Unformatted text preview: Myths of Creation Myths of Creation
8/31/2009 Hesiod (ca. 700 BCE) Hesiod (ca. 700 BCE) Theogony ‘birth of the gods’ Genealogy of the gods From chaos to Olympians Hesiod’s Theogony Hesiod’s Epiphany on Mt. Helicon Invocation of the Muses 9 goddesses of literary inspiration Daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (‘Memory’) Hesiod’s Theogony Hesiod’s Chaos – ‘a yawning void’ / ‘a nothingness’ From chaos come: Ex nihilo? Emphasis on darkness (cf. [ = confer, ‘compare’] Old Testament account in Genesis; but there, creation occurs through divine fiat) Ge/Gaia (the earth, terra firma) Tartarus (the Underworld) Eros (love / procreative principle) Erebus (the gloom of Tartarus) Night Ovid’s Metamorphoses Ovid’s Chaos = ‘primordial elements’ (earth, air, water, and fire) At strife with each other Order imposed by unnamed god Influenced by philosophy Elemental separation Various creatures put in their ‘natural’ places Mundi fabricator Hesiod’s Theogony and the Hieros Hesiod’s Gamos From Ge comes: Ge + Uranus Uranus / Ouranos (the sky) Mountains Pontus (the sea) Union of earth and sky, female and male Hieros gamos (‘sacred marriage’) They ‘lay together’ in sexual union (under the power of Eros) Such a union will be played out again with Cronus and Rhea and Zeus and Hera
Personification and anthropomorphism Hesiod’s Theogony and the Hieros Hesiod’s Gamos From Ge and Uranus come: Cyclopes 12 Titans 3 Cyclopes 3 Hecatonchires (the ‘hundredhanded ones’) ‘the orbeyed ones’; one eyed creatures Brontes (‘thunder’), Steropes (‘lightning’), and Arges (‘brightness’) They make Zeus’ thunderbolts Personifications of natural phenomena The Titans The Titans Early generation of gods (6 male, 6 female) Personifications of natural phenomena (e.g. Mnemosyne and Cronus) Hyperion + Theia: Hyperion and Helius Helius (the sun) Selene (the moon) Eos (the dawn) sometimes distinct, but sometimes merge in identity (cf. Helius and Apollo) Younger gods often usurp roles (and names) of older gods Phaethon Phaethon Myth as etiology Libyan desert Appearance of the Ethiopians The Castration of Uranus The Castration of Uranus Cronus vs. Uranus Violent revolution of younger god / son His genitals fall to earth, and from them are born:
Erinyes (the Furies) Giants (half human, half snake creatures) Aphrodite Elemental separation The Birth of Aphrodite The Birth of Aphrodite The ‘foamborn goddess’ Sex and violence and love Version of the Freudian ‘Oedipal Complex’? Aphros – ‘foam’ Cronus and Rhea Cronus and Rhea Hieros gamos, part II Give birth to first generation of Olympian gods: Hestia (Roman Vesta) Demeter (Roman Ceres) Hera (Roman Juno) Hades (Roman Pluto) Poseidon (Roman Neptune) Zeus (Roman Jupiter or Jove) Cronus (Roman Saturn) Cronus (Roman Saturn) Eats his children as they are born Zeus escapes Will play out motif of young vs. old, son vs. father ...
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