The Age of Gods

140.000.000 years ago when the whole planet of the Earth was a vast sea, a giant mountain range - Macedonia, Olympus, Thessaly, N.Eboea - emerged out of the waves. An extension to that range was Attica, S.Eboea and most of the Cyclades Islands. 35,000,000 years ago new cosmogonic tectonic activities occurred in the depths of the earth. It is the time for the Pindus range (Hellas)to uprise as well as for the Alps, the Pyrenaea and the Himalayas. 30.000.000 years ago new intense tectonic activities caused the appearance of the west part of Hellas.

This is how Aegis emerged from the depths of the sea as one piece of land covering almost all the Hellenic space of today from the Ionion Sea (Pelagos) up to Minor Asia to the east and as far as Crete to the south. Aegis, which was the state of the Hellenic gods with Olympus as its centre, was the birthplace of the human civilization since it was the first emerging geological region about 100.000.000 years ago. Palaeolithic tools as well as fossilized bones of rhinoceroses, hippos and other big mammals found by the Greek archaeologist D.Theocharis in 1969-1970 on the island of Alonnesos (N.Sporades, Aegean) prove that once the Aegean Sea was a wild land before it submerged during Deucalion's Cataclysm.

During an indefinite era in those inconceivable times the humans who appeared on that land started to abandon the semi-wild way of living and under the leadership of some capable and clever men they gathered in communities and laid the foundations of the first embryonic civilization which gradually flourished and reached the zenith of its acme with the Hellenic gods at the top of it. The archaeological spade has come to testify the very old appearance of humans in Aegis (Hellas) by digging out the first traces of human settlements in Thessaly (Milojcic Vlad. - German archaeological mission) which date back to 100.000 B.C. and the human skull and skeleton ("Archanthropus") found in Petralona cave by the anthropologist Aris Poulianos in Halkidiki which dates back to 700.000 B.C. The "Archanthropus" as well as the chopping tool found near Corissia lake in Corfu and which dates back to 700.000, too, are an evidence for the appearance of humans in Hellas in pre-prehistoric times.

Of the Hellenic gods those who had great influence on humans and were worshipped in Temples were the Olympians: Zeus, Ares, Apollo, Hephaestus, Hermes, Poseidon, Hera, Hestia, Aphrodite, Athena, Demeter, Artemis. Each of them had his own influence on one thing or more and therefore, they were believed to be protectors and defenders of people.

Some writers and historians - Evemerus was one of them, (4th-3rd century B.C )- claim that the gods of the Hellenic Mythology were real persons, leaders or kings who were glorified after their death and were worshipped as gods because they had ruled with wisdom and benefited humans in some way. However, some others believe that Zeus was The God, The Power, The Spirit while the other gods merely symbolized Zeus' attributes or other abstract meanings. For example, Athena symbolized Wisdom, Aphrodite symbolized Eros i.e. the power of attraction and creation, Ares was connected with War, Apollo symbolized the Sun and the Harmony of the Universe, Hermes symbolized Logos (=Speech), Poseidon symbolized the Sea, and so on.

Ancient poets and priests, on the other hand, invented natural and ethical allegories and attributed natural phenomena and human frailties to gods. For example, while you have Homer the Historian before you, suddenly you lose him and then you see gods fighting or crying, vulnerable gods, gods with any human weaknesses, gods who get furious and cause rough seas or put other obstacles in humans' way. One has to use the allegory as a tracer to find out Homer the Historian again.

The first King (or god) of that indefinite era (certainly before 10,000 B.C.) was Uranus (Heaven), Cronus' father and Zeus' grandfather. According to the Hellenic and Atlantic Tradition as it was saved by Diodorus Sikeliotis, it was Uranus first who gathered people together in a settlement surrounded by walls and made them abandon the unlawful and beastly life they used to lead. He discovered how to use the cultivated seeds and taught people how to store them. He conquered a big part of the world particularly the countries to the North and West. He became an expert on observing the stars and could foresee many things that were about to occur. He introduced the year, the months and the seasons based on his observations regarding the movements of the Sun and the Moon. People, being completely ignorant of the world of celestial bodies, were stunned by the verification of his predictions and thinking that he was god, after his death they honoured him as god for his many benefactions and his astronomical knowledge. They also named the vault of the heaven after him and they declared him the King of the Universe.

Uranus, according to the tradition, had many wives and therefore many sons most of whom were born by Titaea (Earth) and were called Titans. Of his daughters (Titanides) the most famous were Vasileia and Rhea. Vasileia got married to Hyperion who ruled with wisdom.

After Hyperion's death Uranus' Kingdom was divided between his sons Cronus and Atlas (Hesiod says that Atlas was Iapetus' son). Atlas ruled over the Atlantic regions and because of his astronomical knowledge, the legend wanted him to uphold the sky on his shoulders. Cronus left bad impression in human memory after his death because of his actions which were characterised by disrespect and greed. The Atlantic tradition mentions that people rose up against Cronus' tyranny under the leadership of his son Zeus (Dias). Then a wild war broke out between Cronus and Zeus which remained engraved in people's memory as "Titanomachy" (fighting of Titans).

Cronus was succeeded by Zeus, the Aegis Holder, who was the great victor in that war. He was a great civilizer of the world. He benefited humans and introduced the institution of justice. He was the inventor of courts, laws and peace. So much was he respected and so grateful were people to him that he was declared "Pater" (Father). The years rolled on and the big disasters which took place after the recession of glaciers weakened the human memory which placed King Zeus on Olympus and humans worshipped him as the "Father of gods and humans".

This worship was not only a kind of Hellenic gratitude to Zeus. People in India honoured Dyans-Pitar (Pater Dias), Latins honoured Jupiter (Zeus - Pater) and Hyperboreans worshipped Odin (Dias). In the tradition of most peoples was preserved the glorious memory of Zeus' Politeia (=State) in which both ethics and just governing as well as technological civilization reached high standards. With Zeus' reign the Age of Gods comes to its end giving way to the age of Heroes (Argonauts, Theseus, Heracles, Perseus etc.).

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Research by Roula Papageorgiou-Haska ( V.Haskas HTML Author. Last modified on 06/05/96.