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Greek Gods: Myths and Fables

By Codydyker Jan 14, 2013 1075 Words
Cody Dyker
Mr. Donovan
Social Studies 10
14 November 2012
Aether, God of Light
The term mythology can refer to the study of myths, which are sacred narratives usually explaining how the world or humankind came to be in its present form, or even a traditional story that was usually about the gods and their accomplishments. The Greeks in this case have believed in over two hundred gods, and were known for the myths and fables the Greek society contained. In Greek society death was not a glorious thing, the dead were considered helpless, pathetic, and a disgrace. Terrible sinners that died were brought to either three regions of where the dead would end up going based on if they were religious or not, and if they sinned or were good Samaritans. The three regions of afterlife were hades, Tartarus, and Elysium. Hades was the universal destination of the dead in Greek religion until the latter half of the 5th century BCE. Hades was a cold, damp and dark realm that was guarded by the god of the same name. The gates of Hades were guarded by the fearsome hound Cerberus, who wags his tail for new arrivals but does not allow anyone to leave. Without proper burial, one cannot enter the gates of Hades, The River Styx is the boundary between earth and Hades, and must first be passed to reach the underworld. Tartarus was the deepest region of the underworld, lower than Hades. It has been a myth that it would take an anvil nine days to fall from heaven to earth and another nine to fall from earth to Tartarus. Some especially wicked characters have been imprisoned in Tartarus to be punished. It is where Sisyphus who is a thief and murderer, and now must repeatedly push a boulder up a hill for eternity, and Lxion, who killed his father-in-law, is attached to a flaming wheel, and where Tantalus is kept just out of reach of cool water and grapes for sharing the secrets of the gods with humans. Tartarus is also where monsters and other enemies have been cast after being defeated by the gods, including the Cyclopes, the Titans and Typhus. Elysium also known as Elysian Fields or Elysian Plain was a paradise inhabited at first only by the very distinguished, but later by the good. Elysium first appears in Homer's Odyssey as the destination of Menelaus. It is located at the western ends of the earth and is characterized by gentle breezes and an easy life like that of the gods. Greek beliefs in death and after life was very different than what the Egyptians believed in the afterlife. In Greek society it was a disgrace and showed weakness because it was rare for someone to die of old age, it was common for people to die from war which gave off the characteristic as being weak for not surviving the war. In Egyptian society however death and afterlife was very important to their beliefs and the dead was worshipped upon. Pharaoh’s were sent to the afterlife in their honor and if someone was chose upon to come with him anyone would end their life for that because they thought many great things that would happen when you were sent to the afterlife. The rituals of today are very different from what the Greeks have done for their rituals in death and the afterlife. The majority of the population in the modern world believe in the afterlife but there is only two places that they would be brought to, it was either Heaven or Hell, and we believe in one god. People of the modern world now have funerals and to attend them we would have a mass with the body and have prayers for the deceased, then after the mass the person would be buried underground at his grave. For my five gods I chose Hades, Ares, Nike, Poseidon, and Helios. Hades was the god of the underworld and precious metals, his responsibilities were to punish the dead who entered his realm, he was a big part of ancient death and the afterlife because he was the ruler of the kingdom of the dead, which souls were sent after they died in their life. Ares, the god of war was one of the twelve Olympians and also the son of Zeus and Hera. The third god that I chose was Nike, the goddess of victory also known as the Winged Goddess of Victory is the daughter of Pallas and Styx, and siblings of Kratos, Bia, and also Zelus. Poseidon, ruler of the sea, is one of the twelve Olympian deities. His main domain mostly only revolves around the ocean. Finally I chose Helios, the god of the sun was the personification of the Sun in Greek mythology, Helios also had siblings, Serene, and Eos, his parents were Hyperon, and Theia. These gods other than Hades don’t seem to have any significance with the afterlife and death. My main god that I picked was Aether, god of light, also known as Acmon was one of the first born elementals. He was said to be either the son of Erebus and Nyx or Chronos and Ananke, Aethers is the father of Gaia, Thalassa, and Uranus and his only sibling was Hemera. Aether is the personification and elemental god of the bright, and glowing upper air of heaven, the substance of light. Above him lay the solid dome of the sky-god, Ouranos, and below, the transparent mists of the earth air. In the evening his mother Nyx drew her veil of darkness between the aither and the aer to bring night to man. In the morning his sister-wife Hemera dispersed these mists, revealing the shining blue aither of day. Aither was one of the three airs. The middle air was Khaos, a colourless mist which enveloped the mortal world. The lower air was Erebos, the mists of darkness, which enveloped the dark places beneath the earth and the realm of the dead. The third was the upper air of aether, the mist of light, home of the gods of heaven. It enveloped the mountain peaks, clouds, stars, sun and moon. I chose this god because I wanted to know what the people of Greek society thought how light was created and if it was logical, other than that it was one of the only choices left.

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