Friday, April 22, 2005

Greek Myth - II

This article is in response to Me's comment for The Big Apple post.
Today being 'World Earth Day', it does seem to fall in place.

Question: How can Hera be Zeus' sister and wife?

To answer this simple question on complicated morality, let us begin at the beginning.
No, not Genesis. We are talking of those sharp-nosed Greek profiles.

In the beginning all that existed was Chaos (now where have we heard this before?!). Chaos surrounded the entire Universe, and then there was the god Oceanus who was an unending stream and goddess Eurynome - 'Far -ruling'.
According to some legends, Eurynome dated the powerful snake Ophion to give birth to Eros, the god of Love, the 'firstborn'. But we shall not refer to that legend.

Our legends begin with Gaia - Mother Earth who came from Chaos. She gave birth to Uranus, the embodiment of Sky & Heavens. (Sounds more like a Greek Kunti act!)
Since it was just the two of them, they married and Gaia gave birth to the 12 formidable gods, the ones whom we refer to as the Titans, the 3 Cyclopes and the 3 Hecatoncheires. However Uranus' mental faculties were more suited to fathering offsprings but not bringing them up. He banned the Hecato-whatevers to the hidden places in Earth - Gaia's womb.

Now we have already seen in the previous class what a foolish thing it is to geton the wrong side of women. So pushed to the end of the world ( i couldn't resist writing this line) Gaia plotted with one of her sons, Cronus to get rid of Uranus. So one night, as Mr.Dad was resting after an intimate evenining with his Lady, in sneaked Cronus with the sickle his Mom had made and castrated Uranus (Ouch! That hurt!) and threw his genitals into the ocean.

Digression 1: Some legends insist that it is from this foam from the ocean (after Cronus threw in those er...body parts) did Aphrodite rise. Could be the reason why many painters always paint Aphrodite as this beautiful damsel rising from the ocean. Wonder if Pooja Bhatt was recollecting her Greek Myth with Bips in Jism.

Now Cronus freed the other Titans and married his sister and fellow Titan Rhea. However Uranus & Gaia had fore-warned Cronus that he would be de-throned by one of his sons. So our man, in order to hold onto his power swallowed each and every one of his kids. This angered Rhea (now won't the Greeks ever learn a lesson???) who hatched a devious plan. When her youngest son Zeus was born, she shipped him off to Crete (wonder if she used the basket) and gave Cronus a stone wrapped in clothes to swallow.

Zeus grew up into a young man, stood against his dad and made Cronus vomit all his siblings - Hera, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia and Demeter. Together they defeated their dad and the other Titans and banished them to Tartarus, the lowest region in the world. One of the Titans, Atlas was of course punished and made to carry the world on his shoulders. The Titans who were on the side of Zeus were Prometheus, Epimetheus and Oceanus.
Thus the rule of Titans came to an end and the Olympian Gods ruled Mt.Olympus with Zeus as their leader. Hera married her brother and was the Queen of Olympian Royalty.
Poseidon ruled the Sea. Hades took care of the Underworld. Demeter was the goddess of agriculture and Hestia ruled hearth as the goddess of fire.

Now the answer to the question.( And you thought we would never get here)
Reading the Greek Myth one might believe that the Greeks' sense of ethics and morals was slightly skewed;The truth is the Greek people did not approve of incestual relationships or multiple affairs however they did feel that it was alright in the world of Gods.(Is this why in India where movie stars are considered Gods, we cast a blind eye to Gemini Ganesan's 4+ wives and Dharmendra's second marriage?!)
Hera was not loved by any and was considered as one of those short-tempered angry woman but people still offered sacrifices to her before any wedding.

Digression 2: Zeus was brought up by the goat Amaltheia in the island of Crete. And to show his gratitue after he became the Supreme Commander of all Godly Forces, he broke the horn of Amaltheia and made it refill with food and drink continuously - The Horn of Cornucopia.


** Thanks to the ocean of trivia available on the net. The next class would be on famous Love Stories; if anyone is interested, that is :)

11 Comments:

Blogger Primalsoup said...

*Applause Applause*

I read the title as the Geek Myth, and was wondering [this after, in a last HR interview I gushed about my 'attention to detail' as an area of strength!]

Is good to be god, in some parts of the world I guess! :)

1:45 AM  
Blogger Kumari said...

@Soups: *Bows to the Leader*
Thank you Thank you. Hehehe..when i first posted, it read 'grrek myth';had to correct it :)

"Bade bade deshon mein aisi chotti chotii baathein hoti rehthi hai" - pardon my Hindi :p

You bet it is! :)

2:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Soooper! this was better than the previous class we had at home.Was a little late for this...will be on time for the next class ma'am!
ammukutz

4:00 AM  
Blogger Kumari said...

@Ammukuttz: I obviously can't use italics & underline when narrating the story to you :p:p

Btw, you owe me big time for the favour i did. Call up Shiva n find out :)

Next class would be on Monday. Too much Greek in one shot is not good for health :)

4:23 AM  
Blogger Manchus said...

Oh it is all Greek to me!!

BTW it is a great blog. I have been reading your blogs for quite sometime.They are wonderful! Thanks to Sagnik's blogspot.

You really seem to have the romance with words.

Keep them flowing!

12:52 PM  
Blogger koolsome said...

gr8 mythology lesson .. can't wait for ur next class prof :P

5:11 AM  
Blogger piggy said...

Closer home, the second greek lesson reminds me of kamsa when krishna is slipped out of the prison.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Vitalstatistix said...

'In the beginning all that existed was Chaos' - is it any different now ? :)
Not sure if you have already read this, but you could try Samuel Butler's translation of the Iliad. Its available free on the www. Pssssssst, this is one of the many books that I read during my first two months at work :D

2:48 PM  
Blogger littlecow said...

is it really true that y'all remember all of this greek mythology?! i feel rather confused about rama's brothers. :-( *weep*

1:29 AM  
Blogger Kumari said...

@Manchus: Thanks to you & to Sagnik :) Do keep visiting and hoep i entertain you The Italian way soon :)

@koolsome: Thank you and stay tuned :)

@Piggy: Aah...now how did i fail to mention that??

@Vital: Thanks for the info...knowledge gained is wonderful and when it is at company's expense it is Fantabulous! :)

11:25 PM  
Blogger Kumari said...

@littlecow: Rama who?:p It's ok dude, we remember some, n we forget some :)

6:01 AM  

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