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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

E. M. Berens
Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome

From, A Handbook of Mythology, New York 1886
{ } = Page Numbers in the print edition,   [ ] = Footnote Numbers

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ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT

HOMER

PLATO

ARISTOTLE

THE GREEK OLD TESTAMENT (SEPTUAGINT)

THE NEW TESTAMENT

PLOTINUS

DIONYSIUS THE AREOPAGITE

MAXIMUS CONFESSOR

SYMEON THE NEW THEOLOGIAN

CAVAFY

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Page 6

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ORIGIN OF THE WORLD.—FIRST DYNASTY.

URANUS AND GAEA. (COELUS AND TERRA.)

The ancient Greeks had several different theories with regard to the origin of the world, but the generally accepted notion was that before this world came into existence, there was in its place a confused mass of shapeless elements called Chaos. These elements becoming at length consolidated (by what means does not appear), resolved themselves into two widely different substances, the lighter portion of which, soaring on high, formed the sky or firmament, and constituted itself into a vast, overarching vault, which protected the firm and solid mass beneath.

Thus came into being the two first great primeval deities of the Greeks, Uranus and Ge or Gaea.

Uranus, the more refined deity, represented the light and air of heaven, possessing the distinguishing qualities of light, heat, purity, and omnipresence, whilst Gaea, the firm, flat,[1] life-sustaining earth, was worshipped as the great all-nourishing mother. Her many titles refer to her more or less in this character, and she appears to have been universally revered among the Greeks, there being scarcely a city in Greece which did not contain a temple erected in her honour; indeed Gaea was held in such veneration that her name was always invoked whenever the gods took a solemn oath, made an emphatic declaration, or implored assistance.

[1] The early Greeks supposed the earth to be a flat circle, in the centre of which was Greece. Oceanus, the ocean stream, encircled it; the Mediterranean being supposed to flow into this river on the one side, and the Euxine, or Black Sea, on the other.

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Cf. A Day in Old Athens * A Short History of Greek Philosophy
Toynbee, Ancient Greek History and the West * Livingstone, On the Ancient Greek Literature

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-Greece/mythology.asp?pg=6