Discussion in 'Greek Mythology' started by JackB03, Nov 28, 2011.
I know of the war about the titans vs Zeus. But does Zeus and Hades ever go to war?
not that i heard of. i can't think why anyone would want to conquer the underworld, its grim down there. well, i suppose there's a lot of wealth in the ground come to think of it. on the other hand its easy to imagine that Hades might want some land in the sun. So i can see why he might invade up here.
There wasn't much Zeus vs. Hades myth that I've ever heard of. There were times when they had differing opinions (concerning souls and deaths of some of Zeus' sons), but according to Homer and Virgil, and also Powell I believe, Hades rarely left the underworld. I can't remember which said so, but according to one poet, Hades was never seen out of the Underworld; even during the abduction of Persephone. Apparently, in that specific myth, there was no thundering black chariot pulled by giant black stallions, he simply opened the earth so that she fell through the ground and into the Underworld...and we know what happened from there.
Hades was the god of, not just the underworld, but wealth, he would have had everything (except sunshine). According to Edith Hamilton, Hades felt alone because he was surrounded by his souls, but had no companion, so he stole Persephone and did all he could to please her. When she finally fell in love with him he was pleased and, as far as I can tell, he was happy from then on and pretty content in his realm.
I think that, like with Apollo and the sun-chariot, Zeus would have been lost trying to rule the underworld and Hades would have been lost trying to rule the heavens.
There is only one story in the original Greek mythology in which Zeus ever entered into a conflict with Haides (Hades).
When Zeus' son Herakles (Hercules) went to war against the city of Pylos in Messenia, which was ruled by his cousin Neleus, some of the gods joined the conflict and took sides, similarly to the manner in which they did the same thing during the great war at Troy a generation later. At this time, Hera, who hated her stepson Herakles; Poseidon, coming to the aid of his son Neleus; and Ares, who had locked horns with Herakles before (and would do so again), all came to the aid of Pylos, to which Herakles was laying siege. Haides also threw his lot in with the Pylians, because he was worshipped in their city, and this would seem to be a unique occurrence in Greek religion, since Haides had a very limited cult, most Greeks traditionally being afraid to even to call him by his real name.
Seeing this state of affairs, Herakles' father Zeus and half-sister Athena came to his aid and together they defeated their opponents. Herakles, though, was the star of the show. He himself killed Neleus and almost all of his sons and single-handedly wounded each of the gods who opposed him, with the exception of Poseidon. Having been so brutally dealt with by the hero, Hera, Ares and Haides each had to repair to Olympos to seek healing from the gods' doctor Paion (a form of Apollon) up there. So in the story, the conflict directly between the gods seems to be minimal, Haides' involvement in it being mainly to support Pylos against Herakles' onslaught.
Other than that, Haides, in the mythology, is invariably a supporter of Zeus, who always treats him in a friendly manner. There are two occasions in which this is most obvious. On one, it was Zeus who originally organised for his own daughter Korē to be abducted by her uncle Haides, after which she became Persephone, the queen of the Underworld. On the other, when Haides complained to Zeus that Asklepios (Asclepius) was greatly depopulating the Underworld by resurrecting so many of the dead, just as he was on the point of resurrecting the giant Orion at the request of the goddess Artemis, Zeus blasted Asklepios dead with a thunderbolt.
The modern stories in movies, novels and comicbooks in which Haides is constantly at odds with Zeus mostly depict Haides as an evil, Satan-like being, and his domain, the Underworld, as a sort of version of the medieval European conception of Hell or the Lake of Fire from the Bible. But the ancient Greeks did not conceive of Haides or the home of the dead as necessarily evil or "Hellish." Even Tartaros, the storm-wracked pit or abyss in which the souls of the damned were tortured for their sins in life, was thought of as such a place only later in Greek history, and even then it was only a part of the Underworld, not the whole show. The main "evil" of the Underworld and its king was that it was as drab, dreary and inglorious as possible a version of the life a human being experienced while alive. But it was not necessarily suffering. The god Haides was only thought of as cruel in that he was the lord of the dead, and when the time came for him to collect, he, as a representation of death, was merciless and generally impartial. But even the Greeks generally accepted that death was an evil which made up a part of life.
