What is mythology? Well according to the dictionary, mythology is “a collection of myths, especially one belonging to a particular religious or cultural tradition.” This is the direct definition, but most people know mythology because of people like Zeus, the god of The Sky and Lightning. Or people like Hades, the god of the Underworld; not to be confused with Thanatos, god of/personification of death.
Greek mythology is probably the most known mythology worldwide along with Roman mythology. Mythology is what it is today because of the stories passed down through it; these stories can be dark or cheerful; some of them are meant to scare children into sleeping early and others are to teach people to be content with what they have. So, that’s why I will be telling a famous Greek tale. There’s no better place to start than the beginning.
There was only chaos at the beginning, according to Hesiod’s Theogony. Everything was shrouded in dense darkness until the Earth, with its mountains, sea, and then the sky (Uranus), with the sun, moon and stars, emerged from Chaos. The Titans were born when Uranus and Earth joined forces. Uranus, on the other hand, was worried that one of his children would usurp his kingdom. That is why he imprisoned them all in the depths of the Earth. Cronus, the strongest of the Titans, defeated him and ascended to the throne of the world. He married Rhea, who gave birth to two gods and three goddesses: Hades, Poseidon, Hera, Hestia and Demeter.
Cronus, on the other hand, inherited his father’s anxiety and felt that one of his descendants would one day seize his throne. As a result, he swallowed them when they were born. Rhea, on the other hand, was expecting her sixth child and, worried that it would suffer the same fate as her other children, she gave birth in secret on a mountain in Crete and concealed the baby there. Zeus was the name she gave to the infant. Cronus was likewise duped into believing he swallowed this kid by handing him a stone dressed in swaddling blankets, which he swallowed thinking it was his child. Zeus was looked after by the Nymphs who gave him goat’s milk.
When Zeus was older, he tracked down his father and duped him into drinking a cocktail of wine and mustard, causing him to vomit the contents of his stomach. Zeus’ older brothers and sisters were fully grown when they emerged from Cronus! This was the start of the epic Titanomachy, the fight between the Titans and the gods, led by Zeus. This ten-year conflict was epic in scale.
The Titans were defeated by the gods, who cast them into Tartarus, a dark and bleak prison as distant from the earth as the earth is from the sky. The gods then battled the Giants for control of the planet. The Gigantomachy, too, endured a long time. However, the gods triumphed once more. As a result, Zeus ascended to the throne of the entire earth, and he and the other gods relocated to Olympus.
This is merely the beginning of the fascinating stories in Greek mythology. We are scratching the tip of the iceberg, unlike the titanic. I might just talk about Persephone and Hades later.
Keep a date with us next week.