Chapter 3 - Mythology


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Chapter 3 - Mythology

  1. 1. Chapter 3: BeginningsHow the World and MankindWere Created
  2. 2. Out of the Darkness
  3. 3. • Most complete surviving versionOrigins of Stories of the creation of the world comes from the poet Hesiod’s (He-see- odd) Theogony (Thee-og-oh-nee) and Works and Days ▫ Composed around the 8th century BCE, about the same time as the Odyssey and Iliad (maybe 100 years later) ▫ Not an original work – writing down of oral tales  Hesiod was a rustic bard (lived north of Athens) ▫ Not religious work like the Bible or Koran  There was no sacred text that people had to follow in order to worship the Greek gods; Greek religion didn’t work that way
  4. 4. The Universe• Gods are not separate from • The gods don’t create the the universe, so although universe, they are a part of it the Greek word Theogony ▫ There is no external means how the gods came creator; the universe just into existence, the story comes into existence starts with the creation of ▫ While the gods are the universe (which is seen extremely powerful, they as a divine being) are not omnipotent ▫ This means that a character can be (and often is) both a ▫ The gods natural force or an element are, however, immortal; (the sun, the moon, the they are a part of the sea, etc.) and an universe, and as long as anthropomorphic (humanlike) the universe exists, so do entity with a will, emotions, and bodily they functions
  5. 5. Chaos• First there was Chaos -- (seen as a female entity) ▫ In Greek this doesn’t mean disorder; it simply means a gap, void or open space• Out of Chaos come Tartarus, Erebus and Night (whose name is Nyx) ▫ Tartarus and Erebus are the two divisions of the underworld, with Tartarus being the deeper and darker, and Erebus being the portion where dead souls stay
  6. 6. Cosmic Egg • According to Hesiod, all• Erebus and Night creation comes into mated existence through sexual ▫ Night is shown as a reproduction, so Eros (or black winged figure sexual desire) is present ▫ When they mate, the very early on in the result is shown as a creation cosmic egg ▫ This primordial force• Eros (Love) was born later becomes known of the egg as the son of ▫ produced Ether – Aphrodite Light, and Hemera – ▫ Later, Cupid is shown Day. to have wings, which• Also out of Night gives rise to a belief comes that birds are ▫ the Moirae – somehow connected to Fates, and the earliest primordial ▫ Nemesis -- forces, and that the Retribution/Revenge world may have in fact been hatched from a great primordial egg
  7. 7. Gaea• Into Chaos came Gaea (Guy-uh) -- (Also spelled Gaia; sometimes known as Ge) ▫ Hesiod doesn’t tell us if Gaia comes from Chaos, or simply comes into existence ▫ Since Hesiod’s (and the ancient Greek’s) view was geocentric (the earth as the center of the universe) it makes sense that the first god to come into existence is earth herself• Underneath Gaea were the dark elements of Tartarus, Erebus, and Night, which Gaia stands upon
  8. 8. Gaea Cont. • Gaea produces Uranus --the sky; Pontus -- the sea, (specifically the Mediterranean sea); the mountains; the Furies; and the giants (NOTE: Uranus is also spelled Ouranos) ▫ She produces the elemental forces that make up the forces that the Greeks know ▫ The world is being shaped into a recognizable form
  9. 9. Gaea, cont. ▫ Originally, Gaea is seen as a flat disc (until she gives birth to the landscape elements), and Uranus is a dome above her  Think of a cake plate with a cover  Tartarus & Erebus is said to be as far below her as Uranus is above her
  10. 10. Children of Gaea & Uranus• Gaea and Uranus couple and produce ▫ three Cyclopes – (plural of the singular Cyclops),  which is a giant with a single eye in the middle of its forehead; ▫ three Hecatonchires  the hundred-handed monsters (who have 50 heads) ▫ the 12 Titans, including Cronus;  Some believe that perhaps these ideas of giants and large monsters might have originated with the discovery of giant dinosaur bones by early Greeks
  11. 11. Uranus against his children • Overthrow of Uranus – 1st patriarchal violent succession ▫ Uranus tries to hide his offspring back in the earth, from where they sprung  Hecatonchires hidden in Tartarus  Cyclopes condemned to live inside the volcanic core of Mt. Etna  Their roars said to cause eruptions ▫ The patriarchal “sky” gods have a great fear of being overthrown by their children, and one way they try to prevent this is by stuffing their children back into the womb
