Greeks believed in a series of myths which explained nature, set up a moral
code for the people, and were just folk lore of the people. In this paper,
the beginnings of myths, the Greek gods themselves, and several myths concerning
morals, nature, and old lore of the Ancients will be discussed. Because the
myths and details about the gods were passed along by word of mouth, some myths
or gods might be interchanged or different.
The Greek myths started
as folk lore until it began to explain nature and storytellers integrated a
moral code into the myths. Many myths started out as fairy tales. As new
and more efficient farming methods became available to the Greek people they
were faced with more time in which to do other things. A people who have waste
develop a culture all their own. Because Greece was divided into different
city- states, many of the myths are different. The culture of storytelling
began to involve explanations of nature such as the creation of the horse,
spider, and such changes as winter and fire along with the creation of man
himself. Slowly, as with any longstanding government, the morals and laws
of society leaked into Greek myths in the form of, “The slain shall be avenged
by Nemesis (a force which causes people to get revenge),” or just, “Kindness
and humbleness are rewarded by the gods.” Some myths were even created to
support other myths. The myths started with storytelling and developed into
complex system of morals and explanations.
The Greek myths were almost
fruitless without the intervention of the gods. The gods controlled nature
and fought their own battles on the earth, which sometimes caused problems.
The first god was the most powerful one until he had children. The first
god is called Oranos or in some myths Uranus. He was the first ruler among
the gods. Uranus was the heavens and Gaea was the earth and thus they were
married. The couple gave birth to many different and odd children but Uranus
was cruel to them. Then, Chronos was born as the youngest titan. Chronos
dethroned his father and soon after married his sister, Rhea. He didn’t want
his children to dethrone him so he ate them. However, Zeus overthrew Chronos
and established the first real empire of the gods. Zeus settled disputes between
the other gods and made sure the humans weren’t treated in the wrong way.
Zeus and Hera gave birth to Ares and Hermes along with other minor gods. Hera
was a cruel type person in most myths and in one she led a rebellio
Zeus and almost defeated him when he was rescued. Her favorite sign is the
peacock feather and that is her unique sign. Zeus and Hera were the first
lasting god couple.
Zeus had two brothers, Poseidon and Hades. After
Chronos had been defeated, the three brothers threw dice for who would rule
in which realm. Poseidon chose the sea because there was the source of the
most adventure. Zeus chose the sky where he would rule on Mount Olympus.
Hades had no choice and took the underworld because he was notoriously unlucky.
Poseidon created many odd sea creatures and the dolphin. He also created
the horse and horselike animals. Poseidon had many children by two nymphs
and his first son, Achilles, was greater than himself. Hades ruled the underworld
and chose what to do with the souls of the people who came across the River
Styx. They were judged on what they did in life. He was unloving and terrible
and he rarely left the underworld. His only wife was Persephone. She was the
daughter of Demeter, goddess of corn, grain, and weather to an extent. Demeter
is a minor god except for the great influence she has on the earth. Because
her daughter, Persephone, is abducted
every year, the crops wither and winter
takes control of the land.
There were quite a few lesser gods who ruled
over small parts of nature. Aphrodite is the goddess of love and passion.
She was formed of the foam off the genitals of Neptune which fell into the
sea. She manipulated men and was known for her enchanted golden apples. Her
son was Eros, where we get the word erotic. Eros is the Greek form of Cupid,
the Roman god of love. Aphrodite also has a magical girdle that makes anyone
she wishes to love her. Aphrodite is married to Hephaestus,