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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Off Topic: Greek mythology, Inspiration for Theros

September 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Others

Greek mythology is one of the earliest ranges of stories I read when I am still a kid before I become a teenage. I have to admit, with my intellect then I haven’t been able to understand a lot of the philosophical. But these stories are the first few that introduce the classic monsters to the imagination of my whole world.

Because this blog post isn’t entirely related to Magic the gathering. I will be merely writing some that may interests you as a fantasy gamer might be interested in.

And so I will be begin with the Gods.

 

The Olympians

olympians

The High and Almighty

The Olympians are the deity of Greek mythology. They were extremely powerful and before them were their parents the Titans. Both the Olympians and the Titans had a war called the Titanomachy.

How this war even started, was an event that Cronus, the youngest of the Titan, overthrown his own father, Uranus.

Uranus threw two of his children, Hecatonchires and Cyclopes into Tartarus after they were born. A deed which angered Gaia greatly. She offered a sickle and asked of her children to take it and overthrow their father. Obviously in this case, only Cronus took up the task.

Hundred-handed One

He who blocked a Hundred Man

 

Polis Crusher

“I WIll CRUSH YOU~~!!!!!!”

After Cronus attacked Uranus and severed his penis. Uranus cursed and made a prophecy that Cronus will be overthrow by his own children the same way he did to him. Then I am sure Cronus finished the deed before he made anymore prophecy for it is never stated clearly how he did it.
Out of the Uranus’ blood and semen, Gigantes, Erinyes, Meliae and Aphrodite were born.

Of course Cronus sat in the throne. Somehow, he didn’t release Hecatonchires and Cyclopes from the Tartarus. He placed Gigantes in the prison party. Why didn’t make peace with everyone? Somehow I believe it is because they look different from the norm. Ancient men treated the handicapped, the unusual and ugly unkindly and terrible. Cronus was one of the projection that ancient people did last time.

Ok, Cronus is the biggest and meanest Titan that sat on the Throne in the world. But he is still afraid of Uranus’ prophecy. So every time Rhea, his sister-wife, give birth to any baby, he will swallow the baby whole. Until when Zeus was born, Rhea sought advice from Gaia to come up with a plan to save this Zeus.

By warping stones with clothings, Rhea presented ‘Zeus’ to Cronus and he did swallow it. I wonder why he didn’t do any check on the ‘baby’…

Zeus was raised by Gaia, whom wish Cronus’ downfall, at Mount Ida and also by a few number of help who isn’t really happy with Cronus.

Apparent Gaia is never happy. Always plotting to do some damage within the family.

Anyway, Zeus was raised successful as an adult. Found a way to become Cronus’ cupbearer and make Cronus swallow some mustard and wine.

Cronus vomited out the stones and the gods that he swallowed. Hades was the last one to vomit out as he is the oldest and the first to be swallowed. How Zeus get away with all his siblings safe and sound was not recorded…

After which, Zeus released the siblings of Cronus, the Hecatonchires and Cyclopes, and the Gigantes from in Tartarus. As they are siblings of Cronus who were also  extremely powerful, together they forged and  gave Zeus and his brothers their weapons; Zeus’ Lightning Bolt, Poseidon’s Trident and Hades’ Helm of Invisibility.

With the Hecatonchires and Cyclopes, and the Gigantes, the Gods rebel and fought the war against Cronus and the Titans. Where was Gaia? Seriously, I have no idea… I have to admit, she is the one who stirred the shit.

Zeus and the gods won, they divided the spoils, which is choosnig who will be the one to control a specified domain. Zeus took the sky, Poseidon took the sea, and Hades took the underworld and Tartarus, which imprisoned the surviving Titans who they rebel against.

What happened to Cronus? There are many accounts. One is that he was castrated by Zeus and then dies. Another is that he was imprisoned in Tartarus, along with other Titans. Third, which is more interesting, Cronus escaped to Italy and become Saturn, which his rule at Italy was considered the Golden age on earth and honored by Saturnalia feast, which held on 17th of December.

 

The Heroes

Mankind creates stories to entertain their spare time. It is has become, and always has been, one of the favorite entertainment in human lives. Stories always have a point. And much of the Greek Mythology has more than a point to tell. And I assure you, the point can be rather, immoral in today’s standards, but quite acceptable in days of then.

 

Heracles

Well, the most famous, and also my least favorite hero of the Greek Mythology is actually Heracles. Apparently Zeus likes to fool around and spread his seeds. One of Zeus’ illegitimate children is the mighty Heracles.

