The Creation of The World - Greek Mythology (A Writing by Ruqayya Fuad)

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First and for most, all Greeks mythologies narrated by Homer. According to historiography’s observations, stories told by Homer could not be considered having historical values. This is due to the fact that, there is no factual evidence that could support the existence of Homer, yet it is rather confusing either Homer was actually a person or a group of people. Indeed, the stories told by Homer were having the Gods’ intervention which cannot be observed scientifically. In fact, there is another theory about Homer which is Homer might also be the Aoidoi. Aoidoi is singer-poet who is illiterate. Thus, Homer did not write any historical works but he narrated his stories by singing or in poems. After all, myths considered as pseudo-history whereby, people should not believe in it 100%. Henceforth, the moral values and exemplifies that could improve ourselves could be taken as lessons.



            Undeniably, Greeks has a lot of popular mythologies, namely Medusa and Perseus, Prometheus, The Fall of Icarus, Pandora Box, Helen of Troy, Myth of Tantalus, Odysseus and The Cyclops, including The Creation of The World. These types of mythologies did influence the Greeks’ religions or beliefs, as well as it did give impacts towards their society. This paper will scrutinize of how The Creation of The World according to Greeks’ mythology could affect Greeks’ society and religious beliefs. There might be lots of stories about how the world been created, definitely will also have lots of arguments to achieve agreement from the Greek scholars about the creation of the world. Uniquely, the Greeks used their logical idea to perform such stories about how the world been created did helped them in understand the world. They might not leave things happened, because the God wants it to happened. Yet, for the Greeks, every creations must have its’ own reasoning.



            The world inaugurated from the Chaos which only consists emptiness, darkness, and unorganized. After a while, there was Gaia which is the Mother Earth and Father Sky which is Uranus, they got married and slept together then Gaia gave birth to 12 children whereby it can also be called as Titans. They have 6 sons which were Oceanus, Coues, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus, and Cronus, and they also have 6 daughters which were Theia, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, and Tethys. They were also having offspring children which were, the Cyclopes, three monsters known as the Hecatonchires, and the spirits of punishments and goddesses which were Erinyes. The Mother Earth Gaia was sick with Uranus because his act of taking granted towards Gaia. Gaia wanted to free herself from Uranus, and then her youngest child Cronus helped her mother by castrated Uranus. Afterwards, Uranus been pushed away up from Gaia.


            Later on, Cronus got married with her own sister Rhea. Unfortunately, Cronus had the prophecy that his child will kill him someday just like what he had done towards Uranus. Because of this scepticism, Cronus ate his children every time Rhea gave birth to them. The main issue arise vastly when Rhea desperately wanted a child so much. She gave birth to his youngest son, Zeus. As she was perilously wanted a child, she submitted Zeus to an Eagle which brought Zeus far away to an island. As a replacement, she wrapped a stone with a cloth and gave the stone to Cronus; Rhea acted like the stone was her son. Cronus ate the stone without had any clue that it was not his son that he intentionally wanted to eat. As Zeus grew older, Zeus planned out to free his brothers and sisters from Cronus. Although his act might risk his life, he contented with his mission to free his siblings. He used lightning bolt to attack the Cronus, the attack did make Cronus became uncertain. Thus, Cronus spewed all his children.



            As soon as all his brothers and sisters spewed by Cronus, Zeus made a plan with his brother Hades. Hades gave birth to a powerful and wicked monster namely as The Kraken. They used Kraken to kill Cronus, and they achieved success. The children of Cronus and Rhea then held a meeting to appoint the King for all the Gods and Goddesses. They met their agreement to acknowledge the sacrifice of Zeus and made Zeus as the King of Gods and Goddesses. Zeus ruled the Olympus and Heaven, as Olympus was the palace for the Gods and Goddesses. Zeus’s brother, Hades ruled the Underworld whereby it was the darkest place for the dead. In fact, Underworld was the home for Hades and it was a place to punish the bad souls. Poseidon been appointed to be the King of God of the Sea, he ruled all and every single creatures in all the seas. However, Demeter been the Goddess of the Earth, Agriculture, and fertility as well. She had been taken care of crops and corns, as she was so essential for the Greeks because at that time, the Greeks’ main source of food was from Agriculture.



