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  • Hey there. I am Mike Rugnetta. This is Crash Course Mythology and today

  • we're continuing with pantheons, and one that is likely to be a viewer favorite.

  • Bring on the ouzo,

  • pour out some nectar,

  • It's the Greeks!

  • Opa!!!

  • War,

  • War, hunting,

  • War, hunting, metallurgy,

  • War, hunting, metallurgy, the complete inability to deal reasonably with even the smallest bit of conflict...

  • and also, rape while disguised as an animal.

  • And best of all we already know the Greeks from paintings and sculptures,

  • and those really long books...

  • and the Clash of the Titans movies. And also--

  • OPA!!

  • (crash)

  • *Egyptian myth-facts*

  • *Greek myth-facts*

  • *Indian myth-facts*

  • *Norse myth-facts*

  • *So much myths, guys!*

  • You might be thinking: wait a minute...

  • Didn't we already talk about Greek gods in the episode on creation stories?

  • --And you're right, we did!

  • -And you're right, we did! But that was the FIRST set of Greek gods.

  • Two whole dynasties of divinities had to be overthrown before we get to the Olympians,

  • But before we get into all the sex, ambrosia and petty conflict, let's define some terms:

  • We've been talking about Pantheons as groups of gods,

  • mainly because us classics nerds like to show off our knowledge of Greek and Latin.

  • National Latin Award Scholar right here,

  • National Latin Award Scholar right here, folks.

  • Anyway-

  • PANTHEON

  • PANTHEON -means-

  • PANTHEON -means- ALL THE GODS

  • Which..

  • Which.. is already a little weird.

  • There are many gods,

  • and they change based upon which versions of the myths you're studying.

  • And then there are demigods, and maybe even some heroes.

  • Gods, as we are using the term,

  • are divine immortal beings,

  • usually created out of the sexual union between other immortal beings,

  • or sometimes out of some unorthodox nativity--

  • --like we saw with Aphrodite..

  • --like we saw with Aphrodite.. and the

  • --like we saw with Aphrodite.. and the bloody

  • --like we saw with Aphrodite.. and the bloody testicle foam.

  • Demigods are minor deities or the offspring of gods and mortals.

  • They usually have special powers and sometimes can become truly divine.

  • Heroes are exalted mortals, meaning they can die but they can also perform special feats on Earth.

  • Sometimes they're the offspring of a god and a human,

  • sometimes they're just..

  • sometimes they're just.. lucky.

  • sometimes they're just.. lucky. You know, like pop stars.

  • Remember Gaia and Uranos and their offspring the Titans?

  • Let's refresh.

  • These are the first and second sets of Greek gods.

  • The titans were led by Kronos who overthrew Uranos,

  • and Kronos was so worried about his own children overthrowing him that he swallowed them.

  • That did not work out for him.

  • Whoops.

  • Then, like father, like son, Zeus, son of Kronos and Rhea decided to overthrow his father.

  • He and his siblings defeated the Titans and became the first Olympians.

  • Roll-call:

  • Hestia, the first child of Kronos and Rhea, became the goddess of the hearth and home.

  • She's not in many myths,

  • but was an important household deity honored with many sacrifices.

  • Hades was the God of the underworld, who you'll remember from the story of Persephone from episode one.

  • Kore's mother was Demeter, another child of Kronos and Rhea, and the goddess of agriculture.

  • That's right. She has amazing powers over wheat, figs, and olives;

  • kind of a big deal in an agrarian society.

  • Poseidon became the Lord of the Seas after the Titans' defeat.

  • He was associated with earthquakes and horses and was even the father of a famous one: Pegasus,

  • Whose mother..

  • Whose mother.. was Medusa.

  • (Snake-Hair Lady)

  • (Snake-Hair Lady) +

  • (Snake-Hair Lady) + (Water-King/Horse-Lover)

  • (Snake-Hair Lady) + (Water-King/Horse-Lover) =

  • (Snake-Hair Lady) + (Water-King/Horse-Lover) = (Magic Stallion)

  • (Snake-Hair Lady) + (Water-King/Horse-Lover) = (Magic Stallion) So, yeah...

  • (Snake-Hair Lady) + (Water-King/Horse-Lover) = (Magic Stallion) So, yeah... it checks out.

  • (Snake-Hair Lady) + (Water-King/Horse-Lover) = (Magic Stallion) So, yeah... it checks out. God

  • (Snake-Hair Lady) + (Water-King/Horse-Lover) = (Magic Stallion) So, yeah... it checks out. God DNA is weird.

  • Zeus was the last of the Olympians born to Kronos and Rhea and became the most important:

  • he's the sky god, controlling storms and wielding a thunderbolt!

  • Which, I think it's pretty fair to say,

  • Which, I think it's pretty fair to say, is a boss thing to wield

  • --which makes sense, because he's also the patriarch of the Olympians,

  • despite being the youngest.