If anything, there are more references in Greek mythology to Zeus being cruel, merciless and downright evil than there are any describing Haides in this manner. But on the other hand, Haides and Zeus were apparently so similar that it didn't seem strange to refer to Haides as Zeus Khthonios or Katakhthonios, the "Earthly/Infernal Zeus," or the Zeus of the Underworld, who was depicted enthroned, like the sky-god, wielding an eagle-tipped sceptre. Zeus himself was sometimes depicted enthroned with Kerberos (Cerberus), the monster watchdog of the Underworld, sitting next to the god's throne, as though there were really no difference between Zeus and Haides. Ironically, the one brother of Zeus of whom there is a story of his [once] having tried to overthrow Zeus, i.e., Poseidon, seems to be invariably depicted in modern media as his friend and ally. Poseidon once actually spent a whole year, together with his nephew, Zeus' son Apollon, labouring as slaves of mortals on account of their having attempted to overthrow their king Zeus.
There was never a war between the two brothers. And even if they were to go to war with each other, there won't even be a battle. Zeus would defeat hades in a second. Zeus was more powerful than all the gods combined. He really had very few limits in his power after defeating Kronos and becoming the absolute ruler of the universe.
There is a war upon the Olympians by Jesus and Christianity, Jesus stole the thunderbolt return it unto to Zeus by saying Zeus! our heaven that most of man thinks of right now is actually hades and Hades is at war with Olympia.
appease the gods of Olympia do not fear the lord, do not fear death.
Worship the gods of Greece!
I don't know about that. Hades is an extremely powerful god. He wasn't able to defeat Cronus on his own, he had the help of many others. He didn't get to rule the heavens because he was more powerful than his brothers he inherited Olympus because he won it. The brothers drew for their kingdoms: Poseidon drew the seas, Zeus drew the heavens, and Hades drew the underworld.
As for who would win in a battle between the two, well I know my opinion is biased because I like Hades more than Zeus, but I have to vote for Hades. Hades is an extremely powerful god. In one myth it was said that Hades drew power from the souls he collected. That's a crap-ton of strength if you consider all of the souls residing in Hades. Not only that, Hades has the power to rule over gods that have died. Zeus isn't the one who holds the keys to the other gods and Titans prison Tartarus is, and who controls Tartarus?...Hades. I think if Zeus ever did try to go up against Hades, all he'd have to do is threaten to let all of them go, all of the Titans who hate Zeus and even their father, and he'd back down. Every god, even one day Zeus, will fall under the domain of Hades. Besides, as I've said, their domains are so different, I can't imagine why, aside from the times when Zeus is angered when Hades takes the soul of one of his children, they'd go up against one another anyway.
Are you referring to when Christianity overpowered Paganism? I think that this is just something that happens. People believe in one thing until something else comes along. Ideas change and people stop believing in things that they previously believed in. I don't know that it is a war on one specific religion. America was overrun with Puritan settlers, but burning witches at the stake isn't something that people practice anymore. That I know of. I don't know that anyone will fall into cutting the throats of baby goats and burning them on an alter for the Olympians. I'm pretty sure that Greek myth is most widely accepted as just that, myth. I'm sure one day in the future Christianity will be taught in school as a myth as well and then there will be another religion rising up to take the place of Christianity. It's just the way of human kind. We hear things and decide whether or not to believe them or believe in something else. We're always trying to explain things that we see or feel and figure out why they are that way and who made them that way, if anyone. It's human nature.
Yeah; science, medicine, schools, astronomy all flourished with ancient Greece. They are the reason we as a country are a democracy and the Greeks brought founded the myth.
Between the two, Hades is my favourite as well. Zeus just bugs me, the way he treats Hera as well as humanity. Hades is just a misunderstood god because his kingdom is the underworld. I would love to see the two brothers go at it. I am quite confident Hades would beat the crap out of Zeus, what with all the souls he would now have wandering through his domain. Now there's a story I would want to read (or go see). But you're right. If Zeus were smart, he would back down the moment Hades threatened to release the imprisoned titans. *sigh*
Particularly in the Iliad there seem to be some differing opinions about just how powerful Zeus was. Even though it was by lot that Zeus acquired the (physically) highest portion of the family estate, it is still Zeus who was crowned king of all the deities and thus held sovereignty over both of his brothers, between the two of whom only Poseidon ever seems to have a problem with the amount of authority that Zeus exercises. Once during the Trojan War he levels a bitter complaint about it when the messenger-goddess Iris delivers him a command from Zeus. Poseidon first makes a point of recounting the story of how he became king of the sea, Zeus lord of the sky and Haides ruler of the dead (yes, by lot-casting). He therefore bears equal honour to Zeus so "Despite his [Zeus'] power, let him stay quietly in his own third [of the universe]. And let him not try to frighten me, as if I were a coward. Let him menace his sons and daughters with angry words: he begot them and they are forced to listen to his urgings." But Iris asks him if he's sure that this is the response to Zeus' command he wants her to convey. Poseidon thinks twice about it but even though he stands down, he warns that if Zeus prevents the destruction of Troy at the hands of the Greeks, against the desire of Poseidon, Athena, Hera, Hermes and Hephaistos, then "tell him there’ll be an irreparable breach between us."
