Saturday, May 22, 2010

1. The Legend of ZEUS - Greek God

Hello readers,

One Wednesday night in April, as I was screening through the Astro Channel, I was drawn to its History Channel.  Clash of the Gods series was on and I was so lucky to have watched it.

http://www.history.com/shows/clash-of-the-gods/videos#zeus-and-the-great-flood

And I had just watched the movie Clash of the Titans at TGV a couple of days prior.
Since young I have always been interested in Myths, Legends and Fairytales. This Greek legends are one of my favourites. The series which will be aired on Wednesday nights on Astro History Channel, will be my main source for the following writing. It was after watching on Astro I realized that the movie CLASH OF THE TITANS should have been CLASH OF THE OLYMPIANS. Read on and you will understand why.

Readers, this round I would like to share with you the story of ZEUS, The most powerful and famous of Greek Gods.
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PRELUDE

According to Greek mythology, in the beginning there was nothing. This was called Chaos. From this nothingness came light, Mother Earth (Gaia) and Sky (Uranus) were formed. From Gaia and Uranus came six twins known as the Titans. The six twin Titans were named Oceanus and Thethys, Coeos and Phoebe, Hyperion and Thea, Creos and Themis, Iapetos and Clymene, and finally Cronos and Rhea.
Gaia (picture on the left) and Uranus also gave birth to three CYCLOPS, three giants, each with fifty heads and one-hundred arms (HUNDRED HANDERS). Uranus disliked his offspring, so he forced them to return to their mother’s womb. The pain of carrying the numerous children angered Gaia, and she made a plan for revenge against Uranus. She called upon the Titans to help her. The youngest, Cronos (master of time), came to her aid. Cronos, with his mother’s help, created a sickle and cut off his father’s genitals when his father came to be with his mother.
Cronos cast the cut off genitals into the sea. According to some versions of the myth, the goddess Aphrodite was created from the blood that dropped into the sea. In addition some of the blood dropped on to the earth creating all types of scary offspring.
After defeating his father, Cronos married his sister Rhea.
- extracts from http://historylink102.com/greece2/creation.htm


CRONOS ( Leader of the TITANS, master of time - father to ZEUS )

THE TITANS is the 1st group of Gods who ruled earth once upon a time and among the famous ones were known as CRONOS, HUNDRED-HANDERS, CYCLOPS and, THYPHON. CRONOS is the leader and he takes the form of a human but giant in size, while the rest took the form of mutants and savage beasts. The HUNDRED –HANDERS, obvious as its name, is a creature which looked like a human but has many hands. The CYCLOPS also had the body of a human but has only one eye. Where as the THYPHON, which dwells in the water, looked like a human but its hands were of tanticles with snake heads on its ends.

During those ancient days, it was natural for the GODs to choose a life partner among themselves in order to procreate. CRONOS, the leader married one of his sisters names Rhea.  They lived hapily until the time to have children. The Greek believe that should there be a male offspring, the boy will overpower the father.  For the normal Greek citizens, they are proud to have a male heir to continue their generation. What more if their offsprings do better than them. But as for the GODs, this is a problem. And it was foretold for CRONOS that one day one of his sons will be the cause of his tragic downfall.

In order to prevent this prophecy from coming true, CRONOS did the unthinkable. He decided to eat every single child of his at birth, be it girl of boy. Magically, because he is divine, his kids which he had swallowed, did not actually die. Infact they live in his stomach, well and healthy.

After 5 kids , RHEA could not bare to loose anymore of her child. She devised a plot to stop CRONOS from devouring their children. Finally, one fateful day, she found the courage to go ahead with her plan. She gave birth to her 6th child, ZEUS, in a cave and hid the child away. She then presented CRONOS with a baby mummy, which actually wasn’t a dead baby in it but a stone instead. This stone is called the Omphalos Stone (it is one of Greece’s tourist attraction, situated in Delphi. According to Legend this stone was wrapped in linen). CRONOS, not suspecting anything amiss gladly ate the mummy.

The above photo on the right is the Omphalos Stone in Delphi


As time passed by, ZEUS grew up in secret,(one version of Greek legend says that Zeus was carried way to safety by an Eagle and was raised by Gaia, Cronos’s mother, in Crete) .

While the TITANS saw through many turbulances within their court while CRONOS was still in reign, ZEUS grew up in a distance to revolt against his father.
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ZEUS ( Leader of the Olympians )
The day arrived when its time for Zeus to have his revenge. He made a poison and put into CRONOS’s mead ( beer-like drink). The poison was not to harm CRONOS but bad enough so that he would vomit all of his gutts contents. The unsuspecting CRONOS took the drink and shortly after he suffered from a terrible stomach ache and vomited 1st the stone mummy and then all the rest of his children, leaving CRONOS on the floor unconsious.


Demeter, Hera, Hades, Hestia,Poseidon are Zeus’s siblings. These siblings are known as THE OLYMPIAN GODS. Once they were freed, Zeus then reunite with them and started plotting to go against CRONOS. Since there were also unrests and disagreements among the TITANS, ZEUS took advantage of the situation and drew in Cyclops and Hundred Handers over to his side. With them and his siblings, the war between father and son began.


