Word Count: 1934The AncientGreeks believed in a series of myths which explained nature, set up a moralcode 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 concerningmorals, nature, and old lore of the Ancients will be discussed. Because themyths and details about the gods were passed along by word of mouth, some mythsor gods might be interchanged or different. The Greek myths startedas folk lore until it began to explain nature and storytellers integrated amoral code into the myths. Many myths started out as fairy tales. As newand more efficient farming methods became available to the Greek people theywere faced with more time in which to do other things.
A people who have wastedevelop a culture all their own. Because Greece was divided into differentcity- states, many of the myths are different. The culture of storytellingbegan 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 manhimself. Slowly, as with any longstanding government, the morals and lawsof society leaked into Greek myths in the form of, “The slain shall be avengedby Nemesis (a force which causes people to get revenge),” or just, “Kindnessand humbleness are rewarded by the gods.
” Some myths were even created tosupport other myths. The myths started with storytelling and developed intoacomplex system of morals and explanations. The Greek myths were almostfruitless without the intervention of the gods. The gods controlled natureand fought their own battles on the earth, which sometimes caused problems. The first god was the most powerful one until he had children. The firstgod is called Oranos or in some myths Uranus.
He was the first ruler amongthe gods. Uranus was the heavens and Gaea was the earth and thus they weremarried. The couple gave birth to many different and odd children but Uranuswas cruel to them. Then, Chronos was born as the youngest titan. Chronosdethroned his father and soon after married his sister, Rhea.
He didn’t wanthis children to dethrone him so he ate them. However, Zeus overthrew Chronosand established the first real empire of the gods. Zeus settled disputes betweenthe 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. Herawas a cruel type person in most myths and in one she led a rebellion againstZeus and almost defeated him when he was rescued.
Her favorite sign is thepeacock feather and that is her unique sign. Zeus and Hera were the firstlasting god couple. Zeus had two brothers, Poseidon and Hades. AfterChronos had been defeated, the three brothers threw dice for who would rulein which realm. Poseidon chose the sea because there was the source of themost 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 createdthe horse and horselike animals. Poseidon had many children by two nymphsand his first son, Achilles, was greater than himself. Hades ruled the underworldand chose what to do with the souls of the people who came across the RiverStyx.
They were judged on what they did in life. He was unloving and terribleand he rarely left the underworld. His only wife was Persephone. She was thedaughter of Demeter, goddess of corn, grain, and weather to an extent.
Demeteris a minor god except for the great influence she has on the earth. Becauseher daughter, Persephone, is abductedevery year, the crops wither and wintertakes control of the land. There were quite a few lesser gods who ruledover 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 thesea. She manipulated men and was known for her enchanted golden apples. Herson 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 anyoneshe wishes to love her.
Aphrodite is married to Hephaestus, the ugly god ofthe forge. He and Aphrodite are Olympian gods but have limited control. Aresis the god of war. He rules all war and provokes men to war.
He plays a vitalrole in provoking hatred among men. He is the son of both Zeus and Hera. Hermes is the messenger god. The myths say that he was born of Zeus alone. Hermes is vital in settling disputes between the gods and has done so quiteoften. He is the swiftest of the gods and is known to carry messages of greatimportance for mortals.
Helios was the sun god. Every day he rides hisflaming chariot across the sky high in the heavens to the Island of the Blessed. He is the Greek explanation of the sun. There are three more godlikecreatures that stand out in mythology. The first creature is a demigod.
Ademigod is a human/god mix and because Zeus and Poseidon were promiscuous therewere many demigods. Hercules is among one of the most popular demigods. Hewas the strongest and lived the longest. He was the mythological Supermanto the Ancients. The Cyclops were a menace in many myths and Hercules slewmany. The Cyclops, as a race, were around during the battle of the Titans.
The Titans were huge, odd, creatures created by Gaea and Neptune. Chronoswas a Titan. Though the Titans aren’t mentioned much in the most popular myths,there were hundreds of them who were kept pent up inside the mountains. Therewere many gods and godlike creatures. The Ancient Greek myths had explanationof nature in mind but also the spread of a moral law. The first Greek mythdealt with the creation of the universe.
