As you probably know by now, I am writing a series of books in order to retrace the pre-history of humanity based on religious teachings, world mythology, alternative history and compare them with scientific data. Since I have already share with you the basic teachings of the 5 major religions in the world (i.e. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism) now I would like to share with you world mythologies starting with Greek mythology.
ANCIENT GREEK RELIGION
Today, billions of people believe their religious stories to be true, so why would we have objections that world mythologies were once considered as true by their followers too? The truth of the matter is that, what we call mythology today was once considered as true religion for their followers. Amazingly enough there are many similarities between religious stories and world mythologies. Most of these similarities are not so obvious, some are.
I believe these happened because in reality there is only 1 religion for all of mankind since the beginning of time. I believe all world myths and various religious stories actually derived from one Mega Story – the true story of human’s pre-historical events that have been corrupted by many different nations so they become the fairy tales and hard-to-believe stories we know today. This Mega Story does not belong only to one single nation or religion, but it is the true (pre)history of our common ancestors.
Of course, it takes a long study and to compare all the religious stories and world myths to prove the above statement, which I am putting down in a series of books entitled: MythoReligio. But for now, let’s begin with the stories from the ancient Greek religion. There are several levels of gods/deities in ancient Greek religion.
THE PRIMORDIAL DEITIES
In the beginning there was only Chaos. Then, out of this chaos, Erebus (Darkness) and Nyx (Night) were born. Erebus and Nyx slept together and gave birth to Aether (Brightness) and Hemera (Day).
Apart from that, Nyx alone created Fate, Sleep, Dreams, Doom and other things that dwell in the darkness.
In the darkness, Tartarus (a deity and also a place in the underworld/hell) was born. Then Gaia, the earth goddess appeared. There are many versions as to how this goddess was born. One version says she was parentless, another says she was born out of Erebus, in yet another she was a daughter of Aether and Hemera.
Either way, when Gaia, the earth goddess was born she brought forth (or gave birth to) her equal Uranus (Sky) that covered her on every side and became the abode of the gods. All these deities are considered as the first level or primordial deities.
THE 12 URANIDES TITAN GODS
Uranus (Sky) became the husband of Gaia (Earth) and together they produced:
- 3 Cyclopes (giants with one eye in the middle of their foreheads)
- 3 Hecatoncheires (giants with hundred arms)
- 12 Titans (giant gods)
The 12 Titans were considered as the second level of divine beings, and they consists of 6 pairs of male and female (some of them married one another, like in Egyptian myths and like the sons/daughters of Adam and Eve) , and these are their names (the sign x, means they are married to):
- Cronus (king of titans) x Rhea (titaness mother of the gods)
- Oceanus (titan of the sea) x Tethys (titaness of the sea)
- Coues (titan of the pillar of the north) x Phoebe (titaness of the moon)
- Hyperion (titan of the pillar of the west and the sun) x Theia (titaness of sorcery)
- Iapetus (titan of the pillar of the east)
- Themis (titaness of justice)
- Crius (titan of the pillar of the south)
- Mnemosyne (titaness of memory)
Uranus turned out to be a cruel father, he hated the Hecatoncheires and imprisoned them in Gaia’s womb (i.e. earth’s caves). Gaia got mad and asked her other titan children to attack Uranus. In one version, all of them were too afraid except for the youngest, Cronus. So, Gaia and Cronus plotted together and when Uranus was sleeping Cronus castrated his father with a sickle and threw the severed genitals into the sea.
In another version, Crius, Coues, Hyperion and Iapetos were posted at the four corner of the world where they seized hold of their father, Uranus (the Sky) and held him firm, while Cronus, hidden in the centre, castrated him with a sickle.
From the blood that was spilled some creatures emerged such as the Erinyes (or Furies – subterranean spirits of vengeance) and Nymphs (female spirits of nature).
After Uranus’ departure, Cronus became the ruler. Ironically, Cronus too became cruel and imprisoned his siblings he had saved (i.e. the Hecatoncheires and the Cyclops) in Tartarus (the Underworld). He then married his own sister Rhea and had 6 children: Hestia, Hades, Demeter, Poseidon, Hera and Zeus.
Cronus ruled for many ages and his reign was referred to as the virtuous Golden Age. However, it had been prophecied that one day Cronus too would be overthrown by his own son. To avoid this, Cronus swallowed all of his children as they were born.