To go into war, CYCLOPS awarded ZEUS a LIGHTNING BOLT which later became Zeus’s symbol of power. After a very long and lengthy fight where the seas were at rage, the winds were menacing and the earth erupted, many lives lost, the war doesn’t seem to end.


As both CRONOS and ZEUS ‘s strength and war stratergies were equally ravaging. Towards the end CRONOS used his trump card. He summoned THYPHON from the depth of the sea, from the dark underworld as his final weapon of desctruction to unleash terror on earth.
However, ZEUS strike THYPHON with his LIGHTNING BOLT and sendTHYPHON and all the other enemies back to the underworld. ( Though it was not said but I believe CRONOS was among one of them.)

ZEUS won the war and became THE GOD of his time.
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ZEUS ( after victory )


His first wife was a very pretty and wise Greek woman. Her name was METIS. In Greek it meant Practical Wisdom which was exactly what she was. Again, the marriage is shadowed by bad prophecy which foresaw that a son from Metis will lead to his downfall. History was doomed to repeat itself.

Haunted by the wills of his father before him, he came up with a better idea. Instead of eating his kids, he ate his wife!! And legend dictated that since she was inside of him, she became one with him and thus all her good qualities emerges through him.

Zeus was known to be a very cunning and courageous demi-god. After he devoured his wife, he gain more qualities/power. He gradually showed wisdom, practicality and passion in all his judgements.

However, despite these good characters, Zeus has his dark side. His worst was his uncontrollable desire for women.


So now that he no longer have a wife, he took on another. Again, one of his sisters named HERA. She is the queen of all the goddesses. The most powerful goddess of her time. Zeus had married his equal this time, which later posed problem, as two gods cannot rule the kingdom. The kingdom will be divided.


In the midst of these unsettling situation ZEUS kept on mating and producing kids. And it was known that never has he not succeed in the fatherhood department. Being divine, had its advantages. Among which Zeus even went to the extent of impersonating or taking the form of the husband just to mate with the wife.

HERA, ZEUS’s wife was hurt and instulted by his womanizing attitude. An equal with revenge, HERA secretly seek alliance and began plotting to bring ZEUS down. She easily gain the trust and support from the other Gods and demi-gods. Thye gather to revolt against Zeus. Many attempts failed but finally one day Zeus woke up, chained to his bed and became a prisoner. Just when he was about to be murdered, Zeus’s war buddy and alliance, the HUNDRED HANDERS appeared at the scene and saved him.


By this time, Zeus was already mad with anger. He punished his wife HERA to hang from the sky with a golden chain while his son Apollo and ZEUS’s brother was sentenced to build the Walls of Troy.
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ZEUS (end of time)

ZEUS is renowed to love human race above all his subjects. However as time passes by, the human began to evolve. Human gain knowledge and gradually became a very proud race and sadly, eventually, turned barbaric where human and animal sacrifices became prominent in their rituals.

One day human became so proud that they challenged the GODs on superiority. That they are not dependent on GODs anymore. And this disappoint and angered ZEUS. So as a punishment , ZEUS unleashed his wrath again and this time as legend went, it rained 9 days and 9 nights. The waters rose up so high it reached the highest mountain in Greece.

However, there were 2 humans who survived this calamity because they were on a boat. This Greek legend coincides with the story of Noah’s Ark. This event seemed to co-inside with the beginning of the era of Islamism and Christianity. Thus diminishing the believe in ancient GODs. Eventually it faded and vanished to be replaced with religions.


FOOTNOTE
1) The cave where ZEUS was born (in Crete, Greece) is currently a tourist spot in Greece and there are evidences as well to supporting facts that people during that era did their worshipping and paid their respect here.


2) The stone mummy which ZEUS vomited is also another tourist spot and the stone is still there standing to the test of time. Its called Omphalos stone and it is situated in Delphi.

3) The place where Typhon was struck by ZEUS’s LIGHTNING BOLT and where all the other enemies were banished into the underworld is believed to be the Mount Etna. Furthermore, the Greeks believed that the volcano eruptions and hot spots are the spurts of Typhon’s tentacles and when he stirred in the underworld (hell).

4) In 2003 archeologist discovered a new ruins which later identified as DION – the city where ZEUS lived. The stones recovered there were dated back to 5DC which is the Golden Age of Greek Mythology. They also found a statue with inscription meaning ZEUS the Highest God. This could be deduced that the Greeks have already embraced the idea of 1 GOD by then. Which co-incides about the same time when Christianity and Islamism were born.

5) Ironically, Greek Legend Gaia and Uranus bare twin children which could be taken as similar to Islamism and Christianity when Adam and Eve concieved twins as well.


LIFE THE WAY I SEE IT :- Dear Readers , please pardon my imperfect English. I hope you have enjoyed reading this piece.


Next post, I plan to write on MEDUSSA… A female Greek Legend with a tragic fate.
http://www.history.com/shows/clash-of-the-gods/videos#the-story-of-medusa

1 comments:

Shairene Keith Mendiola said...

Who's the girl protraying on hera

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