Greek Mythology: An Overview


Greek Mythology: An Overview
Greek Mythology: An Overview
What is a Myth?
The Origin of Greek Mythology
Gods and Their Myths
Adapted from a presentation by
Title: Nov 5­7:28 AM (1 of 11)
Definition of Myth
• A myth is a
story that
explains some
Title: Nov 5­7:28 AM (2 of 11)
Use of Mythology by Greeks
• Mythology was a form of early science to Greeks because it helped to explain the unexplainable
• For thousands of years people have associated objects in the sky, Earth, and aspects of their physical world with the gods and goddesses of their cultures. Title: Nov 5­7:28 AM (3 of 11)
The Foundation of Greek Mythology
• In general, Greek gods were divided into three categories: Heaven, Earth, and Sea
• The Titans ruled before the Gods of Olympus
• The Titans were the children of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaea (Earth)
• The Titans were the parents of the Gods of Olympus
Title: Nov 5­7:28 AM (4 of 11)
Chaos – The Beginning
According to Hesiod, vast and unorganized space, abyss from which all things
originated, shapeless mass containing the seeds of everything which existed
before Order. In the begining there was only chaos. Then out of the void
appeared Erebus, the unknowable place where death dwells, and Night. All
else was empty, silent, endless, darkness. Then somehow Love was born
bringing a start of order. From Love came Light and Day. Once there was
Light and Day, Gaea, the earth goddess, appeared.
Then Erebus and Night gave birth to Ether, the heavenly light, and to Day the
earthly light. Then Night alone produced Doom, Fate, Death, Sleep, Dreams,
Nemesis (the god who helped to avenge those who were wronged), and
others that come to man out of darkness.
Title: Nov 5­7:28 AM (5 of 11)
The Titans
• The Titans, also known as the elder gods, ruled the earth before the Olympians overthrew them. The ruler of the Titans was Cronus who was de­throned by his son Zeus.
• Most of the Titans fought with Cronus against Zeus and were punished by being banished to Tartarus.
• During their rule the Titans were associated with the various planets. • The Titans are:
• Gaea, Uranus, Cronus, Rhea, Oceanus, Tethys, Hyperion, Mnemosyne, Themis, Iapetus, Coeus, Crius, Phoebe, Thea, Prometheus, Epimetheus, Atlas, Metis, Dione. Title: Nov 5­7:28 AM (6 of 11)
The Olympians
• The Olympians are a group of 12 gods who ruled after the overthrow of the Titans. All the Olympians are related in some way. They are named after their dwelling place, Mount Olympus.
• The Olympian Gods are: Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Hera, Ares, Athena, Apollo, Aphrodite, Hermes, Artemis, Hephaestus.
Title: Nov 5­7:28 AM (7 of 11)
The Olympic Gods
• Zeus was at the top of the hierarchy of gods
• He overthrew his father, Cronus, to take control of the universe.
• Zeus was the spiritual father of gods and men
• Hera, queen of Heaven and guardian of the sanctity of marriage, was Zeus’ wife
Title: Nov 5­7:28 AM (8 of 11)
Other Gods of Olympus
• Hephaestus ­ god of fire and the patron of metalworkers
• Athena ­ the virgin goddess of wisdom and war, preeminent as a civic goddess
• Apollo ­ deity of light, poetry, and music
• Artemis ­ goddess of wildlife and, later, of the moon
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• Ares ­ god of war
• Aphrodite ­ goddess of love
• Hermes ­ the divine messenger, god of science and invention
• Hestia ­ goddess of the hearth
More Gods
• Hades ­ ruler of the underworld
• Persephone ­ the stolen wife of Hades
• Demeter ­ mother of Persephone
• Dionysus ­ god of grape and of wine
• Eros ­ god of love
Title: Nov 5­7:28 AM (10 of 11)
Ancient Gods: Family Tree
Title: Nov 5­7:28 AM (11 of 11)

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