            On the other hand, Goddess Hestia had been taken care of hearth, architecture, family, and the state. Hestia been also known as the virgin Goddess as she had not married with any other Gods or Men. After all, the first child born by Rhea and Cronus was Hera. She was the eldest sister, she had been appointed as the Goddess of marriage and childbirth. She was also wife to Zeus whereas it made her automatically as the Queen of the Gods and Goddesses. Not just that, she had a special interest in protecting married women. She was raised by Titans named Oceanus and Tethys. She had a quite tragic life as she was known to be jealous and vengeful towards the many lovers and offspring of her husband Zeus.


            Other than that, there were other Gods and Goddesses were also essential to the Greeks as they were sons and daughters from the children of Cronus and Rhea. Gods and Goddesses like Apollo, Ares, Eros, Hephaestus, Dionysus, Heracles, Artemis, Athena, Aphrodite, and Persephone are the children of Zeus with other Goddesses. Moving on when Zeus started to create humans, Zeus created the era of humans for 3 types of eras. First, the Golden Age which means humans created by Zeus were made of Gold and they lived in luxury and they were believed that they literally having feast with the Gods and Goddesses as they lived in Olympus as well. On the next occasion, human who lived in Golden Age just disappeared, and then Zeus created humans using Silver. Those people who lived in Silver Age were having lots of difficulties and battles which led Zeus made them disappeared as well. Following that, Zeus appointed Prometheus to create humans from clay then Zeus will give gasp for the clay, this could also be known as men who lived in Iron Age. Zeus created Men, and they lived in peace and harmony until one day Prometheus as the God of Forethought tricked Zeus regarding mankind. Zeus was so mad, and he took out the facilities of fire and nectar from humans. Prometheus stole fire and nectar to give them back to humans.



            Subsequently, Prometheus took responsibility of his action by received command from Zeus to create a woman from clay. Afterwards, Prometheus gave the sculpture to Zeus as Zeus will gasp a breath of his towards the sculpture in order to make it alive. The first woman made by Zeus was Pandora. Initially, from Greeks’ perspective they tend to think that women were sent down as beautiful evil. This is due to the fact that, Zeus gave Pandora a box or a jar and she had been commanded to not open the jar. After a while, Pandora grew curiosity to know what is inside the jar whereas made her opened the jar and released out all the evil spirits. As when she was about to close the jar, it only left the spirit of ‘Hope’, they believed hope as evil spirit because, hope is giving a sense of humans could control the future, it gives humans delusions and it is also ambiguity. So, there was a story of how the first woman sent down to Earth.



            Moreover, when it comes to the story of world’s creation according to Greeks mythology, it cannot be complete without how the Winter Season created.  This started when Hades fell in love with the daughter of Demeter namely as Persephone. Hades kidnapped Persephone and brought her to the Underworld, as soon as Persephone got kidnapped, the corns and crops started to grew withered.

            Demeter did try to find her daughter everywhere, and she finally found out that her daughter been kidnapped by Hades. Demeter asked for her daughter back as she dealt with Hades. Hades agreed to give her daughter back, but Demeter still need to give Persephone to Hades for 3 months in a year. Every single time, Persephone lived with Hades for 3 months each year; the snow will start to fall as this was how the Winter Season created according to Greeks mythology.



            Furthermore, Zeus started to realize that there were too much humans he created, and to reduce the amount of humans, Zeus planned out the Trojan War. In the meantime, Apollo as the twin brother to Artemis and he was also the son of Zeus and Leto. He was born in Delos after Hera found out that Leto was pregnant the son of Zeus, as Leto been prohibited to give birth on land. Apollo was the God of Music, Healing, Sciences and Medicine, and generally as God of Love. Indeed, Apollo was an oracular god; he was the prophetic deity in the Oracle in Delphi. Apollo was also could be known as God of Love even though he could not even find one person as his true love. He got rejected for several times, until he fell in love with Cassandra who was the Princess of Troy. He offered Cassandra a deal as to be his wife and he will give Cassandra the power of looking on prophecies. At first, Cassandra accepted the deal, but then Cassandra rejected him which made him so angry, and the power he gave to Cassandra will made her suffer. This is because, no one would believe the prophecies given by Cassandra.



