it s story time let s call this one the creation story according to the greeks
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It’s Story Time… Let’s call this one The Creation Story (according to the Greeks). I say “myth”, you say “ology”… MYTH!. Learning Objectives:. Students will learn the basics of the Greek Creation story. Students will practice note-taking skills, using the visual map as an aid.

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it s story time let s call this one the creation story according to the greeks
It’s Story Time…

Let’s call this one

The Creation Story

(according to the Greeks)

I say “myth”, you say “ology”…


learning objectives
Learning Objectives:
  • Students will learn the basics of the Greek Creation story.
  • Students will practice note-taking skills, using the visual map as an aid.
  • Students will share insight or questions as they develop.
  • Students will further their knowledge on mythology, as this story will be referenced for the duration of the semester.

It all sounds so exciting!

But we are sort of wondering…

Is there anything more we need to know about mythology in general before we get to the story?

We can’t wait to get started!

Yes!!! There are some things you will need to keep in mind…


First of all…

Keep in mind that we are studying mythology as

Literature, which deals with characters, plot, themes, and the beliefs of the people who created the stories,

NOT as

Religion, which deals with matters of personal faith.



Keep in mind that myths were spread through oral tradition over hundreds of years before ever being written down.

Remember that game, TELEPHONE, that you played when you were a kid?

What happens to the message as it passes from person to person? Go ahead…try it out…

The same thing happened to myths as they passed from one person to another. So, don’t be surprised if you read one version of a myth and find that it differs slightly from another version of the same myth. That’s normal when working with myths.



Keep in mind that myths are symbolic stories. They are not governed by the rules of nature, logic, science, and time. Therefore, if you try to make literalsense of the stories, you’ll drive yourself crazy!


Sit back,



Suspend your disbelief…

snap judgment
Snap Judgment

What can’t you wait to learn about associated with mythology? In other words, you’re losing sleep over wanting this knowledge. DISCUSS!


At first there was only one thing that existed:


(shapeless void of confusion: had the elements of the world—earth, sky, and sea—all jumbled together, none of which had their own identity)


Here come the 5 elements:






Nyx (Night)—entity

Erebus (Darkness)—entity


(Mother Earth)—being


Well…that’s an interesting situation, although not the MOST interesting, as you’ll come to see…

Mommy, where did Uranus come from?

gaia brings another being into the world and marries him
Gaia brings another being into the world…and marries him:

People drew a connection between women’s ability to have kids with Earth’s ability to “give birth” to plants, so Earth was always seen as feminine –early Greeks worshipped female deities

Gaia, the first Great Goddess (Mother Earth), has Uranus as her son (Ruler of the Sky)

gaia uranus start a family and yes it s quite dysfunctional
Gaia & Uranus start a family, and yes, it’s quite dysfunctional

Thank you Gaia and Uranus for making us look normal!

the little ones
The “Little” Ones


I have the worst headache!

The ultrasound is in: they are the proud parents of triplets!!!

But…they all have 100 hands and 50 heads

The Hundred-Handed Giants

3 more were born soon after…

they were giants with 1 eye in the middle of their foreheads

“The Cyclopes”


Wait, Dad—what are you doing? Dad…NO…I don’t want to stay in Tartarus forever!!!! AHHHHH…

Whoa, these kids are way too scary for me!

Uranus is threatened by his kids because they are big and scary, and he fears that they will take him over, causing him to lose his power, so…

…he sends them to Tartarus, where he intends for them to be imprisoned for eternity.

That eventually comes back to haunt him, but I’ll fill you in on that later.


Gaia, on the other hand…


How DARE he lock my kids away!!!!

Just you wait, Uranus! I’m going to wait for my chance, and when the time is right, you’ll get what you deserve and I’ll release my babies!!!

WHO does he think he IS?!?!

But she can’t do anything right now—Uranus has gained the upper hand. Bring in the patriarchal societies…

the titans are born
The Titans are Born
  • Oceanus—God of the sea
  • Hyperion (Helios)—God of the sun
  • Selene—Goddess of the moon
  • Themis—Goddess of prophecy
  • Prometheus— “forethought”
  • Epimetheus— “afterthought”
  • Atlas—strongest Titan (gets in BIG trouble with Zeus later)
  • Rhea (Cybele)—Great Goddess
  • Cronus (Saturn)—youngest, brightest, and most clever of Titans; god of the sky and ruler of Titans after Uranus (WAIT UNTIL YOU HEAR THAT STORY)
snap judgment1
Snap Judgment

Spielberg is making a movie about the Titans: which actors/actresses is he hiring to play who? Come up with at least two he should hire.



