Friday, August 7, 2015

10. Greek Mythology

Greek mythology is related to the myths of ancient Greece that in his time the Greeks regarded as a religion and was used to explain the origins of the world with a wide variety of gods, heroes and other mythological creatures study. Over time, these myths were expressed through an extensive collection of narratives that constitute the Greek literature and its main works epic poems Iliad and Odyssey of Homer and also the Teogonia and Works and Days of Hesiod .
Greek mythology has no absolute schedule, but we can put together a chronology of the mythological story dividing it into three major periods:
  1. Myth of origin or age of gods: the Teogonia, the birth of the gods, the myths about the origin of the planet of the gods and the human race.
  2. Era when men and gods mingle freely: history of early interactions between gods, demigods and mortals together.
  3. Age of Heroes: where divine activity was more limited. Period of heroic legends like the Trojan War and its aftermath.
The Greek mythology is very broad and has many characters from the primordial gods, titans and gods of the Olympian passing by the demigods, heroes among several others. Below is a short summary of Greek mythology and its principal gods and heroes.
Everything begins with Chaos, the primal void and darkness that precedes all existence. It arises Gaia (the personification of the Earth), and other primary divine beings: Eros (Love, organizing principle of the world), Tartarus (underworld), Erebus (the personification of darkness), predominating over the regions of space just above the night robes of his sister Nyx (the personification of the night).
Gaia alone generated Uranus (Heaven), Points (Sea) and Óreas (Mountains). Then Uranus and Gaia fertilizes primarily born of this union titans, and soon Cyclops. Conduit, Uranus, did not allow them to leave the interior of Gaia and they remained obedient to his father. Only Cronus, the youngest, castrated his father with a sickle produced from the bowels of Mother Gaia and threw his genitals into the sea, producing the goddess Aphrodite and thus releasing all brothers stuck inside the mother. Without interference from the father, Cronus became the king of the Titans with his sister Rhea as the spouse and the other Titans as his court.
When Cronus took the place of Uranus became so wicked as his father. With his sister Rhea, sired the first Olympian gods, but soon devoured them while born of fear that one of them dethrone. But Zeus, the youngest son, with his mother's help, managed to escape the fate and waged war against its progenitor, whose winner would gain the throne of the gods. At the end, with the strength of the Cyclopes, Zeus won and condemned Cronus and the other Titans in Tartarus prison, after forcing his father to disgorge his siblings.
After this dismissal of the Titans, a new pantheon of gods and goddesses came. Among the principal Greek gods were the Olympians, residing on Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece, under the eye of Zeus. However, the Greek gods, though immortal and powerful were essentially human, had magnitudes and human weaknesses such as violence, jealousy, hate and envy, although they owned the ideal physical bodies. The gods also were related to humans in stories of love between a god and a mortal emerging demigods or heroes like Hercules, Achilles and Perseus.

Below the list of Olympians with their Greek and Roman names and their functions :
  • Zeus / Jupiter - King of the gods and ruler of Mount Olympus, god of the sky and storms. The youngest son of the Titans Cronus and Rhea.
  • Hera / Juno - Queen of the gods. Goddess of marriage and motherhood. Wife and sister of Zeus .
  • Poseidon / Neptune - God of the seas, storms, earthquakes and horses. Brother of Zeus and Hades.
  • Demeter / Ceres - Goddess of fertility, agriculture, nature and the seasons. Sister of Zeus.
  • Hades / Pluto - God of the dead, the underworld and the riches of the earth. Brother of Zeus and Poseidon .
  • Hestia / Vesta - virgin goddess of home and hearth. Sister of Zeus.
  • Aphrodite / Venus - Goddess of love, beauty and sexuality. Daughter of Uranus or other traditions of Zeus and Dionne.
  • Apollo / Phoebus - the sun god, healing, plague, arts, music, poetry and prophecy. Artemis is his twin sister. Son of Zeus and Leto.
  • Ares / Mars - god of war. Son of Zeus and Hera.
  • Artemis / Diana - Virgin Goddess of the hunt and the moon. Twin sister of Apollo.
  • Athena / Minerva - virgin goddess of wisdom, crafts and military strategy. Daughter of Zeus and Metis.
  • Dionysus / Bacchus - god of wine, parties and ecstasy. Son of Zeus and the mortal Semele.
  • Hephaestus / Vulcan - Blacksmith of the gods, god of fire and metallurgy. Son of Zeus and Hera.
  • Hermes / Mercury - Messenger of the gods, god of commerce and thieves. Son of Zeus and the nymph Maia.

Greek mythology has exerted a major influence on culture, the arts and literature of Western civilization mainly in the Renaissance period and remains as part of the heritage and language of the West.

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