            Following that, Cassandra saw the prophecy that the Trojan War will happen because of a beautiful woman named Helen. Zeus sorted out the Trojan War particularly as his mission to reduce the amount of humans on Earth. Paris who started to fell in love with Helen who was the wife of King Menelaus. Helen ran away with Paris to Troy, and this incident became the major factor of Trojan War happened. King Menelaus persuaded his brother King Agamemnon to join the war of taking back Helen to Sparta. Other famous heroes joined the war were Achilles, Odysseus, Nestor, and Ajax. The war been held for 10 years long which in the end it brought success to Achaeans as King Menelaus died in his way to Troy. However, Cassandra tried to tell everyone in Troy that what will happen next, but the curse given by Apollo made no one believes her. As this Trojan War took place, it did affect the amount of humans as lots of combatants and civilians killed during the war.





            Not to be excepted, Underworld is also part of the creation of the world according to Greeks mythology. Underworld was ruled by Zeus’s brother named as Hades. Apparently, Hades was tricked by Zeus and Poseidon to live in the Underworld. The Greeks visualized Hades as an image of dark, sorrow, and frightening. In fact, Hades was a greedy god as he gained power and mortality through frightens from humans, and he wanted to fill the Underworld with lots of souls. For most souls, life in the underworld was not particularly unpleasant. It was rather like being in a miserable dream, full of shadows, ill-lit and desolate, barren of hope; a joyless place where the dead slowly faded into nothingness.



Geographically, the Underworld was considered to have been surrounded by five rivers: the Acheron (river of woe), the Cocytus (river of lamentation), the Phlegethon (river of fire), the Styx (river of unbreakable oath by which the gods took vows), and the Lethe (river of forgetfulness). Past the rivers, a diamond gate, guarded by Cerberus, formed the entrance to the kingdom. Deep within the kingdom, laid Hades vast palace, full with guests. Near to the first river which was Acheron, there was a boatman name Charon who will bring the souls to across the river, but the soul must pay him. That was why; Greeks will put a coin on lips of the death body when they buried them. As soon as the soul entered the gate of Cerberus, there will be 3 judges who will judge them based on their deeds during their previous life. The three judges were namely as Rhadamanthus, Minos, and Aeacus.



The final part that needs to be included in creation of the world referring to Greeks mythology was the Olympus. Mount Olympus was meant to say as the home for the Gods and Goddesses. The Gods and Goddesses will build their palace on top of the Mount Olympus which is the highest Mountain as it is 1000 feet above the sea level. On top of the Mount Olympus will have the central palace conducted by Zeus, and only with the command of Zeus, the other Gods or Goddesses could enter the central palace. There were 12 Olympian Gods and Goddesses lived on top of Mount Olympus who was Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hestia, Demeter, Hermes, Aphrodite, Ares and Hephaestus. The mortal should realize their limit which means, the mortal could not even once enter the Mount Olympus.





The creation of the whole world according to Greek mythology did brought huge impacts towards their religious beliefs and their society. Retell on the world started off with The Chaos which meant to be emptiness, and darkness. The battle between the Titans and the Olympian Gods made them truly believed that their Gods were so powerful. In fact the creation of humans by Prometheus and gasp a breath by Zeus towards the human to become alive. This procedure actually shows the deep relationship between mankind and God. The Greeks believed that their Gods and Goddesses need their pray in order to stay mortal. Indeed, humans need their Gods and Goddesses to stay mortal for their benefit as well. For instance, the Goddess Athena who was the Goddess of wisdom, and city. In order to keep their city is in peace and rich with assets, they need to pray towards Athena for Athena will take care the city. Simultaneously, the connection between Gods and Goddesses and mankind were indescribably close as they need each other.



Next, the creation of human started when Prometheus sculptured the human and Zeus will gasp a breath of his to the sculpture, as to bring the body alive. Afterwards, when Zeus created the Golden Age, Silver Age, and the Bronze Age which affected their society as they did have the social classes which were equally like what Zeus ranked them during the Era before them. The social classes which were exist during the Ancient Greece were, divided by two big cities the Athens and the Spartans. In Athens, they had 3 factions which were the Freemen consisted the aristocrats, small farmers, urban craftsmen and trireme rowers. The second faction was Metics consisted the people who came from outside of Athens as they were disallowed to own land in Athens. The last faction was the Slaves who were the lowest class and have no rights as all their properties were belong to their Masters. Meanwhile in Sparta were also having three types of social classes which were Spartiates, Outsiders, and Helots. Spartiates were the military, the professionals, and their citizens. However the Outsiders were the people of freemen, artisans, craftsmen, and merchants. On the other hand, Helots were the people who have been conquered as they were also been treated like slaves and they need to produce things which will give benefits for Spartiates.





