In Mythology, there are several myths about various figures and gods. Below is a brief summary of some.
The Titans and the Twelve Great OlympiansEdit
The Greeks believed the universe had created the gods, and heaven and earth were the parents of the Titans, gods of massive size and formidable strength. The most important was Cronus (Saturn), the father of Zeus. Zeus overthrew his father and ruled the universe. When Zeus took power, Cronus fled and created the Golden Age, a time of great prosperity and happiness.
Other Titans include: Ocean, the river encapsulating earth; Hyperion, father of the sun and moon; Mnemosyne, which means Memory; Themis, meaning Justice; and Iapetus, the father of Atlas and Prometheus.
Succeeding the Titans were the Twelve Olympians, who were the 12 major Greek gods who lived on Mt. Olympus. The gods were: Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Hera, Ares, Athena, Apollo, Aphrodite, Hermes, Artemis, and Hephaestus.
The Two Great Earth GodsEdit
In her despair, Demeter wandered around earth as a human. Four girls sighted her and offered to provide a housing for her; their mother, Metaneira, welcomed Demeter in at once, unaware that she was a goddess. Demeter nursed Metaneira's son Demophoon, and she planned to give him eternal youth. However, since one of the procedures to accomplish this was to lay Demophoon in a fire, Metaneira saw Demeter doing so and screamed in terror. Angered, Demeter manifested herself as her goddess form, and she mandated that a temple be built in her honor near the town. Petrified and awestruck at such a revelation, Metaneira informed her husband Celeus. Celeus gathered the townspeople, and together they finished constructing the temple.
During Demeter's stay in the temple, a period of despair ensued among the town. Because of Demeter's intense longing for her daughter, crops failed to grow famine seemed imminent. Zeus witnessed this and knew he had to take action. He sent Hermes down into the Underworld to retrieve Persephone. Knowing he could disobey Zeus's order, Hades reluctantly gave her up; however, he made Persephone eat a pomegranate seed, knowing that if she did she would have to return to him.
Persephone reunited with Demeter, and Demeter apologized for the turmoil she caused and returned the land to its former life. However, because of the pomegranate seed, Persephone had to return to the Underworld every winter to stay with Hades, and she would rise again in the spring. Although this pained Demeter, she knew that she would have to adapt to it.
Dionysus was the son of Zeus and Semele. Despite Semele being a mortal, Dionysus was a god, and he was the God of Wine.
Zeus fell in love with Semele and declared he would do anything for her, and he swore by the river Styx. Hera put a wish into Semele's heart that made her desire to see Zeus in his full glory. Knowing that any mortal who saw him in his true form would die, Zeus reluctantly showed himself to her. As expected, Semele died, but Zeus snatched from her her near-born child, who was none other than Dionysus, God of the Vine.
Dionysus grew up, teaching men about wine and vines. One day, a crew of sailors spotted Dionysus and could not resist his attractive looks. They seized him immediately, but realized they could not bind him. Acetes, the helmsman, was the only one who recognized him to be a god, and pleaded them to release him at once. The captain mocked him, but soon Dionysus transformed into a fierce lion, and all the men were turned into dolphins when they jumped overboard. Dionysus showed mercy for Acetes, however.
Dionysus desired to meet his mother, so one day he traveled down into the Underworld to get her. He brought her back to life and brought her to Olympus, where the gods recognized her as fit to dwell with them.
How the World and Mankind were CreatedEdit
Mother Earth and Father Heaven have appeared in the universe from Light and Darkness, which came from a massive entity called Chaos. Earth and Heaven had bore children, which included a species of monsters with a hundred hands and fifty heads, the Cyclopes, and the Titans.
Father Heaven hated the monsters with a hundred hands and fifty heads, but he tolerated the Cyclopes and Titans. Thereafter, Heaven imprisoned every one of them, until Mother Earth appealed to her children to put Heaven to justice. One Titan, Cronus, was brave enough, and he severely wounded Heaven. Out of this blood came a fourth race of creatures called the Giants, and also creatures known as the Furies, monsters who punished sinners.
Cronus ruled for several years until Rhea had secretly raised a child, Zeus. Zeus overthrew Cronus and engaged in a war between he and his siblings and Cronus and his Titans. Zeus and his brothers and sisters won, after Zeus freed the previously imprisoned hundred-handed monsters that Heaven had incarcerated.
After his victory, Zeus punished the Titans greatly. Further enemies fought still, including the Giants, but Zeus and the gods quickly eliminated them; Zeus and his brothers and sisters ruled the universe from then on.
On earth, Ocean encapsulated the world. At the edge lived a mysterious people called the Cimmerians. To the north were the Hyperboreans, and the Muses lived not far from them.
Finally, mankind was ready to be made. The land of the dead had already been established on one of Ocean's banks. The task of creating man was given to Prometheus and Epimetheus, Prometheus's brother. Whereas Prometheus was wise, Epimetheus was scatterbrained. He gave all the best assets, such as wings, fur, and feathers, to animals, and left none for man. Prometheus rectified this dilemma by giving man the gift of a superior brain, an upright posture, and fire, which he stole from the heavens.
An alternative account was that the gods created humankind. In this story, the periods of man were divided into ages: The Golden Age, The Silver Age, The Bronze Age, and eventually the Iron Age. As each age progressed, mankind's nature became worse and worse.
Zeus punished Prometheus for caring so much about man, after he stole fire for them. In addition, Prometheus had arranged so that man got the best parts of meat while the gods got the scraps and bones.
As a result, Zeus created Pandora, who was given a box full of suffering and plague. She was told not to open it, but her curiosity took over and she opened it, releasing plague, sorrow, mischief, and suffering for mankind.
After Zeus punished man, he turned his attention to Prometheus. He bound him on a mountain and tortured him. Aside from the reason of wanting to punish Prometheus, another reason Zeus bound him was to elicit an important piece of information from him that only he knew; only Prometheus knew who would bear the child that would overthrow Zeus. However, despite the severe torture, Prometheus remained silent, and knew his punishment was unjust. Finally, Chiron, although immortal offered his life, and Zeus accepted. Prometheus was free.
Flower Myths: Narcissus, Hyacinth, AdonisEdit
Narcissus was a beautiful lad whose beauty was so great every maiden and nymph loved him, but he would take no one and scorned love. Echo was one maiden in particular. Hera heard her chatter and rendered her unable to speak, but only able to speak the last thing others have said. Echo followed Narcissus, but he would not have her. Eventually, Narcissus saw a reflection of himself in a pool, and he gazed at it perpetually until he died, with Echo repeating his final "Farewell". Where he buried, a flower grew, called the Narcissus.
Hyacinth was another beautiful lad who had a flower named after him. He and Apollo engaged in a discus-throwing contest, but Apollo accidentally struck Hyacinth in the head, killing him. Apollo weeped for Hyacinth, having killed him himself. However, where Hyacinth's blood stained the grass, a beautiful flower bloomed.
Adonis was a figure whose myth is perhaps more famous. Aphrodite and Persephone fell in love with him, but conflict arose between them. Zeus judged that both goddesses would have him, where he would spend half a year with each. When he was with Aphrodite, they often went hunting together. However, one day Adonis was hunting with Aphrodite gone. He encountered a boar, which gored him to death. Aphrodite weeped over his body, and where his blood leaked a flower bloomed after him.