Tuesday, 29 November 2011

The Three Brothers- Zeus

Zeus, Hades and Poseidon, after winning the war against the Titans divided the world up amongst themselves by picking lots, Zeus picked the longest and won the skies and the heavens, Hades picked the shortest and got the Underworld, and Poseidon got the seas.

Zeus from God of War

Zeus- King of the gods, husband to Hera, father to numerous beings including the heroes Heracles, Perseus, the gods and goddesses Athena, Apollo and Artemis, Hermes, Persephone, Dionysus, Ares, Hebe, the Muses, the Moirae, the Charites and Hephaestus, Helen of Troy, the kings Minos, Rhadamanthus and Sarpedon, and Aeacus (three of these, not Sarpedon, became the three Judges of the Dead), and others. He was known for his frivolous relationships and constant adultery and going to great lengths to abduct women and them hide them from Hera.


He was saved from being devoured by his father Cronus when his mother Rhea switched him with a stone. She then hid Zeus in a cave on Mt. Ida. He was suckled by either a goat called Amalthea/Amaltheia or by a goat belonging to a nymph called Amalthea/Amaltheia, with her sister Melissa who gave him honey, or a nymph called Adamanthea who owned the goat Amalthea/Amaltheia, or the nymphs Cynosura and Helike, or Gaia herself.
The nymph dangled him from a tree thus placing him between earth, sky and sea and rendering him invisible to Cronus. When Zeus cried the Korybantes/Corybantes/Kuretes, armed dancers who worshipped Cybele, danced, sang and clashed their shields to drown out his noise.

When grown he caused Cronus to throw up the stone and his siblings with a potion Metis or Gaia gave to him. He then freed the Cyclopes (who gave him his thunderbolt), the Gigantes, and the Hecatonchires, after killing their guardian Campe/Kampe. With them he fought in the Titanomachy, which he and the others won. After he drew the lot of the heavens and skies he became king of the gods.

When he imprisoned the Titans Gaia turned on him birthing Typhon and Echidna to fight him, along with the giants/Gigantes but all of them failed. He killed the Gigantes king Porphyrion after he tried to rape Hera. Typhon cut his sinews and had them guarded by the half-woman half-dragon Delphyne but Apollo slayed her and Hermes stole his sinews back.

His first wife was Metis, the Titan of wisdom and cunning, he devoured her in the form of a fly when it was prophesised that she would birth a son more powerful than him. She was pregnant at the time and inside Zeus Athena was birthed and grown and was released from his head by Hephaestus fully grown and armed. His second wife was Themis the Titan of good counsel, order and divine law. With her he had the Horai/Horae and the Moirae/Fates. His third wife was Mnemosyne, the Titaness of memory, with whom he had the nine Muses/Mousai, and finally he married Hera, the goddess of marriage and his sister.

Zeus from The Immortals

Several people felt his wrath. Ixion was the king of the Lapiths, he killed his father-in-law Deioneus in revenge for Deioneus stealing his horses after Ixion refused to pay the bride-price for his daughter Dia. Ixion went mad and was shunned but Zeus took pity on him and invited him to dine with the Olympians. Ixion lusted after Hera and when Zeus found out about this (possibly because Hera told him) he fashioned a cloud, Nephele, in Hera's form as bait. Ixion had sex with it and in punishment was banished from Olympus with a thunderbolt and then bound to a flaming wheel by Hermes at Zeus' behest (which later ended up in Tartarus). The result of his union with Nephele was Centaurus, the first of the Centaurs.
He turned Pandareus, a favourite of Demeter's to stone for stealing a bronze/golden dog from Zeus' temple at Tantalus' urging.
He punished his own son Tantalus/Tantalos after he stole ambrosia and nectar from the gods and betrayed their secrets, thus betraying their hospitality, and tried to feed them his own son Pelops, who he had murdered. Zeus had him put in Tatarus where he had to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree, every time he wanted fruit the branches were out of reach and when he wanted water it receded.
He had King Sisyphus/Sisyphos punished for telling the river god Asopus that it was Zeus who had abducted his daughter Aegina. He ordered Thanatos to chain up Sisyphus and drag him to Tartarus, Thanatos was tricked into binding himself with his chains and was later freed by Ares.
He punished Sisyphus' brother Salmoneus, king of Elis, for pretending to be Zeus and calling himself that. He rode in a chariot with torches over a bridge of brass. Zeus struck him with a thunderbolt, destroyed his town and sent him to Tartarus.
When King Haemus and his wife Queen Rhodope of Thrace called themselves Zeus and Hera, Zeus and Hera changed them into mountains.
He, Poseidon or Apollo killed the Telchines, children of Pontus and Gaia, Tartarus and Nemesis, or Ouranos, for using the magic wickedly. They were metalworkers, described as having flippers and dogs' heads, and they mixed Stygian water with sulphur and used this to kill plants and animals. They were killed by a lightning bolt, a flood, Poseidon's trident or Apollo in wolf form.
Some sources say he blinded the prophet Phineus and had him tormented by harpies because he had revealed too much to people.
He killed Iasion/Iasus/Eetion out of jealousy. Demeter made love to him at Cadmus and Harmonia's wedding and when Zeus saw the mudstains on her back he guessed what had happened and killed Iasion with a thunderbolt.
The Titan Prometheus suffered his wrath for tricking Zeus into taking bones wrapped in fat for a sacrifice, leaving meat hidden in the stomach for mortals, and then for stealing fire and giving it to mankind. For these offences Zeus had Hephaestus chain him to rock and had him daily tormented by an eagle that ate his liver, which regenerated over night. He remained like this until Heracles rescued him.

Zeus could be kind too. He turned a priest of Apollo Periphas into an eagle and his wife into a bird at Apollo's request, instead of killing him because he was honoured equally to Zeus. He also give the prophet Tiresias/Teiresias long life and foresight after Hera blinded him for agreeing with Zeus in that women enjoyed sex more than men.

