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Myth of creation.docx

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Classical Studies
Vichi Ciocani

Myth of creation - Greeks defined themselves as between animals and gods o Higher than animals but lower then gods - Questions that repeatedly arise in myth were: o What is the purpose of man? o Their role in the world? - Succession obtained through violence = important theme o Hatred of son towards father - Monstrosity = big theme in ancient myth o If a human possesses something non-human (ex. Serpent’s tail) is that person still human? Rise of Zeus: - Known as the father of gods o Indo-European had a similar god o Roman god correspondent  Jupiter - Revered by the Greeks - Upholder of justice and sanctity of oath-giving, god of hospitality and protector of supplicants - Weapon = thunderbolt - Often shown as sceptre = an eagle th - From Hesoid’s theogony (8 century BC) o Hesiod wrote 2 poems  called epic  Theogony = “birth of gods”  Explains the “origin of gods” and their rise to power  Cosmogony = “both the world and beauty”  Explains the “origins of the world” Hesoid, Theogony (116-125): “CHAOS was first to appear, then GAEA, Earth, the broad-bosomed, Unshakable base of things, then TARTARUS, windswept and dark, Deep in the caverns of broad-wayed earth. And EROS, the fairest Of all the immortals, arose, who frees us all from our sorrows, But ruins our hearts’ good sense, breaking the wisest intention Of gods and mortals alike. From Chaos came EREBUS, darkness, And NYX, night, mother of AETHER, radiance, and HEMERA, day; These Nyx conceived by uniting with Erebus, gloomy and somber.” - Chaos first to appear - Then Gaea (Earth) o Broad-bosomed, unshakable base of things (female deity) - Tartarus  windswept and dark o Often confused with the underworld - Eros (sexual attraction = reproduction)  fairest of all of the immortals o Often portrayed as a little boy who is around Aphrodite  He is evoking passion o Philosophical texts portrayed as greater than Zeus o 2 different accounts of Eros’s birth/creation - Erebeus (came from Chaos)  darkness - Nyx  night - Aether (Nyx is the mother of Aether)  radiance - Hemera  day Gaea’s offspring Theogony (126-138): The first of the children of GAEA, equal in size to herself, Hiding her body completely, was URANUS, star-studded heaven. The blessed gods needed solider ground to support their feet; She bore long ranges of MOUNTAINS, pleasant haunts of immortals. PONTUS she bore, the unharvested sea with its raging swell, Without the pleasure of love. Thereafter Gaea was bedded With Uranus, lord of heaven, and bore deep-swirling OCEANUS, Coeus, Crius, HYPERION, Iapetus, Theia and RHEA, THEMIS, MNEMOSYNE, gold Phoebe, and fair-featured TETHYS. Last of all she gave birth to CRONUS, that scheming intriguer, Cleverest child of her brood, who hated his lecherous father. - First child of Gaea  Uranus (“star-studded heaven”) - She bore long ranges of mountains o Blessed gods needed soldiers ground to support their feet - Pontus  unharvest sea - Gaea bedded her son Uranus and produced: o Oceanus (ocean) o Coeus o Crius o Hyperion (some sort of god of the sky) o Iapetus o Theia o Rhea (mother of Zeus) o Themis (titaness who deals with respecting the law) o Mnemosyne (memory) o Gold Phoebe o Cronus (time)  Scheming intriguer, most clever child and hated Uranus his father - The children that were born were the titans - Had monstrous children as well o 3 cyclops  one-eyed metallurgists  Famous Cyclops = Polyphemus (son of Poseidon)  From the Odyssey o 3 Hecatonchires  hundred-armed creatures with fifty heads Titan Hyperion and his offspring: - Helius (Sun) o Story of his son (Ovid’s Metamorphoses, book 2)  Clymene was an ocean creature (princess in Ethiopia) and Helius  Their son was Phaëthon  Phaëthon doesn’t believe his mother that Helius is his father  Helius proves that he is the father by providing him with one wish  He asks to drive the chariot across the sky  He lost control and to save the world Zeus blasted him from the chariot  He fell into the river Eridanus  Shows relationship with god  Helius often portrayed riding in the sky in his chariot  Evidence of a son wanting to emulate his father - Selene (moon) o Love for shepherd Endymion o She wanted her lover to be immortal = asked Zeus immortality for him o Zeus gave her request by making him sleep forever - Eos (dawn) o Love for Trojan prince Tithonus (Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite) o Faces the problem of her lover dying  She is immortal o Asks Zeus for him to obtain immortality o He gives it but Eos forgets to ask for eternal youth  Continues to age Father-son conflict (Cronus vs. Uranus): As soon as each child was conceived, Uranus kept it well hidden, Refusing it access to light, deep in the womb of the earth, And gloated over his action, while Gaea groaned in her travail. But she planned a treacherous scheme. First inventing gray steel (till that day unknown), she fashioned a terrible sickle. She told her children the plan…. … Nobody dared give an answer, Till the wily Cronus bravely replied to the lady his mother. “Mother, I am quite ready to carry through with this matter, For I scorn our accursed father, who plotted such terrible things.” When URANUS came to her presence, bringing with him the darkness, And, panting with lust, embraced the mighty body of GAEA, From ambush CRONUS’ left hand seized the genital parts of his father. He reached out his right with his sickle, saw-toothed, deadly, and sharp. Like a reaper, he sliced away the genitals of his own father, Flinging them over his shoulder, to roll wherever chance sent them. But they did not fly away from his hand down to the earth, ineffective, For Gaea absorbed the gory drops that rained down upon her, And after a year had passed she bore the frightful ERINYES, The GIANTS gleaming in armor, holding long spears in their hands, And the Melian NYMPHS, whom mortals reverence all the world over. - Hesoid’s Theogony (156-187) - Uranus kept each child conceived well hidden in Earth (Gaea) o Not allowed to separate from her offspring - Uranus gloats over his actions - Gaea invented a terrible sickle, told her children her plans  asked them to help o Cronus agreed to help (hatred for his father) - Uranus came to Gaea bringing with Darkness (lust) o Cronus took the sickle and castrated him  threw the genitals away o Gaea absorbed the blood as it rained down on her  After a year  bore Erinyes (specialized in hunting one’s own family) and Melian nymphs  Bloody gore bore the giants As for the genitals, slashed away by the sickle of steel, Their impetus carried them out from shore to the tide of the sea. For years the waters swirled them about, as white foam kept oozing From out the immortal flesh. Within it there grew up a maiden Who drifted first to holy Cythera, then on to Cyprus. - Hesiod’s Theogony (188-206) o Genitals carried out to shore and remained unharmed  for years water swirled around them = foam kept oozing  Out of the immortal flesh = Aphrodite came  Drifted to holy Cythera then to Cyprus Gaea
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