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Introduction to the Universe Instead of the gods creating the universe, the universe created the gods. First there was Heaven and the Earth. Their children were the Titans. The Titans’ children were the gods who (led by Zeus) later overthrew them. Basically Earth and Heaven were first in existence, their kids were the Titans, and their grandchildren were the gods. The Titans The Titans ruled the Earth until they were forced from power by the gods. They were of great size and were very strong Also referred to as the “Elder Gods”. All of the Titans, with the exception of Cronus (Saturn), were not banished when Zues took charge of the universe. The Titans include: Cronus (Saturn): Ruled over Titans until Zeus overpowers him. Ocean: River that is circles the earth Tethys: Ocean’s wife Hyperion: Father of the sun, moon, and dawn. Mnemosyne: Name means memory Themis: Name means justice Iapetus: His son ATLAS bore the weight of the world on his shoulders Premetheus: The savior of mankind The 12 Great Olympians The most powerful of the gods were the 12 great Olympians (the main Greek gods). They lived on Mt. Olympus (hence the name Olympians) a region far above all the mountains of the earth, on a plane that existed separately from Earth and Heaven. – The entrance was a gate of clouds. – The Gods would spend all day eating, drinking, and listening to music played on Apollo’s lyre. – Olympus was perfect. It was always sunny and there was no wind, rain, or snow. 12 Great Olympians Zeus (Jupiter): Lord of the Sky and the leader of all the gods, the rain god, and cloud gatherer. Wore an aegis: used to represent a protective shield He was the most powerful, but was not all knowing. He could be outwitted or deceived. His wife was the Goddess Hera, but he had various lovers and affairs. Some say that this can be explained by his worship at many towns, where the people would merge the town’s god with Zeus, making that god’s wife a lover of Zeus’ as well. Hera (Juno): Zeus’ wife and sister The beautiful protector of marriage and married women. She was also very jealous and held grudges, and punished many of Zeus’ mistresses in drastic ways. Trojan war would have ended honorably if one Trojan hadn’t judged another goddess lovelier than herself. 12 Great Olympians Poseidon (Neptune): Zeus’ brother and the God of the sea. Controlled the seas and its waves and storms with his trident. Introduced horses to mankind and had a special connection with bulls and horses. Lived under the sea but spent most of his time in Olympus. When he drove over sea in his gold carriage the waves would calm Was sometimes called the “Earth Shaker”. Hades (Pluto): 3rd brother of Zeus’ Was in charge of the underworld (the realm of the dead) and the dead themselves (but not of Death). God of wealth and precious metals in the Earth. Barely ventured out of the underworld and onto Earth or Olympus (was not welcome there). 12 Great Olympians Athena (Minerva): Zeus’ daughter, had no mother, was born from his head. The Battle Goddess/Goddess of the City, the protector of civilized life, handicrafts, and agriculture Was fierce, ruthless, and defensive of state. Zeus’ favorite child and was trusted with his most valuable possessions, such as the thunderbolt. One of the 3 virgin goddesses. Apollo: Parents were Zeus and Leto, Played beautiful music on his lyre. The God of Light and Truth (and always told the truth.) Lord of the Silver Bow/Archer God 12 Great Olympians Artemis (Diana): The twin sister of Apollo One of the three main goddesses of Olympus. “Lady of Wild Things” Huntress Artemis on Earth, and Selene, the moon, in the sky. Shows the uncertainty between good and evil. Aphrodite (Venus): The Goddess of Love and Beauty who loved laughter and was the most beautiful of things. Said to be weak at times and deceiving at other times. Daughter of Zeus and Dione, but in some stories is told as being born from the foam of the ocean. 