Seven books prior to this (in Book 8), Zeus assembles all the deities (inlcuding Haides?) to a meeting on Mt Olympos and threatens them sternly with being electrocuted with lightning bolts and possibly being hurled into Tartaros should they interfere with the mortals fighting in the Trojan War. He then dares them - all of them together - to defy him: "If you fastened a chain of gold to the sky, and all of you, gods and goddesses, took hold, you could not drag Zeus the High Counsellor to earth with all your efforts. But if I determined to pull with a will, I could haul up land and sea then loop the chain round a peak of Olympos, and leave them dangling in space. By that much am I greater than gods and men."
In Book 1, Homer tells us the story of how Poseidon (there he goes again!), Hera and Athena once tried to bind Zeus in chains but the sea-goddess Thetis quickly sent up the Hekatonkheiros (Hundred-Handed Giant) Briareus to rescue Zeus from this ignominy. So Zeus' choice of a chain for the example of his power in Book 8 is a bit ironic, since it's exactly chains (and from only three deities, not all of them after all) that he was being threatened with in Book 1. Maybe Zeus was just beating his chest with something hardcore to say on his rap album in Book 8 but either way, the amount of firepower he had at his disposal (in the form of thunder and lightning), with which he summarily dispatched most of his opponents, and the amount of backup he had in the form of the deities who were fiercely loyal to him (a lot of whom were not just the deities of the sky), his six giant uncles (the 3 Cyclopes who forged his lightning and thunderbolts for him, + the 3 Hekatonkheires), and his 4 winged Titan bodyguards Nike, Zelos, Kratos and Bia (victoriousness, zeal, might and force), made him practically unbeatable. Apart from his once almost being chained, the only time he ever seemed under genuine threat is when the dragon-like Gigantos Typhoeus captured and nearly took him out.
In the original mythology, the souls of dead human beings are not really useful to anyone for much anything beyond granting living humans bits and pieces of information, and this power was limited since very few human inhabitants of the Underworld are able to even hold on to their memories and minds! It's only after a drink of fresh blood that they temporarily reboot themselves before fading back into being mute shadows of their formerly living selves. All the monsters killed by various heroes over time ended up as ghosts of themselves in the Underworld, and Haides placed them at the entrance and exit of his realm to keep the monstrous watchdog Kerberos company, but they weren't much good for anything else but scaring the incoming dead from leaving as well as frightening living mortals who tried to trespass into the land of the deceased. Herakles encountered the ghost of Medusa when he descended into the Underworld to fetch Kerberos as the last of his twelve tasks, and when he tried to attack the apparition, Hermes told him to leave it alone since it couldn't do him any harm.
One of the reasons that Tartaros was separate from the rest of the Underworld is that the Titans who were imprisoned therein were not dead beings like the human ghosts who aimlessly wandered around the court of Haides' house. They were very much alive, immortal beings, who were still considered such a threat that their prison was guarded by the Hekatonkheires, the largest entities in the universe, who, by the way, were loyal, not to Haides or anyone else, but to Zeus. This is because it was Zeus who had killed the cosmic-sized monster Kampe, the original jailer of Tartaros (who had been planted there by Kronos to keep the Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires trapped within the great hell-pit), and released them from their captivity. So Haides' relationship with the imprisoned Titans is not that he was their ruler; rather he was their prison warden; they wouldn't have much reason to be on friendly terms with him. While Tartaros happened to be in Haides' domain, he wouldn't be able to release anyone from there by himself because Zeus was the ultimate guardian of the great chasm, and the one who decided who was put there and who could leave: the Hundred-Handed Giants were his insurance policy in that regard. Poseidon had a share in this affair too because he is the one who built and fitted in place the bronze and iron doors which covered the vast, cosmic mouth of the chasm. Further to that, sometime after the Trojan War, Zeus granted amnesty to his father and his Titan uncles and, after having been imprisoned for tens of thousands of years, they were released. Kronos was at this time crowned king of the Islands of the Blessed (or Elysium). By this point none of the Titans seems to have any beef with Zeus or the other gods.
