Episode 1A – Gods Make Shitty Dads

Episode 1A Show Notes

Source:  Greek Mythology

This week on M.Y.T.H., it’s a whole new world of assholes as we dive into the creation myths of the ancient greeks.  I’ll tell you the heartwarming tale of how the universe was first created, including stories of children being eaten alive, children being shoved back inside their mothers, and children cutting their father’s dicks off, because the ancient greeks believed you couldn’t make an omelette mutilating a few family members.  This is the Myths Your Teach Hated podcast, where I tell the stories of cultures around the world in all of their original, bloody, uncensored glory.  Modern tellings of these stories have become dry and dusty, but I’ll be trying to breathe new life into them.  This is Episode 1A, “Gods Make Shitty Dads.”  As always, this episode is not safe for work.

  • In the beginning, there was only Chaos
  • For the first few “generations” no real distinction made between places/concepts and people, sort of alive sort of not
  • Has two kids, Night and Erebus (the place where Death lives, but somehow not death) (not explained how)
  • Night lays an egg in Erebus, from which hatches Love (not the same as the Goddess of love, who comes later and sort of takes over the post)
  • Love then creates Light and Day
  • Now that the Universe is coming into shape, Gaea (Mother Earth) comes into being as does Ouranos (Father Heaven) (again, not explained)
  • At this point, characters start to be more personified.  Gods want things and do things, rather than them just happening in some unexplained way
  • First person-ish creatures are monsters, born of Gaea and Ouranos.  Three were monstrously huge, with a hundred hands and fifty eyes, called Hecatoncheires (hundred handed ones).  Their names were Briareus or Aegaeon (the vigorous or the sea goat), Cottus (the striker or the furious) and Gyges (the big-limbed).  Three others were called Cyclops (Wheel Eye) which, if you don’t already know, had one huge eye in the middle of its forehead.  They were also gigantic, described as being the size of small mountains.  Their names were Arges (thunderbolt), Steropes (lightning), and Brontes (thunder), clearly storm gods.  Last were the Titans (if you’ve seen Disney’s Hercules, which is a perfect example of the kind of whitewashing I’m trying to avoid, the Titans make an appearance as the bad guys near the end.  They do at least give kind of an accurate representation of their size).  For some reason, there were a lot more than three, and unlike their earlier brothers, they weren’t all forces of wanton destruction.  But most still were.  This is the chaos of the early days of the earth, with volcanos and earthquakes and tsunamis and shit being frequent occurrences, so not entirely inaccurate. 
  • Ouranos begins what will be a longstanding trend of gods being shitty dads and decides he really hates his kids, especially the Hecatoncheires.  Granted, they’re rampaging forces of absolute destruction but still – take care of your damn kids!  Those three, he imprisons deep inside the earth in a secret place (secret word for her womb, which, despite being inside Gaea, she somehow can’t find).
  • Gaea gets pissed, builds a sickle made of flint, and asks her other kids for help.  Most tell her to fuck off, they’re having fun destroying shit and besides, it wasn’t like Ouranos came for them.  Fuck their brothers; they were weird looking. 
  • The youngest Titan Cronus agrees to help, cause he’s a mama’s boy.  She’s mad as hell, so she doesn’t just want to hurt him.  In what will also be a longstanding trend, she gets back at him in thoroughly ancient greek way. 
  • If you don’t know already, you’ll find out more when I talk about the Greek mythological underworld in a future episode, but the ancient Greeks loved for the punishment to fit the crime in as literal a sense as they could.  Since he had hurt her kids, she’d go full-on Lorena Bobbit on his as and make sure he couldn’t have any more kids.  But she didn’t do the deed herself, because that would be way too normal for a Greek myth.  Instead, she asked her kids to do it, because apparently psychological abuse doesn’t count in her book.
  • Cronus, being a momma’s boy, agrees and waits in the darkness for his father.  He jumps out, cuts off his dick, and leaves him their to bleed, to think about what a shitty dad he had to be if one was willing to literally emasculate him (and Oedipus wasn’t even born yet). He either dies, withdraws into the earth, or goes to Italy.  Seriously.
  • His dick blood somehow manages to create more children from the dust of the earth (she’s really fertile, guys).  His semen, somehow already in his dick when he dies (not sure what got him horny about his kid trying to kill him, but different strokes I guess), spills across the sky (which is also him, since he is the sky god) and creates the milky way.  Or, he threw it in the ocean, where his semen made the foam of the sea.  Have fun trying not to think about that the next time you go to the beach.  In one version, his cum spilling into the ocean gets it pregnant, and it gives birth to Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty.  The Giants and the Erinyes, better known as the Furies, are born from his blood.  The latter seek out and punish the wicked (maybe being born from that kind of punishment made them really inclined to keep it up).
  • They were horrifyingly ugly, with snakes for hair and eyes that wept blood.  Imagine that coming for you in a dark alley.  The story says that as long as their is sin in the world, they will remain. 
  • In spite of literally killing a god for imprisoning his brothers, Cronus takes power and immediately imprisons the Hecatoncheires in Tartarus, the Hell part of the underworld (more on the underworld in a later story).  For good measure, he throws the Cyclopes in too, because to the ancient greeks, being a god meant being a short-sighted asshole.