As mentioned, Zeus had many lovers and children. Here is a complete list of them. With Aega, granddaughter of Hephaestus and a nurse to the infant Zeus with her sister Aex, he had a son, Aegipan. Aegipan was heavily linked to Pan and in some sources was his father, some sources say he was half-fish and half-goat, and with Hermes helped find and restore Zeus' sinews. In other versions, Aegipan is a son of Apollo. His Roman counterpart was Silvanus, also considered a Roman counterpart for Pan and linked to Faunus. Aega in other sources is a daughter of the Cretan king Melisseus, and was a nymph who nursed Zeus with her sister Adrasteia, though this may have been Ide, or a daughter of Helios and Perse, so bright she frightened the Titans and was concealed in a cave by Gaia, where she nursed Zeus. Sometimes she is said to be the goat that suckled Zeus instead of Amalthea.

With his sister Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, he was father to the maiden Kore who became Persephone. He allowed his brother Hades to take Persephone for a wife without Demeter or Persephone's permission but when Demeter let the earth die, refusing to let the crops go, he compelled Hermes to fetch Persephone out of the Underworld. Finding out that she had eaten pomegranate seeds there, Zeus said she would spend either half the year or three months of it with Hades, and the rest with Demeter.
With his daughter Persephone, in the form of a serpent, he had Zagreus/Zagreos, a son linked to Dionysus. Hera had the Titans kill Zagreus out of jealousy, attacking him while he was distracted with a mirror. He tried to flee in bull form and was ripped apart. Zeus, Persephone, Hermes, Athena or Rhea recovered his heart and Zeus took it and placed it in Semele and in her he was reformed as Dionysus. In other sources Hades is Zagreus' father with Persephone.
It was with Semele, Cadmus and Harmonia's daughter, that he had Dionysus. Hera disguised herself as an old woman and asked Semele how she really knew it was a god who was her lover, compelling Semele to ask Zeus to appear to her as he did to Hera, when he granted her a boon. Zeus was forced to agree to this and when he appeared Semele died of fright. Zeus took the infant within her and sewed it into his leg, from this Dionysus was born. Dionysus then went to the Underworld and brought his mother up as a goddess- Thyone.
In some versions Zeus is the father of Aphrodite with an earth and mother goddess Dione who was sometimes said to be a daughter of Gaia and Ouranos, or with the sea goddess Thalassa, daughter of Aether and Hemera and consort to Pontus. Sometimes Aphrodite is a daughter of Thalassa and Ouranos but more commonly she sprang from his blood when he was castrated.
With the Titaness of the moon, Selene, he had a daughter Ersa/Herse, goddess of the dew, and Pandia/Pandeia, goddess of the full moon, and sometimes the Nemean lion, which was also considered a child of the Chimera, Typhon and Echidna, or Orthrus and Echidna.
With the Okeanid Eurynome he had the Charites/Graces, rarely their mother was sometimes given to be a mortal Eurymedousa, Eurydome or Euanthe, sometimes their parents were Dionysus and Aphrodite or Helios and Zeus' daughter, the naiad Aegle. They were usually thought to be three- Aglaea (Splendor), Euphrosyne (Mirth) and Thalia (Good Cheer), other sources mention Cleta, Auxo, Charis, Hegemone, Phaenna and Pasithea.
The giant Orion may have been created by his, Hermes' and Poseidon's urine and semen, a son in thanks to king Hyrieus who treated them hospitably, alternatively Orion was a son of Poseidon and Euryale.
With Gaia he had a son, the first king of Lydia Manes.

