The Divine Wives and Children of Zeus

Creation and Evolution
of the Universe
Hesiod’s Theogony
Divine Dynastic Succession
1st generation: Gaia + Ouranos
2nd generation: Kronos + Rhea (Titans)
3rd generation: Zeus + Hera
(1st generation Olympians)
4th generation: Children of Zeus
(2nd generation Olympians)
Hesiod (ca. 700 B.C.)
• A farmer and poet from the region of
• Theogony
• Works and Days
– Theo + gone = “birth of the gods”
– Cosmogony: birth of the world-order
– Divine Dynastic succession
– Elaborate Hymn to Zeus
– Oral Epic tradition
– Near Eastern influence (e.g. Enuma Elish
or Epic of Creation)
Features of Oral Epic Tradition
• dactylic hexameter
• repetition
• formulae and epithets
• ring-composition
• catalogues
• invocation of Muses
Zeus + Mnemosyne (Memory)
Nine muses
The Beginning
• First only Chaos
• Then Gaia (Earth), Tartaros, Eros (Desire)
• Gaia produces Ouranos (Sky, Heaven),
Mountains and Sea by asexual reproduction
• Mating with Ouranos, she produces the 12
Titans, the 3 Cyclopes and the 3 HundredHanded Ones
• Ouranos does not allow them to be born.
The Second Generation (Titans)
• Kronos castrates and overthrows his father Ouranos.
• Birth of Furies, Giants and Aphrodite
• Kronos and his sister Rheia mate, produce the 6 firstgeneration Olympians
• Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, Zeus
• Kronos swallows them
The Third Generation
• Rheia tricks Kronos and hides the baby Zeus in a
cave on Crete.
• She gives Kronos a stone in swaddling clothes.
• Zeus grows up and overthrows his father, tricking him
into vomiting up his siblings.
• The stone (omphalos) is placed at Pytho (Delphi).
• Frees Cyclopes and Hundred-handed Ones,
who were imprisoned by Ouranos
• Cyclopes give Zeus lightning-bolts
• Punishment of Prometheus and eventual
glorification of Herakles
• Titanomachy (Battle with the Titans)
• Typhonomachy (Battle with Typhoios)
• As king of immortals, Zeus distributes roles
and privileges.
The Divine Wives and Children of Zeus
• Metis (swallowed by Zeus, who then produces Athena
from his head)
• Themis (Seasons, Justice, Fates)
• Eurynome (Graces)
• Demeter (Persephone)
• Mnemosyne (Muses)
• Leto (Apollo and Artemis)
• Hera (Ares, Hebe, Eileithyia)
– Hera produces Hephaistos asexually
• Maia (Hermes)
• Semele* (Dionysus)