There comes a time when…

I’ve had enough!

Now is the time to act!!!

Gaia develops a plan and confronts her kids for help; of course, they are scared of their father and don’t want to challenge him, but Cronus decides he’s up for the challenge, so he steps forward and goes along with his mom’s plan.

It’s not likely his dad would EVER forgive him for this one.

gaia gives cronus the necessary tool to implement their plan
Gaia gives Cronus the necessary tool to implement their plan
  • She tells him to hide it until the time is right.
  • She then seduces Uranus on the seashore.
  • Then, taking the sleeping Uranus by COMPLETE surprise, Cronus carries out the plan.

WARNING: What you are about to see is graphic if you have a vivid imagination, so feel free to cover your eyes, especially if you’re a male…

He uses the sickle his mom created to emasculate his father— not exactly father-son bonding!

snap judgment2
Snap Judgment

Gaia: a strong, no-nonsense woman who teaches men not to mess with her, or a complete creep?




Cronus threw his dad’s severed body parts into the sea where it began foaming on the surface of the water.

From the foam rose Aphrodite, goddess of passionate love and beauty, whose name literally means “foam born.”

From the blood of Cronus seeping into the ground, rose the Giants and the Furies, three fearsome monsters who tormented sinners, expecially those who killed their parents.

how does this connect to matriarchal societies
How does this connect to Matriarchal societies?
  • Mythology is a reflection of what happens in society
  • In Matriarchal societies, the Great Goddess dismembered the Sacred King after he was killed—his blood was used to fertilize the soil (of Mother Earth) and make it grow
  • Cronus emasculating his father is similar because Uranus’ blood from “the accident” allowed life to spring—the Giants and the Furies
the next generation the olympians
The Next Generation: The Olympians

Cronus marries his sister Rhea and they go on to have 5 kids. HOWEVER, he’s a total hypocrite, because much like his father, he feared losing power, so he swallowed all of his kids whole right after they were born, or so he thought.

  • Hestia (Vesta)—virgin goddess of hearth and home; kindest and most loved of gods because a guardian of the home
  • Demeter (Ceres)—goddess of grain; Great Goddess like Rhea
  • Hades (Pluto)—ruler of the underworld; lord of the dead
  • Poseidon (Neptune)—god of the sea; creates earthquakes
  • Hera (Juno)—goddess of marriage and childbirth; queen of Olympus
  • Not born yet, but a sneak peak: Zeus (Jupiter)—god of the sky (after Cronus), ruler of gods; youngest, most intelligent and powerful of gods; maintains order in the world of mortals; protects strangers and guests

There are some parallels to Matriarchal ceremonies here: Cronus “eating” his kids as babies might stem from how female priestesses ate the flesh of sacred kings for fertility purposes; again, this just shows that mythology is a reflection of what occurred in societies

rhea and gaia have more in common than their genes
Rhea and Gaia have more in common than their genes:

Cronus ignores Rhea’s wishes to allow her to have her children in her life, so she finally goes to her mom for help.

Mom, I need help immediately. My husband is a CREEP and is swallowing my babies!

I have a plan, but we’re going to need the next kid’s help. I think it’s going to be a male who will be a better leader than his father and grandfather both. (The fact that he’s male and will dominate over the other gods/goddesses might represent the shift from matriarchal to patriarchal societies).

the plan
Immediately after giving birth to the 6th child, Zeus, Rhea hands Cronus “the baby”, which he immediately swallows.

Had he paid more attention, he would have noticed that Rhea really handed him a rock and sent baby Zeus off with Gaia for protection until it was safe for him to return.

Eventually, Zeus came back as a grown god and with the help of his mother and good old Grandma Gaia, they offered Cronus a drink that made him vomit up his 5 siblings.

Thus began


The Plan…
snap judgment3
Snap Judgment

How do Cronus’ actions resemble humankind today?


Cronus went to the Titans for help on his side, but many were not interested in helping him fight the Olympians—eventually though, Atlas was named the leader of the Titan army.

