Greek mythology

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Titans: The Elder Gods--Children of Gaea and Uranus

Gaea
Produced Uranus without a mate, then married him and gave birth to the other Titans.
Uranus
Son and husband of Gaea.
Cronus
Castrated Uranus at Gaea's suggestion and became Top God. Married his sister, Rhea. For safety's sake, he ate each of his own children (he remembered how he had treated his father/brother!). Rhea fed him a rock instead of Zeus, so Zeus survived and then defeated Cronus and the rest of the Titans. Cronus fled to Italy and hid in the Witness Protection Program under the name of Saturn, giving rise to the Saturnalia, which was the predecessor feast of Christmas (much toned down, of course!).
Rhea
Sister and wife of Cronus.
Oceanus Father of 3,000 nymphs.
Tethys
Wife of Oceanus.
Hyperion
Sun god. Married his sister, Thea. Their children are Helius (the sun), Selene (the moon), and Eos (the dawn).
Mnemosyne
Goddess of memory and mother of the Three Muses.
Themis
Goddess of justice and order, and mother of the Fates.
Iapetus
Father of Prometheus, Epimetheus, Menoetius, and Atlas by Clymene.
Prometheus deserted the Titans and fought for Zeus; gave humans lots of gifts, especially fire. Epimetheus was stupid and opened Pandora's Box; he may have helped Prometheus create human beings. Atlas led the Titans against Zeus.
Coeus
God of intelligence and father of Leto.
Crius
Father of Pallas, god of wisdom. One story says Pallas tried to rape Athena; she killed him and turned his skin into the "aegis," a protective cloak or shield.
Phoebe
Original moon goddess, wife of Coeus and mother of Leto.
Thea
Metis
Goddess of wisdom and knowledge. Mother of Athena. Zeus ate Metis so that she couldn't have a second child; she delivered Athena inside Zeus' head; Hephaestus hit Zeus with an ax to relieve his headache, and out sprang Athena, fully armed and ready for battle.
Dione
Mother of Aphrodite.

The Olympians: Children of Zeus; Overthrew the Titans

Zeus
Became Top God by winning a lottery with Poseidon and Hades, his brothers.
Poseidon God of the sea.
Hades
God of the underworld. Not to be confused with Thanatos, the god of death.
Hestia
A virgin and goddess of the hearth.
Hera
Zeus' wife and sister; married him after he raped her. Goddess of marriage (!). She led an unsuccessful rebellion against Zeus. [Goddess of Divorce Court?]
Ares
God of war. Son of Zeus and Hera. Disliked by both of them. Committed adultery with Aphrodite.
Athena
Daughter of Zeus and Metis. Zeus swallowed Metis after impregnating her; their daughter sprang forth from the forehead of Zeus full-grown and clothed in armor. A virgin goddess. Parthenos: Greek for "virgin." The Parthenon was a temple in Athens dedicated to her.
Apollo
Son of Zeus and Leto. God of medicine, music, light, truth, the sun...
Aphrodite
Goddess of love, desire and beauty. One story says that when Cronus castrated Uranus and tossed his severed genitals into the sea, Aphrodite then arose from the sea foam on a giant scallop and walked to shore in Cyprus.
Hermes
Son of Zeus and Maia. The messenger of the gods and the god of thievery and commerce.
Artemis
Apollo's twin sister. Goddess of wild things and of the hunt.
Hephaestus
Ugly and lame (maltreated by his father, Zeus, or his mother, Hera, or both). God of fire and forge. Married to Aphrodite!

Comments

The Romans pretty much matched up their gods and goddesses with the Greek collection:

Cronus = Saturn
Zeus = Jupiter/Jove
Hera = Juno
Ares = Mars
Aphrodite = Venus
Athena = Minerva
Hephaestus = Vulcan
Poseidon = Neptune
Hermes = Mercury
etc.

"As the sky god, Zeus had easy access to the women of the world and took full advantage of it. Also, his power as a supreme god made him difficult to resist. Prior to his marriage to Hera he was married first to Metis, then Themis. He was interested in Demeter but she resisted him. His third wife was Mnemosyne. He was involved with Leto shortly before his marriage to Hera. The list of lovers after his final marriage, to Hera, is considerable: Europa, Io, Semele, Ganymede (a boy), Callisto, Maia, Metis, Dione, Danae." [1] He also deceived Almenes, a mortal woman, and fathered Hercules on the same night her husband fathered Hercules' twin, Iphicles (two fathers, two sons, same mother).

What is missing in the Jewish creation story: sex, marriage, adultery, rape, incest, murder, warfare, jealousy, etc.

  • Note well: This is not a supremely reliable guide to Greek/Roman mythology--there are conflicting stories in the tradition.

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