The Original Gods Of Ancient Greece

When we think of Greek mythology most of us automatically come up with names like Zeus and Apollo. However, they were not the original gods the Greeks worshipped. They were produced by gods themselves. Before the Twelve Gods of Olympus, there were the Titans. In mythology they are also known as the Elder Gods. The Titans ruled over Earth and Sky until they were overthrown by their grandchildren, the Olympians.

There are many different versions of the emergence of the Elder Gods and the Olympians but they all start out with one figure, Mother Earth. Gaia, the Earth Goddess was born from Chaos, emerging at the beginning of creation. Along with her, emerged siblings Tartarus and Eros. From her belly sprang the elements of the world. Gaia alone produced Uranus, the Sky or Heaven god, and they then joined together to produce the other Titans. Some versions say Pontus, the god of water sprang from their union as did the other gods of the elements including the god of light, Hyperion, and other gods who produced the mythological creatures we read about today. Other stories claim that Pontus was her brother.

Ancient Greek Gods

Although she produced her husband Uranus, Gaia was also the one behind his demise as King. Uranus had imprisoned the Cyclopes and the Hekatonkheires, six giant brothers of the Titans. Enraged by this, Gaia encouraged her son Cronus and his brothers to rebel against Uranus and rid him of his power. When the Sky god descended to Earth, Cronus castrated him with a sickle while four of his brothers held Uranus down.

Cronus then threw the genitals of the former king into the ocean where the goddess of love, Aphrodite, then sprang from them. Their giant brothers were then released from Gaias belly where Uranus had imprisoned them, fearing a rebellion such as this. The ultimate fate of Uranus is unknown, it is thought that once rendered impotent he either retreated from the Earth or died of his wounds. The castration of Uranus is the event that separated heaven from earth.

After the separation Gaia produced offspring with her son Pontus. In other versions she mated with her brother Tartarus to produce more children. Gaia was the primal element that all of the gods who were worshiped by the ancient Greeks originated from. Eventually she was replaced by the other newer gods. In Roman history she is known as Terra or Tellus.

Gaia and Uranus had prophesized that a son produced by Cronus would eventually rebel against the Elder gods and lead a revolt against his father and the other Titans. Because of this prophesy, Cronus, who had married his sister Rhea, would gulp down any children born to their union. Advised by Gaea to save her child from the fate of the other five newborns who had already been eaten; Rhea fled in secret to the island of Crete. It was there she gave birth to her son Zeus unbeknownst to his father Cronus. She then wrapped a stone in swaddling and gave it to Cronus in place of her newborn, tricking him out of eating his child.

Zeus was raised on the island and stayed there until he was a grown man. When of age, Zeus went to his father and slicing open his belly he released his five siblings who had been consumed before he was born. They were Hera, Poseidon, Hestia, Demeter and Hades. Along with Zeus they waged the War of the Titans against the ruler of the universe, their father Cronus. Cronus was helped by Atlas who led the Titans in battle against Zeus and the Olympians due to the leader’s old age. After a long and bloody war, the Olympians were victorious. As his punishment for helping Cronus, Atlas was made to hold the world on his back for all time. Zeus along with his 5 brothers and sisters and his children became the Twelve Gods of Olympus.

There is nothing like getting to know ancient mythology. A good book to get to know the gods, demi-gods, immortals and monsters of ancient Greece is Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths.

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