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Transcript of Greek Mythology
In the beginning,
there was Chaos
From Chaos, the Earth (Gaea)
and Sky (Uranus) emerged
along with Light and Dark
Earth and Sky joined and had children
Uranus looked at his children and
found all but the Titans monstrous.
Uranus threw his ugly children into
Tartarus, the deepest darkest pit
inside the Earth.
Gaea is angered and demands that
the Titans rise against their father.
The youngest Titan,
Gaea gives Cronus a stone
sickle to use as a weapon.
Cronus defeats Uranus
and Uranus flees.
Cronus becomes the new Lord of the
Universe, and all the Titans accept him
as their king.
This is a golden age.
Cronus refuses to release the
Giants and the Cyclops
Gaea is angered at
her son’s betrayal.
Cronus learns a prophecy
that a child of his will replace him
as he replaced his own father.
Cronus commands his wife, Rhea, that if
she gives birth, she must bring
the child to him.
She does so five times, and each time he devours the child, imprisoning it inside his own body.
The sixth time Rhea tricks her husband,
and gives him a stone instead.
The child, Zeus, is raised in secret.
When he comes of age, Gaea gives him
the Aegus, a magical goatskin that will
protect him from Cronus’ sickle.
Zeus plans a trick to defeat Cronus
and his Titan followers.
Zeus presents himself to Cronus
and offers to serve him as his cupbearer.
Cronus accepts the offer not
realizing who Zeus really is.
Zeus slips a magic herb into Cronus’ drink.
Cronus gets ill and vomits up the
children he has eaten, now fully grown.
The children are
The six, then turn
on their father, but
Cronus and Zeus are
too evenly matched.
War rages on between
the young gods and the Titans.
Cronus names Atlas, the
strongest of his brothers,
the leader of his armies.
Zeus frees the Cyclops and the Giants from Tartarus to fight on his side.
The Cyclops make for Zeus
the lightning bolts which
become his most powerful weapon.
Cronus and Zeus meet in battle.
Zeus uses the lightning bolts
and vanquishes his enemies.
The Titans are thrown into Tartarus, except for those that refused to fight against Zeus: Metis (Zeus’ first wife), Prometheus (the creator of mankind), and Epimetheus (the creator of animals).
Gaea becomes angry with Zeus for placing the Titans in Tartarus and releases her most terrible children: Typhon and Echidna to destroy him.
All the gods but Zeus
flee before the monsters.
With his lightning bolts,
Zeus defeats Typhon and traps him
under Mount Aetna,
Europe’s largest active volcano.
Echidna is allowed to escape, and she gives birth to dragons and monsters that will challenge the gods and the greatest mortal heroes.
The Cyclops build for Zeus and his fellow gods
a great palace on top of Mount Olympus.
Zeus settles down and his family of gods grows.
Zeus marries his sister Hera and makes her his queen.
She is the goddess of marriage and childbirth.
Hera is the mother of Hephaestus,
God of craftsmen
and the forge.
...and Ares, the god of war.
The two brothers are in love with Aphrodite, Hephaestus' wife, and secretly Ares' lover.
Aphrodite was the goddess of love and beauty.
Poseidon was Zeus' eldest brother and god of the oceans.
Hades, Zeus' other brother was lord of the Underworld, the land of the dead.
Zeus' sister Demeter was goddess of the harvest.
She had a daughter named Persephone.
One day, Persephone was kidnapped...
...by Hades. This brings the first winter to the world.
Zeus commands that Persephone be returned to Demeter for six months every year, this explains the seasons.
Hestia, Zeus' other sister, was the goddess of the hearth.
Sometimes Zeus had children outside of marriage.
This made Hera very angry. She tormented his lovers and children whenever she had the chance.
Apollo, the god of light and music was one of these children.
Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, Apollo's twin, was also tormented by Hera.
As was Hermes, the god of
messengers, tricksters, and thieves.
He earned his place as a god by tricking his half brother Apollo.
He made peace with the angry Apollo by inventing the lyre.
The mother of Dionysus, the god of wine, was mortal, but she was tricked by Hera into asking Zeus to prove he was a god.
His radiance killed her.
The unborn Dionysus was placed in Zeus' leg until he could be born.
Dionysus was not the only god to have a strange birth.
...then that son would overthrow him as he had overthrown Cronus.
Zeus heard a prophecy that if he and his first wife, Metis, were to have a son...
Metis was the goddess of prudence, and Zeus valued her advice above all others.
So he tricked her into playing a game of shape-changing.
She would become an animal and he would copy it.
When she became a fly, he swallowed her.
Trapped inside his head, she could still give him advice.
Not long after, Zeus began to feel a terrible headache as if his head was ringing with the sound of metal being hammered.