Zeus from Fantasia

With the Pleiade Maia, who avoided the gods and stayed in a cave on Mt. Cyllene, he had the trickster and thief god Hermes who became his herald.
With his first wife Metis, Titaness of wisdom and deep thought, he had Athena/Athene. He swallowed Metis while she was pregnant after Ouranos and Gaia warned him that she would birth a son who would be more powerful than him. He transformed her into a fly and swallowed him and she conceived and birthed Athena inside him. Athena sprung from his head fully formed and grown when it was split open after he complained of pains.
Zeus is sometimes given as the father of the Moirai with Ananke/Anance/Anangke/Anagke, the primordial goddes of inevitability, necessity and fate, or with Themis, the Titaness of divine order, good counsel and law, and his second wife. With Themis he also had the Horae/Horai/Hours, goddesses of the seasons, they were Thallo, Auxo and Carpo, or Eunomia, Dike and Eirene, and Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, who was sometimes a daughter of Oceanus, or usually of Nyx and Erebus, and Astraea/Astrea, who was usually thought to be a daughter of Astraeus and Eos.
With his third wife Mnemosyne, the Titaness of memory, he had the nine Muses/Mousai- Calliope/Kalliope (epic poetry), Clio/Kleio (history), Erato (love poetry), Euterpe (music), Melpomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia (hymns), Terpsichore/Terpsikhore (dance), Thalia/Thaleia (comedy), and Urania/Ourania (astronomy).
With the Titaness Leto, his fourth wife, he had the twins Apollo, god of the sun, archery, poetry and medicine, and Artemis, goddess of the moon, hunting and animals.
With his final wife Hera he had Ares, the god of war, Hebe, the goddess of youth, Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth and possibly Hephaestus the god of crafting and fire (alternatively Hera had him without a father in response to Zeus having Athena without a mother), Eris the goddess of Strife (usually seen as a daughter of Nyx), and Angelos, whose story was only mentioned in one source, she was a daughter raised by nymphs who stole Hera's anointments and gave them to Europa. She hid from Hera with a woman in labour and then people carrying a dead man. Zeus had the Cabeiri cleanse her, which they did in the Underworld turning her into an Underworld deity. She could be linked to Hecate.
He seized the nymph Thalia, daughter of Hephaestus, in the form of an eagle and with her had twins, the Palici/Palaci, alternatively they were Thalia's brothers, children of Hephaestus and the nymph Aetna, or Zeus fathered them with Aetna, a daughter of Ouranos and Gaia.
He abducted the nymph Aegina/Aigina, daughter of the river god Asopus, in the form of an eagle, Sisyphus saw this and betrayed Zeus to Asopus and for this offence Zeus commanded Thanatos to chain him and take him to Tartarus. Zeus chased off Asopus with lightning bolts and with the nymph he had a son, King Aeacus/Aiakos.
Alcemene/Alcemena, was a granddaughter of Zeus' own son Perseus, a princess who refused to wed Amphitryon who killed her father Electryon until he avenged her brothers who had been by the Taphians. While Amphitryon was away doing this Zeus visited Alcemene one night in Amphitryon's form, the result of this was the hero Heracles.
With Antiope, another daughter of Asopus', or a daughter of the King Nycteus or Lycurgus, Zeus had Amphion, who was twin to her mortal son Zethus. Zeus raped her in the form of a satyr and then she was abducted by or fled to the King Epopeus who gave her up at her Uncle Lycus' (Nyceteus' brother) request. She exposed her sons on return and they were raised by shepherds, then she was given as a slave to her aunt Dirce. Later she fled Dirce and found sanctuary with her sons who were ordered by Dirce to bind their mother to a bull, they were about to until their father revealed their origins and they either punished Dirce or Dionysus drove her mad. Amphion was trained in music and song by Hermes and given a golden lyre by him, he then married Niobe and killed himself after she brought about the wrath of Artemis and Apollo upon their sons.
With Anaxithea he had a son, Olenus.
He disguised himself as Artemis to get close to her virgin follower the nymph Callisto/Kallisto, daughter of King Lycaon. He then raped Callisto and from the union a son, Arcas, was born. Callisto was then turned into a bear by Hera or shot by Artemis. Hyginus says that Lycaon sacrificed Arcas to Zeus and Zeus restored him and turned Lycaon into a wolf or werewolf as punishment, alternatively it was a son of Lycaon that was killed, and that he attempted to feed him to Zeus. Arcas became King of Arcadia and a hunter, he went to kill his own mother not realising who it was, thinking she was a mere bear, but Zeus prevented it and turned them both into constellations.
With Calyce/Kalyke/Calycia, a nymph or Protogeneia, a daughter of Pyrrha and Deucalion who founded people after the deluge, he had Aethlius/Aithlios, king of Elis and father to Endymion, who was the lover of Selene (alternatively Endymion was Zeus' son with the nymph, who was married to Aethlius), and Opus, a king.
The Cretans gave him a daughter Britomartis/Dicte/Diktynna a goddess of mountains and hunting, who he had with Carme/Karme, a helper of Demeter who was also her granddaughter or a daughter of Cassiepeia/Casiopeia and Phoenix.
With this same Cassiopeia, Queen of Phoenicia, a sister-in-law of Europa who was abducted by Zeus, she had a son, Atymnius/Atymnios a beautiful son who was said to be desired by Sarpedon and Minos, alternatively it was Miletus, son of Apollo, who was so desired.
He may have been a father of Solymus with Chaldene/Caldene/Calchedonia/Chalcea, alternatively Ares was his father. He was said to have married his own sister, Milye.
When the King of Argos Acrisius was told by an oracle that he would be killed by his daughter's son, he imprisoned her in a bronze chamber. Zeus, desiring the daughter, princess Danae, came to her in a shower of gold. The result was Perseus. Acrisius cast them at sea in a wooden crate and they arrived at Seriphos and were taken in by a fisherman Dictys, who was brother to the king, Polydectes. Polydectes desired Danae and sent her son Perseus on a quest to kill the Gorgon Medusa to get rid of him, alternatively he asked from gifts from everyone and having nothing, Perseus set out on the quest so he would not be humiliated. Perseus returned successful and turned Polydectes and his friends to stone. Dictys became king and married Danae. Perseus killed Acrisius accidentally with a javelin or discus thus fulfilling the prophecy.
With Dia, the wife of ill-fated Ixion who murdered her father and tried to sleep with Hera, Zeus had Pirithous/Perithoos/Peirithoos/Peirithous. He seduced Dia in the form of a horse. Pirithous was King of the Lapiths and it was at his wedding to Hippodamia that the centaurs and lapiths had an infamous battle when the centaurs got drunk and tried to abduct the bride. Pirithous and his friend Theseus defeated them. He and Theseus became good friends after wanting proof of Theseus' strength, Pirithous abducted his cattle and fought him when Theseus came after him. Impressed by each other, they set their arms aside and became friends. They took part in the Calydonian Boar Hunt together and desiring daughters of Zeus for brides, they abducted Helen of Troy for Theseus and went to the Underworld to take Persephone for Pirithous. Hades pretended to be hospitable and tricked them into sitting on the Chair of Forgetfulness, they were bound their by snakes and forgot their purpose. When Heracles came for Cerberus as his final labour and freed Theseus but when he tried to free Pirithous he could not for desiring a god's wife was too great a crime.
With the princess Elara he had a giant, Tityos. Zeus hid Elara in the earth to keep her from Hera and it was there that she died giving birth to the giant. Tityos tried to rape Leto at Hera's behest and was killed by Apollo and Artemis. In Tartarus he was punished by two vultures feeding on his liver, which grew back every night.
With the Pleiade Electra/Elektra/Atlantis he had a son, Dardanos/Dardanus, a king and a founder of Dardania. With her or with Hemera he was also father to Iasion, alternatively Electra had him with the king Corythus. He fathered the twins Ploutos and Philomelus, and a son, Korybas with Demeter. He was struck down by Zeus for sleeping with Demeter, which he did so at Kadmus and Harmonia's wedding. Sometimes Harmonia is also given as Zeus' daughter with Electra, usually she is a daughter of Ares and Aphrodite.
He seduced the nymph Io and then covered her in clouds to hide her from Hera, and then turned her into a cow to hide her from Hera. Not fooled, Hera demanded the cow and then had the many eyed Argus guard her. Zeus had Hermes kill Argus and free Io, she then wandered the earth plagued by a gladfly sent by Hera until she found sanctuary in Egypt and was restored to her true form there. She married the Egyptian king Telegonus and he raised her children by Zeus, a son Epaphus/Epaphos/Apis who became king, she may have had him while he was wandering and he was hidden by the Curetes at Hera's request until Io found him again, and a daughter, Keroessa, who had a son, Byzas, with Poseidon.
Io's descendant Princess Europa was abducted by Zeus in the form of a white bull. Her father, King Agenor, sent her brothers Kadmus, Cilix and Phoenix to find her and not to return until they had, they failed by founded their own cities. Zeus left Europa in Crete where she married the King Asterion and had three sons to Zeus- Minos, Sarpedon and Rhadamanthus/Rhadamanthys/Rhadamanthos, Minos and Rhadamanthus became judges of the dead in the Underworld with Zeus' other son Aeacus. Minos drove his brothers from Crete and became king, Rhadamanthus fled to Boeotia where he married Heracles' mother Alcemene as her husband Amphitryon was dead, and Sarpedon fled to his Uncle Cilix and became ruler of Lycia.
With Eurymedousa, in ant form, he had Myrmidon.
With Euryodeia he had Arcesius/Arkeisios, king of Ithaca and grandfather of Odysseus. Alternatively his father was Cephalus/Kephalos who was abducted by Eos and killed his love Procris, he had her with Clymene, or with a she-bear that turned into a woman.
With the nymph Himalia Zeus had three sons- Spartaios, Kronios and Kytos.
With the nymph Idaea he had a son Cres/Kres.
With Queen Lamia of Libya he had sons Herophile and Akhilleus/Akheilos (who competed with Aphrodite over who was most beautiful and was cursed with ugliness by her). Jealous, Hera drove her mad causing her to kill her children and cursed her with the inability to close her eyes so that she would be haunted by the images of her dead children. Zeus gave her the ability to remove her eyes. She continued to murder others' children and was said to have a serpent's tail.
With Bellerophon's daughter Laodamia/Deidamia he had another son called Sarpedon, he fought in the Trojan War and was slain by Patroclus in disguise as Achilles.
With Leda Queen of Sparta he had Helen, Clytemnestra, Castor and Pollux/Polydeuces. He seduced her in the form of a swan and she had two eggs as a result. Sometimes only Helen is his child as Leda lay with her husband Tyndareus on the same night, or Helen and Castor are Zeus' children. Sometimes Nemesis is the mother of Helen, she took the form of a goose to escape Zeus and he took the form of a swan to couple with her, Leda found the egg that was the result and raised the child, Helen, as her own.
With Maera/Maira he had Locrus.
With Niobe (not the infamous one) he had sons, Argus King of Argos and Pelasgus.
The nymph Othreis had Meliteus to Zeus, she exposed him out of fear of Hera's wrath and he was nurtured by bees and found by his older brother, Apollo's Phager.
With the granddaughter of Pandora, Pandora, he had Graecus/Graikos and Latinus/Latinos.
With the Oceanid Plouto he was father to Tantalus who stole ambrosia and nectar, told the gods' secrets, killed his son Pelops and tried to trick the gods into eating him (Demeter ate a shoulder). Clotho restored Pelops and Tantalus was sent to Tartarus and forced to stand in a pool of water that receded when he tried to drink from it, and beneath branches bearing fruit that drew away when he tried to pluck them. He also coerced his friend Pandareus into stealing a golden/bronze dog from Zeus' temple.
With Pyrrha the daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora he may have fathered Hellene, a son and founder of the Hellenes. Alternatively, his father was Deucalion.
He pursued the Pleiade Taygete who was a follower of Artemis, Artemis either turned her into a doe to save her or as punishment for falling pregnant after Zeus raped her. The result was a son, Lacedaemon, King of Laconia.
With Deucalion and Pyrrha's daughter Thyia who had sons, Magnes who was father to Hymenaios the god of marriage ceremonies, with Calliope; and Makedon/Maedonos, king of Macedon.
With Torrhebia he had a son, Carius/Karios.
Agdistis was said to be a strange son of Zeus and Gaia, castrated by the gods it became Cybele/Kybele.
With an unknown woman he had Taenarus, Calabrus and Geraestus. He also had Crinacus, the Litae/Litai who were the wrinkled and lame personifications of prayer who followed their sister Ate/Aite, another daughter who the goddess of mischief, folly and delusion (sometimes a daughter of just Eris), and Caerus/Kairos the personification of luck and opportunity who had only one lock of hair and was Tyche/Fortuna's lover.
He seduced a woman, Phthia, in the form of a pigeon though no offspring is mentioned.

He tried to rape Aphrodite but she escaped him. Later she had an affair of him, which might be why Hera cursed her son Priapos to be deformed (alternatively it was in revenge for Paris saying Aphrodite was more beautiful than she). Zeus also pursued the Titaness Asteria, Leto's sister but she turned into a quail and jumped into the Aegean Sea to escape him and became the island Delos where Leto found sanctuary from Hera's wrath to birth her twins. He and Poseidon wooed Thetis until their was a prophecy that said her son would be greater than his father, she was then forced into marrying the mortal Peleus who loved her, with him she had the hero Achilles.
He also, in eagle form, abducted the beautiful Trojan prince Ganymede to be his cupbearer and granted him immortality and agelessness. He gave his father Tros horses to compensate him.

Zeus from Xena and Hercules the Legendary Journeys

He is the god of the heavens, skies, weather, thunderstorms and rain and is usually depicted with a beard, sceptre and thunderbolt/ lightning bolt. He is associated with the oak, the golden eagle and the bull and usually had an eagle at his side and took its form. He took the form of a bull to abduct Europa, a cuckoo to seduce Hera, a swan to seduce Leda, a satyr to abduct Antiope, and an eagle to abduct Thalia, Aegina and Ganymede. He turned Io into a cow to disguise from Hera, who was not fooled, and inadvertently killed Semele (Dionysus' mother) when Hera tricked her into demanding that Zeus come to her how he came to Hera. His favourite children were Athena and Heracles.

His Roman counterpart is Jupiter/Jove who was initially a minor god known as the day father who was associated with storms and agriculture. Jupiter was more warlike and associated with the laws and state of Rome. He was a sky god linked to oaths and punished those that broke them. In the first Capitoline Triad/Archaic Triad he was a member with Mars and Quirinus. He was guardian of the state with Minerva and Juno in the second Capitoline Triad. One myth says he and Juno were twins nursed by the goddess Fortuna Primigenia, sometimes Jupiter was even her son. Alternatively she was a daughter of Jupiter.
When bad weather affected the land King Numa got the gods Picus and Faunus drunk and imprisoned them until they evoked Jupiter. Jupiter appeared and told Numa how to avert lightning bolts in exchange for an onion bulb, hairs and a fish. He then gifted Numa with a shield he named an ancile.
White animals (mainly ox, lambs, castrated goats and rams) were sacrificed to him. The expression 'by Jove' comes from Romans saying this when calling him to witness an oath.

The First Humans

According to several sources it was Prometheus who created man, molding them out of clay. This image is a popular one seen in many myths around the world including Babylonian, Egyptian, Chinese, African and others.

Hesiod lists Five Ages of Man whilst Ovid lists Four- The Golden Age, The Silver Age, The Bronze Age, the Heroic Age and The Iron Age. Ovid excludes the Heroic Age. Each age grows worse and worse with mankind growing from noble daemons who looked youthful even when old and died peacefully, to cruel, warlike beings.
The Golden Age ended with the usupering of Cronus by Zeus. In the Silver Age mankind did not live long and refused to worship the gods prompting Zeus to destroy them. The Bronze Age was ended by the great deluge/flood after King Lycaon sacrificed his own son and tried to trick Zeus into eating him to prove that the gods were not omnipotent.

Prometheus gifted man with fire against Zeus' will, in anger Zeus had imprisoned to a rock with an eagle to devour his liver daily whilst it renewed itself nightly. According to Hesiod Zeus had hidden fire from man in anger when Prometheus tricked him into picking the lesser sacrifice of meat for himself and the gods. Prometheus had hidden the meat in the stomach whilst wrapping the bones in fat and got Zeus to pick one, he picked the latter being deceived by the fat.

To punish mankind for having fire Zeus had Hephaestus mold the first woman out of the earth. Following the timeline of the myths one would assume that women had actually existed before this woman but were perhaps wiped out with the rest of mankind. It is implied that each generation of mankind in The Ages of Man were different, worse in their ways, so we can assume that this woman was the first woman for the generation of The Bronze Age of Man.
Her name was Pandora, Athena dressed her and taught her needlework and weaving, Aphrodite gave her grace, Hermes made her deceitful and gave her speech and a name and the Charites and Horae gave her jewellery. The Olympians also gave her a jar, which in later translations became a box.
Pandora is given to Prometheus' brother Epimetheus as a wife despite Prometheus warning Epimetheus not to accept gifts from Zeus. Pandora then, out of curiosity, opened her jar and unleashed all the evils onto the world, only hope remained.

Pandora and Epimetheus had a daughter, Pyrrha, who married Prometheus and the Okeanid Hesione/Pronoia's son Deucalion. When Zeus unleashed the deluge these pair were the only two of mankind to survive, by dwelling in a chest. Themis told them how to repopulate the world, by throwing the bones of their mother over their shoulders, this meant the rocks of the earth/Gaia. They obeyed and Pyrrha's rocks turned into women and Deucalion's into men.

It is thought that this deluge could be linked to the Minoan eruption of Thera, a volcanic eruption on the island of Thera/Santorini, which may have caused a tsunami. It is thought that this ocurred during the Middle Bronze Age, in the second millenium BC, around either the 1620s BC or 1520s BC. Of course this means that the deluge did not end the Bronze Age, as the Iron Age did not begin until approx 1200s BC. Yet given the story it is easy to see how history inspired myth.

It's interesting to see how both Prometheus and Pandora become villainised in different tales. Prometheus comes across as both a trickster and a hero for mankind, he created them, he gave them fire and, according to some stories, he gave them wisdom and their traits, he even tried to protect them from the wiles of Pandora. Yet to accept Prometheus as the hero we must then accept Zeus as the villain and so, to prevent this happening, Prometheus becomes the villain. He is the reason for man's toil and misery, bringing it upon them by defying the just Zeus. He is a thief and a deceiver, traits not usually found in noble heroes.

Pandora of course can be compared to Eve, the first woman who brought sin down on man due to her curiosity. Eve took of the apple despite warnings thanks to prompting from the serpent and Pandora opened the jar and Epimetheus took her as his wife despite Prometheus' warnings. So people like to say that she is evil, Hermes made her a deceiver after all, and gave her the gift to lie with her tongue, and she cursed all of mankind by unleashing the evils of the jar onto the world. Yet given her newness and youth and the fact that it was the Olympians who created this jar with the evils in it and gave it to her with the intention that she open it, surely she is just a victim, a tool and a scapegoat. Surely it is the Olympians who were deceitful, vengeful and in a way evil whilst Pandora is just a naive innocent doomed because of the flaw of curiosity.

Friday, 11 November 2011

The Twelve Olympians

The chief hierarchy of the gods, they sometimes varied but were usually given to be- Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Dionysus, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus and Hermes. Rarely Dionysus was swapped with Hades but generally Hades was not considered a member due to dwelling in the Underworld rather than Olympus. Quintus Ennius, a Roman writer swapped Bacchus (Dionysus) with Vesta (Hestia) so as to have six males and six females. To explain this, Hestia/Vesta later gave up her position so that Dionysus/Bacchus could be a member without there being thirteen.

Zeus/Jupiter- the king of the gods, youngest of the six (Hades, Poseidon, Hera, Demeter, Hestia, and Zeus), he drew lots with his brothers when they overthrew the Titans and won the heavens. He is the god of the skies, thunderstorms and rain. His symbols are the lightning/thunderbolt, the eagle, the bull, the oak and the sceptre.
His first wife was Metis, the Titaness of Wisdom and mother of Athena, his second is Themis the Titaness of divine order who he has the Horae with, and his third is Eurynome the Titaness of pasture lands, whom he has the Charites with. Hesiod, in the Theogony then gives Zeus' sister Demeter the goddess of agriculture to be his fourth wife and with him parent to Persephone, Mnemosyne the Titaness of memories is given as his fifth wife and the mother of the Muses with him, Leto the Titaness of motherhood is his sixth wife and with him parent to the twins Artemis and Apollo, and Hera his sister and the goddess of marriage is his seventh and final wife, and with him mother to Ares, Eileithyia and Hebe.
He is the father of the heroes Heracles, Perseus, the kings and later three judges of the dead- Minos, Rhadamanthus and Aeacus, and Helen of Troy, amongst many others.

Hera/Juno- the goddess of marriage, wife to Zeus and queen of the gods and goddesses. She was said to have been fostered by Okeanos and his wife Tethys. Zeus seduced her in the form of a bird before marrying her. She is given to be the most beautiful of the goddesses, more beautiful than even Aphrodite. Gaia gave her the Garden of the Hesperides as a wedding gift, in it golden apples grow and are tended by the Hesperides and the many headed dragon Ladon.
She is said to have given birth to Hephaestus/Vulcan without a father in response to Zeus birthing Athena/Minerva without a mother. When Hephaestus was born either Hera cast him down from Olympus because he was ugly or Zeus threw him down because he helped Hera when she was in chains, as a result Hephaestus was lamed.
With Poseidon and Athena she sought to overthrow Zeus, they chained him down but Thetis rescued him. As a result Hera was chained between the sky and the abyss.
As a goddess of marriage she did not have affairs despite her husband having many.
Her symbols are the peacock, the cow, the milkway, the pomegranate, the lily, the sceptre and the crown.

Poseidon/Neptune- the god of the seas, rivers, earthquakes and horses. He is depicted as bearded and carrying a trident. He is a tempermental god and once conspired with Athena and Hera to overthrow Zeus but they were thwarted thanks to Thetis. He is given as the father of many giants and cyclopes.
He competed with Athena over the rights to the city Attica, she offered the people an olive tree whilst he offered a salty spring, they picked Athena's gift and the city was renamed Athens. Some say Poseidon actually created the horse as a gift.
In another version of the creation myth he created the horse to impress Demeter, it was through trial and error and many other creatures such as the zebra were created as a result before he finally created the horse.
With Demeter, in horse form, they sired Arion/Areion, a talking horse. He is also the father of the hero Theseus with the princess Aethra, and Pegasus the winged horse and Chrysaor a man or winged boar, with Medusa. Medusa was cursed by Athena for defiling her temple by being raped by Poseidon in it.
His wife was the Nereid (sea nymph) Amphitrite, daughter of the sea Titan Nereus, known as the Old Man of the Sea, and his wife Doris, a sea nymph.
His symbols are the trident, the horse and the dolphin.

Demeter/Ceres- the goddess of agriculture, the harvest and to an extent marriage. Demeter and her daughter Persephone are infamous for being key figures in the Eleusinian Mysteries. She and her daughter were, amongst other goddesses, also associated with the Maiden, Mother and Crone mythos.
With Zeus she had Persephone and with Poseidon she had the talking steed Areion after she took the form of a mare to escape her brother and he raped her in the form of a stallion, with him she also had Despoine, a minor goddess. With the mortal lord Karmanor she had a son, Eubouleos and a daughter, Khrysothemis who were associated with the ploughed earth and harvest respectively. With the mortal prince Iasion, who was killed by a jealous Zeus, she had the twin boys, Ploutos and Philomelos.
Persephone was her most beloved child and when she was taken by Hades, Demeter wandered the earth in despair looking for her. As a result of her depression the crops failed and famine spread across the world and the weather turned bad. Seeing mankind's suffering, Zeus commanded Hades to return Persephone but she had eaten in the Underworld and was forever tied to it, so Demeter sees her for half of the year, and Hades sees her for the other half, alternatively, Demeter has her for nine months whilst Hades gets three. This resulted in the belief that in Spring and Summer the weather was good because Persephone and Demeter were united, in Autumn it turned bad as their approach drew near or had already happened and in Winter Demeter was in mourning for her daughter.
She is, like Poseidon, associated with the horse. The cornucopia, a horn overflowing with wheat, flowers etc, is usually her symbol as well as an ear of wheat.

Athena/Minerva- the goddess of war, wisdom, strategy, and weaving. She was also given the title of Pallas Athena/Athene after slaying the giant Pallas or, in alternate stories, accidentally killing her friend Pallas. She is a virgin goddess and the daughter of Zeus and Metis.
When Zeus was told that Metis would birth a child more powerful than the father he swallowed her to prevent such a fate but she was already pregnant. After time he suffered from a severe headache and one of the gods was forced to open it with an axe. Out of the wound Athena sprang fully grown and armoured.
Though she had no children she fostered Erichthonius who was created when Hephaestus tried to rape her and his seamen hit Gaia and impregnated her. Erichthonius was given in a box to three sisters to guard but they got curious and opened the box and saw a snake or an infant with a snake or a half-man, half-snake, and two of them went mad and killed themselves. Erichthonius grew up to be a king of Athens.
In one story she turned a crow from white to black when it reported that the sisters had opened the box.
She is said to have turned Medusa into a gorgon after her temple was soiled by Poseidon raping Medusa there.
She and Poseidon competed over Athens for the right to have the city named after them, Poseidon offered the people a salty spring and Athena offered an olive tree, the people picked her gift and Athens was named.
She was a friend to heroes giving advice to Odysseus, Heracles and Perseus, giving Perseus the world's first bridle to tame Pegasus with.
At the wedding of Thetis and Peleus an uninvited Eris threw a gold apple labelled 'to the fairest one', this started a competition between the goddesses for it. Prince Paris was asked to pick between Athena, Aphrodite and Hera. Athena offered him wisdom and glory in and for all battles, Aphrodite offered him the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen, and Hera offered him Europe and Asia. Paris picked Aphrodite and as a result Athena and Hera aided the Greeks against the Trojans in the Trojan War.
Athena's association with weaving and the loom is prominent in the tale of Arachne, a weaver who boasted that she was better at it than Athena. Athena came to her disguised as an old woman to warn her but Arachne would not heed and requested a competition. Arachne weaved the gods committing infedelity whilst Athena depicted her success in winning Athens from Poseidon. Arachne's work was perfect but Athena was angered by her choice of topic and jealous so she destroyed it, Arachne then hung herself in despair but Athena turned her into a spider out of pity.
She is shown with her aegis, her shield that has Medusa's head on it, an owl, and a maned helmet. The snake is also associated with her.

Dionysus/Bacchus- the god of wine, drinking, partying, festivals. There are two versions of his birth both of which involve Zeus sewing him in his thigh. The first gives his mother as the mortal Semele who was killed when she asked Zeus to appear in his true form after prompting from a disguised Hera. Zeus rescued the fetus and sewed it into his thigh. The second version gives his mother as Persephone, the baby Dionysus is killed by Titans sent by a jealous Hera, they left his heart though, which Zeus sewed into his thigh, or gave to Semele to eat (probably an attempt to unite the two stories) and recreated him from.
As a baby he was fostered by his aunt Ino and her husband Athamas after being given to them by Hermes, Rhea or Persephone. Ino was the stepmother of Phrixus and Helle, who were infamous for riding the golden ram Chrysomallus, whose fleece was the Golden Fleece. Ino was said to have been a cruel stepmother who blamed them for a famine and bribed an oracle to support her and ask for their sacrifice.
Hera struck either Ino or Athamas with madness leading to the murder of their son Melicertes and their own deaths. Zeus however intervened to turn Ino into the white goddess Leucothea, a sea deity, and her son Melicertes into the god Palaemon. Athamas also killed their son Learchus in his madness thinking he was a ram/lion/deer hunting him down.
Ino's sisters Autonoe and Agave were also cursed with madness and killed their own relations. It is believed that all this madness came from Dionysus who was famous for inflicting people with insanity, particularly women. In fact these mad women even had a title- Maenads or Bacchae. They included the women who had nursed and raised him, which included the nymphs of Nysa who either took him after Ino's death or raised him instead of Ino depending on the source.
His companion and tutor was Silenus, a man originally depicted with a horse's ears and tail and sometimes legs, a little like an equesterian satyr/faun. He was always drunk and said to be wise, when he wandered and got lost once he was found by servants of King Midas. Midas treated him well and as a result Dionysus rewarded him with what he wanted and he picked the golden touch. After he found he could not eat nor drink and his daughter became a golden statue he asked for the gift to be revoked and Dionysus granted the request.
Dionysus also became the husband of Ariadne after finding her on the island Theseus abandoned her on, some stories say Dionysus demanded Theseus do this whilst others say he simply found her after the deed had been done. He is listed to have had several lovers and children.
Dionysus' symbols were the thyrsus, his staff which had a pinecone on the top, the vine and the wine goblet.

Apollo- Also known as Phoebus (radiant) Apollo was the twin of Artemis and a son of Leto and Zeus. He was a god of light, prophecy, archery, music, poetry and healing and later a god of the sun, displacing Helios as his Artemis displaced Selene as goddess of the moon.
He was associated with the Phythia/Oracle of Delphi and said to have given her, her prophecies. The Phythia was named after Python, a dragon of Delphi that chased the pregnant Leto and was slain by Apollo in revenge.
His son Asclepius was a healer god who angered Zeus by taking his gifts too far by resurrecting the dead, chiefly Hippolytus. Zeus then struck him down with lightning, in revenge Apollo killed the Cyclopes who had made the lightning bolt. Zeus then punished Apollo by having him labour as a shepherd for King Admetus, who treated him well.
He had many lovers and children but was equally rebuked by several including the nymph Daphne whose father rescued her from rape by turning her into a laurel tree, and the infamous princess of Troy Cassandra who he cursed to speak prophecies that no one would believe.
It is said that he turned crows from white to black after one told him that his lover Coronis, Asclepius' mother, had taken another lover. Apollo dismissed it as lies and punished the crow, when he found out it was true he made the bird sacred.
Hermes as an infant stole Apollo's cattle and with one's intestines and a tortoise shell he invented the lyre. Apollo tracked down the cattle and hearing the music of the lyre he exchanged the cattle for it.
He cursed Midas with the ears of an ass when he said Pan's music was better than Apollo's. The satyr Marsyas challenged Apollo to a music contest after finding Athena's discarded aulos (like a flute). They were equal until Apollo challenged Marsyas to play his instrument upside down or to sing at the same time, he could not do it and a result Apollo flayed him alive.
His symbols were the bow and arrows, the lyre, the laurel wreath and the crow.

Artemis/Diana- Daughter of Leto and Zeus, twin to Apollo and a goddess of the hunt, wildlife and childbirth and later the moon. She was a virgin hunter who expected her companions to keep their virgnity. She was known for cursing those companions that lost their virginity whether it was willingly or not and for cursing people who spied her bathing.
When Actaeon saw her bathing she turned him into a stag and his own dogs killed him. In some myths she had Adonis killed by a wild boar in an act of revenge against Aphrodite for causing Hippolytus' death.
The giant Orion hunted with her and was either killed by a giant scorpion sent by Gaia after he boasted that he could kill every living thing or by Artemis either in defence after he touched her or tried to seduce a follower or because Apollo, wary of his sister's chastity, tricked her into doing it.
She tricked the giants Otos and Ephialtes into killing each other when they threatened to kidnap her by jumping between them in the form of a doe.
She punished her nymph Callisto after she was impregnated by Zeus by turning her into a bear and with her brother she killed the children of Queen Niobe after Niobe boasted she was superior to Leto. She also punished King Agamemnon after he killed a sacred stag by calming the winds so his fleet could not sail to Troy. He sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia to her but Artemis took her at the last moment and left a deer in her place.
All animals were sacred to her but deer and dogs were usually associated with her like her brother the bow and arrows were also her symbols.

