During ancient times, there were many things people did not understand. For instance, they didn’t know why the seasons changed. They didn’t know why the winter months were cold and the spring and summer months were warm or hot. Why the sun was out during day time and why the night sky had stars and a moon were also a mystery for them.
In order to explain the many mysteries of life, myths were told. These myths were stories explaining history, customs and nature. Myths of the Ancient Greeks were stories that explained how things came to be.
These stories were about gods and goddesses that explained things such as:
- Storms created by Zeus
- The waves’s movement and rages caused by Poseiden
- The underworld ruled by Hades being the place a person goes when he or she dies
Ancient people believed that the gods and goddesses made things happen. So, if they worshiped a deity, the god or goddess would make things happen for them.
- Stories told as if they actually happened
- Stories about gods, goddesses and supernatural powers
- They can be stories about the creation of the world and nature
- Stories about good and bad behavior for the purpose of providing lessons
The Greek myths were stories created thousands of years ago. They were told and retold over generations. The stories centered on the importance of right and wrong, intelligence and bravery and featured terrible creatures and heroic battles. Even the gods could be punished or rewarded for their deeds. The Greek myths were a big part of the ancient religion of Greece.
The Greek gods and goddesses lived at the top of Mount Olympus. Mount Olympus was the meeting place of the gods and goddesses. They built their palaces and homes there. Only the gods and goddesses could live there, and no human was allowed there under any circumstances.
The Story of Rhea
The beginning of the world according to Greek mythology was called Chaos because there was nothing. From nothing came light, Sky (Uranus) and Mother Earth (Gaia). Gaia and Uranus created six twins who were known as the Titans. Two of the six twins were Cronos and Rhea.
After giving birth to the six twins, Gaia and Uranus gave birth to three Cyclopes. The Cyclopes were giants who each had fifty heads and one-hundred arms. Uranus was very unhappy with his Cyclopes offspring and forced them to return to their mother’s womb.
The pain of carrying the six Cyclopes so angered Gaia that she planned revenge against Uranus. She asked the six Titans, her twins, to help her. Her youngest twin, Cronos came to his mother’s aid. He cut off his father’s private parts with a sickle he had made.
Cronus threw his father’s private parts into the sea. Some versions of this myth have the goddess Aphrodite created from Uranus’s blood in the sea. Some of the blood was also said to drop on earth and create several kinds of scary offspring.
Cronos then married Rhea, his sister. They had six children: Demeter, Hestia, Hera, Poseidon, Hades and Zeus. A prophet told Cronos that one of his children would eventually overthrow him. In order to prevent this, Cronos swallowed each of his first five children after birth.
Rhea was very sad when she was unable to raise and take care of her first five children. When she became pregnant with her sixth child, she tricked Cronos. Instead of giving Uranus her baby Zeus, she gave him a rock wrapped in a blanket. Cronos swallowed the rock thinking it was the baby.
Rhea secretly smuggled her baby Zeus to Crete where the baby was raised by nymphs. The prophecy predicted came to be when Zeus later returned and defeated his father in a battle between the Titans and Olympians.
1. Gaia, Mother Earth, and Uranus, Sky, created six twins known as the Titans.
2. Cronos and Rhea were two of the twins.
3. Gaia and Uranus gave birth to three cyclops.
4. Uranus was so unhappy with his offspring being Cyclops he forced them to return to Gaia’s, their mother, womb.
5. Gaia became extremely angry with Uranus because of the pain of carrying the Cyclopes.
6. Gaia asked her twins for help to get revenge from Uranus.
7. Cronos helped his mother by cutting off his father’s private parts and throwing them into the sea.
8. Cronos married his sister Rhea.
9. A prophet told Cronos one of his children would overthrow him.
10. Believing the prophet’s prediction, Cronos swallowed each of his first five children after birth.
11. Rhea was very unhappy not being allowed to raise her first five children.
12. When Rhea gave birth to her sixth child, she tricked Cronos. Instead of giving him the baby Zeus, she gave him a rock wrapped in a blanket.
13. Cronos swallowed the rock thinking it was the baby.
14. Rhea secretly took the baby Zeus to Crete to be raised by Nymphs.
15. Many years later, Zeus returned and defeated his father in a battle between the Titans and the Olympians.
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