  12. 12. Castration of Uranus• This put a great strain on Gaea, causing her pain as well as anger, so she begged her titan children to help• Cronus, the youngest titan, agrees, and as Uranus lies with Gaia, Cronus (who is hiding in Gaea’s womb) castrates him with a flint
  13. 13. Result of the Castration• The blood of the genitals that fell onto the earth created ▫ the Erinyes (Furies), the elemental forces who punish blood crimes ▫ The Giants ▫ The Nymphs of the Ash Trees  Meliae• This is a violent overthrow of a father, and the impotence of that father’s ability to foster future offspring
  14. 14. Creation of Aphrodite• Cronus then cast the bleeding genitals into the sea, where the fluids mixed with the sea foam, creating the goddess Aphrodite ▫ Aphros is the Greek word for sea foam  This spirit of sexual desire (Eros) is transformed into Aphrodite  This is a reasonable creation for Aphrodite, since she is the goddess of sexual desire
  15. 15. Departure of Uranus• At this point, Uranus retreats from Gaea and becomes the dome of the sky ▫ Since a god cannot be killed, the best thing you can do is deprive him of his power, and in this case, denying him of his masculinity is denying him of his power ▫ This also leaves room for more children to be born – before this point the sky was literally pressing down on the earth; there was no separation between them  This space of the dome allows the children to spring forth and have room to live, grow, and for additional children to be born• Here we have the mother “earth” figures (Gaea, Rhea, Hera all mean earth) being dominated by the male “sky” figures (Uranus, Cronus, Zeus) ▫ Shift from a matriarchal society to a patriarchal society
  16. 16. Cronus & Rhea • Cronus marries his sister Rhea (the earth again), and then because he is concerned about his children overthrowing him, swallows each as soon as they are born ▫ Zeus, the last born, is hidden in a cave in Crete by Rhea, who substitutes a stone wrapped in blankets for her husband to swallow ▫ (some stories say she hides the rock in her bed and as she gives birth she swaps it for Zeus) • Gaea helps Rhea because Cronus imprisons Cyclopes & Hecatonchires again
  17. 17. Upbringing of Zeus• The goat Amaltheia (also a • Another version has Zeus being nymph) supplied him with milk raised by the nymph to drink, and the bees provided Adamanthea, who hung him in a honey rope from a tree so he was suspended between earth, sea and ▫ To reward her, Zeus later puts sky, because Cronus ruled all three her in the heavens as the constellation Capricorn (the goat) ▫ In some versions, this goat’s broken horn becomes the horn of plenty (not that of the river god Achelous)• Minor deities called the Curetes protected Zeus, and when he cried, they rattled their spears against their shields so that Cronus wouldn’t hear the baby
  18. 18. Olympians return• Zeus’ first wife, the Titan • Children of Rhea & Cronus are Metis, gives Zeus a potion vomited up in reverse order that he puts in Cronus’s ▫ Zeus is thus considered both drink, causing him to vomit the youngest (last born to up his children (in some Rhea) and the oldest god versions it is Gaea that gives (all of his siblings were Cronus the potion) “born” from Cronus after he ▫ The stone is vomited up when was already alive and fully Cronus vomits up the grown) children, and lands in ▫ Original birth order: Delphi, where it becomes a Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Had sacred stone, and Delphi es, Poseidon, Zeus becomes the center of the earth
  19. 19. Titanomachy (Battle of the Titans) • Zeus leads his siblings in a revolt against Cronus ▫ Three titans joined the Olympians in the war: Prometheus, Epimetheus, & Oceanus  Titan women did not fight ▫ Atlas led the male Titans in the war against the Olympians  Cronus was past his prime • War took 10 years
  20. 20. Help in the War• Zeus released the Hecatonchires (hundred- handed ones) from beneath the earth, on the condition • Cyclopes gave Zeus the that they would fight thunderbolt, Hades his alongside him, helmet of invisibility, and ▫ Great at throwing boulders• Released the Cyclopes, on the Poseidon his trident condition that they would ▫ Hades used the helm to steal forge a weapon that no Cronus’s weapons, Poseidon monster, god or Titan could distracted him with the overcome trident, which allowed Zeus to use the thunderbolt to defeat him
