Introduction to Theogeny full(2).docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Mariapia Pietropaolo

Introduction to TheogenyTheogeny is a mythical account of how the greek gods came into existence and of the relationships and conflicts between them which led to a permanent divine monarch under the rule of zeusZeus is the supreme god and father of gods and menTheogeny is also an account of how the world beganTheogeny literally means the origin of the godsCosmogony literally means the origin of the world th Theogeny was composed toward the end of 8 century bc by Hesoid a Greek farmer poet from the region of BoetiaTheogeny is possible the oldest surviving example of Greek written literatureWe know little about the life of HesoidHesoid was workingas a shepherd when one day the nine Olympian muses gave him a laurel staffand taught him beautiful songPerhaps the songs the muses taught him is the theogenyWe suppose that theogenies existed in Greece before the time of hesoid but these were oral theogonies and there is nothing we can know about themThe Structure of TheogenyThe theogeny is a genealogical table or a family tree in verseIt traces the lineage of 2 families who happen to be comprised of gods and goddesses over 3 generations The world begins with emergence of 4 divine entities o Chasm chaos in greek o Earth Gaia o Tartarus o ErosT he family of chasm is smaller in extent and importance and is made up chiefly of the fatherless personifications born to chasms daughter Night or nights daughter Strife EriesHesoids major concern is the family of Earth Not only because it is her children and grandchildren whose couplings and battles will decide the question of divine rule in the universe Sky Ouranos her son and husband is the first skygod to rule the world his son ndrdCronus is the 2 and Cronus son Zeus is the 3 and lastZeus marries 2 of his aunts 2 of his sisters and 3 of his cousinsThe poem begins with an invocation of the muses the 9 daughters of zeus and memory Mnemosyne who are the titular divinities of song and were regularly called upon for inspiration and guidance at the beginning of much archaic greek poetryThe number 3 is very significant in theogeny Examples 3 generations of gods 3 children of zeus and hera 3 gorgons 3 cyclopes etc
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