Actually, from his interactions with a lot of his children and grandchildren, it doesn't seem like Zeus is much bothered about this kinda thing. He himself zapped his son Iasion dead using a thunderbolt, punished his son Tantalos by putting him into Tartaros, sanctioned the tormenting of his son Tityos also in Tartaros, changed his grandson Lykaon into a wolf, killed almost all of Lykaon's sons using lightning, and nearly drowned his own son Megaros in the Flood (and not by accident ). Of his mortal offspring with whom he had decent enough relations, he often had a means of making them live on, and thus when Zagreus was dismembered by the Titans he had him reincarnate as Dionysos (who thereafter never died), he made Minos, Rhadamanthys and Aiakos judges of the dead in Haides' court, his great-grandson Achilles he settled on Leuke or Elysium, and he didn't really mind Herakles and Helen dying because that's the means (through shedding their mortal parts) by which they attained immortality as gods or minor divinities. The only child of Zeus (apart from Zagreus) whose death we ever see him mourning, is in the Iliad, when Patroklos killed Sarpedon, whom Zeus had granted three human generations of life. Zeus would have liked to keep him alive even longer but Fate would not allow him to do this, especially while the children of other gods were falling on the battlefield as well. And Zeus didn't blame Haides for Sarpedon's loss. In fact, if he wanted to, Zeus could have given Sarpedon a place of honour in Haides' house, similar to the positions enjoyed there by Sarpedon's brothers Minos and Rhadamanthys and his half-brother Aiakos.
I suppose this is possible. The playwright Aiskhylos makes the Titan Prometheus declare very confidently that he knows Zeus' reign will be short, and that another will overtake him someday. In this instance, though, the hints at who the new ruler will be seem to point at a son of Zeus by Metis or Thetis, but since those threats seem to have been neutralised by Zeus' machinations, maybe the culprit is Haides, the "upside-down Zeus," or "Zeus of the Nether Realm."
This is a lot to read through, I only skimmed, unfortunately. As I always say, there are several interpretations to Greek mythology. When I was studying Classical myth I'd hear new variations to mythologies that I'd never heard before. It was through reading such poetry that I fell in love with Hades (reading Edith Hamilton) and learned to pity the Titans a little, I've always hated Zeus so that didn't change.
There are a few books you could read into that will give you a new look at some of these myths. Ovid's poems are always my go-to stories when I'm looking for a bit of info concerning any myth really, especially because his poetry isn't clouded over with the feelings that the gods were infallible and benevolent beings. He told a lot of stories from the underdogs' perspectives. Hesiod is one of those the-gods-can-do-no-wrong poets so I don't really like reading his poetry unless I'm looking for something specific, though his works are always informative. Apollodorus has a book that is similar to Ovid's Metamorphosis in that he goes into everything from beginning (creation) to end (the Odyssey). I try not to put too much into one specific myth or poet because they all have something different to say. Their stories are told from their perspectives. The world is seen through their eyes, tainted by their own life experiences. It is much less one single account of historical fact and more just an extreme version of the game of Telephone.
If Zeus were smart,
Zeus is shrewd or wise because he fights for the Olympians and struck down the titans so we as humanity could rise from the ashes. The creation of man myth according to Fitz; he gets help from the more wise gods by being the one who holds the Boanerger-- Zeus and Apollo are unbeatable when enacted together because it is just the way I think even though Zeus doesn't need Apollo or anyone for that matter he is Zeus the way and the life especially our life according to myth.
Except humanity began to suffer once Zeus took the throne. Remember that it was Cronus who ruled over the Golden Age. Good for man, though woman had yet to be created. It was Zeus who destroyed the Golden Age and thought to create a better age, the Silver Age, but during the Silver Age the seasons began to change, before it was perpetually Spring. Because the weather changed and grew colder people had to take shelter in caves to keep warm and they need food because it wasn't available like it had been before so they began to hunt. To hunt they needed weapons so they had to create those. Still to keep warm and eat they need fire which Zeus refused to give to them because he thought it would make humans too strong and so he decided he'd rather humanity freeze to death than have fire. Lucky for us Prometheus said 'screw you' to Zeus and gave it to us anyway. Though we suffered for that as well because it was after Prometheus gave man fire that Zeus thought to punish us for something we didn't do by creating Pandora and cursing humanity with fear, anger, disease, strife, war, famine, etcetera, etcetera. All the while were going from Silver to Bronze until Zeus gets so fed up with humanity's bad qualities, that we didn't even have until he introduced them to us, that he decided to flood the earth and kill us all and start from scratch (thanks Lycaaon). And so entered the Iron Age. The toughest and most miserable of the ages. I don't know how much of that he supposedly did for humanity but I certainly wish we'd have been given a vote in the matter. I'd have stuck with Cronus. Cronus was a bad guy because he castrated his father then ate his children, but Zeus did the exact same thing. From Cronus came Aphrodite. Zeus ate Athena's mother because he received a prophecy saying she'd have powerful children. And I'm sure Zeus has raped more women that Cronus or any of the other gods combined. I really don't think Cronus was a bad guy at all. Zeus, now, that's a whole other story.
