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Hesiod's Creation Myth

Hesiod and His Muse, by Gustav Moreau

Hesiod tells his version of Creation in the Theogeny. Hesiod says that "In truth at first Chaos came to be." That statement seems to be a little, um, lacking, since Chaos means the lack of order - or, in other words - nothing was there yet. So, moving on. Next he says, came Gaia (or Earth), and with Earth came all the mountains and valleys and stuff. Hesiod never mentions exactly what causes this sudden appearance, only helpfully reassures us that this was, indeed, the order of things. Next came Tartarus. Again, there seems to be a little bit of trouble. I mean, technically, Tartarus is a humungous pit inside Earth. But I guess you can't really sweat details like hows and whats in a Creation story. The next thing "created" is Eros. Eros is, quite simply, the personification of love. In Classical myth, Eros is the son of Aphrodite - but then, this is Classical myth, too . . . so. Right. Love is created. I suppose that makes sense, cuz otherwise the rest of the people involved in Creation might not want to procreate. I mean, it's yucky to kiss someone you don't really dig - imagine having to populate a world like that! I bet you think things are gonna get all cheery now that Eros is making things all giggly, but no, next comes Erebus. Erebus is the (male) personification of the darkness of the Underworld. Then comes Nyx, the (female) personification of night. Now comes the lovey-dovey stuff. Nyx and Erebus find themselves (mostly) alone in the dark together . . . and well . . . then there started a whole new era of Creation. Their first children were Aether (personification of the Upper Air, think atmosphere) and Hemera (the personification of day). Then Gaia managed to give birth to Pontus (the Sea) and Uranus (not the planet - it means, essentially, Heaven) to cover her completely (I told you Eros was important). Then Gaia and Uranus got it on, and the first real Gods were born. They were called the Titans and there were 12 or 14 of them, and they all married to each other and had lots of kids, and Cronos (the youngest boy) and Rhea (the youngest girl) had what YOU know as the Olympian Gods. Think Zeus, Hera and Hades. So after a lot of trouble, there they all were!

There were actually a lot other things created as well in Hesiod's version (like the Cyclopes and the Hundred-Armed Giants), but it's not very long, and if you're really interested then you can read it for yourself here at the Perseus Project.

Hope you liked the story!

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Last Updated January 15, 2008

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