  • He was the leader of the revolt over the titans plus

  • he was the baby-daddy of so many gods and mortals;

  • so he gets to wave his bolt around and tell everyone what to do, I guess.

  • Zeus was the father of the next generation of Olympians with a variety of wives, consorts and, depending upon

  • how you read it, numerous one-night stands..

  • ..or rape victims.

  • His first wife was Metis, who was from the Titans' generation.

  • An older woman, the word 'Metis' means 'skill,' or 'cunning.'

  • and she was said to provide wise counsel to Zeus

  • and because wise counselors often give advice that rulers don't want to hear,

  • Zeus swallowed her.

  • It's possible that Metis is the mother of Athena, although it's hard to know because of how she was...

  • um...

  • um...born?

  • According to one version of Athena's birth, Zeus had a terrible headache,

  • and asked his son Hephaestus to help cure it.

  • Since this is pre-Motrin, Hephaestus literally

  • Cracked open Zeus' skull..

  • Cracked open Zeus' skull.. and out popped Athena,

  • a goddess of wisdom, war and the arts,

  • a goddess of wisdom, war and the arts, especially spinning and weaving.

  • She was wearing a full suit of armor, and Athena created the olive tree,

  • so she's the patroness of Athens and why we now have tapenade.

  • Incidentally, this is also why

  • Incidentally, this is also why Hephaestus

  • Incidentally, this is also why Hephaestus is not

  • Incidentally, this is also why Hephaestus is not the god

  • Incidentally, this is also why Hephaestus is not the god of doctors.

  • Zeus' second wife was Demeter with whom he fathered Kore.

  • Hey, gurl!

  • Hey, gurl! Remember? Because Kore means..

  • Hey gurl! Remember? Because Kore means.. girl?

  • Hey gurl! Remember? Because Kore means.. girl? (these are the jokes, people.)

  • Anyway, that relationship didn't last, and Zeus married her sister, Hera.

  • Good thing that there's no god of awkwaaard...

  • Hera was sometimes associated with childbirth, but mostly her thing was being miffed at Zeus.

  • Hera and Zeus had four children:

  • Hebe, a goddess of youth and the cupbearer to the Olympians, who married Hercules;

  • Eileithyia, who was a goddess of childbirth;

  • the other two children, Hephaestus and Ares, showed up in a number of myths.

  • Hephaestus, a smith who walks with a limp, is the god of fire and crafts.

  • Ares is a god of war, more about, like, carnage than strategy, and they both have a thing for Aphrodite.

  • Because everyone has a thing for Aphrodite.

  • Zeus' liaisons resulted in other Olympians as well, for instance:

  • with Leto, whose parents were Titans, zeus fathered the twins Apollo and Artemis.

  • Apollo became the god of the sun and music.

  • Also, moderation, because that was something that Greeks needed a god for.

  • Artemis was associated with the moon and with the hunt.

  • Like Athena, Artemis was a virgin goddess and she'd sometimes tear apart the bodies of men who saw her naked.

  • The final child of Zeus to become a member of the Olympian pantheon is his son with Maia,

  • the daughter of the demigod Atlas, who holds up the world.

  • This is Hermes, the god of the road and of travellers. He's Zeus' messenger, who also leads people to Hades.

  • Hermes had a winged hat and winged sandals way before Adidas JS wings

  • He's a trickster who often makes sharp deals, and he's a god of writing and magic,

  • which basically makes him the Hellenised version of Thoth. High five, Thoth!

  • Get you some feathered kicks, my dude.

  • The final member of the Olympian pantheon we need to discuss is the one David Leeming calls:

  • at once the most ambiguous and the most foreign of the Greek gods:

  • Dionysus, the god of wine.

  • Dionysus had an unusual birth. After consorting with Zeus,

  • his human mother Semele made a wish to see Zeus in his true form.

  • Regrettable. When Zeus revealed himself, his godly presence burned Semele to a crisp.

  • Zeus saved the embryonic Dionysus and sewed him up in his thigh,

  • from which he was later born. Now, there's archaeological evidence that Dionysus was worshipped

  • in the ancient Greek city of Mycenae as early as 1200 BCE, but many stories portray Dionysus as a foreigner.

  • A bunch of greek gods originated as deities associated with cults from different cities:

  • Artemis was probably a great mother goddess in Anatolia for instance, but Dionysus?

  • homegrown! Or home-sown, I guess. So why is he considered foreign?

  • Maybe it's because Dionysus represents human traits that are very different from the idealized self-control of Apollo

  • Dionysus is called the God of wine, but he's more a god of abandon, or disinhibition.

  • According to Thurry and Devinney, "the Greeks experienced the power of Dionysus not as drunkenness,

  • but as a kind of fervent inspiration,

  • a religious experience in which the worshippers' instincts were liberated

  • from the bondage of social custom."

