Lesson Plan - Get It!
Some people use the phrase, "It's all Greek to me," when they don't understand something. From now on, you'll use the phrase because you're an expert on Greek mythology and can make connections to present-day references to ancient Greek beliefs! Let's begin with the Titans, who were the very first gods in a long line of Greek mythological deities.
Greek mythology is a set of fascinating and sometimes contradictory stories about the gods and goddesses that ancient Greek citizens worshipped in their city-states.
Before continuing, if you overlooked or need to review the introduction Related Lesson in this Greek Mythology series, find it in the right-hand sideabr.
Greeks built temples to the gods they worshipped and created stories to accompany each of the gods and goddesses. In many cases, these stories helped to explain natural phenomena for people that they couldn't otherwise explain through reason or primitive science.
For example, they used these stories to calm themselves and make sense of why the seasons changed and why lighting and thunder occurred during a storm.
These stories have been preserved for thousands of years in the writings of famous Greek poets and playwrights, such as Homer, who wrote the Odyssey and the Iliad, that chronicled the travels and tribulations of the Greek King Odysseus as he attempted to return to the island of Ithaca after the Trojan War.
A large amount of early Greek art, including sculptures and mosaics, often depicted the idealized images of the gods and goddesses so people could relate a persona to the stories.
There are hundreds of gods and goddesses in Greek mythology, but many of them play a minor role in mythological stories.
The Greeks were the first to create these stories, so when the Romans conquered the ancient Greek city-states, they decided to adopt many of the same gods for themselves and replaced the original Greek names with Latin names. Each story you read in this lesson will provide the Roman equivalent for the Greek name.
There were two major groups of primary Greek gods: the Titans and the Olympians.
The Titans were the first-born set of gods and goddesses, and many of them are the parents and aunts and uncles of the Olympic gods and goddesses. The Titans were centered on Mt. Othrys, while the Olympians occupied Mt. Olympus. The Olympians eventually overthrew their elders after a ten-year battle known as the Titanomachy.
Zeus, the leader of the Olympians, then banished any Titan who had fought against him to Tartarus, the deepest part of the underworld. Thus it was said that the Olympians went on to rule until they were chased out by Christians after the death of Emperor Julian in 363 A.D., who was the last Roman emperor to worship secular gods.
Myth says the Greek gods can't truly die — they are still hiding to this day in deep forests and caves somewhere in the world.
To start learning about the Greek gods and goddesses, we are going to start at the beginning with the Titans. To learn a lot more about the Titans, visit GreekMythology.com / Titans, where you can poke around the different gods and goddesses withing the articles.
To help you with the family connections among the primary Greek gods, click on the Greek Gods Family Tree from Tales Beyond Belief to see a simplified family tree for the Titans and the Olympians.
If you enjoyed reading about the Titans, you can also check out more Myth Stories of the Titans at Tales Beyond Belief.
Continue on to the Got It? section to test your new-found knowledge!