Greek Mythology View's of Creation

Topics: Greek mythology, Gaia, Theogony Pages: 5 (1774 words) Published: April 23, 2011
Question #1: Views of Creation
“This most beautiful system [The Universe] could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being”.
- Sir Isaac Newton
The story of the creation of the universe has many different versions. In some cultures it is believed that the universe was created by the procreation of the Deathless Creatures. Other cultures believe that the creation of the universe resulted from a big bang in which all of the elements in the world gathered together to create a huge mass and then burst to create life. Lastly, and the most believed version, is that the creation of the universe came from a God who would create the world and everything in it. In the ancient cultures, the Greeks and Romans had many different versions of how the universe was created but most looked to the versions by Hesiod and Ovid.

Hesiod was a famous oral poet in Ancient Greece. He is thought to have lived between 750 and 650 BC, but no one knows for sure. Along with Homer, Hesiod is believed to be the earliest of the Greek poets. But it is hard to prove which one had come first. Not only did his writings serve as entertainment, but they were also used in other aspects of Greek living. He taught them farming techniques and is believed to have been the first economist. Not only was he a businessman but he also was keen in astronomy and ancient time keeping. Hesiod is a very important man in Greek History and his early writings showcase his abilities.

Theogony by Hesiod gives a Greek version of the creation of the universe. In this book, Hesiod describes how the entire universe was created from the Deathless Creature, Gaia. But he described that before Gaia came, the only thing that was in existence was Chaos. “In truth at first Chaos came to be” (Hesiod, Theogony 116). According to Theogony, Chaos suddenly rose out of nothing. Hesiod talks about how me might have been created from the area between Gaia, earth, and Tartarus, a massive pit in the earth below the underworld. After Chaos, Gaia was the next creature to be created. It was created as a place for the Gods and mortals to live in peace and harmony. With Gaia came the terrain of the world. The next Deathless Creature that came was Tartarus, a massive pit in the earth below the underworld. Ironically, Tartarus is where Zeus would banish all of the Deathless Creatures.

What interested me is that the next Deathless Creature from Hesiod’s story of creation is Eros. Eros is the personification of love. I started to wonder how all of the other gods were created if there was no such thing as procreation at the time. And then I did some research and learned that before Eros the Gods were created through parthenogenesis. According to Webster’s Dictionary, Parthenogenesis is “development of an egg without fertilization”. This occurs when a male and female specimen is not needed to create an embryo. Just like the hammerhead or the blacktip shark, which can procreate without a male being. Eros changed the ways of the world with love. Chaos had many children, including Erebus and Nyx. Erebus and Nyx were born roughly around the same. Erebus was the male personification of the darkness while Nyx was the female personification of the night. Erebus and Nyx then went on to have children, Aether, the atmosphere and Hemera, the day. "From Chaos came forth Erebus and black Night Nyx; of Night were born Aether being the bright upper atmosphere and Day Hemera, whom she conceived and bore from union with Erebus her brother" (Hesiod 11.116-138). The next lines in Theogony talk about Gaia giving birth to two children, Pontus and Uranus. All of the creatures represent something, this trend continues with Gaia’s children. Pontus represents the sea and Uranus represents the heavens. She created them so that she would be covered. Finally, after all of the deathless creatures were created, Gaia and Uranus came together to make the first real gods, which...
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