26 March 2014
Creation Myths of Ancient Greco-Roman and Hebrew Cultures.
Ancient Creation myths are similar but at the same time are still very different. What is a myth? A myth refers to a fiction story or only half true story. What makes up a myth? It has several different characteristics that make it different from other types of stories. Ancient Greco-Roman myths are interesting because they talk about another religion and how they are being reflected. Hebrew creation myths are also interesting because they explain the power of God who made the universe in just 6 days. In the Greco-Roman cultures, the creation myths start with the gods; Hesiod explains this well in his Theogony in the 8th century B.C. What is the Theogony? The Theogony is a poem written by Hesiod in the 8th – 7th century describing where the Greek gods came from. The ancestry of the gods traces back to the creation of the world through Chaos. Orphics, who were the followers of the mystic cult called Orphism, had told a different way the world was created.
It begins with Chronos, “time”; the Orphics thought that it was the name Kronos, goes with Adrasteia, which means “necessity”. From Chronos came Aither, Erebos, and Chaos, which mean “upper air”, “darkness”, and “the yawning void”. According to Dr. Simon Goldhill, In Aither, Chronos fashions an egg, from which is born Phanes, the creator of everything, a bisexual deity with gold wings and four eyes. Phanes is called by many names, including Eros, and has a daughter, Night, who becomes his consort. Night gives birth to Gaia and Uranos (Goldhill 128).
Hesiod’s Theogony opening sentence is, “First of all Chaos came into being”. After Chaos is Gaia or Ge, meaning “the earth”, Tartaros, meaning “the underworld”, Eros, meaning “desire”, Erebos, meaning “the gloom of the underworld”, and Night, “the gloom of the earth”. Night and Erebos had Aither, meaning “the bright upper air”, and Day, meaning “the brightness of the world”.
Gaia, by herself, gave birth to Uranos, meaning “the sky”, “so that he might surround her and cover her completely and be a secure home for the blessed gods forever”. And then she gave birth to the mountains and Pontos, meaning “the sea”. She then gave birth, with Uranos, to 12 mighty Titans (6 female and 6 male); three Cyclopes, called Brontes, meaning “thunder”, Steropes, meaning “lightning”, and Arges, meaning “bright”. She also gave birth to three monsters with a hundred hands each, the Hekatonchires, called Cottus, Briareus, and Gyes. Uranos, who was very disappointed by the looks of his children, locked them in the bowels of the world. Gaia was very unhappy to get revenge she persuaded Kronos, who was the youngest Titan, to conquer Uranos and gain power. The blood from Uranos’ wound created giants, nymphs, and Furies. Nymphs (Greek plural: nymphai) are mythological nature spirits that appear as beautiful young women. This word is related to the Greek word for bride. The Furies were female spirits of justice.
When this happened his genitals fell into the sea and turned into white foam, and the goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of desire, sexuality, love and beauty was born.
The Titans then went all over the world and populated it with demi-gods by getting together with nymphs or each other: the offspring of Hyperion and his sister Theia, for example, gave birth to Helios, meaning “the sun”, Selene, meaning “the moon”, and Eos, meaning “the dawn”. Other Titans like Iapetus, was wedded to the Oceanid Clymene, who gave birth to four children, the most famous of the four children were Prometheus, and Atlas, who after the defeat of the Titans was condemned by Zeus “to hold up the heavens at the western extremity of the world”, and the Atlantic Ocean is named after him. Their brothers were Menoetius and Epimetheus, (“Afterthought”) who was the husband of Pandora. Naïve and rash, Epimetheus was the...
Cited: Goldhill, Simon. “The Birth of the Gods, The Ancestry of the Gods.” World Mythology.
Ed. Peter Bently. New York: Duncan Baird, 2006. Print.
Conner, Nancy. The Everything Classical Mythology Book. 2nd ed. 1. Avon,
Massachusetts: Adams Media, 2010. 54-78. Print.
Genesis. Holy Bible NIV. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005. Print.
Crowley, Roger. "Creation Myth: Day Five."
http://www.romerica.com/myth/heb_creation_day5.htm. N.p. 2014. Web. 12 Apr.
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