation of rivers and seas- the separate use of the words "sea" and "oceanus" could mean nothing but the degree of connection between the Sea and Prehistoric Hellenes who seem to know quite well the difference between the sea and the ocean. But could this really have been possible if they had not experienced any voyages ( The Argonautic Expedition) not only across the sea which surrounded them, but also beyond it?


Research by Roula Papageorgiou-Haska

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"This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together..."
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