Initially, the Greeks placed women as the creation of beautiful evil, and they were also despised women because they believed that women were only used the things that men produce. In other words, they thought that women just burdened them, and women were dependent. These happened after the creation of the first woman who was Pandora. Pandora’s curiosity made the entire Greeks in trouble after she opened the jar given to her. After all, men in Greece were very afraid of losing women, as for them, women were so essential for reproduction part only. Indeed, what happened in Greece long ago was almost the same of what happened in Arab during the Pre-Islamic age. Undeniably, Islam increases the status of women. After all, the Greeks believed on what Homer told them regarding the creation of woman.



Moreover, the winter season creation been distinguished from other seasons or weathers, because they believed the winter happened when Persephone lived in the Underworld for 3 months with Hades. Not just that, the Greeks also believed that the God of Weather was Zeus. Zeus was the one who will pour down the rain, and took back off the rain, they would even said “Zeus is raining”, rather than “the sky is raining” which add up more points that Zeus was the God of Weather as well. Indeed, for the Greeks, when it came to the winter season which was believed as the period of burdened them. This is due to the fact that, Greeks was always depending on Agriculture as their prime source of food. Then, when it came to winter season, all the crops and corns were wilted.



Moving on to the next point regarding the God of Sciences, Medicines, and Healing the Apollo. They always believed that the God was the one who will determine their fate and future, as they visualized in front of Zeus’s throne had two cups which were the fortunate fates and the less fortunate fates. Both of the cups will be poured down in every creation of human, this meant an individual could not do anything to change their fate. Equally as what they believed that the God Apollo who could shoot an arrow to spread a disease, and he was also the one who could heal the disease as he was believed as the God of Healing and Medicines. This is far different from the teachings of Islam, as Allah told us in Surah Ar-Ra’d, verse 11 “Each person has been assigned guardian angels before him and behind him, who watch him by the command of Allah. The fact is that Allah never changes the condition of a people until they intend to change it themselves. If Allah wants to afflict a people with misfortune, none can ward it off, nor can they find any protector besides Him.”



Subsequently, the tragic event of Trojan War made the Greeks believed regarding prophecies became stronger. This is because, after everything Cassandra told them been really happened. Then, they started to believe in prophecies even more after Cassandra’s death. Indeed, the Greeks always believed in prophecies as to learn about the future, this could be proved when people all around Greece came to Pythia who was the priestess of Apollo, and she will give prophecies towards those people who came to her. Again, this is different from Islamic teachings, as Islam taught us to strive as best as we can for the sake of our future rather than go to shaman who apparently no one could predict the future. In fact, the future itself is in our own hands, as we are the one who responsible for our own future.



Furthermore, the creation of the Underworld and how the Greeks visualized the Underworld looked like could be insert under the part of creation of the world according to Greeks mythology. They believed the Hades who was the King of the Underworld was grim, oblique and dark. Indeed, all mortals avoid to go to the Underworld because they afraid of Hades and the darkness from the Underworld. They believed the Underworld is for the evil souls as they would be punished severely in the Underworld. Meanwhile, the Mount Olympus was the place of heaven and palaces of Gods and Goddesses. They visualized Olympus as the place full of luxuries, lights, and white. This is total contradict with the Underworld. All in all, we could say that, the Greeks believed in life after death and the judgment based on life on Earth.



Naturally, the Mount Olympus not just affecting the society and the religious beliefs during the Ancient Greek only, but it also affecting the society now. In fact, the statue of Zeus in Olympia included in the record of 7 Wonders of the World until this present day. As well as, Temple of Artemis in Turkey, and Colossus – Statue of Apollo in Island in Mediterranean are also included in the record of 7 Wonders of the World. The society of Greeks was the one who started the Olympic Games. They would gather at the bottom part of Mountain Olympus and the men will compete in several games which are running for 200 yards, wrestling, boxing, long jump, throwing the javelin and discus, and chariot racing. Initially, the competition in Olympus was part of religious ritual, as it had been known as Ritual Energy. All in all, every single Greek mythology did give huge impacts towards Ancient Greeks society and also their religious beliefs.

Ruqayya Fuad

Essayist

If anyone can have it, I don't want it

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