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Greek Mythology. And the Olympics. What is Mythology?. A term that shows emphasis on exciting stories rather than precise moral laws Morals come from philosophies Greek Mythology is polytheistic. Greek Gods. Zeus: Chief ruler of the gods God of the sky, lightening and thunder

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greek mythology

Greek Mythology

And the Olympics

what is mythology
What is Mythology?
  • A term that shows emphasis on exciting stories rather than precise moral laws
    • Morals come from philosophies
  • Greek Mythology is polytheistic
greek gods
Greek Gods
  • Zeus: Chief ruler of the gods
    • God of the sky, lightening and thunder
  • Hera: wife of Zeus and protector of marriage
  • Athena: goddess of wisdom and crafts
  • Apollo: God of the sun and poetry
  • Aphrodite: Goddess of love
  • Poseidon: God of the Seas
  • Hades: God of the Underworld
  • Artemis: Goddess of the Hunt, Apollo’s twin sister
part of life
Part of life
  • Each city-state had a special guardian
  • Guardian was celebrated with special prayers , gifts, rituals, and festivals.
  • Helpful to keep Gods in good moods
  • No moral guidance or hope of happy afterlife
  • Oracles:
    • Locations where you could ask the Gods questions
    • Answers were interpreted by Priests
a different religion
A different religion
  • Greek mythology differed from other religions in that it was more an attempt to understand human qualities than divine ones.
  • The gods and goddesses represented human strengths and weaknesses
  • Moral issues were left for the humans to solve themselves.
  • No single source of written scripture such as the Qur’an or the Bible
expressions of religion
Expressions of Religion
  • Epic poems
    • The oldest known Greek literary sources, the epic poems Iliad and Odyssey, focus on events surrounding the Trojan War.
    • Both written by Homer
      • In these stories the Greeks interacted with the Gods
      • Humans were differentiated by their lack of miraculous powers
      • The stories of the Gods explained the sorrows and surprises of human life as the whims and actions of the Gods
      • Two poems by Homer's near contemporary Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human ages, the awesome origin of human woes, and the origin of sacrificial practices
greek myths
Greek Myths
  • The Creation Myth
    • In the beginning there was only chaos. Then out of the void appeared Erebus, the unknowable place where death dwells, and Night. All else was empty, silent, endless, darkness. Then somehow Love was born bringing a start of order. From Love came Light and Day.
    • Once there was Light and Day, Gaea, the earth appeared. Then Erebus slept with Night, who gave birth to Ether, the heavenly light, and to Day the earthly light. Then Night alone produced Doom, Fate, Death, Sleep, Dreams, Nemesis, and others that come to man out of darkness.
    • Meanwhile Gaea alone gave birth to Uranus, the heavens. Uranus became Gaea's mate covering her on all sides. Together they produced the three Cyclopes, the three Hecatoncheires, and twelve Titans.
    • However, Uranus was a bad father and husband. He hated the Hecatoncheires. He imprisoned them by pushing them into the hidden places of the earth, Gaea's womb. This angered Gaea and she plotted against Uranus. She made a flint sickle and tried to get her children to attack Uranus. All were too afraid except, the youngest Titan, Cronus.
    • Gaea and Cronus set up an ambush of Uranus as he lay with Gaea at night. Cronusgrabbed his father and castrated him, with the stone sickle, throwing the severed genitals into the ocean. The fate of Uranus is not clear. He either died, withdrew from the earth, or exiled himself to Italy. As he departed he promised that Cronus and the Titans would be punished.
  • From his spilt blood came the Giants, the Ash Tree Nymphs, and the Erinnyes. From the sea foam where his genitals fell came Aphrodite.
  • Cronus became the next ruler. He imprisoned the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires in Tartarus. He married his sister Rhea, under his rule the Titans had many offspring. He ruled for many ages. However, Gaea and Uranus both had prophesied that he would be overthrown by a son. To avoid this Cronus swallowed each of his children as they were born. Rhea was angry at the treatment of the children and plotted against Cronus.