Rhea was angry at the treatment of the children and plotted against Cronus. When it was time to give birth to her sixth child, Rhea hid herself, then she left the child to be raised by nymphs on the island of Crete. To conceal her act she wrapped a stone in swaddling cloth and passed it off as the baby to Cronus, who swallowed it. This child was Zeus.
Then history repeated itself, after becoming an adult, Zeus came back from the place where he was hidden at the island of Crete. Zeus and his mother Rhea plotted to defeat Cronus. When Zeus came back to Mount Olympus, Cronus did not recognize him and Rhea convinced Cronus to take Zeus as his cupbearer. Rhea put a potion in Cronus’ drink to vomit the swallowed children. The plan work perfectly and the other five children emerged out of Cronus. As gods, they were unharmed and thankful to Zeus, they made him their leader.
THE 12 OLYMPIAN GODS
In the ancient Greek religion or mythology, although the 12 Olympian gods are only the third level or generation of gods they became the major pantheon. These gods are believed to have taken home at Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece. The gods/goddesses included as the 12 Olympian gods varied according to different versions. 5 or 6 of the gods/goddesses are siblings of Zeus, the rest are children of Zeus with his own sister, Hera or with other women.
- Zeus (king of the gods)
- Hera (queen of the gods)
- Poseidon (sea god)
- Demeter (harvest goddess)
- Hestia (hearth goddess) or Hades (underworld god) or Dionysus (wine god)
- Athena (war/wisdom goddess)
- Apollo (sun god)
- Artemis (moon god)
- Ares (war god)
- Aphrodite (love goddess)
- Hephaestus (fire god)
- Hermes (messenger god)
THE WAR OF TITANOMACHY
Then a war called Titanomachy between the titans and the Olympian gods took place, because Cronus was yet to be defeated. This war is actually a family war mostly between cousins.
Iapetus (a titan brother of Cronus, or Zeus uncle) had sons whose mother was Clymene, an Oceanids (one of the 3,000 daughters of Oceanus and Tethys), their names are: Atlas, Prometheus and Epimetheus.
Atlas became the leader of the titans, meanwhile Prometheus sided with Zeus. In the battle it looked like the titans were about to win but Zeus was cunning; he went to Tartarus and freed the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires. And this strategy led Zeus to his victory.
Zeus exiled the titans who had fought against him into Tartarus, with the exception of Atlas, who being the leader of the opposing force, was punished to hold the universe on his shoulders.
After the war was over, the gods thought that it would be interesting to create mortal beings in their image, in order to inhabit the earth. Zeus gave the task to create man to Prometheus. So Prometheus shaped man out of mud and Athena breathed life into the clay figurine.
As soon as the mortals were created, Zeus ordered Prometheus and Epimetheus, to give these beings various gifts in the hope that the mortals would evolve into interesting beings, able to amuse the Gods.
Epimetheus gave the gift of agility to some animals, strength to some and speed to the others. This gifst left the human race defenseless, with no natural weapons in this new earthy kingdom. Prometheus, who liked the human race, promptly distributed his own gifts to mankind. He stole reason from Athena, giving it to man. Then he stole fire from the gate of Hephaestus, to keep them warm. Thus, Prometheus became the protector of the human race.
Zeus was angry with Prometheus gifts because for fire was supposed to be reserved only for the gods and he did not want the human race to resemble the gods. So, Zeus chained Prometheus on a peak in the Caucasus mountain, which was believed to be at the end of the world. Zeus sent an eagle eat Prometheus’ liver every single day for thirty years. At the end of each day, Prometheus’ liver would grow back again, so he would have to suffer all over again.
To punish man, Zeus ordered Hephaestus to mold another mortal out of earth with stunning beauty with a deceptive heart and a lying tongue. This creature was Pandora, the first woman. Pandora was given a pottery vase or a box that she was forbidden to open. Then, Zeus sent Pandora to Epimetheus, who had decided to live amongst men.
Prometheus had warned Epimetheus not to accept gifts from Zeus, but Pandora’s beauty was too great; and Epimetheus let her stay. Eventually, Pandora’s curiosity about the forbidden box overwhelmed her. So she opened it, releasing all evils upon the earth. Only one thing was left in the box when Pandora managed to close the lid again – hope.