The Greek Gods:
Ancient vs. Modern Views
According to ancient Greek mythology the Greek gods and goddesses had at one time lived the savage, brutal and ugly life of humans. Eventually, however, they managed to rise above this ancient fierceness to become the nineteen elder gods and goddesses the Greeks knew as The Titans, who ruled the earth in a primordial era before the Olympian gods overthrew them. The ancient Greeks of the first millennium before the Christian era believed that the ruler of the Titans was Cronus, who was rebelled against and ultimately dethroned by his own son Zeus. When faced with the choice between who to support, most of the Titan gods and goddesses decided to fight with Cronus against Zeus, and when they were defeated, they were punished by Zeus and the victorious Olympians by being banished to Tartarus. The Titans were Gaea, Uranus, Cronus, Rhea, Oceanus, Tethys, Hyperion, Mnemosyne, Themis, Iapetus, Coeus, Crius, Phoebe, Thea, Prometheus, Epimetheus, Atlas, Metis, and Dione. (Evslin) In the Greek's own time, they believed in and prayed to the twelve gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus, who were Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Hera, Ares, Athena, Apollo, Aphrodite, Hermes, Artemis, and Hephaestus. The most important of these gods were Zeus, who was the king of the gods; Poseidon, who was the god of the sea; and Hades, who was the god of the underworld. But the Greeks also displayed a special reverence for Athena, the goddess of the city, handicrafts, and agriculture; and Apollo, the god of music.
In addition to the gods of Olympus, the ancient Greeks also worshipped a number of lesser gods and goddesses such as Asclepius, Demeter, Persephone, Dionysus, Eros, Hebe, Eris, Helius, Thanatos, Pan, Nemesis, The Graces, The Muses, The Erinyes, and The Fates. Each god and goddess had special qualities and responsibilities which made them of more importance to some Greeks than to others, depending upon gender,...
Bibliography: Evslin, Bernard. The Greek Gods. New York: Scholastic Paperbacks, 1995.
Graves, Robert. Greek Gods and Heroes. New York: Laureleaf, 1995.
_ _ _. The Greek Myths. New York: Penguin USA, 1993.
"Greek Gods and Goddesses." Online. Available: http://www.allsands.com/ History/People/greekmythgods_hi_gn.htm. 18 March 2002.
"The Titans." Online. Available: http://edweb.sdsu.edu/people/bdodge/scaffold/ GG/titan.html#Titans. 18 March 2002.
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