Creation Stories – Greece

In the beginning was Chaos, the universe an empty void surrounded by water. In the water, the god Oceanus ruled; Chaos was the domain of the goddess Eurynome.

Eurynome wanted to tame Chaos and create an orderly world. She began by coupling with Ophion, a massive snake (the North Wind in some versions). Their liaison resulted in the birth of Eros, god of Love.

By dancing on Oceanus’ waves, she separated the sea and sky. She created vast expanses of land, and created Nymphs, Furies, and other beings, beasts, and monsters to live on land. Gaia, the earth, was born, as was Uranus, god of the Sky and Heavens, and Tartarus, god of the Underworld.

Gaia and Uranus married. Their union gave rise to Cronus and other Titans, a race of wily giants. Both parents warned Cronus that he would be overpowered by his own sone someday. When Cronus married Rhea, he swallowed all their children to protect himself. It seemed like a fool-proof plan.

Gaia was furious. When Rhea gave birth to her next child, Zeus, Gaia wrapped a stone in the blanket and gave it to Cronus. He swallowed it, satisfied that the child was dead. Zeus, meanwhile, was raised in faraway Crete, far from Dad’s gaping maw.

In time, Zeus came home. The inevitable conflict sprung up between Zeus and his father, Cronus. Neither knew of his relationship with the other. Zeus, needing backup, the Fed Cronus a substance to make him vomit. Cronus then vomited up Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon. They joined forces with Zeus to attack their father.

They banished Cronus to the Dark World under Tartarus’ control. Zeus honored himself with the title Supreme God, in honor of his ability to create order out of Chaos. He created a home for the gods on Mount Olympus, where the favored ones were allowed to live.

Hestia was made goddess of the hearth. Poseidon was honored with the Sea. Demeter became a fertility goddess. Hera, meanwhile, became the goddess of marriage and child birth; she would go on to marry Zeus, and was often in a jealous rage over his sexual proclivities.

Zeus cared little for the problems of mankind. He was obsessed with beauty, and frankly most people were not beautiful enough to interest him. He ignored their complaints, and even refusing to allow them fire to warm themselves and cook their food. In time, Prometheus the Titan would give fire to man, suffering eternal torture for his troubles.

The Colossal head of Zeus, courtesy Wikipedia.