LLT 121 CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY: Myths of Creation
Copyright  2001, Joseph J. Hughes
Last reviewed: 13 August 2001

I.   Creation of the Universe
     A. Hesiod's Theogony: 
        1. origin of the gods and their rise to power
           a. born, not created
           b. justifies Zeus's ways to man
        2. also a cosmology, an account of the origin of the world
           a. animism = worship of physical features and forces of nature
           b. anthropomorphism = humanlike deities who control the above
     B.	Creation from Chaos according to Hesiod's Theogony
        1. Chaos (chasm, abyss)
           a. a separation occurred; i.e., matter already existed
           b. an abstract, non-personified force
           c. cosmic void (or cosmic womb?)
        2. Gaia (Gaea or Ge)
           a. mother-earth
           b. a personification
        3. Tartarus: 
           a. the deep abyss on the underside of Gaia
           b. the outer edge of Chaos	
        4. Eros, (desire) 
           a. the motivating force behind further creation
           b. unique to Hesiod
        5. Erebus (darkness) and Nyx (night) 
           a. dark forces which represent dire necessities
           b. first dark, then light
    C.	The descendants of Gaia
        1. the dark forces produce (call up) their opposites
        2. The Titans: powerful, (physical) natural forces
           a. Uranus ("Sky"); produced parthenogenetically
           b. Mountains and Pontus ("Sea")
           c. Gaia and Pontus produce various sea deities
        3. Gaia and Uranus's offspring
           a. Titans (semi-anthropomorphic)
              1) e.g., Themis, "Tradition,"; Mnemosyne, "Memory"
              2) Rhea and Cronus, youngest
              3) Hyperion = "walks on high"
              4) his kids Helios (sun), Selene (moon), Eos (Dawn)
           b. three Cyclopes: eventually make Zeus' weapons
           c. three Hecatonchires ("Hundred-Handers"): later help Zeus
II.  Hieros Gamos and the Succession Myth
     A. Hieros Gamos: "sacred marriage"
        1. usually sky god and earth goddess
        2. aetiology of vegetation
           a. storm as sexual intercourse
           b. rain as semen
     B.	Hieros Gamos I: Uranus and Gaia
        1. Uranus the first "evil": 
	   a. tries to stop the natural progression or order of things
           b. motivation: jealousy of children
        2. Gaia uses craft to retaliate
           a. wily Cronus responds to the challenge
           b. from the castration (separation) comes:
              1) Erinyes (Furies): avenging spirits
              2) Giants
              3) Aphrodite; represents sexual desire
           c. Uranus and Gaia are retired; become advisors (mainly)
        3. Progeny of Gaia and Pontus
           a. mostly monsters--e.g., Harpies, Sphinx, Gorgons, Cerberus
           b. mostly combinations of human and animal parts
           c.	Nereus, Old Man of the Sea:  had prophetic powers
     C.	Hieros Gamos II: Cronus and Rhea
        1. Cronus is the first king; Golden Age for humankind
           a. told he will be replaced, so suspicious and clever
           b. swallows his 6 children, the "Olympians" to be
        2. Rhea advised by Gaea and Uranus: baby Zeus spirited away
           a. raised on Crete: reflects history
           b. Amalthea: goat-nurse
        3. Zeus comes of age
           a. Metis ("Cleverness") gives Cronus an emetic
           b. omphalos ("navel") stone
        4. Titanomachy (Clash of the Titans): 
           a. old gods vs. new gods; 
           b. brute physical force vs. mental and physical skill
           c. Themis and Prometheus side with Zeus
           d. Zeus releases Cyclopes and Hecatonchires; gets their help
           e. 10 year stalemate broken; Titans relegated to Tartarus
        5. Typhoeus (Typhon): Zeus' greatest challenge (Typhonomachy)
           a. dragon, son of Gaea and Tartarus
           b. represents the life-destroying negative side of the female
        6. Zeus defeats Giants
           a. "revenge children" of Gaia
           b. pile mountains on top of each other
           c. no wonder Zeus is a bit touchy.
    C.	Zeus as king
	1. Zeus appointed king (unlike his father)
        2. delegates authority (unlike his father)
        3. takes Metis ("Cleverness") as his first consort
           a. prophecy that he would be deposed by his son
           b. cleverly swallows Metis (unlike his father); 
           c. she becomes subordinate to him; he becomes wise
        4. birth of Athena
           a. Zeus the new creator (male)
           b. creates from the head (mind)
           c. she is forever loyal to him; no threat
        5. defeat of Giants (Gigantonomachy)
           a. born from Uranus' genitals
           b. wild, primordial, natural forces
           c. order over nature    
III. Themes in Indo-European Creation Myth
     A.	a progressive differentiation from a primordial mass of matter
        1. origin of the primal substance not accounted for
        2. Chaos, the first differentiation of primal matter
        3. subsequent division of matter through progeny
     B.	a progressive and logical ordering of the elements produced
	1. Uranus attempts to stop evolution, loses control and fails
        2. Cronus attempts to become the new creator
           a. swallowing his children, 
           b. but loses control and fails without the female to help
        3. Zeus assumes and maintains control over natural creation
           a. has many consorts, both immortal and mortal, and becomesthe prime creator
           b. mates wisely throughout in order to establish an ordered universe
           c. perhaps also a horny old coot.
     C. Transition from animistic to anthropomorphic view of deities
        1. animistic = Gaia is the Earth, Uranus is the sky
           a. deified features of the universe and forces of nature
           b. incomprehensible and unapproachable
        2. anthropomorphic = Zeus controls the sky
           a. just like everyday humans, only better and immortal
           b. comprehensible and approachable - perhaps too much so
     D.	Hittite Cronus Myth
        1. Alalus rules for 9 years, supplanted by helper Anu
        2. Anu rules for 9 years, supplanted by helper Kumarbi
        3. reign of Kumarbi
           a. eats severed testicles of Alalus
           b. becomes pregnant with four children
           c. vomits them up, including eventual successor STORM-GOD

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