A Drive-Through to Greek Mythology

Greek mythology is everywhere. From one of the most famous book series, Percy Jackson; to the Nike shoes you wear everyday. This world full of magical stories and traditions, has inspired writers like Homer, who would later write The Odyssey. Its complexity and variety of heroes, monsters, gods, and goddesses, will intrigue you and leave you eager to learn even more.


 

Gods and Goddesses

Greek mythology would not be the same without the characteristic groups of gods, each one in charge of taking care of different things, which gives them a really diverse personality.

Antique Greek texts narrate that from the primordial universe, the first primordial goddess emerged: Khaos. She is described as a chaotic mix of elements or mass and energy, or the state of void before the creation of the universe. She is defined as the goddess of the chasm of air and bore Erebus (darkness), and Nyx (night).

Gaea is the goddess of earth and of all creation. With her son and husband Uranus, the god of the sky, the other gods and goddesses were eventually born. Gaea and Uranus did not have a good relationship. With the help of some of the first titans (children of Uranus and Gaea), Gaea rebelled against him. She made Khronos, primordial god of time, castrate him, and then he threw his genitals to the sea. From the foam created in the sea, Aphrodite was born. She is goddess of love, beauty and procreation.

Kronos is not the only titan. Atlas, son of Lapetos, symbolizes endurance. This is because in the war against Zeus, he was defeated and condemned to carry heaven on his shoulders. Sometimes he is pictured like a mountain that touches heaven and carries it on his back.

The Olympians are the most famous group of gods and goddesses. They live in Mount Olympus, except for Hades. Hades is the god of the underworld, death, and underground treasures. His residency is situated in the underworld, as well as Persephone’s, his wife. The nature of the relationship between Persephone and Hades is often debated. When this goddess of spring was playing in a meadow, she was kidnapped by her uncle Hades, and later compelled to stay with him at least six months of the year, as she ate six pomegranate seeds (food from the underworld attaches you to it). Enraged, her mother Demeter, goddess of agriculture refused to grow crops. This created the four seasons of the year.


Zeus, the leader of all the Olympians, is the god of sky, but he is also illustrated as the god of the weather, fate, law, order… His characteristic lightning bolt has been portrayed in many books and movies such as the first book of Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief, described as his principal source of power. He is also recognized as the creator of humanity, and many children, as he has innumerable sons and daughters product of his relationships with both gods and mortals.

One of Zeus’ children was Athena, who was born from Zeus’ skull. She is the goddess of wisdom and war for justice. On the other hand, her half-brother Ares is also related to war. Opposite to Athena, Ares is constantly described as a “war lover” and an aggressive and isolated god. One way or another, Ares ended up seducing Aphrodite, which produced a feud between Hephaestus (god of fire and smiths, husband of Aphrodite) and him.

Lastly, one of the most famous Greek gods is Poseidon. This god of the sea, horses, and various natural phenomena is characterized by his trident.


 

Stories: Heroes and monsters

Arachne and Athena

Once upon a time, there was a young woman that claimed to be the best weaver that ever existed. Her work was the softest, the most beautiful, the most colorful. People all around came to buy her works and to watch her weave. One day the arrogant woman claimed to be a better weaver than the gods, including Athena. This goddess, enraged, came down to the Earth dressed up as an old woman and warned her of the jeopardy of offending the gods. Arachne did nothing but to reiterate her supremacy over the gods and she suggested a competition between her and Athena. Athena turned into her goddess form and accepted the competition. While the goddess weaved a beautiful loom showing the power of the gods, Arachne weaved a loom that pictured the gods as animals flirting with mortals. Athena got furious and destroyed Arachne’s loom. Arachne, realizing what she just did, embarrassed, tried to hang herself. Athena had mercy upon her and saved Arachne. She turned her into a spider who continued weaving in her webs.



Calypso the nymph

Calypso is a nymph and goddess in Greek mythology. She is trapped in Ogygia, a remote island, because she supported her titan father Atlas during the war. The hero Odysseus who casually ended up on the island after the Trojan war seduced her. Calypso was so in love with him that she wanted to marry him and make him immortal. She forced Odysseus to stay with her for seven years, until Zeus commanded her to free him. In the Percy Jackson book series, she was meant to fall irrevocably in love with everyone that ended up on the island, just for them to leave her behind with a heartbreak.



Moiras

Also called The Fates, the moiras are the three sisters and goddesses of destiny. They are in charge of following the life of all mortals, from birth to death. When a person is born, they put on a new thread, a thread of life, that they attach to their spindle and cut at the end of the life of the human. They know the fate of everyone but they do not usually interfere with it, except when Zeus demands it. They are pictured as three old women: Clotho, who starts the new life and spins the thread; Lachesis, who measures the man’s thread life; and Atropos, who cuts the thread and with it, the life of the human. The fates also appear in other cultures such as northern, or European, mythology.




 

Books and movies

Percy Jackson (book and movie series)

As mentioned before, Percy Jackson is the most famous Greek mythology book and movie series. It follows the numerous adventures that Percy Jackson (son of Poseidon and a mortal) has with his demigod (one parent god, one parent mortal) friends trying to protect the Camp Half-Blood, their summer camp-esque home, against the dangers that chase them everywhere they go.


The movies are available on Disney plus, and the books in any library or bookstore; although a new TV show that is not recorded yet is going to come out.



The Song of Achilles (book)

This book, based in the Iliad, tells the love story between the Prince Patroclus and the hero Achilles, who has to rescue Helen of Sparta during the Trojan war. Tears are guaranteed with this book and you won’t even realize how much it has impacted your life until you reach the last page without stopping.

“I am made of memories” -The Song of Achilles

The book is available in all bookstores and libraries.



Poseidon (movie)

Poseidon is the Netflix movie everyone should watch. It narrates the story of the passengers of a ship that try to survive in the Atlantic sea, after the discovery of a thirty-meter wave that will try to destroy it.


It is available to watch on Netflix.






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