Gaia

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Missing Letter Monday No “G” Repost – “Mother Earth”

Published January 10, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

“Mother Earth”

Born at the start of it all,
Mother to so many,
With so many.

Her first husbands,
Ouranos and Pontos.
Also her sons.
(Eeew.)
They had no fathers.

Nereus,
Thaumas,
Phorkys,
Eurybia,
Even monstrous Ceto;
Pontos fathered these few.

Titans,
Cyclopes,
Hundred-handers,
Ouranos fathered so many.

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In the beginning…

Published January 14, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

Since I skipped over this earlier, it occurred to me that I needed to finish up the theogony by posting the beginning of the story.  Such as it is.


Chaos.

The yawning void, alone.

Gaia, the earth herself, rose in the darkness.  Tartaros, the pit, descended, too.

Born out of Chaos were the darkness and the night, Erebos and Nyx.  It was these two who invented the union of bodies, coming together to beget their opposite numbers, the brightness and the day, Aither and Hemere.

Nyx, however, was more fruitful on her own, and gave birth to countless children without the aid of a father, including the terrifying Thanatos, gentle Hypnos, indignant Nemesis, and the implacable Moirai.


Wow, that wasn’t even anything like a story.  Ugh, if I’d read up on this enough to see that there was nothing to say pre-Gaia/Ouranos, I’d have just included this bit in the tale of Ouranos as a preface.

See, the thing is, there are very few versions of the Greek theogony other than Hesiod’s Theogony, which is pretty vague and weird at the beginning.  (Because, let’s face it, this part was not his real goal.)  And I lost my copy of the Theogony at some point (I don’t think I left it in Peru, though) so I can’t even consult it directly.  (And I’m not buying a new copy unless strictly necessary, because Hesiod is a horrible misogynist.)  Oh, and the few versions we have that aren’t Hesiod tend to conflict with Hesiod, so if one’s dealing with this stuff, one has to just pick one version and go with it, and Hesiod’s is the oldest (the text is oldest, that is; we don’t know how old the material is, if you see the distinction) so I just went with it even though it’s also the best known.  Oh, and Nyx had a lot more children unaided than just the ones I mentioned:  I just thought I’d limit the list to the more well-known and self-explanatory ones, while omitting ones that have alternate origins.  (For example, in Hesiod, she also gives birth to the Hesperides and Eris at this juncture.  But by their name, you’d expect the Hesperides to be the children of someone named Hesperus, and Eris is often said to be either sister or daughter of Ares…and since she’s his follower, it would be decidedly weird for her to be several generations older than he is.)

.

..

I’ll try and do better next week.

 

 

Missing Letter Mondays – No “G”

Published January 11, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

“Mother Earth”

Born at the start of it all,
Mother to so many,
With so many.

Her first husbands,
Ouranos and Pontos.
Also her sons.
(Eeew.)
They had no fathers.

Nereus,
Thaumas,
Phorkys,
Eurybia,
Even monstrous Ceto;
Pontos fathered these few.

Titans,
Cyclopes,
Hundred-handers,
Ouranos fathered so many.

Mother Earth
Loved her children,
One and all.

But Ouranos
Was a terrible father.
He hated his hideous sons,
Those with only one eye,
And those with too many hands.

They were forced back,
Into their mother’s womb;
Mother Earth’s body
Became her sons’ prison.

Mother Earth wept
For her imprisoned sons,
And pleaded with her other sons
To save them.

Only Kronos answered her pleas,
But he did so in a crooked manner,
To take his father’s place
And rule over the cosmos.

Castrated and defeated,
Ouranos was exiled
To become the sky,
To touch
Mother Earth
Nevermore.

Mother Earth
Rejoiced,
But too soon.

Kronos was no better
Than his father.

The Cyclopes remained prisoners.
The Hundred-handers remained prisoners.
Mother Earth was still a jail.

She helped her son’s son,
Zeus, newborn and still weak,
To overthrow his father.

The Cyclopes were freed.
The Hundred-handers were freed.
But the Titans were imprisoned.
Mother Earth was still a jail,
And Zeus ruled supreme.

“Next time,
There shall be no new tyrant,”
Mother Earth swore.
“Next time,
There must be only defeat.”

Typhoeus.

A storm of destruction.

