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Drama Of Ancient Greece

.. for an entire day and was nursed by the sea goddess until he could return. The only ugly god, Hephaestus was loved by both, gods and mortals because he was a pacifist and kind-hearted. A skilled craftsman, he made the furniture and weaponry to arm and adorn Mount Olympus. Hestia was Zeuss sister.

She was the goddess of the hearth and home, and the third virgin goddess. Her sole task at Mount Olympus was to keep the fire burning brightly in the palace hearth. Both sister and wife to Zeus, Hera/Juno is the goddess of marriage and the protector of women. She initially refused to become Zeuss wife, knowing his reputation of philandering. But Zeus transformed himself into a shivering little bird and created an enormous thunderstorm, so that Hera took pity on him and took him into her arms.

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However, Zeus continued to woo women incessantly, making Hera furious with jealousy. The myths are full of tales depicting Zeuss infidelity and Heras ensuing rage. Hermes, the messenger of the gods, was the son of Zeus and a demigoddess named Maia. A mischievous trickster, Hermes was also the god of thieves, travelers, shepherds, and merchants. With his winged cap and sandals, Hermes could travel back and forth from the ends of the earth in a blink of an eye. His more serious duty was that of escorting the newly dead to the underworld.

Hermes has two famous sons, Pan, the god of shepherds, and Hermaphroditus, the son of Aphrodite and Hermes. Hermaphroditus possessed his fathers handsome virility and his mothers beautiful face. In some stories it is said that the nymph Salmacis, upon falling in love with Hermaphroditus, prayed to be joined with him forever. Her prayers were granted and their two bodies were physically united, thus making the first hermaphrodite. The Moira were the three sisters of Fate. They were the children of Zeus and the titan Themis.

Clotho, whose name meant spinner, created the thread of life, signifying the birth of a mortal being. Lachesis, whose name meant apportioner, measured the thread. And Atropos, whose name meant inflexible, cut the thread, ending the life span of a mortal being. Not even the gods had control over the Fates, who were in some earlier myths born of Necessity, greater and more ancient than even the immortals. Persephone was the daughter of Demeter, and a child of sun and laughter. Poseidon/Neptune was the god of the sea and he yielded enormous power. Zeuss brother, Poseidon lived in a palace beneath the ocean. When he struck the sea with his trident storms of gigantic magnitudes were born, and his golden chariot was able to quiet the waves.

If he plunged his trident into the ocean floor, earthquakes rolled out from the epicenter of his rage. His wife, the sea nymph Amphitrite, and his son, Triton, lived with him in his underworld kingdom. Triton was half man, half fish, and rode a sea monster with his conch shell horn. Athene was often pitted against Poseidon in the myths, the ultimate wisdom versus the ultimate chaos. Prometheus and his brother, Epimetheus, whose name meant forethought and afterthought, were two titans whose aid enabled Zeus to win his battle against Cronos and the other Titans. They were given the task of creating the men and animals. Epimetheus decided that he would create the animals, while Prometheus set about making the first man.

Epimetheus, however, gave to his creations all of the useful and beautiful attributes that Prometheus would have liked to have given to man. But all of the swiftness, cunning, courage, claws, wings, and strength, the very finest gifts were already given. Prometheus was determined to find a great gift for man that was better than the other gifts that Zeus had allotted. When Prometheus was chosen by Zeus to determine the means by which men should give sacrifice to the gods, he dissected an ox and covered the better parts with the skin and stomach, to make them appear poor. He created a second offering, this one consisting of bones, offal, and the less desirable parts, but covering the pile with fat.

Zeus realized that Prometheus was trying to trick him, but he chose the poorer portion anyway. Zeus retaliated by taking away from the men the fire that they needed to cook the fine meats, which they withheld from the gods. Athene took pity on the cunning and inventive titan and showed him how he could steal the fire back for mankind, the perfect gift to make up for his brothers mistake. When Zeus found out he created Pandora, whom he sent to earth to marry Epimethus and release all of the evils into the world. Zeus then punished Prometheus by changing him to a rock, where by day an eagle ate his liver and at night his flesh grew again so that another day of torture would ensue. He later relented, allowing Hercules to kill the eagle, thus ending the torture.

Zeus/Jove was the god of thunder and lightening, and the king of the gods. He was the son of the Titan queen and king, Rhea and Cronos. His grandmother, Mother Earth/Gaea first bore the Cyclopes, and then the Titans, to her consort Father Heaven. Father Heaven thought that the Cyclopes were ugly as well as fearsome, and he trapped them under the earth. Gaea was greatly angered by this, and she sent the Titans to slay Father Heaven and to bring back her children. Cronos, the strongest of the Titans, wounded Father Heaven badly, enabling the Cyclopes to escape. The Titans made Cronos the leader, and Rhea, his sister, became his wife and queen.

With his power came corruption, and Cronos imprisoned the Cyclopes once again. Gaea was even angrier than before, but she hid it this time, for she knew that Rheas child would grow up to overthrow his father. Cronos, however, also knew of this prophecy. He swallowed his children as soon as they were born to prevent them from reaching adulthood and gaining enough power to defeat him. Rhea was in despair as Cronos swallowed her first five children, Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon. She plotted to save her sixth child from Cronos.

She gave the infant Zeus to Gaea to hide and protect, and offered to Cronos a stone wrapped in a blanket to swallow. Zeus grew strong on the isle of Crete, where he drank milk and honey, and was raised by kind nymphs and protected by armed guards. His mother, Rhea, visited him often and told him of the cruelty of his father, and why he must be hidden from him. If the baby Zeus cried too loudly the guards would beat on their shields to drown out the noise, so that Cronos would not hear the babys powerful wails and realize that he had been fooled. When Cronos did finally discover the trick, Zeus changed into a serpent and Cronos searched for the child in vain.

Zeus bided his time as his hatred of his father grew, and he vowed to rescue his brothers and sisters. When Zeus was of age he disguised himself as a menial serving man in Cronoss great palace. Rhea mixed a potent poison that Zeus served to Cronos. The drink caused Cronos to vomit, first the stone, and then each of the children that he had swallowed. Zeuss brothers and sisters vowed their endless loyalty to him and for ten long years they waged war against the Titans. Gaea finally told Zeus that the secret to his victory was to release the Cyclopes because they would fight for him and help to overthrow the ancient race of gods.

After Zeus did this the Cyclopes displayed their gratitude by giving Zeus the thunderbolts, Poseidon the trident, and Hades the magic helmet of darkness. The three hundred handed Cyclopes heaved boulders at the stronghold of Cronos and the three brothers made use of their gifts in order to win the battle. All of the Titans, excluding Prometheus and Epimetheus, who had aided them, were punished. Gaea then gave birth to the horrible monster Typhon, who possessed hundreds of heads and fire spouting eyes. Zeus defeated it with his thunderbolts. Zeus and his two brothers then drew lots to see which one of them would become the ruler of the new gods because they wanted to avoid becoming evil and corrupt like their father. Zeus won the sky, becoming king of heaven and ruler of the gods.

Hades won the underworld and all of its riches, and Poseidon won the sea. Throughout the ancient Greek myths the connotation of the gods as a younger race pervades. They are portrayed almost as new as the human beings who worship them. The myths also indicate that there are older forces in the earth that even the gods of Mount Olympus do not understand. Mythology Essays.


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