Theogony definition/detailed description

Theogony comes from the Greek expression theosgonia , which means the birth of the gods. It is a very famous classical Greek literary work, which narrates the origin of the universe and the gods, written by the Greek poet Hesiod . Theogony definition

Hesiod was known for reciting epic poetry. He lived in the 8th century BC and lived in Boeotia, in central ancient Greece.

With so many different phases in the writings and readings of Greek myths, mythology has many versions. Theogony is one of the oldest records of the history of the emergence of the gods, narrating the way the Greeks saw the creation of the world.

Throughout the work, the author discusses the formation of the universe through the god Chaos, going to the ascension and sovereignty of Zeus . All this is narrated by the author, who at the beginning of the work invokes the inspiration of the goddesses that symbolize art and science, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosine, the goddess of memory. Theogony definition

Theogony: a summary of the genealogy of the Greek gods and cosmogony

The history of theogony is divided into three main parts:

Part I – Cosmogony

The first part of the work presents the cosmogony , which literally means the creation of the universe. The gods who start the story are:

  • Chaos , which represented nothing and everything, empty matter;
  • Gaia , the earth and the force of nature;
  • Tartarus , the god of the underworld, whither the souls of the dead went;
  • Eros , which represented love.

At this point in history, the gods had no relationship with each other, but managed to generate other gods spontaneously. That’s how Chaos begot Erebus and Nix, twin gods who represented night and darkness.

Even with the physical distance between Tartarus and Gaia, they united and formed Uranus , which represented heaven. Uranus, in turn, joins Gaia and give rise to other important gods throughout history, the titans and titania . Theogony definition

Uranus, however, did not allow Gaia to give birth to her children, so she trapped them within her during their formation. In pain and very dissatisfied with this situation, Gaia challenges her own children to defeat and dethrone their father. Of all the titans, only one accepts the challenge: Kronos , the god of time.

Gaia created a sickle out of a strong metal and handed it over so that Kronos could castrate his father. At the right moment he hits the father directly, causing Uranus’ sexual organ to fall into the sea.

Representation of the castration of Uranus by his son Cronos, made by the Italian painter Giogio Vasari.

From the foam generated by the fall of the organ into the sea, Aphrodite was born , the goddess of love and from the drops of blood are born the Furies, the Nymphs and the Giants.

Part II – The Birth of Zeus and the Fall of Kronos

Cronos defeats his father, frees the brothers who were trapped inside Gaia, and joins his sister Réia, the goddess of motherhood, to have children. However, Gaia was not satisfied with the attitude of the son who dethroned his father just out of interest in world domination. Theogony definition

Gaia then prophesies that Kronos would also be dethroned by one of her sons, as he did with Uranus. When Rhea begins to get pregnant, Cronos starts to swallow her children , in an attempt to make the prophecy not come true. He swallowed Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades and Poseidon, who started to grow inside the father.

However, Rhea is upset and sad for not following the growth of her children and asks for help from her parents, Gaia and Uranus, so that her sixth child could be saved. Gaea then helped Rhea by taking her to the Isle of Crete where she gave birth to her sixth child with Kronos, Zeus .

To escape Cronus’ fury and protect her son, Rhea delivers a rock wrapped in a blanket to deceive her husband, who swallows it without realizing that it was not the child his wife was expecting.

Zeus then grows up on the island of Crete, in the care of Gaia, and has always known that he was born with a mission to free his brothers and dethrone his father, Cronos. He then poisons the father and frees the brothers, who become the Olympian gods. Theogony definition

Part III – The Battles and Sovereignty of Zeus

After taking his father’s throne, Zeus opens many battles against other gods. One of the most important was titanomachy , which takes place between the Olympian gods, brothers of Zeus, and the titans.

Representation in painting of titanomachy, created by the German painter Peter Paul Rubens

The war lasted for years in great clashes. Zeus then set up a large trap that caused the titans to retreat. He casts all the titans into Tartarus, the underworld, and sentences the god Atlas to carry the weight of the world on his back. Theogony definition

When the war ended, the brothers Zeus, Hades and Poseidon divided the world between them as follows:

  • The seas and rivers were in the care of Poseidon ;
  • The underworld came to be controlled by Hades ;
  • Everything else, such as sky, air and earth came to be ruled by Zeus , the sovereign of Mount Olympus.

Zeus was a mighty god who dominated not only the other gods, but also the men who lived on earth.

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