Monster of monsters.
Father of monsters.

But even he was defeated,
And Zeus still ruled supreme.

Mother Earth
Tried to console herself.
She took on new names,
And admitted new worshippers —
Those frail creatures called mortals —
And strove to find new love,
New respect,
In the distant lands,
Where Zeus was not known.

Cybele was revered
In holy Ilios,
But Troy fell to Achaian blades,
And Cybele became known in Hellas,
Mother Earth once more.

Mesopotamia was even worse for
Mother Earth.
They mistook her for terrible
Tiamat,
Mother Ocean.

Around the Nile Delta,
Mother Earth felt no connection,
And found not the love she wished.

Mother Earth wept,
And pitied her sons the Titans,
Eternally imprisoned in her womb.


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…that turned weird

(For a somewhat more clear version of the first part of the story, click here.)

 

Daphne

Published January 8, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

Sorry the myth is a day late this week.  It’s been a weird, blah kind of week where I can’t focus on anything.  (Though I’ve done a bit better where dolls are concerned.)  I may remain in these doldrums until classes resume on the 20th.  (Okay, technically they start on the 19th, but I don’t have any Tuesday classes.)

Fair warning on the following myth:  as always, I’m trying to use less familiar, preferably older variants to spice things up a bit, so this is not the Ovidian version, though it’s obviously got certain similarities.


In Arcadia, the river Ladon had fathered a beautiful daughter on Gaia herself.  They named the child Daphne, and she grew to maturity along her father’s banks.  She had many companions among the Arcadian nymphs, and their favorite pastime was to go hunting in the forests, challenging each other to run further and faster, trying to catch a stag on foot.  The Arcadian men were all sick with love for Daphne and her companions, but they would have no man near them, and threatened to shoot any man who came near.

Perhaps it was their skill at archery that led to a divine contest of archery nearby.  Apollo and Eros were testing their skills in Arcadia, each denigrating the other’s ability, despite that neither ever missed his target.  Finally, Apollo lost his temper, and began to shout at Eros.  “You’re no archer!” he insisted.  “You’re just your mother’s slave, and your arrows are an insult to all true archers!  Nothing is an arrow that cannot kill.  The bow is my weapon, and a pathetic waste like you has no right to carry one!”  With that, Apollo began to storm away, still fuming.

“Oh, is that so?” Eros muttered, getting out one of his arrows.  “Let’s see if you think differently after suffering their effects,” he added quietly, aiming at his uncle’s departing back.  He unleashed his arrow, and it flew truly, striking Apollo and disappearing into his body, just as Apollo came to the top of a ridge, from which he could see Daphne and her companions chasing after a stag.

Daphne outshone her companions as the moon outshines the stars, and thanks to the effects of Eros’ powers, Apollo was instantly smitten with her.  (Though, in truth, he probably would have been anyway.)

He would have immediately presented himself to the girl and begged her favors, had he not noticed that one of her followers was not like the others.  Among Daphne’s companions was Leucippos, one of the Arcadian men, dressed as a woman to allow him the chance to be near Daphne.

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U is for Ouranos

Published April 24, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

You didn’t seriously think I was going to title the post “U is for Uranus,” did you?  I never use that name (except when referring to the planet) because it’s his Roman name.  Also because it leads to immature jokes.

Anyway, I think I’ll be doing this one as a myth re-telling.  ‘Cause otherwise I’ll start getting all blah-de-blah about comparing Hesiod’s Ouranos, the Iliad‘s Oceanos, and Apsu.  And I don’t think many people (other than me) would want to read that.

Also because I really would like to someday re-tell all the major myths and collect them together into a book.  And then…actually, I think I’ll save what I want to do for a later post.  I’m trying to post daily for a whole year, after all, and still have a number of months of that left.  On to the myth!  (This should, it seems important to point out, be seen as the second “episode” in the creation myth, the first having explained where Gaia came from.)


At first, Gaia produced her children unaided; they were born from her will alone.  Ouranos was to be the sky who enveloped her in his embrace.  Ourea became the mountains that decorated her.  And Pontos was the sea that surrounded her.

Ourea remained passively uninterested, but Ouranos and Pontos were constantly caressing and embracing Gaia, and soon she found herself producing unexpected offspring.

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