Friday, January 18, 2013

Mythology Abridged: Creation/Destruction of the World

I decided to try out a new series of posts I've had in the back of my mind for a while: Abridged Greek Mythology. Because while researching, I've come across some stories that are too interesting/hilarious/horrifying not to share.

So, without further ado, here's the first installment. Unless otherwise noted, I read these original stories in "The Metamorphoses" by Ovid. Check it out if you're interested in Greek myth!)


When I first dove into this book, I hadn't realized how alike the Greek creation story is with the Biblical creation story. A lot of the imagery of the creation of the world is very familiar and there is some really beautiful imagery throughout this section. One favorite example of mine is the description of precious gems in the ground described as “Jove's (Zeus') treasures ... locked in night.”

The descriptions are especially wonderful where humans are concerned: Yet world was not complete: It lacked a creature that had hints of heaven And hopes to rule the earth. So man was made.

And: While other beasts, heads bent, stared at wild earth, The new creation gazed into blue sky.

SO pretty!

Immediately following is a story eerily similar to the Tower of Babel story from the Bible. Giants (later described as “lizard-footed”, which makes me think of dinosaurs, which would be kind of awesome) pull up mountains and stack them on each other in order to reach Zeus' throne and are rewarded for their trouble with a giant thunderbolt that knocks the mountains back down to earth and kills the giants. From this “blood-wet clay” is created a new race of man, one that becomes pretty much completely evil.

Some time after, Zeus becomes fed up with humanity's crazy evilness and decides to just kill everybody with a flood. (Sound familiar?) He calls a council of the gods and basically tells them, “People are disgusting. This one guy cooked me human meat. HUMAN meat. Do they think we're barbarians?!" He has had enough with these crazy humans. He's going to kill them all.

However the other gods are sad because if they kill off all the humans, WHO is going to bring them PRESENTS? Did Zeus think the animals were going to up and sacrifice THEMSELVES? Jeeze, Zeus. Really.

So Zeus reassures his fellow drama queen immortals that he will make a better race of humans because this current race is gross. And then, though Zeus kills all mankind, he is doing it with some mighty lovely imagery if I do say so myself:

Isis, handmaiden of Juno (Hera),In rainbow dress drew water from earth's streams, Replenishing the clouds.

And: “Open your locks and dykes, your streaming walls, and springs, Unleash the horses riding in foam through waterfalls and waves.” (Which I took to be a metaphor for the rolling waves, not actual dying horses falling over waterfalls, which would be horrifying and not lovely imagery at all.)

Oh! And also: Mermaids drifting with new-opened eyes, Gazed into cities that were walked by men.

So, you know, the world ended. But at least it happened poetically.

(Earth photo source:EveryStockPhoto)
(Zeus photo source: Me! At the Nashville Parthenon.)


  1. I love this post! My favorite "WHO is going to bring them PRESENTS" haha.

    1. Glad you enjoyed! I've found Greek myth can be unintentionally hilarious. XD


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