  • The Romans called this the bacchanal, after their version of Dionysus, Bacchus.

  • The cultic rituals of Dionysus are performed by women called Maenads, who leave home, go into the woods and

  • drink and dance and hunt and tear wild animals to pieces as a sacrifice.

  • Yeah, it's all beer pong and keg stands until the ladies start devouring the flesh of still living beasts.

  • No wonder the Dionysus was psychologically challenging for the Greeks.

  • Before we finish up, I need to mention the Romans,

  • who borrowed heavily from all of the people they conquered.

  • They imported some of the Greek gods directly into their pantheon.

  • Others were native gods reimagined as Greek equivalents.

  • So Minerva, an Etruscan goddess and patron of crafts, became Athena.

  • Diana, an Italian woodland goddess was transformed into Artemis the huntress, and so on.

  • So here's a handy chart of all of the parallels between the Greek and Roman pantheons.

  • The Romans did have some original gods, like Janus, the god of doors and arches, from whom we get January,

  • so you can blame him for the bleak weather.

  • Or Persephone. Or Hades. Or just pomegranates.

  • And in the imperial period they started turning their emperors into gods.

  • But the Romans didn't tend to develop their own myths around these borrowed gods.

  • Their most important myth concerned the history of Rome itself;

  • we'll talk about that in a future episode, so for now, let's get back to gods behaving badly.

  • Take it away, Thought Bubble. Olympian adultery was a lot like the trains in Europe:

  • reliable and frequent. For example, Aphrodite was often unfaithful to her husband Hephaestus,

  • but none of her affairs called as much trouble as the time she was caught with the god of war.

  • As told in the Odyssey, Helios the sun god spotted Aphrodite in bed with Ares and told Hephaestus.

  • So Hephaestus created a magical net so fine that it could hardly be seen,

  • but it was strong enough so that no one could escape it.

  • He set his trap over the bed and then pretended to go off to Lemnos, where he had his volcanic forge.

  • Seeing him go, Ares and Aphrodite went to bed.

  • As they lay together, Hephaestus' gossamer chains fell on them and bound them together.

  • As soon as Helios told Hephaestus that his wife and her lover were together, he rushed back to his house.

  • He cried out to all of the gods: "Father Zeus and every other blessed immortal, hither to me, and see a jest

  • which is unpardonable. Because I am crippled, Aphrodite, daughter of Zeus, does me dishonor,

  • preferring Ares, beautiful and straight of limb while I was born crooked.

  • And whose fault is that, if not my parents'? Would they had not brought me into this life!

  • Look how these two are clipped together in love's embrace,

  • here, in my very bed. To watch them cuts me to the heart."

  • The rest of the gods showed up and loled heartily as gods do,

  • both at Ares and Aphrodite caught in the net, but also at Hephaestus himself,

  • with Hermes and Apollo joking that they would be

  • perfectly happy to be caught in such a net with the goddess of love,

  • because everyone has a thing for Aphrodite.

  • Thank you Thought Bubble. So this brings us to a question that we haven't really looked at with our other pantheons:

  • What does the Olympian pantheon tell us about the Greeks?

  • According to David Leeming, it suggests how they understood themselves and their society.

  • "More than any other pantheon, the Greek hierarchy of gods and goddesses is modelled on human families.

  • The official Olympian gods, the family of Mount Olympus headed by Zeus

  • is simply the most powerful of Greek families. Like other members of the rich and powerful classes,

  • the Olympian family is marred by instances of immorality, arrogance and stubbornness...

  • They were not to be trusted and they could not be counted on for mercy.

  • They were an exaggerated version of what a human family might become is endowed with infinite power.

  • They were a mirror of human nature itself.

  • And it's a good thing, too: mirrors are the only way you can even look at Medusa.

  • Thanks for watching, we'll see you next week.

  • Check out our Crash Course Mythology Thoth tote bag and poster, available now at dftba.com

  • Crash Course Mythology is filmed in the Chad and Stacey Emigholz studio in Indianapolis, Indiana,

  • and is produced with the help of all of these nice people.

  • Our animation team is Thought Cafe and crash course exists

  • thanks to the generous support of our patrons at Patreon.

  • Patreon is a voluntary subscription service where you can support the content that you love through a monthly donation

  • to help keep crash course free for everyone for ever.

  • Crash Course is made with Adobe Creative Cloud. Check the description for a link to a free trial.

  • Thanks for watching, and remember; you reap what you sow.

  • Especially if you sew a baby god into your leg.

  • You're going to want to reap that pretty quick.

Hey there. I am Mike Rugnetta. This is Crash Course Mythology and today

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The Greeks and Romans - Pantheons Part 3: Crash Course World Mythology #9

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