The Ancient Greek religion tried to explain how the world began like this:

Mother Earth, Gaia, produced a son, Uranus, who was the sky. Then they had children. Rain fell from the sky onto the Earth, making plants grow; animals appeared from the rivers and ocean. Next, many strangely-shaped monsters and giants were born. Among these were three Cyclops--each of whom had only one huge eye in the middle of his forehead. Uranus treated them cruelly and banished them to the Underworld. Later, some human-shaped giants, called Titans, were born; they later became the first gods and goddesses.

Mother Earth could not forgive her husband Uranus for his treatment of her first children and encouraged the Titans, lead by Cronos, to rebel against their father. He attacked and overpowered Uranus with a sickle and took power from him.

Three drops of Uranus' blood fell on the earth and formed the Furies (Erinyes). They had a dog's head and bat's wings and were the spirits of revenge and justice. They hounded murderers, especially those who killed a relative.

Another drop fell into the sea, creating foam from which was born the goddess Aphrodite.

Cronos married his sister and became King of the Titans. They had five children but Cronos had been warned that one of them would kill him; so, he swallowed each one as it was born. To save her sixth child, Rhea tricked Cronos into swallowing a stone wrapped in baby's clothing and hid the child among some lesser nature goddesses called nymphs who brought him up safely. This child was Zeus.

When he grew up, Zeus returned home in disguise and slipped a potion into Cronos' drink, making him choke. The children he had swallowed were coughed out, whole and safe. They were his daughters Hestia, Demeter, and Hera, and sons Pluto and Poseidon.

A fierce battle then took place. Zeus freed the Cyclops who made thunderbolts for him to hurl. They also made a forked trident for Poseidon, and a helmet that made its wearer invisible for Pluto. But, most of the Titans and giants sided with Cronos.

After a terrible struggle the younger gods were victorious. The Titans were banished: one of them, Atlas, was made to hold up the heavens as punishment.

Zeus became ruler of the sky and king of all the gods. Poseidon was made king of the Ocean and Pluto of the Underworld.

The home of the gods was Mount Olympus. At first, because it was relatively inaccessible, it was thought to be the actual home of the gods; later it became an imaginary place high above the earth.

Grose Educational Media's Crossword Puzzle on the Greek Creation Myth.
Go to the Greek Mythology index page.
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© Grose Educational Media, 1998