  21. 21. Punishment• Zeus overthrows Cronus, and • Another version of the story chains him up in Tartarus puts Cronus in the Elysium ▫ (in some stories, cuts him into Fields pieces, and then throws the ▫ Note: Although Cronus was pieces into Tartarus – horrible to his children, he remember, though, that the gods was a generous ruler over are immortal and cannot die, so humankind, and the age he Cronus is still alive in Tartarus) ruled was called the Age of Gold  Age of Gold: when the earth provided food without the need for labor, and murder was unknown to humans, who lived together peacefully • Zeus chains up the Titans who helped Cronus in Tartarus as well, where the Hecatonchires guard them, all except Atlas. ▫ Zeus punishes Atlas for his leadership role by forcing him to hold up the sky
  22. 22. Cronus in Rome• According to Greek • Connects the more brutal, war- mythology, Cronus (Roman like, and less imaginative named Saturn), when Roman culture to the more overthrown by Zeus and the cultured and sophisticated other Olympians, was cut apart Greek culture and the pieces were cast into a • Later, when we study the fall of deep part of the underworld Troy, we meet the Trojan known as Tartarus warrior Aeneas (ah-nee- ▫ According to Roman us), who is the only Trojan hero mythology, when to escape Troy. He leaves Troy overthrown, Saturn fled and ends up in the area that Greece and took up residence eventually becomes Rome. He in Rome is credited with the founding of ▫ Becomes the start of the Rome, and thus gives them a Golden Age in Rome reason to take over the culture and mythology of Greece when the Romans conquer it.
  23. 23. Gaea Upset AGAIN• Gaea, who originally supported Zeus and the Olympians in their war against the Titans, becomes angry when her children are imprisoned within her (chained in Tartarus)▫ Gives birth to two giants, with serpent-like lower limbs, Typhon and Enceladus  Could breathe fire, and pile mountains on top of each other  Typhon had a hundred dragon- like heads, a human-like upper body that reached the stars, and wings
  24. 24. Olympians Run… Olympians were terrified, and began to run away to Egypt, turning themselves into animals• Hades put on his helmet of • Aphrodite and Eros disguised invisibility to hide themselves as fish• Typhon caught Dionysus by ▫ Constellation Pisces surprise on the banks of the commemorates this, and is Nile river, and he transformed represented by two fish tied himself into a creature that together with a string was part goat, part fish  Tied themselves together so ▫ Constellation of Capricorn they wouldn’t lose each other commemorates this event – typically shown as a goat with • Zeus disguises himself as a a fish’s tail ram, but later returns to fight  Some stories say that the each of the giants with his constellation is actually thunderbolt Amaltheia
  25. 25. Mt. Etna • Enceladus was struck down by a spear thrown by Athena, and buried under Mt. Etna on the island of Sicily • This is why Mt. Etna is such an active volcano – when he tries to break free, the earth shakes, and when he breathes fire, lave erupts
  26. 26. Typhon• When he fought Zeus, Typhon cut out the sinews (muscles) from Zeus’ hands and feet and left Zeus helpless• Hermes goes and steals the sinews back, and Zeus replaces them, healing himself ▫ Later Zeus subdues Typhon with his thunderbolts, and either imprisons him in Tartarus, or buries him under Mt. Etna (and it is he, not Enceladus, that causes the volcanic eruptions)
  27. 27. Children of Typhon • Had many monstrous children that show up in later myths ▫ Cerberus ▫ The Sphinx (killed by Oedipus) ▫ The Chimera (killed by Bellerophon) ▫ Several that Hercules faces: The Nemean lion, the hydra, Orthus (Geyron’s two- headed wolf/dog) and the Ladon (the serpent that guarded the golden apples in the garden of the Hesperides)
  28. 28. A Final Battle• Giants rebel against the Olympians• With the help of Hercules, they are defeated and hurled into Tartarus• Olympians are secure in their position• Zeus, Poseidon & Hades cast lots for realms
  29. 29. Ages of Humanity,Prometheus & Epimetheus,Pandora,Deucalion & Pyrrha
