Everybody knows: Greek mythology is first of all a lot of names. This is for us; and for the Greeks themselves there were even more. Almost every town or village had its own local deities; and even about those who were common, in every city they told in their own way. Who has lived all his life in one place and knew very little about others, those worried little. But who often moved from city to city and from region to region, like, for example, wandering singers, so this was a lot of inconvenience. To sing, mentioning a lot of gods and heroes, it was necessary to harmonize local traditions and at least agree on who the son to whom and who to whom the husband. And in order to better remember – to present these genealogies with folding verses and say that these verses are dictated by the Muses themselves, the goddesses of reason, word and song.
This was done by the singer Hesiod from under the Twisted Mountain – Helikon, where the Muses lead their dances. This is the
result of the poem “feogony”, which in Greek means “On the origin of the gods” – from the very beginning of the universe and until mortal heroes began to be born from immortal gods. On thirty pages here are named and related to each other more than three hundred names. They all fit into three mythological epochs: when the oldest gods, led by Uranus, ruled; when the elder gods ruled – the Titans led by Kron; and when the younger gods began to rule and rule – the Olympians, led by Zeus.
At first there was Chaos, in which everything was merged and nothing was divided. Then from it were born Night, Earth-Gaia and Dungeon-Tartar. Then the Night was born Day, and from Earth-Gaia – Heaven-Uranus and Sea-Pontus. Heaven-Uranus and Gaia-Earth became the first gods:
Starry Sky lay on the wide Earth and impregnated it. And the first creations of the gods swirled around – then ghostly, then monstrous.
From the Night, Death was born, Sleep, Sorrow, Labor, Lie, Revenge, Execution, and most importantly – Rock: the three goddesses of Moira who measure life
for each person and determine misfortune and happiness. From the Sea were born the elder – the sea god, kind Nereus, his two brothers and two sisters, and from them – many, many monsters. These are the Gorgons killing with a glance; Harpies abducting human souls; underground Echidna – in front of the virgin, behind the snake; fire-breathing Chimera – “front lion, rear dragon and goat in the middle”; an insidious Sphinx, a female lioness who ruined people by cunning riddles; the great giant Geryon; the multi-headed hell dog Kerber and the multi-headed hydra snake Hydra; winged horse Pegasus and many more. Even in Gaia and Uranus, the first offspring were monstrous: three hundred-armed fighters and three one-eyed blacksmiths – the Kiklops, the inhabitants of the black dungeon – Tartarus.
But they were not the main ones. The main were the Titans – the twelve sons and daughters of Uranus and Gaia. Uranus was afraid that they would overthrow him, and would not allow them to be born. One by one, they swelled the womb of the mother Earth, and now it became unbearable. “From the gray iron” she pinned the magic sickle and gave it to the children; and when Uranus again wanted to unite with her, the youngest and cunning of the Titans, named Kron, cut off his genital member. With a curse Uranus recoiled to the height, and his severed limb fell into the sea, whipped white foam, and out of this foam came to the shore the goddess of love and Aphrodite’s desire – “Foamy.”
The second kingdom began – the kingdom of the Titans: Crohn and his brothers and sisters. One of them was called the Ocean, he became related to the old Nereus, and from him were born all the streams and rivers. The other was called Hyperion, the Sun-Helios, Luna-Selena and Dawn-Eos were born, and from the Dawn – winds and stars. The third was called Japet, from him were born the mighty Atlant, who stands on the west of the earth and holds the sky on his shoulders, and the wise Prometheus, who is chained to a pole in the east of the earth, and for what – this will be discussed further. But the main was Cron, and his dominion was alarming.