The pain was so great that he had Hephaestus split his skull open.
Bursting from his head came Athena, the goddess of wisdom, fully clothed and armored.
These gods would be told of in song and story for over 3000 years.
Some of the most important writings of the ancient world include the stories of these gods and the mortal heroes who were descended from them.
The most famous of these heroes was Heracles, a son of Zeus, who performed 12 labors assigned to him by the jealous goddess, Hera.
The most famous stories, however, were The Iliad and The Odyssey by the Greek poet Homer.
The Iliad is the story of the Greek hero Achilles, and how he defeats the Trojan, Prince Hector, during the Trojan War.
According to the myth, The Trojan War began with a wedding gift.
At the wedding of the sea nymph Thetis and the hero Peleus, all the gods were invited...
...except one, Eris, a servant of Ares, and the goddess of strife.
Eris crashed the party and presented her gift: a golden apple with the words "For the Fairest" written on it.
Immediately the goddesses began to fight over the gift.
To end the argument, Zeus has a mortal, Paris, the son of the king of Troy, be the judge.
Each offers him a bribe...
...but Paris chooses Aphrodite, who offers him the hand of Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world.
Sadly, Helen is already married...
To Menelaus, the king of Sparta
Even worse, because of her beauty, all the kings of Greece have signed a pact to go to war against any king or prince who tries to take her from him.
With Aphrodite's help, Paris steals her away.
Menelaus goes to his brother, King Agamemnon of Mycenae, the most powerful man in Greece, and demands that the pact be followed and all Greece must go to war with Troy.
For ten years the war is fought and many heroes are made and lost on both sides.
The Iliad takes place in the final year. Agamemnon starts a feud with his greatest warrior, Achilles.
Achilles refuses to fight as long as Agamemnon leads the Greeks.
The Trojans, led by Prince Hector, start to win, forcing the Greeks to retreat to their ships.
To save the Greeks, Achilles' friend Patroclus, puts on Achilles' armor and rallies the Greeks.
The Trojans flee, thinking Achilles has returned.
All except Hector, who slays Patroclus.
Achilles puts aside his argument against Agamemnon and challenges Hector to one on one battle...
The story ends with King Priam of Troy sneaking into the Greek camp and begging Achilles to return the corpse of his son to him.
The theme of the story is one of friendship, pride, fate, forgiveness, and the need to honor the gods.
Hector is shown as a more civilized man, more compassionate, and more concerned with family.
Homer's other epic, The Odyssey, picks up 10 years later, after the end of the Trojan War.
Most of the story is told in flashback as the hero Odysseus recounts his 10 year journey home from the war.
There we learn of how Troy fell with the aid of a wooden horse.
The story also contains a lengthy preamble where the reader follows Odysseus' 20 year old son, Telemachus, as he searches for news of his missing father.
Athena herself takes a disguise and journeys with Telemachus to the court of Menelaus in Sparta.
When we finally meet Odysseus he is weary from his adventures and about to return home.
He has journeyed so long because he has been cursed...
...for blinding Polyphemus,
a one-eyed son of Poseidon.
...he has lost all his ships and all his crew.
When he finally gets home, no one recognizes him except for his faithful dog.
Meanwhile, his faithful wife Penelope is beset by evil suitors who plan to murder his son and take his land and fortune for themselves.
With the aid of Athena, Odysseus gets revenge on the suitors and is reunited with his family.
The theme of the Odyssey is the power of cunning over strength, the pitfalls of temptation, and the importance of fidelity.
Superior to the Iliad in both style and scope, the Odyssey is probably the most noteworthy piece of literature of the ancient world.
Greek Gods and Heroes
by Mr. Nessman
Many writers, Greek, Roman, and beyond would borrow from its ideas and try to match its narrative power...
Few, if any, would succeed...
Thanks to Homer...
He was also the god of prophecy.
If you wanted to know the future, you would visit his temple at Delphi, where the Oracle would tell it to you.
Atlas is sentenced to hold up the sky for all eternity.
As a result of this curse...
...Zeus and company are part of our culture too.
...and others like him...
Thank you for watching!
the great Greek playwrights...
This is how Hollywood envisions their battle. From the film, Troy.
Though the story is long and complicated, it can be summarized like this...
Curiously, the Trojans, especially Hector, are the more sympathetic characters to modern readers.
To the Greeks, Achilles was the hero because of his peerless fighting skills.
Odysseus, the hero, is also a great warrior, but he is more valued for being clever and cunning.
The Greek Creation Myth
The Olympian Gods
Rage! Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus' son Achilles, murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses, hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls, great fighter's souls, but made their bodies carrion, feasts for the dogs and birds, and the will of Zeus was moving toward its end.
Sing to me of the man, muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy.