The Creation Of The World


In the begining there was Chaos. From Chaos the first gods were born -- Uranus and Gaea, the sky and the earth. They had plenty of children, but Uranos shut them all in Tartarus because he couldn't stand their ugliness. Desperate, Gaia talked one of her sons into revenge. Cronus cut his father's secret parts off with a sword. And Cronus' reign began and the king of gods married his sister, Rhea. Afraid of his father's prophecy, which said that he would be killed by his son, the god ate all his children just after they were born. Rhea couldn't stand it any longer and when she gave birth to Zeus, she gave her husband a stone in diapers. Cronus swallowed him, suspecting nothing. The baby was raised on Crete by mountain nymphs and the goat, Amalthea. When Zeus had grown up, he killed his father and gave freedom to his brothers and sisters who were living bowels. The power was distributed between gods, who moved to Mount Olympus and lived their lives joyfully, arguing and loving each other and watching people. Zeus also had many children, not only with his wife, Hera but also with other goddesses and even women.


http://www.ancient-greece.us/greek-myths.html



Demeter and Persephone


Demeteris was the goddess of fertility, corn, grain, and the harvest. When Hades kidnapped her beloved daughter, she fell into despair and left Mount Olympus in the search for Persephone. On her order, the earth became barren and gave no more food. Then Zeus and Hades had to give in. They couldn't give Persephone back to her mother, because she had eaten a pomergranate in the underground - the food of the dead. A compromise was reached. Persephone spent nine months with her mother and for the rest of the year she got back to her husband, to the underground -- then all life on earth faded and winter arrived. But when spring came, Persephone returned and with her, all nature came back to life.


http://www.ancient-greece.us/greek-myths.html

Athena's Birth


Zeus came to lust after Metis, and chased her in his direct way. Metis tried to escape, going so far as to change her form many times, turning into various creatures such as hawks, fish, and serpents. However, Zeus was both determined and equally proficient at changing form. He continued his persuit until she relented.

An Oracle of Gaea then prophesied that Metis first child would be a girl but, her second child would be a boy that would overthrow Zeus, as had happened to his father and grandfather. Zeus took this warning to heart. When he next saw Metis he flattered her and put her at her ease. Then with Metis off gaurd Zeus suddenly opened his mouth and swallowed her. This was the end of Metis but, possibly the beginning of Zeus' wisdom.


After a time, Zeus developed the mother of all headaches. He howled so loudly it could be heard throughout the earth. The other gods came to see what the problem was. Hermes realized what needed to be done and directed Hephaestus to take a wedge and split open Zeus' skull. Out of the skull sprang Athena, full grown and in a full set of armour. Due to her manner of birth, she had dominion over all things of the intellect.
http://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/The_Myths/Birth_of_Athena/birth_of_athena.html

Narcissus


The story of a young Greek boy who fell in love with his own reflection.
Narcissus was a beautiful looking boy. He had long, flowing, blonde hair, beautiful, bright, blue eyes and even, white teeth. Many young ladies fell in love with him, including the nymph; Echo.
Nymphs were lively spirits who lived near streams and lakes and protected trees in the forest. Echo had upset the Queen of the Gods; Hera. As a punishment, Hera made Echo unable to speak except to repeat the last three words of the person she was talking to.
Poor Echo fell in love with Narcissus but could never tell him how she felt. Narcissus teased her and she ran away with tears pouring down her face. Aphrodite, the goddess of love saw what happened and decided to punish Narcissus. As he came to a pool of water Narcissus saw his reflection and fell in love with the vision he saw...it was of course his own reflection.

Poor Narcissus watched his own reflection, every time he tried to touch the face of the vision he loved, it broke up on the shimmering surface of the water. Narcissus stopped eating, lost his beautiful looks and pined for his love. Eventually he faded away and died.
Aphrodite took pity on him and made a flower grow in his place on the bank of the lake. Narcissus flowers can be found to this day, growing wherever you can find water and trees.

http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/carolrb/greek/greek1.html


Theseus and the Minotaur

King Minos hated the Athenians because they had killed his son. He ordered that every four years, nine youths should be sent to Crete to feed the minotaur. The minotaur was half man and half bull. He lived in the labyrinth under the palace. King Aegeus of Athens was so angry by this, that he promised that he would go and try to kill the minotaur. Instead Theseus, his son went.

Ariadne, daughter of King Minos fell in love with Theseus and decided to help him. She sneaked past the guards and gave him a long ball of string and a sword. As he entered the maze, he started to loosen the string out. Eventually Theseus came to the lair of the minotaur and had a terrible, ferocious battle with the minotaur. The minotaur died and Theseus was able to find his way out of the maze by being able to follow his string trail.

http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/carolrb/greek/greek1.html

Herakles

Herakles was born to a mortal woman but had the god Zeus, for his father. To protect his son, Zeus gave him the gift of great strength. Hera, Zeus' wife was jealous and plotted revenge for his birth. Herakles grew into a tall, strong man. He married and had three sons. He led a very settled, peaceful life with his family but Hera's plot involved him having a dreadful dream. In that dream, he killed his family.
Herakles was devastated. Finally, he went to the Oracle to ask the gods what he had to do. He went as a slave to serve King Eurystheus who set him twelve labours which would free him from the burden of his family's death. If he complete all of the tasks he would once again be a free man. Herakles was a strong, powerful slave and the King did not want to lose him.
King Eurystheus set Herakles the task of killing the lion of Nemea. To everyone's amazement Herakles came out of it alive.

Eurystheus was quite angry that Herakles had been successful and he set him another task straight away: to catch the Golden Hind of Cerynia. He was successful once again.

The third labour was to kill the nine headed hydra. Many had tried this and been killed, but Herakles cauterized the neck each time he cut a head off, so that no new ones could grow.

The fourth dreadful labour was to capture the wild boar of Mount Erymanthus. This creature was so savage and wild that nobody could get near him. Herakles killed it and after tying its feet together dragged it back to the King. The King was so terrified of it that he jumped into a brass jar and hid until the coast was clear once again.

The fifth was to kill the Stymphalian man eating birds. Athene had to help him this time because the tasks were verging on the impossible. The birds were terrifying with great long claws, sharp beaks and whose feathers made spears, they were sent down with such speed and fury. Athene gave him some castanets especially made by Haephestos. When Herakles crashed them together, the birds rose up in fear and Herakles killed them with his arrows.
He was sent to do a disgusting job next: King Augeus had not had his stables cleaned out for thirty years. Herakles took the job on but asked the King for one tenth of the cattle as his reward if he managed. Augeus agreed thinking that the task was impossible. Herakles diverted the river and completed the task. He was not paid however.

Eurystheus decided that he must make the labours harder for Herakles because he seemed to have managed things that were impossible. He ordered Herakles to sail south and capture the white bull of Crete. It had plagued them for twenty seven years, eating anybody who came near it on the hillside.

From there, he went and tried to catch the flesh eating mares of Diomedes.These horses fed only on the flesh of men and had to be tamed before they were brought back.

Next, he had to sail to meet up with the Amazons and bring back the leader's golden girdle.

From there, he was sent to bring back the herd of chestnut cattle from the giant Ceryan.
There were only two labours left and King Eurystheus was determined to make them impossible. He sent Herakles to fetch the golden apples of Hesperides. The were guarded by hers and the daughters of Titan but Herakles tricked them by changing places with Atlas who got them for him.

His final task was to bring back the three headed hound that guarded Hades: Cerebus.
He was frightening because people that went into Hades did not usually come out. Herakles did return and so having completed his labours was released. He lived a peaceful life until he died of old age and then he was taken by Zeus to live as an immortal on Mount Olympus.
http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/carolrb/greek/greek1.html


Daedalus and Icarus

Daedalus was trying to escape punishment after killing his nephew Talos. He escaped from the king of Athens and travelled to Crete where King Minos welcomed him. He built wonderful buildings for King Minos and created a labyrinth below the city. King Minos was pleased with the labyrinth but he did not want anyone to know the way in or out. He decided that he would imprison Daedalus and Icarus to protect his secret.
They soon got fed up and decided to try and escape again. Daedalus made frames and fastened feathers to them. They learned to fly and prepared to escape. Daedalus told Icarus not to go high, to keep right away from the sun.
They climbed up onto the windowsill, leapt into the air, started to fly and soared away into the clouds. They went up and down, twisted and turned. Icarus got so excited that he left his father. He went higher and higher. His father shouted for him to come down. Icarus was getting very close to the sun. He turned his rays onto Icarus. Icarus tried to get back down, but too late. The sun melted the wax that held the feathers in place and Icarus' wings fell apart. He fell to the ground and died.

http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/carolrb/greek/greek1.html
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