How Did it all Begin?

The Greek creation mythology

The creation of the earth and everything on it has been told in a number of different ways. Many of you will be familiar with the way the Bible tells it and there are also going to be many that have heard of the Big Bang. All of us here at Myth*Ing Persons have fallen in love with the way the Ancient Greeks tell the story of creation so it's only natural we'd want to share the tale.

There's also no denying that tales from Greek mythology have had a profound influence on all of us here and also in the wider world in terms of culture, arts and literature. At least in the Western world that is. Many poets and artists from ancient times to the present day have been inspired by Greek mythology. And discovered a lot of relevance and significance in the various themes.

The most widely accepted version – Hesiod's Theogony

Hesiod was a Greek poet, alive in Ancient Greece around the same time as Homer, between 750 and 650 BC. He has been credited, together with Homer, with the establishment of a number of religious Greek customs. Theogony is thought to be his earliest work. The subject matter is the origin of the world and pf the gods.

The tale begins with nothingness, named Chaos. From the black void came Gaia, (the Earth) and a number of other beings. For example, Eros (Love), the Abyss (the Tartarus) and Erebus. Erebus was the darkness of the underworld, and there was also Nyx (night). Gaia gave birth to Uranus (the Sky) without the help of a male. Uranus fertilized Gaia and six males and six females were born. These were the Titans. The males were named Coeus, Crius, Cronus, Hyperion, lapetus and Oceanus. The females were named Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Rhea, Theia, Themis and Tethys. It was decreed by Gaia and Uranus that no more Titans would be born, after Cronus.

Cyclopes (one-eyed) and the Hecatonchires (Hundred-Handed Ones) followed and they were both thrown into Tartarus by Uranus. Gaia was not very happy when this happened and she convinced Cronus (the youngest of her children) to castrate Uranus, his father. The genitals and blood of Uranus, fell to Earth and Aphrodite, Erinyes, giants and nymphs were created. After Cronus had done this he became the Titans ruler along with his sister Rhea as his consort. She was also his wife. Cronus's court was made up of the other Titans.

Because Cronus had betrayed his own father he was never happy with his own offspring and feared they would do the same that he had. Every time Rhea gave birth he ate the child. Apart from one, named Zeus, who Rhea hid and instead wrapped a stone into a baby's blanket. Cronus ate it thinking he had eaten his son. Zeus grew up and gave his father a drugged drink, causing him to be sick. Cronus brought up all the children he had eaten as well as the stone. Zeus challenged his father for the kingship of the gods. Zeus and his brothers and sisters won the war, with the help of cyclopes who had been freed from Tartarus. And poor Cronus, together with the Titans, were imprisoned in Tartarus.

Zeus was not a happy man either and was also plagued with the same worries as his father. This wasn't helped by a prophecy that told of an offspring, given birth to by his first wife Metis, who would be a god greater than himself. This caused Zeus to swallow his wife. But she was already pregnant with Athena, who burst out of his head. She was fully-grown and dressed for war.

The creation of man

There was a lot of discord and fighting among the gods before man was created. A god named Prometheus is the one who created man and he did so out of mud. The goddess Athena, is the one who breathed life into the man. Prometheus gave the job of giving all living creatures different qualities and skills and there was nothing of any worth left to give to man. All that was left was for Prometheus to make man stand upright and to gift him fire.

Zeus wasn't very happy with this because he wasn't all that fond of man himself. Zeus decreed that man had to give a portion of every animal that was sacrificed to the gods, but Prometheus tricked Zeus who then took away the gift of fire. It was stolen back by Prometheus and given back to man but Zeus punished him for this, as well as punishing man. Pandora, the first woman, was the punishment. Zeus also gave Pandora a box that she was forbidden to open. Inside the box were misfortunes, plagues and diseases and at the very bottom there was hope.