Chaos

This is a post for my March book challenge, #marchmonthofmythology.

There are several different Greek creation myths, like there are several versions of pretty much every Greek myth. I’d like to tell you one of them.

Chaos produces a bunch of deities and then disappears I guess

It all started with Chaos: a gaping, primordial Void. Somehow, after there being nothing but Void for a while, Gaia (Earth) came to be (a fancy way of saying ‘popped into existence without anyone knowing how’), as well as Tartarus, the abyss underneath the earth. Some say Eros also came into existence at this time; others say he was the son of Aphrodite. Out of Chaos, two gods were born: Nyx (Night) and Erebus (Darkness). These two got together and made themselves some children, Aether (either Light or the upper air, i.e. the air the gods breathe, which is much better than the boring old air us mortals have to deal with down here on earth) and Hemera (Day).

Gaia gets busy

Gaia decided to make some children of her own, on her own, and created Ouranos (Heaven) and Pontus (Ocean). She also created a bunch of mountains. If you’ve been keeping track, you’ll see that by now we’ve got day and night, earth, mountains, heaven, ocean, and an abyss beneath that, and light and darkness. In other words: a perfectly functional earth. Still, Gaia wasn’t done making children yet.

This time, she’d try making children the way we humans have grown accustomed to regard as ‘normal’ (i.e.: sex). Her unions with Pontus brought forth several sea gods and monsters, the most famous of which was Nereus, ‘the old man of the sea’. She also gave birth to a couple of monsters fathered by Tartarus, and got loads of other children later, but for now I’ll stick to the most important part. Most of Gaia’s children were sired by one man (god… deity… whatever): Ouranos.

Gaia and Ouranos rule the world

Gaia took Ouranos as her husband and together they were the first to rule the world. Somehow Ouranos turned out to be the boss in this scenario, even though Gaia had created him and his entire family, but well. We’ll see who has the real power in the end. Before we get to that part, I have to tell you about all of their children. There are a lot of them, but luckily I can group them together so I don’t have to make a long list of names you’ll forget immediately and could just find on wikipedia, which is where I’d have to go to check them anyway (please don’t think all my information comes from wikipedia now, I said check, not ‘find’ or ‘look up’).

First, Gaia gave birth to twelve Titans. Yes, the twelve Titans I talked about in my post on the Olympian gods (or that you heard of in some other way). After them, Gaia got some more children: the Cyclopes and the Hecatonchires. These turned out to be a bit of a disappointment to their father. Apparently Ouranos had expected all of his children to look as beautiful as the twelve Titans, and these guys were a bunch of monsters! Giants with just one eye, and the even more grotesque Hundred-Handed Ones with, you guessed it, a hundred hands (and fifty heads). So naturally Ouranos threw them all into primordial prison, aka Tartarus.

Gaia gets vengeance

Gaia was unhappy, to say the least, to see her children locked up in the abyss. So she hatched a plan – she created a large stone sickle, gathered all the male Titans together, and asked them to use the sickle to castrate Ouranos and overthrow him. Only Kronos, the youngest, was willing to do it. So Gaia told Kronos where he could lay in ambush, and when she met with Ouranos, Kronos jumped out and cut off his junk, which he threw away into the sea. From the blood that hit the ground, the Giants, Furies and Meliae (tree-nymphs) were born. Where Ouranos’ genitals hit the sea, some seafoam mixed with his sperm, and this created Aphrodite, the goddess of love.

The Titans take over

After this, Kronos took over the rule of the world, and we get to the point where I started my narrative in the post about the origin of the Olympian gods I mentioned earlier. If you’re interested in reading more on this: most of the information I used in this post is from Hesiod’s Theogony, which is an epic poem with a title that literally means ‘birth of the gods’.

Chaos – origin story

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I combined this prompt with a prompt from the #grimdragon challenge about Women’s History Month, so I went with these two books. Wonder Women by Sam Maggs is a non-fiction book about lots and lots of awesome women in history. I still have to read it (I hope I can get to it soon), but I assume backstories will be mentioned. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers features a lot of great characters and is essentially a backstory to the sequel A Closed and Common Orbit (as far as I can tell from the blurb – I unfortunately don’t have the book yet).

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