  30. 30. Ages of Humanity• Humans were created by the gods• 1st race – Golden Race ▫ Age during the reign of Cronus – it was eternally springtime ▫ Humans were created by the gods out of gold ▫ Mankind lived to a very old age, but with a youthful appearance ▫ When they died, they became pure spirits, who protected and helped mankind  Dying was more like falling into sleep  In some versions, men even aged backwards
  31. 31. Ages of Humanity, cont.• Age of Silver • Age of Bronze (or Brass) ▫ The four seasons appeared ▫ Men were created out of ash trees during this period, and (trees used to make spears) humans learn art and ▫ Called age of bronze because their agriculture armor and homes were made of ▫ Not very intelligent bronze  Lived as childlike beings for ▫ Very warlike over a hundred years  Ended up killing each other off because  Very short period as adults of all of the wars ▫ Constantly killed each other accidentally ▫ When they died, their spirits did not live on earth, but dwelt in the underworld ▫ This race was destroyed by Zeus because they refused to honor the gods
  32. 32. Ages of Humanity, cont. • Age of Heroes ▫ These were demi-gods, and were more honorable than the previous race ▫ Most of these heroes were killed in great wars such as Trojan war or war in Thebes  Most of the heroes of Greek mythology lived in this age  When they died,  many went on to live in the Elysium Fields with Cronus,  Some became companions of the gods  Some were placed in the heavens as constellations
  33. 33. Ages of Humanity, cont.• Age of Iron ▫ The goddess Justice ▫ Age of toil and (Astraea), who stayed on Earth injustice, crime and for all of the previous four punishment ages, fled to the heavens during this age, and is represented as ▫ This is the age humanity is the constellation Virgo (the still suffering through virgin) ▫ Many virtues have  She once carried a pair of disappeared, and most of the scales with which she weighed gods remaining on Earth the rights and wrongs of any have abandoned it dispute. Now her scales shine close by Virgo, as the constellation Libra. ▫ Zeus will eventually destroy this age
  34. 34. Prometheus & Epimetheus• Prometheus & Epimetheus • Epimetheus asked his assigned to create animals and brother, Prometheus (whose humans, so there would be name means forethought) for someone to worship the gods help• Epimetheus, whose name ▫ Prometheus molded humans means afterthought, gave all out of clay, causing them to the good gifts to the animals stand upright like the gods when he created them ▫ He brought them fire from ▫ Fur the sun ▫ Claws • Prometheus is depicted of the ▫ Fangs great benefactor of humanity ▫ Wings ▫ Strength ▫ Speed
  35. 35. Sacrificial Ritual in Ancient Greece• Importance of sacrifice shown ▫ Lead it to the altar, sprinkle through a story of Prometheus water on the bull’s head, and• Greeks only ate meat about as the bull shook its head to shake off the water, they once a month, and did so as a would take this as a sign that part of a great religious the bull was shaking his head celebration in permission to kill him ▫ They were very aware of the  Another way was to lead significance of the taking of a several bulls to the life, and equated it with altar, then put honey-cakes sacrificing the animal for the on the altar, and the first gods bull that stretched its head  They created a ritual known towards the cake to eat it as the comedy of was seen as stretching innocence, in which they towards the altar in an offer appeared to get the animal’s to be sacrificed permission before killing it
  36. 36. Sacrificial Ritual, cont.• Blood of the sacrificed ▫ All the meat was distributed to the animal was caught in a people, and the innards (the spagmata dish and burned, and in Greek) were wrapped up in the the rising smoke was animal’s hide and resurrected (made to seen as an offering to look like the whole animal again), and the gods on high burned in honor of the gods ▫ Myth of Prometheus explains this ▫ If the blood was allowed to spill on the ground, it was seen as an offering to the gods of the underworld
