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In the beginning Nyx, who is Night, hovered in the darkness. An egg was laid by Nyx, the black-winged bird. From the upper shell of that egg was formed Ouranos, who is Heaven, and from the lower shell, Gaia, who is Earth. And Eros, who is Love, flew forth from the egg. Drawn together by Eros, Ouranos and Gaia married, and they had for children the Titan Gods and Goddesses, Okeanos, Hyperion, Rhea, and Tethys. And then Ouranos, who was father, and Gaia, who was mother, had for their child Kronos, the most cunning of all. Kronos wedded Rhea, and from Kronos and Rhea were born the Gods who were different from the Titan Gods.
Kronos hated Ouranos, his father. With a sickle given him by his mother, Kronos attacked his father and wounded him terribly. Then were Ouranos and Gaia forever put apart from each other. Kronos and Rhea had for children Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus, and all these belonged to the company of the deathless Gods. Kronos was fearful that one of his sons would treat him as he had treated his father. So when another child was born to Rhea, he commanded that the child be given to him that he might swallow him. But Rhea wrapped a great stone in swaddling-clothes and gave the stone to Kronos. Kronos swallowed the stone, thinking to swallow his latest-born child.
That child was Zeus. As a child he was hidden away in a deep cave, and those who minded and nursed him beat upon drums so that his cries might not be heard. His nurse was Adrastia; when he was able to play she gave him a ball to play with. All of gold was that ball, with a dark-blue spiral around it. When the boy Zeus would play with this ball it would make a track across the sky, flaming like a star.
The Titan Gods born of Ouranos and Gaia went up to the Mountain Othrys, and there they had their thrones. When Zeus had grown to be a youth he went up to the Mountain Olympos, and there he and Poseidon,
[paragraph continues] Hades, Hera, Demeter, and Hestia built their shining palaces. Now Kronos was warned that if Zeus married Hera his own reign would cease: he tried to slay Hera. But Rhea took Hera into the realm of Okeanos and Tethys. There she wedded Zeus. The Moirai, who are the Fates, led the bride to her husband; Eros himself drew the bridal car; Okeanos fashioned for the pair the beautiful Garden of the Hesperides.
Then Zeus overthrew Kronos, his father. Many children were born to Zeus and Hera, and the Olympians became powerful. But now the Titans upon Mount Othrys began a war upon the Olympians. Neither side might prevail against the other. At last Zeus thought of how he might help the Olympians to overthrow the Titans.
He went down to the deep parts of the earth where the Giants born of Ouranos and Gaia had been hidden by their father. They had been bound; they were weighed down with chains. Now Zeus loosed them, and the hundred-armed Giants in their gratitude gave him the lightning and showed him how to use the thunderbolt.
Zeus would have the Giants fight against the Titans. But although they had mighty strength the Giants had no fire of courage in their hearts. Zeus thought of a way to give them courage: he brought the food and drink of the Gods to them--ambrosia and nectar. When they had eaten and drunk their spirits grew within the Giants, and they were ready to make war upon the Titans. "Sons of Heaven and Earth," said Zeus to them, "a long time now have the dwellers on Olympos been striving with the Titans. Do you lend your unconquerable might to the Olympians and help them to overthrow the elder children of Kronos."
"Divine One," said Kottos, the eldest of the Giants, "through your devising we are come back again from the murky gloom of the mid earth; we have escaped from the hard bonds that Kronos laid upon us. Our minds are fixed to aid you in the war against the Titans."
Then the Giants, with their fifty heads growing from their shoulders and with their hundred arms, went forth against the Titans. The boundless sea rang terribly and the earth crashed loudly; high Olympos reeled on its foundations. Holding huge rocks in their hands the Giants attacked the Titans.
Zeus entered the war. He hurled the lightning; the bolts flew thick
and fast from his strong hand; there was thunder with lightning and flame. The earth crashed, the forests crackled, the ocean seethed with fire. The hot flames wrapped the Titans all around. Three hundred rocks, one upon the other, did Kottos, Briareos, and Gyes hurl upon the Titans. When their ranks were broken the Giants seized upon them and held them for Zeus.
Some of the Titans, seeing in the beginning that the strife for them would be in vain, went over to the side of Zeus. These Zeus became friendly with. But the other Titans he bound in chains and hurled down to Tartaros.
As far as Earth is from Heaven so is Tartaros from Earth. A brazen anvil falling from Heaven to Earth nine days and nine nights would reach Earth on the tenth day. And again, a brazen anvil falling from Earth nine nights and nine days would reach Tartaros upon the tenth night. Around Tartaros runs a fence of bronze and Night spreads in a triple line all about it, as a necklace circles the neck. Zeus imprisoned there the Titans who had fought against him; they are hidden in the misty gloom in a dank place at the ends of the Earth. They may not pass the imprisoning fence; Poseidon fixed gates of bronze to their prison. And Kottos, Briareos, and Gyes are there, ever guarding them.
And there, too, is the home of Night. Night and Day meet each other at that place, as they pass a threshold of bronze. They draw near and they greet one another; the same house never holds them both together, for while one is about to go into the house the other is leaving through the door. One holds Light in her hand, the other holds in her arms Sleep.
There the children of the dark Night have their dwellings--Sleep and Death, his brother. The sun never shines upon these two. Sleep may roam over the wide earth, and come upon the sea, and he is kindly to men. But Death is not kindly, and whoever he seizes upon, him he holds fast.
There, too, stands the hall of the Lord of the Under-world, Hades, the brother of Zeus. Zeus gave him the Underworld to be his dominion when he shared amongst the Olympians the world that Kronos had ruled over. A fearful hound keeps guard outside the hall of Hades: Kerberos he is called; he has three heads. On those who go within the
hall Kerberos fawns; on those who come out of it he springs and would devour them.
Not all the Titans did Zeus send down to Tartaros. Those of them who joined with him stayed in the Upperworld. Kronos, now made harmless, stayed with these friendly Titans. And Zeus reigned over Olympos, becoming the ruler of Gods and men.