Gods and Heroes of the Greeks: The Library of Apollodorus

By Michael Simpson; Leonard Baskin et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE
Theogony, the Rape of Persephone, the Battle of the Gods and Giants (1. 1. 1-1. 6. 3)

BOOK 1 1, First Sky ruled over the entire world. He married Earth and produced Briareus, Gyes, and Cottus, the so-called Hundred- Handed, who possessed a hundred hands and fifty heads and were unsurpassed in size and strength. After these Earth bore to him the Cyclopes: Arges, Steropes, and Brontes, each of whom had one eye in his forehead. Sky tied them up and threw them into Tartarus, a dark and gloomy place in Hades, as far from earth as earth is from the sky, and again had children by Earth, the so-called Titans: Ocean, Coeus, Hyperion, Crius, Iapetus, and Cronus, the youngest of all. He also had daughters called Titanides: Tethys, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Dione, and Thia.

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Grieved at the loss of the children who were thrown into Tartarus, Earth persuaded the Titans to attack their father and gave Cronus a steel sickle. They all set upon him, except for Ocean, and Cronus cut off his father's genitals and threw them into the sea. From the drops of the spurting blood were born the Furies: Alecto, Tisiphone, and Megaera. Having thus eliminated their father, the Titans brought back their brothers who had been hurled to Tartarus and gave the rule to Cronus.1

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But Cronus tied them up and again imprisoned them in Tartarus. He then married his sister, Rhea. When Earth and Sky foretold that Cronus would lose the rule to his own son, he devoured his offspring as they were born. He swallowed down his first-born, Hestia, then Demeter and Hera, and after them Pluto and Poseidon. Angered by this, Rhea went to Crete when she was pregnant with Zeus, and gave birth to him in a cave on Mount Dicte. She gave him to the Curetes and to the nymphs, Adrastia and Ida, daughters of Metisseus, to nurse. They fed him Amalthea's milk while the Curetes, guarding the baby in the cave, beat their spears on their shields to prevent Cronus from

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-13-

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