Guest Author - Phyllis Doyle Burns
Greek mythology began its origins from the gaping void, or Chaos. From Chaos emerged Gaia, the Earth and Mother of all. Through parthenogenesis (asexual reproduction, without fertilization) Gaia produced Uranus,the Sky, who became her consort, or husband. From this union came the twelve Titans who are gods and goddesses. Lesser gods (or demons as considered by some scholars) birthed by the union of Gaia and Uranus are the Cyclopes, (Thunder, Lightning, and Arges The Bright One), then Hekatonkheires. The Hekatonkheires are the three giants, or "Hundred Handed Ones", who are extremely ferocious and have immense strength.
Thus we have the gods and goddesses of the Greek mythology genealogy. The creation of earth, sky, the heavens, and all on earth came from one Mother goddess, who is the beginning of all life. From the Magna Mater (Great Mother) came Heaven, Sky, Earth, Oceans, and the Underworld.
When Gaia became tired of the tyranny of Uranus and asked her sons to castrate him, the only one who agreed to this dire deed was Cronus, the youngest of the Titans who had great animosity towards Uranus. He castrated his father and imprisoned him in Tartarus, the lowest pit of the Underground. Cronus then married his sister, Rhea, and the two of them ruled the world.
The Titans were eventually defeated by the Olympians and it was then Zeus and Demeter who became the highest ruling of the gods and goddesses. Rhea then Demeter after her became the Mother goddess -- yet Gaia always remained the Magna Mater, The Great Mother.
Early Roman mythology was greatly influenced by ancient Greek mythology. The creation of the world and all things on it is the same in both Greece and Rome -- Chaos, Gaia, and Uranus are the beginning of all creation.
Roman mythology, in most cases, have gods and goddesses with the same attributes of the Greek deities, yet have different names. The Roman god, Jupiter, is the king of gods, and the equivalent of Zeus, Greek god of all gods and humanity.
The Roman goddess Ceres, has the same attributes as the Greek goddess Demeter, sister and wife of Zeus -- both are the goddess of fertility, agriculture and all that grows on earth. They both are a Mother goddess -- yet not the Magna Mater.
Norse mythology gives their own version of the creation of the world. In the beginning there were two worlds, Fire (Muspelheim) and Ice (Nifheim). When these two worlds collided it created Ymir, the primeval being and ancestor of the jotnar, a race of giants. Another being created at the time of the collision was Audhumla, the icy cow. From different parts of Ymir a son, a man, and a woman emerge. As Ymir lay sleeping the heat of Muspelheim (fire) makes him sweat. From his sweat comes Sutr, the giant with the flaming sword.
As Ymir takes nourishment from the icy cow, Audhumla takes all the ice off a stone by licking it. Inside the ice is Buri, the first god of the Norse pantheon. With a giantess, Buri fathers Borr who sires three gods, Odin and his two brothers Vili and Ve. When the gods grew in strength they killed Ymir. The blood of Ymir was so great that it flooded the whole world, drowning all but two of the jotnar (giants).
The first gods then create seven more worlds from parts of Ymir. Thus we have the nine worlds (Niu Heimar) of Norse mythology.
Since ancient Egyptian mythology is so complex with multiple deities, enough information to do it justice cannot be included in this article.
There are also many other creation stories in ancient mythologies of the world. In time, other articles will be written about them.