  • Cronus marries his sister, Rhea, another thing you’ll see a lot of in myths (and in history), and together they rule the pretty empty universe (still pretty much just monsters and his dad’s dickless corpse).  He hears a prophecy that one of his kids is going to do to him what he did to his dad, so he decides to follow in dad’s footsteps and be a shitty dad (told you it’s show up again) to try and thwart fate (fate hates that).  He turns the shiftiness up to a new level and has all of his children brought to him in as soon as they’re born, still in swaddling clothes, and swallows them whole.  Cause nothing says family bonding time like cannibalism. 
  • This goes pretty much the way that you’d expect.  Rhea does what he wants, cause he did kill his god-dad, so he’s pretty scary, but she gets more and more resentful as time goes on (kind of like Gaea did; the ancient greeks loved that symmetry shit in their stories) and plots against her husband-brother.  But not before letting him eat five babies.  Five.  When the sixth, Zeus, was born, she had him secretly carried off to Crete to be raised by nymphs.  Which might explain why he’s such a philandering asshole (nymphs are known for being the free-love hippies of the ancient world), but probably not.  Probably, he’s just an asshole who liked power too much.  She gives Cronus a rock, wrapped in swaddling clothes, which he swallows whole as well.  Luckily, he isn’t a very good cannibal, and he can’t tell the difference between a baby and a rock, so he buys it. 
  • The kid grows up and ends up hitting it of with Metis, one of the Titans, whom Rhea trusted to help take care of him.  She helps Rhea trick him and convinces him he’s a young Titan, and Cronus agrees to make him his cupbearer.  He’s paranoid enough to eat babies because they might grow up and kill him, but his bitter wife brings him a kid that looks a lot like him to be a trusted servant and he’s totally down with it.  He marries Metis, and she helps him betray the god king (the sex must be awesome).  Metis makes a potion to make someone vomit, and Zeus slips it into Cronus’ wine.  He pukes, like a lot, and out come all five kids he ate, now grown to adulthood.  I get the being alive, what with being immortal, but what the fuck did they eat for their entire childhood?  There’s really only one option.
  • Anyway, Cronus realizes he’s been tricked and goes to war (which carries the bitching name Titanomachy).  The children, who would come to be known as the Olympians, organize and decide to make Zeus the leader, since he saved them all from sitting in digested food and stomach acid.  Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Oceanus join the Olympian side.  The rest of the titans stick with their brother (because fuck it, it only their half brothers he locked up after cutting of a dick because someone locked them up).
  • Cronus made Atlas the titan general, and he proceeds to whip Olympian ass.  It’s not too hard, since there are a lot more Titans than Olympians, even with the three defectors.  Prometheus counsels Zeus to free the Cyclopes and Hecatoncheires, what with them being incredibly destructive monsters with a serious hate boner for the Titans.  The Cyclopes, being storm gods and smiths, make thunderbolts for Zeus to use in battle.  He uses them to lure the Titans after him, where they are ambushed by the Hecatoncheires, who rain boulders down on them from hiding.  The battle nearly destroys the planet, and the Titans thought the mountains were being pulled down on their heads.  To be fair, they kind of were. 
  • They surrender, and Zeus, being a magnanimous and gracious leader lets them be.  Just fucking with you, he throws them down into Tartarus and makes the Hecatoncheires the jailers, because again with the symmetry thing.  Atlas, he banished to a distant location and forces him to bear the pillar of the sky on his shoulder forever. 
  • Zeus has, like his father before him, forgotten that imprisoning children was how this whole thing started.  Gaea already started a war that nearly destroyed the entire universe to free her children, so Zeus is being monumentally shortsighted here.  In her rage that her children are being imprisoned yet again, she conceives and gives birth to her last child, the monster Typhon. It’s not clear who the father is, but hate seems the likeliest candidate at this point.  He’s known as “The Father of All Monsters” and was a fire-breathing dragon with a hundred unsleeping heads.  He marries Echidna, the mother of all monsters, and they have a bunch of kids (the Sphinx, the Nemean Lion, and Cerberus, all of whom will pop up again in later stories).  Typhon agrees to fight Zeus on behalf of Gaea, because greek god mothers are really good at guilting their kids into fighting relatives for them.  Zeus decided to stay and fight, since it was trying to murder him after all, but the rest of the gods makes excuses about other appointments they forgot about, and run off to clean the piss stains off of their robes.  Zeus flings his lightning bolts at it from above, which is enough to kill even a hundred headed hate dragon on a mission from a vengeful mother.
  • Of course, the universe being what it was, the Giants (remember them, springing up from dick blood?) rebelled.  They piled up entire mountains to try and reach the top of Mount Olympus, but this time the other Olympians stay and kill them all off.
  • Zeus and his two brothers, Poseidon and Hades, draw lots to see who will be god of what.  Zeus gets the heavens and the storms, Poseidon gets the sea, and Hades gets the underworld (which leaves him with a dour, cheerless, lonely, and a little rapey, but that last one is kind of all of the gods.