  37. 37. Prometheus Tricks Zeus • Prometheus arranges that • In retaliation, Zeus took away humans should get the best fire, which Prometheus had to part of any animal sacrificed, and the gods would steal for mortals get the unusable parts • The gods live off of the smoke • He cut up an ox, and piled all of the meat under the hide, and topping it with the disgusting-looking entrails • He made a second pile, which was bigger than the first, of the bones, covered by shining fat • He told Zeus to choose ▫ Zeus chose the bigger pile, only to discover it was inedible ▫ Only bones & fat are burned
  38. 38. Importance of Fire • Fire is the basic elemental force of civilization ▫ Cook food, purify water, harden metal implements • Prometheus stole fire and hid it in a fennel stick, then gave it back to humans ▫ Fennel is the way hunter-gatherer societies carried embers of fire from place to place  Outer stalk of fennel doesn’t burn, but the interior is flammable, so the embers can be carried within • Humans get to keep the fire, but are punished, because now fire is also dangerous, and dirty (smoke) and hot ▫ Idea of eternal toil
  39. 39. Prometheus Punished• Prometheus is punished for going against Zeus ▫ He is chained to a great rock  Caucasus ▫ A great eagle (in some stories a vulture) tears out his liver ▫ Because he is a god (Titan), his liver regenerates each night, and the eagle returns each day  Torture continued for 30,000 years
  40. 40. Prometheus Punished, cont.• He is also punished because he heard • He knew that he would only be a prophecy released if one of the other ▫ Thetis would give birth to a son immortals went to Hades of his conceived with Zeus, who was own free will, to stay forever. destined to overthrow his father. ▫ Hercules, during his 12 ▫ Zeus knew part of the prophecy, but labors, shot the eagle that was not the name of the goddess. feeding on his liver Prometheus refused to tell Zeus ▫ Hercules had also accidentally which goddess. shot his friend, the wise centaur Chiron, with a poisoned arrow, leaving a wound that could not be healed.  Chiron volunteered to go to the Underworld. Prometheus took pity on his unending pain, and gave Zeus the name of Thetis. Chiron went to the underworld, Prometheus’s chains immediately fell off, and Zeus promptly married off Thetis to a mortal man.
  41. 41. Humanity Punished -- Pandora• Zeus had Hephaestus mold a • She was also given a jar, and beautiful maiden from clay each god put something ▫ Up to this point, there had harmful into it only been men on the earth ▫ Pandora was told never to• Each of the Olympians gave open the jar her gifts • She was sent to marry ▫ She was called Epimetheus Pandora, which means “Gift ▫ Prometheus warned against of All” taking gifts from the gods, but  Athena clothed her Epimetheus didn’t listen, and  Aphrodite gave her beauty fell in love with Pandora ▫ Epimetheus locked the jar in the closet so Pandora wouldn’t open it
  42. 42. Pandora, cont. • Pandora’s curiosity got the better of her, and she took the key to the closet when Epimetheus was gone and opened the jar ▫ Later stories make it a box • All the evils escaped into the world ▫ She tried to close the lid but was too late • The only thing that remained in the jar was hope, which never leaves mankind ▫ In some stories, it is hopelessness that she traps
  43. 43. Deucalion & Pyrrha• Humans had become so wicked • Two people survived, floating in that Zeus decided to destroy a wooden chest, which landed mankind after those 9 days at Mt.• He sent a great flood that Parnassus covered the entire world except ▫ Deucalion - husband the very top of Mount Parnassus  He was the son of Prometheus ▫ He unleashed torrential rains ▫ Pyrrha - wife ▫ Poseidon stirred up the rivers  She was the daughter of and seas, and sent earthquakes Epimetheus & Pandora• Almost everyone died, either by • Deucalion & Pyrrha were drowning or by starvation honest, moral people, and• Constant rain lasted for 9 days faithful worshippers of the gods • Prometheus had warned his family, and had them build the chest and fill it with supplies
  44. 44. Deucalion & Pyrrha, cont.• Zeus drew away the • Deucalion’s stones became men waters, and they were the only • Pyhrra’s stones became women living creatures on earth • Parallel story to Noah’s Ark• They found a temple and gave thanks for being alive ▫ A voice told them to cover their heads and throw the bones of their mother behind them  Horrified – disrespecting the remains of an ancestor was horrible sacrilege  Realized the bones of their mother were rocks (mother earth)