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Greek Mythology - The Beginnings of Human Life

The Story of Human Creation in Mythology


Pandora and the Box

Pandora and the Box


Creation Myths

There wasn't an actual ancient Greek Bible to explain creation. You might hear of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey described as "the Bible" of the Greeks, but Homer wasn't considered divinely inspired (well... it was assumed that the Muse helped all writers write) or inerrant. Besides, for the Greek creation stories, one usually doesn't go to Homer, but turns to the other early Greek writer of epic poetry, Hesiod.

Progressively Harsher Ages of Man

There are conflicting stories about the beginnings of human life in Greek mythology. The stories tell of different ages of man, each age getting further and further away from an ideal state (like paradise) and closer and closer to the toil and trouble of the world we live in. Mankind was created and destroyed repeatedly in mythological time, perhaps in an effort to get things right -- at least for creator gods who weren't too happy with almost godlike, almost immortal humans, who had no reason to worship the gods.

Not a Single Origin Story for All Man- and Woman-kind

Some groups had their own, local origin stories about creation that pertained just to the people of that location. The women of Athens, for instance, were the descendants of Pandora.

Flood Myths

Flood myths are universal. The Greeks had their own version of the great flood myth and the subsequent need to repopulate the Earth. Read about:

Prometheus, Pandora, and Fire

In Greek mythology, Prometheus brought fire to mankind and as a result enraged the king of the gods. To punish mankind, the evils of the world were sent to man in a pretty package. Prometheus paid for his crime with a torture designed for an immortal. Find out how in:

5 Ages of Man

Hesiod tells a creation story, tracing the lineage of mankind through five successive "ages" or "races" from the "Golden Age" to the present "Iron Age."
Read Hesiod's Works and Days and Theogony.

The Great Homer Nodding

Homer was the most important of the Greek poets, but we do not know exactly who he was, nor whether he wrote both the Iliad and the Odyssey or even either of them. For more on Homer, read:

Philemon and Baucis

According to ancient Roman mythology and Ovid's Metamorphoses (which means "transformations"), Philemon and Baucis had lived out their long lives nobly, but in poverty. Jupiter, the king of the gods, had heard of the virtuous couple, but based on all his previous experiences with humans, he had serious doubts. Jupiter was willing to give mankind one final chance before destroying humanity and starting over again. Were we good enough to survive? Read the story of:

Introduction: The Gods and Goddesses of Greek Mythology and More
Life Begins in Greek Mythology
Myth vs. Legend and Religion
Greek Myths and Legends

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