It starts out with an explanationof how the universe was. “In the beginning there was chaos. . . . ” It then talksabout how Gaea was born of nothing and she created the heavens, Uranus.
Sheand Uranus then created everything else. However, Uranus was an evil fatherand she and Chronos plotted against him. Chronos took a sickle made of flintand castrated his father. His father fled away in shame. The genitals fellinto the sea and from their blood came the giants, and from the foam againstthe genitals was born Aphrodite. However, as Neptune fled, he said that Chronoswould be dethroned by his son and that crime begets crime.
Chronos marriedhis sister and started to have children. As they were born, Chronos swallowedhis children one by one. Rhea, his wife, finally grew tired of having fruitlesschildren. When she gave birth to Zeus, shestole him away and gave him tosome shepherds to raise. They raised him and, in return, she would keep theirsheep safe. She wrapped up a stone to look like a baby and Zeus swallowedthe stone whole.
After a few years, Rhea became lonely and brought Zeus backto be the cupbearer of Chronos. Then, Rhea and Zeus plotted against Chronosand Zeus slipped a regurgitory mixture into Zeus’s cup. Zeus vomited up hisprevious children and they sided with Zeus. They waged a huge war and Zeus’sarmy of gods and Titans won the battle. From then on, Zeus was the undisputedruler of the gods.
This myth shows how evil begets evil along with how theuniverse was created. Prometheus created man and all other animals. He gave all the animals different gifts and the ability to heal themselves. He gave so many gifts to the animals that he had nothing to give to man.
Prometheus decided to allow the man to walk upright like the gods and stolefire from Mount Olympus. However, Zeus was angry with Prometheus for stealingthe fire and giving it to man. Zeus had Prometheus chained up atop a mountainto have his intestines be picked by vultures. Zeus stripped Prometheus ofhis ability to heal himself and gave that gift to men.
And since then, menhave been able to heal themselves and have had fire to protect them. The horse was not created along with the rest of creation, according to Greekmyths. Poseidon was the ruler of the seas. He chose the sea after his fatherwas dethroned because it contained many unventured adventures. While he wasin the sea, he married a Nereid and his son was Achilles.
Poseidon made manycreatures to scare little Nereids. However, his wife asked him to make hersomething beautiful and he created the dolphin. Poseidon wanted land to becomehis kingdom se he began to sink Athens but Athene interfered. There was almostwar but Zeus and Hermes were able to settle the fight and Athene got Athens.
This anger of Poseidon toward the Athenians causes all their naval battlesto fight poorly. Poseidon sought a new wife and chose Demeter. She wouldhave him only if he could make the most beautiful land animal ever seen. Poseidontook many days and created many animals close to his goal but not close enough. Finally, he created the horse and gave it to Demeter.
She thought he wouldnever create something so beautiful and would then not have to marry him. However, she married him and rode on the horse all day long. However, inthe process of making the horse, he had made other animals such as the cameland mule. He did not destroy the misfits but set them aside. They found theirway back into this world and are the horselike animals we know of today. Thismyth explains the creation of the horse and other horselike animals.
The gods control the seasons as we know them today in this Greek myth. Hadeswas on the surface of the earth on business when Eros shot him with an arrow. Hades fell in love with Persephone and stole her away into the Underworld. Demeter, Persephone’s mother, searched for her daughter and when she couldnot find her, froze the earth. Zeus didn’t want the earth to wither and dieso he sent Hermes to fix the situation. Since Persephone ate part of a pomegranate,she would stay with Hades part of the year and live on the world the rest ofthe year.
All the time she would be gone, Demeter would weep and snow wouldfall. Fall is caused by her anticipation of her daughter leaving. This mythdemonstrates the power of the gods, the power of love, and how fall and winterhappen. The Greek gods and myths were a vital part to the ancient Greeks. The myths do explain nature and set up an orderly manner in which people shouldact. The myths, however, use gods to explain nature in order to substitutefor pure logic.
All the myths have meanings or explanations in which all theancient questions are answered. The Greek myths were vital to Grecian society.