I am not going to talk about the entire 12 labors. The stories can be found in many places and they sometimes have different accounts. But there are a few things that may interests us are as follows:

  • The Nemea Lion is one of the first form of tales that a monster that has Indestructible properties.
  • Lernaean Hydra which grows 2 heads if one is cut off. It also possesses unrivalled poison.
Fleecemane Lion

Untouchable Unkillable

Rock Hydra

Cut one problem, grow back two problems.

We have seen these two properties and creatures quite often in MTG. While MTG’s hydra can be really epic at times.

After the 12 labors, he does carry on, waging wars and defeating many monsters and giants. Legends do mentioned that he did participate the war against Troy.

He is my least favorite because some of his deeds are able to accomplish because of his demi-god strength. I do admit that some of his deeds can be only achieved if he uses his brains. Thus making him one of the heroes with brawn and brains.

 

Odysseus from Odyssey

Odysseus is another hero that I pay more attention to. After the epic 10 year war against the Troy, Odysseus’ plan to go home was disrupted by Poseidon himself. Somehow he offended Poseidon and then the Deity created a storm and made his fleet goes totally off course, making him have no idea how to go home.

His wife, back at his kingdom was under pressure to remarry by the Suitors, a group of greedy men who were eyeing his wealth and kingdom.

curse of the swine

Boys to Men, Men to Pigs

Along this adventure, or misfortune, Odysseus manages to blind a Cyclops who manages to keep him and his sailors’ captive. He was forced to stay with a witch-goddess called Circe. Been to the underworld and back to gain some insights. Past through the lands of Sirens, get to listen their songs and survived. Pass through the 6-headed monster, Scylla and survived with minimum loss (six men died here). However, Zeus made another storm, push them to the whirlpool, Charybdis, making Odysseus the sole survivor on their way back home after the way back home from the ten years Trojan War.

After the whirlpool, he was washed ashore on the island of the nymph, Calypso. He was seduced by her, stayed with her for 7 years, only to be released because Athena’s plea to Calypso.

When he got back to his kingdom, he has the wisdom to know that he can’t suddenly appeared in front of his wife and claimed that he is Odysseus. He disguised as a beggar and managed to come to contact with his son, Telemachus. Telemachus was pretty pissed with the Suitors, as they plotted to kill him too. Then both father and son came up with a plan to kill the Suitors once and for all.

Penelope, a wise and smart woman, had found ways to delay the advances of the Suitors to remarry. She created a condition that she will remarry to another man if he can string the Odysseus’ bow and shot through the 12 axe heads.

Suitors and Odysseus joined the competition and Odysseus is the only person there to achieve the feat. Suitors were at shock that a beggar can do that. Then they started running when the beggar used the bow and started killing them. None of them came back alive as Telemachus and his gang had sealed their escape route and joined the ‘turkey shoot’.

Despite knowing that the beggar may be and claims to be Odysseus, Penelope still must remove the possibility that this beggar could be just another strong warrior. Men with strength are not uncommon, especially when wealth is on the line. She still has another and the final test for Odysseus. She asked her servant to move the bed back from the wedding chamber.

Odysseus, smart enough to know that this was a test, protests that this can’t be done as the bed was crafted by him and one of the legs was a living olive tree.

Odysseus has overcome many of his ordeals much on risk management, clear thinking, planning, observing patterns and understanding human psychology.  Although I have to admit, his story has a double standard in terms of faithfulness, where men can screw around with ladies but ladies with faithfulness are preferred.

 

Summary

Greek Mythology has shown their culture and their inspiration in ages till date. Titans, Gods and Monsters are their way of explaining why certain bad things happened. . Greek mythology has a virtue of showing that men and Gods have weakness. Zeus was a womanizer; Hercules married 4 times and had male lovers; Odysseus was in someone else bed chambers for 7 years; and Hera was extremely jealous and proud woman.

They created many famous monsters that are often used by games too. Hydra, Cyclops, Giants, Dragons and all kinds of monsters that always made lives difficult for men. When monsters appeared, men need heroes to help them.

Heroes were told to inspire later generations that how men can overcome difficulties using intellect, wisdom, observation and determination. Heroes also served as a role model, much like the super stars of sports and celebrities in the entrainment industry.

The best thing I like about Greek Mythology, they never, ever mentioned anything that the world will end. Apparently that is one of the virtues of ancients people were there is always something to look forward to, and end of the world is never one of them.

 

Your Humility

Manferd

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