Mount Olympus Olympians

Mount Othrys Titans


They fought for 10 years, with the battle going back and forth, and seemingly, there was no end to the fighting, until Grammy Gaia comes to the rescue, once again, for Zeus


Zeusy Boy, here’s what you do. I miss my kids—the Hundred-Handed Giants and the Cyclopes—and I’m sure they’re sick of Tartarus. If you and the Olympians release them, I bet they’d be willing to help your side in the war, considering Cronus betrayed them. What do you say?

I’m in; I’ll take my sibs with me and we’ll bring them back

Zeus’ uncle monsters joined in the fight and gave the Olympians weapons they made while in the Underworld to show their thanks:

-Zeus got thunder/lightning

-Poseidon got the trident to cause earthquakes

-Hades got the invisibility helmet

Finally the Olympians won and those that fought in the Titan army were sent to Tartarus, except for Atlas (the leader), who got a special punishment; Zeus made sure he would spend eternity using his strength to hold up the sky. THAT WOULD GET OLD, DON’T YOU THINK?

zeus married his sister hera and continued the olympian family
Zeus married his sister Hera and continued the Olympian family:
  • Ares (Mars)—god of war (Olympian); had an affair with Aphrodite, Hephaestus’ wife, and Eros (Cupid) was born: arrows that find love
    • The Romans mocked love and appreciated war, hence adored Mars (Ares in Greek)
    • The Greeks cherished love and hated war, thus didn’t like Ares because he represented the destructive part of war
  • Hephaestus —god of fire and forge (Olympian); the one and only ugly god; the peace maker amongst gods
  • Ilitheia —goddess of childbirth (not really considered an Olympian even though part of this generation)
snap judgment4
Snap Judgment

Which god or goddess are you most intrigued by at this point? Why?


zeus is unfaithful to hera and has several more kids with other women
Zeus is unfaithful to Hera and has several more kids with other women:

With Leto, he has twins:

  • Apollo —god of sun, music, medicine, poetry, archery—the ideal Greek, BEAUTIFUL, god; associated with the sun
  • Artemis —virgin goddess of the hunt; associated with the moon—watched over women as they make transitions; born right before Apollo and helped deliver him
the virgin goddess review

Other Women...

The Virgin Goddess Review

Hera—at times, she can viewed as a joke: she rarely does anything too useful since she’s so busy trying to sabotage the lives of her husband’s mistresses and children (AKA-She’s THAT girl)

Aphrodite—gets involved in several love triangles, allowing men to string her along at times (AKA-She’s THAT OTHER girl)


  • Hestia—highly respected in every single home; people depended on her to keep them safe
  • Artemis—fierce and vengeful woman that’s not tied down by anyone
  • Athena—the most respected of all Olympians for her wisdom

What does this imply about the virgin goddess, or goddesses without men in their lives?

more kids
More kids…
  • With Metis (he swallowed her)/on his own, he had Athena, virgin goddess of wisdom and war—Zeus had a headache and called Hephaestus over (blacksmith) to help; he cut Zeus’ head open and she popped out fully grown and in armor; his favorite child
  • With Maia he has Hermes —the messenger of gods; trickster
  • With Semele, a human, he has Dionysos —god of wine and revelry/enjoyment; only god with 1 human parent: Zeus promised Semele he’d do anything for her, and she asked to see him in his full glory, which saddened him because no human could see him this way and live, so he showed her anyway, as promised, and she died immediately. He grabbed the unborn baby and hid him in his thigh until ready to be born and gave to nymphs to raise

Impromptu quiz

Can you guess the identity of the following Olympians?

zeus has more kids
Zeus has more kids…
  • Persephone—she’s the daughter of Demeter and her “husband” is Hades. Let’s just say she would have left him at the altar if that was option, but I’ll explain more about that later.
  • Congrats…they’re triplets— The Fates! Talk about having power. They decided the lifespan of people’s lives via spinning thread. One spun the thread, one measured the thread, and one cut the thread. This determined the fate of one’s life.
  • The Muses —they were children of Mnemosyne, and brought about an appreciation for the arts. Each of the nine Muses was responsible for one branch of the arts.
  • The Graces —daughters of Eurynome; they bring grace and beauty wherever they go. They were literally the life of the party.
wow that was quite the story
Wow…that was quite the story

There is plenty more to hear, but we’ll call it quits for now. Take this time to work with a partner, and add any needed material to your Greek family tree. We have a lot more mythology to look forward to. I CAN’T WAIT!

snap judgment5
Snap Judgment

Why do you think high school students should or should not study mythology? Think of as many different explanations as you can.