12 Great Olympians Hermes (Mercury): Son of Zeus and Maia The messenger of the gods, famously known for his winged shoes and winged hat. Was said to be the most shrewd and cunning, and a master thief and a guide of the dead. Ares (Mars): Son of Zeus and Hera, but neither parent liked him. The God of War Thought to have been a bloodstained, murderous coward. Hephaestus (Vulcan): Sometimes told as the son of Zeus and Hera, and other times to only Hera. God of Fire, and was ugly and lame (crippled), Kind and peace loving. Wife is Aphrodite 12 Great Olympians Hestia (Vesta): Zeus’ sister that has no distinct role or personality in myths. The Goddess of the Hearth and the symbol of the home. Lesser Gods: The Graces: 3 women, daughters of Zeus, life of the party The Muses: 9 women, daughters of Zeus Hebe Eros: Cupid, God of Love, usually blindfolded because love is blind. Anteros: One who opposes love Himeros: name means longing. Hymen: God of the wedding feast Hebe: The goddess of youth, daughter of Zeus and Hera. Married to Hercules Iris: Goddess of the rainbow. A messenger of the gods. Abstract forces Themis (Divine justice Dike (Human justice) Nemesis (Righteous anger/revenge by the gods) Aidos (the reverence/shame that holds a person back from doing some wrong) The Sea Ruled by Poseidon Populated by Nereids, sea nymphs Triton: Trumpeter of the Sea Proteus: Shape shifter, Poseidon’s son/attendant Pontus: God of the Deep Sea Nereus: God of the Mediterranean A God for every river Titan Ocean, lord of the river that encircles the entire earth Underworld Various entrances, through caverns and beside deep lakes Ruled by Hades and his queen, Persephone. Located somewhere underneath the Earth, the realm of the dead. Guarded by a 3 headed dog, Cerberus. All may enter, none will leave. Two sections: Tartarus and Erebus Tartarus: Prison of the sons of Earth Erebus: Wear the dead pass through as soon as they die. Five famous rivers: Acheron: River of woe Cocytus: River of lamentation Phlegethon: River of fire Styx: River of the Gods’ unbreakable oath Lethe: River of forgetfulness The boatman Charon ferries souls of the dead across the water to Tartarus. Will only ferry those who were given passage money and were duly buried. Souls go before three judges, Rhadamanthus, Minos, and Aeacus, who determine the souls fate. The bad are sentenced to eternal torture in Hades by the Furies. The Good are allowed into the Elysian Fields, a place of paradise. Sleep, Dreams and Death are forces that lurk in Hades. Earth She is the All Mother, but not a divinity. Main Gods: Demeter and Dionysus. Pan: Son of Hermes, leader of the satyrs (goat men), always fell in love with nymphs but was always rejected due to his unattractiveness. Silenus: Either Pan’s brother or son, he was always riding a donkey because he was too drunk to walk. Teacher of Dionysus (the Wine God). Castor and Pollux: Occasionally spoken of as gods, the brothers were rewarded for their love for one another. An angry cattle herder kills Castor, and Pollux begged to be killed as well out of love. They were allowed to spend half the year in Hades and the other half on Earth. Home to: The Wind Gods Centaurs (half man, half horse) and satrys (fauns/half man, half goat) Gorgons: fearsome monsters whose stare would turn a man to stone, includes Medusa Graiae: Three women whom share one eye The fates, who are not restricted to the laws of the gods and universe The Romans The Romans adopted the Greek gods and stories into their own cultures, with a few of their own changes. Despite their deep religious feelings, they were unable to imagine the unique personalities of each Greek god. Before they created the new gods, the existing ones were combined and referred to as the Numina. They changed the names of the gods into Roman names, and adopted the Greek Cronus, changing his name to Saturn. Modern Day Allusions The 9 planets of our solar system take after the Roman names of the Greek gods. The name of aphrodisiacs (foods/things that stimulate “desire”) come from Aphrodite. Saturn and Mercury (a.k.a. Cronus and Hermes) are cars named after these gods. The Atlas Moving Company is named after the Titan Atlas, who had to bear the world on his shoulders. Venus™ brand razors are named after the Goddess Venus. An atlas is a book of maps of the world, and Atlas is the Titan who had to hold the world on his shoulders as his punishment. Mars is the Roman name for Ares, god of War; name of popular candy bar, Mars Bars. Gatorade has the lightning bolt symbol that Zeus had. The Apollo Theater is named after Apollo. Trident gum is taken from the three-pronged spear of Poseidon, god of the sea. Higher Level Questions Identify why the Greeks created so many gods Compare and contrast two gods Do you believe the gods positively or negatively influenced our culture? Why?