Cron, too, was afraid that the children he had borne would be deposed. From his sister Rhea, he had three daughters and three sons, and he took every newborn from her and swallowed him alive. Only the youngest, named Zeus, she decided to save. She gave the Crown to swallow a large stone, wrapped in diapers, and Zeusa concealed in a cave on the island of Crete. There he grew up, and grew up, cunningly made Kron spew his brothers and sisters. Older gods – Titans and younger gods – the Olympians converged in the fight. “The sea roared, the earth moaned and the sky gasped.” The Olympians liberated from Tartarus fighters – Storukikh and blacksmiths – the Kiklops; the first struck the Titans with stones in three hundred hands, and the second pinned Zeus thunder and lightning, and against this the Titans could not stand. Now they themselves have been imprisoned in Tartarus, to the very depths: how many from heaven to earth, so much from the land to Tartarus.
The third kingdom began – the kingdom of the Olympians. Zeus took as an inheritance the sky with the Celestial Mount Olympus; his brother Poseidon is the sea, where both Nereus and the Ocean obeyed him; the third brother, Hades, is the underworld of the dead. Their sister Hera became the wife of Zeus and bore him the wild Ares, the god of war, the lame Hephaestus, the god of the blacksmith, and the bright Hebe, the goddess of youth. Sister Demeter, goddess of arable land, gave birth to Zeus daughter of Persephone; she was abducted by Hades, and she became an underground queen. The third sister, Hestia, the goddess of the hearth, remained virgin.
Zeus also threatened to be deposed: the old Gaia and Uranus warned him that the daughter of the Ocean, Metida-Wisdom, should give birth to a daughter smarter than everyone else and the son is stronger than everyone else. Zeus connected with her, and then swallowed it, as once Cron swallowed his brothers. The daughter was cleverest of all born from the head of Zeus: it was Athena, the goddess of reason, labor and war. And the son is the strongest of all and remained unborn. From the other daughter of the Titans Zeus was born twins Apollo and Artemis: she is a hunter, he is a shepherd, and also a healer, and also a soothsayer. From the third Zeus was born Hermes, watchman of crossroads, patron of road travelers and traders. Three more Ora, goddesses of order, were born from one more; one more – three Charities, the goddesses of beauty; one more – nine Muses, goddesses of reason, words and songs, from which this story began. Hermes invented the string lyre, Apollo plays on it,
Двое сыновей Зевса рождены были от смертных женщин, но все же взошли на Олимп и стали богами. Это Геракл, любимый его сын, который обошел всю землю, освобождая ее от злых чудовищ: это он победил и Гидру, и Гериона, и Кербера, и других. И это Дионис, который тоже обошел всю землю, творя чудеса, обучая людей сажать виноград и приготовлять вино и вразумляя их, когда пить в меру, а когда без удержу.
And where did the mortals themselves come from, Hesiod does not say: maybe from rocks or trees. Their gods did not like them at first, but Prometheus helped them to survive. People had to honor the gods, sacrificing part of their food. Prometheus arranged a cunning division: he slaughtered the bull, laid the bones covered with fat, and the meat, covered with the stomach and skin, and offered Zeus to choose a share of the gods and a share of the people. Zeus was deceived, chose the bones and from the evil decided not to give people fire to make meat. Then Prometheus himself stole fire on Olympus and brought it to people in an empty reed. For this Zeus punished him and the people. To people he created, “on the mountain of men,” the first woman, Pandora, and from women, as is known, a lot of evil has gone on. And Prometheus, as it is said, he chained to a pole in the east of the earth and sent an eagle every day to peck his liver. Only many centuries later, Zeus allowed Hercules in his wanderings to shoot this eagle and release Prometheus. But it turned out that people need gods more than the gods thought. The gods were faced with yet another struggle – with the Giants, the youngest sons of Gaia-Earth, born of drops of Uranus blood. And it was destined that the gods would defeat them only if they were helped by at least one person. Hence, it was necessary to give birth to such mighty people who could help the gods. That’s when the gods began to descend to mortal women, and the goddesses give birth to mortal men. Thus was born the tribe of heroes; The best of them was Hercules, he saved the gods in the war with the Giants. And then this tribe died in the Theban war and the Trojan War. But Hesiod did not finish writing this before: his story ends at the very beginning of the heroic age. “Theophony,” the genealogy of the gods, is the end here.