Ares/Mars- the god of the violent and cruel aspect of war, a son of Hera and Zeus. Few of the gods liked him, he was a rival to Athena and his lover was Aphrodite. Deimos (terror/dread), Phobos (fear), and Adrestia (war goddess) were his children by Aphrodite and his companions. His sisters Enyo, a war goddess, and Eris, strife/discord, were also his companions. Ironically he is also sometimes given as the father of Eros, love, and Harmonia, harmony, and Anteros, requited love.
He was tried and acquitted for the murder of Halirrhothius, a son of Poseidon who raped Ares' daughter Alcippe.
Hephaestus caught Ares and Aphrodite in a net making love after Helios told him of their affair. He then invited the other gods to come and mock them.
The giants Otus and Ephialtes put him in a bronze urn so he could not stop their takeover of Olympus. He was a prisoner for thirteen months, saved when the giants' stepmother Eriboea told Hermes and he rescued him.
Some say he and not Artemis killed Adonis because he was jealous of Aphrodite loving him.
His symbols were the helmet, spear, shield, armour, vultures and dogs.

Aphrodite/Venus- A daughter of either Ouranos, forming when his genitals hit the ocean, which would make her sister to the Erinyes who formed from his blood, or of Zeus and Dione. She is the goddess of love and beauty and was married to Hephaestus by Zeus so that the gods would not fight over her. One version of the tale is that she was Hephaestus' reward for freeing Hera from the throne he had stuck her to. She was infamously unfaithful to Hephaestus, taking several lovers including Ares.
Eros fell in love with Psyche when Aphrodite asked him to make Psyche fall in love with the ugliest man because she was jealous of her beauty. Eros made love to her in the dark never revealing his form to her, her jealous sisters suggested he must be a monster so Psyche shone a lamp in his face while he was sleeping and recognised him for a god, he fled in anger. She went to Aphrodite for advice to win him back and Aphrodite set her several tasks- to seperate grains in a time limit, ants helped her, to get wool from violent golden sheep, a river god advised her to pluck it from the bushes when they went to rest and to get a box of beauty from Persephone. She opened the box after getting it and fell asleep, Eros forgave her and awoke her and then married her.
She cursed Myrrha with lust for her own father Cinyras whom she seduces as a disguised prostitute. When he discovered the truth he chased her and the gods turned her into a Myrrh treem Cinyras then committed suicide. From this Adonis was born. Aphrodite gave him to Persephone to raise, when he grew up handsome Aphrodite wanted him back but Persephone refused. They fought over it and Zeus intervened, Adonis was to spend a third of the year with Aphrodite, a third with Persephone and a third with whoever he wanted, he chose Aphrodite. He was killed by either a boar sent by Artemis or Ares, or Ares disguised as a boar.
Eris threw a golden apple addressed 'to the fairest' at Thetis and Peleus' wedding. Aphrodite, Athena and Hera all fought over it until Zeus asked Prince Paris to choose who deserved it. Aphrodite offered him the most beautiful woman in the world Helen so he picked her.
She brought the statue Galatea to life for her creator Pygmalion who had fallen in love with her image.
When Hippolytus chose to worship Artemis over Aphrodite she made his stepmother Phaedra fall in love with him. He rejected her and she claimed to his father Theseus that he had raped her, after making Hippolytus promise not to speak of her love. Theseus cursed him and Poseidon caused a bull from the sea to panic his horses causing his death. Artemis told Theseus the truth and vowed revenge on Aphrodite.
Despite being a goddess of love she was vain, petty, jealous and vengeful.
Her symbols were the dolphin, dove, sparrow, swan, girdle, mirror and the seashell.

Hephaestus/Vulcan- the lame son of Hera, god of the forge, fires, technology, metal, and blacksmiths. He was born by Hera who was angry at Zeus birthing Athena, but when he was born she threw him away in disgust resulting in his lameness. In another version it was Zeus who threw him down for trying to rescue Hera.
He crafted the gods' armour and weapons and weapons and armour for some heroes. He created automatons to help him and was helped by cyclopes.
He avenged himself against Hera by creating for her a throne from which she could not get up, he freed her only after Dionysus got him drunk. Aphrodite was given to him as a wife by Zeus either as a reward for freeing Hera or to stop the other gods from fighting over her beauty.
He tried to rape Athena but she escaped him and his semen hit Gaia impregnating her with Erichthonius. Despite his ugly looks he did have several lovers and children.
He made the Necklace of Harmonia, a cursed necklace given to Harmonia, a daughter of Ares and Aphrodite and wife to Cadmus. He probably cursed her as revenge against Ares and Aphrodite.
He created the first woman Pandora on Zeus' orders as punishment for mankind, crafting her from the earth.

Hermes/Mercury- the messenger god a son of Zeus and the Pleiade Maia. He is the god of thieves, travellers, trade, athletic contests and wit, a trickster and a guide to the dead.
As a baby he stole the cattle of Apollo and with their entrails and a tortoise shell he invented the lyre, which Apollo took in exchange for the cattle. A man, Battos, saw the theft and was bribed by Hermes to keep silent. Hermes returned to him in disguise and he revealed the theft however and was turned to stone as punishment.
He killed the hundred eyed Argus at Zeus' behest who was guarding Io in her heifer form and he assisted the heroes Perseus and Odysseus, giving Perseus his winged sandals and Odysseus a herb to counter Circe's poisons.
He punished Agraulos by turning her to stone when she refused to let him have access to her sister Herse whom he had fallen for.
Hermes and Zeus disguised themselves as peasants to test the generosity of man, they were denied shelter by all except for Baucis and Philemon, a poor but kind couple. They flooded the town and turned Baucis and Philemon's home into a temple, which they guarded.
His symbols were his winged sandals (Talaria), his winged herald's staff (caduceus), the tortoise, hawk and ram.