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Useful weblinks: Creation 1 - The Very Beginning

Gods

  • A biography of Uranus.
  • A biography of Gaia.
  • Take a look at these two colourful representations of Gaia: 1 and 2
  • Here, Uranus embraces Gaia, just as at the beginning of the creation myth. It’s interesting how this artist has chosen only to personify Uranus and has left Gaia in her natural, non-anthropomorphic state.
  • A mosaic also depicts the mythological couple. Interestingly, their children don’t appear to be crushed here!

Titans

  • Here is a list of Titans, along with their children. Hesiod mentions the myth in his Theogony: read a summary of this work. Note the grey skin in this picture of one of the Titans. The origin of the word ‘Titan’ is disputed; some people thing it stems from the Greek τίτανος, signifying white ‘earth, clay or gypsum’ and that the Titans were men covered by or made from white clay or gypsum. Other possible etymologies of their name include the Greek verb τείνω (‘to stretch’) and τίσις (‘retribution/vengeance’). Ask students which etymology they think is most fitting.
  • This other comic strip makes fun of the different powers that the Titans were thought to have possessed.
  • The Titans appear in popular culture in various forms:
    • The RMS Titanic was named after them because of its huge size.
    • In the film ‘Clash of the Titans’. Curiously, no titans appear in the 1981 original and 2010 remake! But in the 2012 version of the film, Chronus appears as the main antagonist.
    • Chronus appears in Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
    • Disney’s Hercules features four Titans. Watch the clip where Hades frees them from their prison. Disney’s own twist on the myth is to assign to each of the Titans an elemental power – earth (rock), water/ice, fire and air. This isn’t attested anywhere else.
  • Note Saturn’s moons at the beginning of this sequence. This is because a lot of them are named after Titans. Read the full list of the names of Saturn’s 62 moons or take a closer look at some of the larger moons and the Saturnian system in general.

The Castration

  • People probably linked blood to life because they saw people die when the blood left them. Hence Uranus’ blood creating life on the earth.
  • This fresco, by Giorgio Vasari and Christofano Gherardi (c. 1560) shows The Mutilation of Uranus by Saturn (Chronus is sometimes called Saturn).

A cupbearer

  • The job-title doesn’t sound very exciting or prestigious to us now, but it was actually a position of great trust and responsibility (since it was a very real danger for a king to be poisoned, their cupbearer was someone whom they trusted with their lives).
  • Here is a definition of the job description ‘Cupbearer’ – the position was an historical one and appears both in the Bible and in myth. The most famous cupbearer in Classical mythology was Ganymede.

Chronus and his children

  • A disturbing painting by Francisco Goya, Saturn Devouring His Son, shows Chronus eating one of his children. For a more light-hearted approach to the subject, check out this funny parody by the creators of the Simpsons! And also this comic strip!
  • The idea that someone’s child will be stronger than them is not unique to this myth. It was prophesised later in mythology that the son of Thetis, a sea nymph, would surpass his father. Because of this, Zeus decided not to sleep with her and arranged instead for her to marry a mortal so that his reign would not be threatened. Thetis' child? Achilles!
  • In this line drawing, we can see Rhea handing her husband Chronus the wrapped up stone that acted as a replacement for the baby Zeus.
  • Zeus is probably the most famous of the Classical gods! Check out his biography, including his origins.
  • Zeus was supposedly brought up in the Dikteon/Psychro cave on Crete. This travel site gives a great ‘history’ of the cave along with details of its excavation and some beautiful pictures.

Division of the world

  • Poseidon, Zeus and Hades in their respective realms.
  • It was generally accepted that Zeus had drawn the best lot: by receiving the Heavens as his realm, he became the King of the Gods and received supreme power. Poseidon and Hades were probably both a bit jealous! These two comics make a joke of this dissatisfaction: Poseidon comic and Hades comic.

Prometheus and Epimetheus