Notebook, 1993-


[From: Kyriazis, Constantine D. Eternal Greece. Translated by Harry T. Hionides. A Chat Publication.]

The Gods in Greek

The most remarkable distinguishing feature of Greek mythology and religion is its anthropomorphism. The gods of the Greeks possessed many of the human weaknesses and many of the better human qualities. In short, the Greeks modeled their gods and goddesses on themselves. Yet this was not always the case. The great poet Hesiod, author of the Theogony, which describes the birth of the gods, informs us that in the beginning there was Chaos, then followed Gaea or Ge [the personification of Earth] and Eros [the Eros of Hesiod not to be confused with the small winged archer and mischievous offspring of Aphrodite who was a much later creation]. Chaos was vast space containing the seeds of all that was to make up the universe. As the origin of all existing things, and as the primary creative force, from Chaos sprang Erebus spontaneously [the nether world] and primeval Night. From the union of Erebus and Night came Aether [the sky] and Imera [day]. Immediately after Chaos, still in accordance with Hesiod, came Gaea [the Earth], the Universal Mother. She in turn gave birth first to Ouranos [Uranus], the personification of the Heavens, whom she wed and from the union of which the first dynasty of the gods was created. The Eros of Hesiod on the other hand was a primeval force of great significance for it was the power of attraction that brought about the union and mixture of the elements.

Ouranos and Gaea begot numerous offspring. The earliest were the Titans, six [p. 31] male and six female. The male Titans included Oceanos [the Ocean], Koios, Kreios, Hyperion, Iapetos, and the youngest of all, Kronos [Cronus]. The Titanesses were Tethus [Tethys], Theis, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, and Rhea. Brothers of the Titans were the Cyclopes, three in number, Brontes, Steropes, and Arges who represented respectively thunder, lightning, and the thunderbolt. A third set of brothers were the Hecatoncheires or Gigantes [Giants] with a hundred hands and fifty heads named respectively Aegaeon or Briareos, Cottys and Gyges.

Ouranos produced offspring without stop, and because he knew that one of his sons would some day dethrone him, eliminated his offspring soon after their birth by casting them into the depths of the earth [Tartarus]. But Gaea got her revenge by having her youngest son Kronos castrate him, thus putting a stop to his procreative powers.

Kronos, who succeeded his father, was also warned that one of his children would overthrow him. He therefore swallowed them each time his consort and sister Rhea gave birth. Just as in the case of Gaea, so Rhea would not accept this state of affairs, and the wily woman substituted a stone for her last-born, Zeus, which was duly swallowed by Kronos. Zeus was carried off to Crete where he grew up and eventually overthrew Kronos, although he was compelled to make war on the Titans and the Giants, and finally became the absolute master of Olympus and of gods and men, only after waging a fearful and successful war on the monsters. The triumph of Zeus ushers into Greek worship the third dynasty of deities comprised of the twelve gods of Olympus. This twelvesome of gods reigned supreme in the Greek and Roman world until the establishment of Christianity. [p. 32]

The Twelve Olympian Gods
For the convenience of the reader, the deities who make up the pantheon of gods of the ancient greeks are listed alphabetically. [p. 33] [see separate documents]

[Kyriazis, Constantine D. Eternal Greece. Translated by Harry T. Hionides. A Chat Publication.]



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