Theogony

by

Hesiod

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Theogony Characters

Zeus

The protagonist of the poem, Zeus is the king of the gods and the son of Kronos and Rhea. In the religious beliefs of Hesiod’s time, Zeus was the supreme deity, with power over… read analysis of Zeus

Kronos

Kronos, one of the antagonists of the poem, is the son of Heaven and Earth. He is a central player in the myths of succession detailed in the Theogony, as he overthrows his… read analysis of Kronos

Heaven

Heaven is born from Earth during the initial pages of the Theogony, and goes on to father several children with her, including Kronos and Rhea. Like Earth, Heaven is central to the creation… read analysis of Heaven

Earth

Earth is the second divinity listed in the Theogony, emphasizing her essential nature and continued importance throughout the poem. Second only to Chasm, Earth represents a foundational principle of existence, both a place… read analysis of Earth

Rhea

Rhea is the mother of Zeus and the other Olympians. Her husband, Kronos, swallows all of her children prior to Zeus, fearing that they might one day usurp his power. With the help of… read analysis of Rhea
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The Muses

The Muses, the nine daughters of Zeus and Memory, are goddesses who are patrons of the creative arts. At the beginning of the poem, Hesiod claims that they appeared to him once as he tended… read analysis of The Muses

Prometheus

Prometheus is a trickster god who quickly gets into trouble with Zeus. He tricks Zeus into selecting a smaller portion of meat after a sacrifice, arousing his anger. He also steals fire from Zeus… read analysis of Prometheus

Tartarus

Tartarus, also sometimes known by the plural form Tartara, is both a god and a shadowy realm similar to the underworld. He comes into being along with Chasm and Earth. Like Earth and Heavenread analysis of Tartarus

Eros

Eros is one of the first divinities to come into existence. While he takes part in little of the action explicitly in the poem, he is implicitly the motivating factor behind many of the events… read analysis of Eros

Kottos, Briareos, and Gyges

These three mighty gods are the sons of Heaven and Earth. Because of their extreme strength and ferocity, Kronos imprisons them so that they don’t threaten his rule. Zeus later frees them, and they… read analysis of Kottos, Briareos, and Gyges

Hecate

Hecate is a goddess who is especially devoted to her worshippers, and can grant good favor to men. Her blessings arise in the form of good harvest in the fields and bounty from the sea… read analysis of Hecate
Minor Characters
Metis
Metis is the first wife of Zeus. When she is pregnant with Athena, Zeus swallows Metis (and the unborn Athena) so that her potential children will not pose a threat to his power. Zeus then gives birth to Athena from his head, exerting his power and control over her.
Athena
Athena is the child of Metis and Zeus, representative of wisdom. When Metis is pregnant with Athena, Zeus swallows them both, and gives birth to Athena out of his head so as to exert control over his children and prevent any potentially rebellious children from being born.
Chasm
Chasm is the first divinity that comes into existence in the Theogony, setting the stage for everything that follows. Earth, Tartarus, Eros, and Heaven follow after Chasm in quick succession, representing the fundamental forces and characters that motivate the plot of the Theogony.
Typhoeus
Typhoeus is the son of Earth and Tartarus, born much later than Earth’s other children with Heaven. Because he is incredibly strong and powerful, Zeus destroys the young god so that he can never threaten Zeus’ power.
Hera
Hera is one of Zeus’ wives, who is sometimes in conflict with him. She has several children, most notably Hephaestus, the god of volcanoes and metalworking.
Themis
Themis is a daughter of Earth and Heaven, and has several children with Zeus.
Aphrodite
Aphrodite is a goddess of beauty and love, and is born from the foam that Kronos’ severed genitals create when they are cast into the sea. Like Eros, she is associated with love and procreation between both humans and divinities.
Medusa
Medusa is a fearsome monster with snakes for hair and eyes that turn men to stone. The hero Perseus kills her
Heracles
Heracles is a son of Zeus and a famous hero in Greek mythology. Half-human and half-divine, Heracles engages in a variety of adventures, slaying Medusa and freeing Prometheus from his bondage.
Hephaestus
Hephaestus, the son of Hera, is the god of craft and blacksmithing. He helps Zeus craft Pandora and her box of evils, a punishment for humans after Prometheus steals fire for them.
Perseus
The hero who kills Medusa.