  • When it came time to give birth to her sixth child, Rhea hid herself, then she left the child to be raised by nymphs. To conceal her act she wrapped a stone in swaddling cloths and passed it off as the baby to Cronus, who swallowed it. This child was Zeus.
  • He grew into a handsome youth on Crete. He consulted Metis on how to defeat Cronus. She prepared a drink for Cronus design to make him vomit up the other children. Rhea convinced Cronus to accept his son and Zeus was allowed to return to Mount Olympus as Cronus's cupbearer.
  • This gave Zeus the opportunity to slip Cronus the specially prepared drink. This worked as planned and the other five children were vomited up. Being gods they were unharmed. They were thankful to Zeus and made him their leader. Cronus was yet to be defeated. He and the Titans, except Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Oceanus fought to retain their power.
creation myth continued
Creation Myth Continued…
  • Atlas became their leader in battle and it looked for some time as though they would win and put the young gods down. However, Zeus was cunning. He went down to Tartarus and freed the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires. Prometheus joined Zeus as well. He returned to battle with his new allies.
  • The Cyclopes provided Zeus with lighting bolts for weapons. The Hecatoncheires he set in ambush armed with boulders. With the time right, Zeus retreated drawing the Titans into the Hecatoncheires's ambush. The Hecatoncheires rained down hundreds of boulders with such a fury the Titans thought the mountains were falling on them. They broke and ran giving Zeus victory.
  • Zeus exiled the Titans who had fought against him into Tartarus. Except for Atlas, who was singled out for the special punishment of holding the world on his shoulders. However, even after this victory Zeus was not safe. Gaea angry that her children had been imprisoned gave birth to a last offspring, Typhoeus.
  • Typhoeuswas so fearsome that most of the gods fled. However, Zeus faced the monster and flinging his lighting bolts was able to kill it. Typhoeus was burried under Mount Etna in Sicily.
  • Much later a final challenge to Zeus rule was made by the Giants. They went so far as to attempt to invade Mount Olympus, piling mountain upon mountain in an effort to reach the top. But, the gods had grown strong and with the help of Heracles the Giants were subdued or killed.
a way to honor to gods the olympics
A way to honor to Gods: The Olympics
  • Athletic contests
  • Several games:
    • Isthmos games held every two years at the Gulf of Corinth
    • Pythian games held every four years at Delphi
    • Most Famous: held at Olympia, took place every four years
  • The Ancient Olympics started roughly around 700 B.C.E to honor Zeus
the ancient olympics
The Ancient Olympics
  • No women allowed
    • Not even to watch
  • Only Greek nationals could perform
  • Performed nude
  • Inside temple at Olympia was Phidias's statue of Zeus, an Ancient wonder of the World
  • Originally a one-day festival of athletics and wrestling
  • By 472 B.C.E it had expanded to five day and many more events
  • One the “middle day” or third day of the festival 100 oxen were sacrificed to Zeus
  • Races
    • The Stadion (oldest)
      • A sprint one length of the stadium (192 m)
    • 2- Stade Race’
    • Long distance
      • Between 7-24 stades
    • Race in full armor
      • 2-4 stades
  • Wrestling
    • Had to throw opponent on the ground three times
    • No biting or genital holds
  • Boxing
    • Vicious and brutal
    • Leather and sometimes metal strapped over hands
    • Continued until one opponent acknowledged defeat
  • Horse-racing
    • Confined to wealthy
    • Had to own horse
    • 6 laps of track
    • Also had Chariot races
  • Pentathlon
    • A series of five events
      • Sprinting
      • Long-jumping
        • Used stone weights to increase the length of their jump
      • Javelin
        • Long wooden stick with spear head
        • Usually height of thrower
      • Discus
        • Circle-shaped stone, iron, bronze or lead
      • wrestling