In the beginning there was only Chaos. Then out of the void appeared Night and Erebus, the unknowable place where death dwells. All else was empty, silent, endless, darkness. Then somehow Love (Eros) was born bringing a start of order. From Love came Light and Day. Once there was Light and Day, Gaea, the earth appeared.
Mercury, also known as Hermes to the Greeks, was the son of Zeus. Hermes is the god of shepherds, land travel, merchants, weights and measures, oratory, literature, athletics and thieves, and known for his cunning and shrewdness. According to legend, Hermes was born in a cave on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia. Zeus had impregnated Maia at the dead of night while all other gods slept. When dawn broke amazingly he was born. Maia wrapped him in swaddling bands, then resting herself, fell fast asleep. Hermes, however, squirmed free and ran off to Thessaly. This is where Apollo, his brother, grazed his cattle. Hermes stole a number of the herd and drove them back to Greece. He hid them in a small grotto near to the city of Pylos and covered their tracks. Before returning to the cave he caught a tortoise, killed it and removed its entrails. Using the intestines from a cow stolen from Apollo and the hollow tortoise shell, he made the first lyre. When he reached the cave he wrapped himself back into the swaddling bands. When Apollo realized he had been robbed he protested to Maia that it had been Hermes who had taken his cattle. Maia looked to Hermes and said it could not be, as he is still wrapped in swaddling bands. Zeus the all powerful intervened saying he had been watching and Hermes should return the cattle to Apollo. As the argument went on, Hermes began to play his lyre. The sweet music enchanted Apollo, and he offered Hermes to keep the cattle in exchange for the lyre. Apollo later became the grand master of the instrument, and it also became one of his symbols. Later while Hermes watched over his herd he invented the pipes known as a syrinx (pan-pipes), which he made from reeds. Hermes was also credited with inventing the flute. Apollo, also desired this instrument, so Hermes bartered with Apollo and received his golden wand which Hermes later used as his heralds staff.
Mars is the greek equivelant to Ares. Ares was the god of war, and deeply hated by the gods. On the battlefield Ares was accompanied by Phobos (“Fear”) and Deimos (“Terror”), two lesser divinities known to be his sons. The Romans however, worshipped Mars. He was a god of spring, growth in nature, and fertility, and the protector of cattle. Mars is also mentioned as an earth god and this could explain why he became a god of death and finally a god of war. He is the son of Jupiter and Juno.
Jupiter is the Roman name for Zeus. In Roman and Greek mythology, Jupiter and Zeus are identical. Zeus, the youngest son of Cronus and Rhea, he was the supreme ruler of Mount Olympus and of the Pantheon of gods who resided there. Being the supreme ruler he upheld law, justice and morals, and this made him the spiritual leader of both gods and men.
The story of Zeus is that he was foretold he would usurp the kingdom of the immortals from his father, Cronus. This mythological tale of Zeus’ struggle against the Titans had been caused by Cronus, after he had been warned that one of his children would depose him. Cronus knew the consequences, as he had overthrown his father Uranus. To prevent this from happening Cronus swallowed his newborn children Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades and Poseidon, but his wife Rhea (who was also his sister) and Gaia her mother, wrapped a stone in swaddling clothes in place of the infant Zeus. Cronus thinking it was the newborn baby swallowed the stone. Meanwhile Rhea had her baby taken to Crete, and there, in a cave on Mount Dicte, the divine goat Amaltheia suckled and raised the infant Zeus. When Zeus had grown into a young man he returned to his fathers domain, and with the help of Gaia, compelled Cronus to regurgitate the five children he had previously swallowed. Zeus led a revolt against his father and the dynasty of the Titans, defeated and then banished them. Once Zeus had control, he and his brothers divided the universe between them: Zeus gaining the heavens, Poseidon the sea and Hades the underworld. Zeus had to defend his heavenly kingdom, and did so with lightning bolts and an aegis.
Venus is known as the Greek goddess, Aphrodite. She was born from Uranus’ castration. She is the goddess of love and beauty. After her birth, Zeus was afraid that the gods would fight over Aphrodite’s hand in marriage so he married her off to the smith god Hephaestus, the steadiest of the gods. He could hardly believe his good luck and used all his skills to make the most lavish jewels for her. He made her a girdle of finely wrought gold and wove magic into the filigree work. That was not very wise of him, for when she wore her magic girdle no one could resist her, and she was all too irresistible already. She loved gaiety and glamour and was not at all pleased at being the wife of sooty, hard-working Hephaestus.
Pluto, known as Hades, is the lord of the dead and ruler of the nether world. He was told to have fallen in love with a woman named Persephone, whom he had abducted from the upperworld. Zeus ordered him to return her to her mother. Not wanting to part with her, he gifted her with a pomegranate before she left. When she bit from the fruit, she was bound to the underworld forever.
Neptune, known as Poseidon to the Greeks, was the god of the sea. Poseidon was relied upon by sailors for a safe voyage on the sea. Many men drowned horses in sacrifice of his honor. He lived on the ocean floor in a palace made of coral and gems, and drove a chariot pulled by horses. However, Poseidon was a very moody divinity, and his temperament could sometimes result in violence. When he was in a good mood, Poseidon created new lands in the water and a calm sea. In contrast, when he was in a bad mood, Poseidon would strike the ground with a trident and cause unruly springs and earthquakes, ship wrecks, and drownings.
Uranus was the embodiment of the sky or heavens, and known as the god of the sky. He was the first son of Gaia and he later became her husband. Together they bore the 12 Titans, the Cyclopes, and three monsters known as the Hecatonchires. Uranus was so aghast and disgusted with his offspring that he hid them away in the bowels of the Earth, which cause Gaia great pain. She asked her offspring to castrate Uranus, but only Cronus was willing to carry out the task. Cronus ambushed his father and castrated him, casting the severed testicles into the sea. From the blood which spilled from Uranus onto the Earth came forth the Giants, the Erinyes, who were spirits of punishment and goddesses of vengeance, and the Meliae, the ash-tree nymphs. From the genitals cast into the sea came forth Aphrodite.
Saturn was known as the Roman god of agriculture concerned with the sowing of seeds. He is regarded as the father of Jupiter, Ceres, Juno. In Greek mythology he is closest associated with the god Cronus. Cronus was the youngest of the twelve Titans, son of Uranus and Gaia. To help Cronus overthrow and castrate his father, Gaia gave him a adamantine sickle to serve as his weapon.
Selene and Enydmion
Selene was the Greek goddess of the moon, known to the Romans as Luna, and she later became associated with Diana (the Roman goddess of nature, fertility and childbirth), Diana’s Greek counterpart Artemis (goddess of the wilderness, the hunt, wild animals, and fertility) and Hecate (the Greek goddess of the crossroads).
According to the myths, Selene was guiding her moon-chariot across the night sky when she looked down at the earth and saw a beautiful shepherd sleeping peacefully by his flocks. The shepard was named Enymion. She fell in love with him immediately, and began to visit him in his dreams every night as he slept. Selene was smart though, and knowing that Endymion was a mortal man, she asked Zeus to grant Endymion eternal life, eternal youth… and eternal sleep so that Selene could visit him every night in his dreams. The wish was granted, and the myth says that Selene continues to see Endymion every night, and that Endymion sleeps with a smile on his face. Sometimes however, it seems there is a small variation to the story. Instead, eternal life and eternal youth put him to sleep for eternity and froze his age. Every night Selene would come to Endymion, while he dreamed of making love to a beautiful woman, and she bore him 50 daughters.