But dudette, if/when you get the time you should most def go thru the full shebang!
The reason it's a lot is precisely because of the myriad sources of contrasting perspectives which I'm trying to relate (and conciseness regarding that is unfortunately not one of my strengths ), but if you go thru it all I'm sure you'll appreciate how I agree with your broken-telephone analogy, which includes stories mentioned by Apollodoros, Hesiod, Nonnos, Ovid and Pindar among others (even though I might not have named them explicitly). The theology of Aiskhylos, by the way, who I have mentioned, seems to be quite different from that of Homer and Hesiod. Without his Prometheus character I doubt we'd have much detail of the idea about the possibility of Zeus' throne being vulnerable to a hostile takeover, or too much insight into Prometheus himself. Having said that, however, I do still think that, if it's the original Greco-Roman mythology (and not the modern renditions thereof) that we're talking about here - unless we're referring to the rare, really obscure versions of Zeus and the gods (e.g. the dead, entombed Zeus on Crete Island) - most of these deities were painted as virtually all-powerful entities (though amazingly human in their flaws), their sky-king especially. (I did briefly mention the story in which Zeus was almost killed by a dragon, though, which comes from Apollodoros and Nonnos, and I think it's quite an enigmatic myth, featuring the removal of the sinews in his limbs!) And the main reason for my focus on the Iliad in that last post is just because it's the source of all that colourful smack Poseidon and Zeus are talking in different parts of the epic. It was too gangstah not to use I wonder why there isn't such great dialogue in the movies which're supposedly based on these myths
Further on differing perspectives, the Egyptian writer Clement of Alexandria is an interesting reference, since he forcefully points out the contradiction of Zeus being the god of justice and yet behaving so unjustly. The philosopher Socrates refused to believe the myths portraying Zeus as a philandering serial rapist. When I started reading Greek myths I have to say I found Zeus to be the most fascinating character but was always amazed at the degree to which he and most of his fellow gods molested women (and men too sometimes), and the amount of injustice they perpetrated against humankind (notwithstanding how unjust as the human race is per se). Doubtless this is the origin of some of the impetus for the hinted threats about the era of these deities coming to an end so that they share the fate of their predecessors.
I've actually never read Edith Hamilton but I've read and watched numerous versions of many, many of these myths, including a really old-skool Disney Silly Symphony entitled The Goddess of Spring. It's a crazy 10 minutes of animated opera about Haides' abduction of Persephone, made in 1934! U seen this? Haides features therein in his modern-media incarnation as the red-horned, pointy-eared goblin-like (but sorta handsome) devil, clad pretty much like Count Dracula, while the blonde Persephone is pretty much a forerunner of the Hippies from a few decades later but it's humorous, jazzy and funky (especially for opera ). The last time I watched this (before Googling it just now) is when I was a little kid before I even knew what mythology was, Greco-Roman or otherwise. Check it out in case you've never seen it (man, it's weird how everything's on YouTube these days!)>
So much *sigh*
I'll go through and read it all. I know you're always a wealth of information. I just have to have time to sit and sift through it all. Thanks for the posts, though.
Thanks for bearing with me. Always good discussing these... discussions with y'all. I'm learning from you too!
(& if you can survive the whole of Apollodoros' Library and 15 books of Ovid's Metamorphoses, I'm sure my few random online scribbles ain't nuthin' )
I'd never seen that before, thanks for sharing.
There's a Disney Silly Symphonies I enjoy from 1929 (or, that's it says at least, anyways). It has nothing to do with Greek myth, but nevertheless here it is:
I did thoroughly enjoy those, but in my defense they were assigned reading initially, I just happened to enjoy them.
Separate names with a comma.