We’re going to leave the story there for this week, which means it’s time for Gods and Monsters.  This is a segment where I get into a little more detail about the personalities and history of one of the gods or monsters from this week’s pantheon that was not discussed in the main story.  This week’s god is Morpheus.  I’m guessing that for most of you, that name conjures up images of Laurence Fishburne in a trench coat, but the Matrix hacker chose his name for a reason.  Morpheus is the god of Dreams, and one of the coolest but least known gods in the Greek pantheon.  He has the ability to appear in the dreams of any mortal and, being in control of the stuff of dreams, he could take any form he wanted.  He’s the main influence on Neil Gaiman’s character in the Sandman comics, and that version of Dream is honestly a pretty great depiction of Morpheus.  If you haven’t read the graphic novels, do so right fucking now.  When Morpheus would enter your dreams, you would sleep well, but they would also see visions of their own future or important coming events.  He would also bring messages from the other gods for important mortals, especially kings and heroes, crafted as dreams. 

In his natural form, he was a winged demon with three brothers: Phobetor (who created nightmares), Phantasus (who created the fantastic, illusory dreams and had no corporeal form), and Ikelos (who created realistic dreams).  The three were collectively known as the Oneiroi.  It is said that King Sleep and his brothers were gifted wings by their uncle Thanatos, the God of Death (not to be confused with Hades, God of the Underworld).  He used his wings to reach those who needed help in their dreams and also to carry his father Hypnos (the God of Sleep, and the source of the word hypnotism) to the dream world on more than one occasion when he pissed of Zeus enough to need protection.  His mother, Pasithea, is the goddess of relaxation and rest, though other stories have his mother being Nyx, goddess of night.

That’s it for this episode of Myth Your Teacher Hated.  Keep up with new episodes on our Facebook page, on iTunes, or on Stitcher, or follow us on Twitter as @HardcoreMyth.  If you like what you’ve heard, I’d appreciate a review on iTunes, since it helps increase the show’s standing and let more people know it exists.  If you have any questions, any thoughts on the stories, any feedback on the pronunciations, or any ideas for future stories that you’d like to hear, feel free to drop me a line.  I’m trying to pull as much material from as many different cultures as possible, but there are all sorts of stories I’ve never heard, so suggestions are appreciated.  The theme music is by Tiny Cheese Puff, whom you can find on fiverr.com.

Next week, we’ll finish off the Greek creation myth with the story of the creation of man, the incredibly sexist story of the creation of woman, and multiple extinction level hissy fits.  After that, I’ll be moving on from the greeks for a while to hit some other cultures.  That’s all for now.  Thanks for listening.