The entire family tree of the Greek Gods can be really quite confusing, especially with the multitude of marriages, affairs, incest and relationships. Besides the famous Greek Gods like Zeus from Hercules and Poseidon from Percy Jackson, we cannot forget the other equally interesting and funky gods from whom they descended from. (Warning: much incest to follow)
In the beginning, there was only Chaos (Khaos), where a dark void of space existed before the birth of the primordial deities of Greek Mythology. Chaos was described as a shapeless undeveloped mass that had a bottomless pit where everything falls endlessly and in every direction.
THE FIRST BEINGS
According to Hesiod’s Theogony, the first beings were the children of Chaos. They were Gaia (Earth), Tartarus (Underworld), Eros (Desire), Erebus (Darkness) and Nyx (Night). These five primordial deities, are the primitive elements known to man. Even with the creation of his children, Chaos still existed but in between the Earth and the Sky. Erebus and Nyx fell in love and created Aether (Heaven) and Hemera (Day). Without any male counterpart, Nyx also made Doom, Fate, Death, Sleep, Dreams and the other elements of darkness.
Gaia - mother earth
Similarly, Gaia alone gave birth to Ourea (Mountains), Pontus (Sea) and Uranus (Sky), where her son Uranus eventually became her husband, and from their incest came the twelve Titans, three Cyclopes and three Hecatoncheires.
THE REIGN OF THE TITANS
Everyone knew of the Olympian gods who ruled ancient Greek, the ones who had crazy amounts of scandalous family drama that made the Kardashians seem perfectly ordinary. But before them, there were the Titans- sons and daughters of Gaia (Earth) and Uranus (Heaven). The titans were seen as godlike giants and the elder gods. Among the twelve titans there were six son and six daughters. Each son later married one of his sisters: Cronus and Rhea, Iapetus and Themis, Oceanus and Tethys, Hyperion and Theia, Crius and Mnemosyne, and Coeus and Phoebe (Oh look, incest yet again).
THE FALL OF URANUS
Uranus ,also known as Ouranos, was the manifestation of the sky or heavens. He was the son and husband of Gaia. In one version of the stories, it is said that Uranus was dismayed by the sight of his offsprings. But, it was actually due to his fear for their vast strength and power that he holed them up in inside Gaia. This caused great discomfort for Gaia and when she could not contain the intense pain, she called upon her children to plan the defeat of her husband and end his passions in order to prevent future offsprings (#betrayal).
Gaia’s pleas to her children were only answered by her youngest, Cronus, whom she presented with an unbreakable sickle as a weapon. Cronus waited and hid from sight and when Uranus came to lay with Gaia, he struck him with the sickle and severed Uranus’s genitals. The blood that fell from Uranus onto Gaia led to the birth of the Ertinyes, the Giants and also the Meliae. From there came the myth that Aphrodite was born from the foam of Uranus’s genitals (say whaaaat?) when Cronus threw them into the sea. In another version, when he threw the sickle into the sea the island of Corfu came to be.
After the fall of Uranus, Cronus and his wife Rhea took over the throne as King and Queen. During their rule, it was a time of harmony and the beginnings of prosperity which is known as the "Golden Age". It was known as a period where people lived without greed or violence, and without toil or the need for laws.
Rise of the Olympians
And here we come to the most well-known gods in Ancient Greek history: the dysfunctional family of Olympian gods, or Theoi Agoraoi. Cronus and Rhea had the first generation of Olympiad gods, of which there were three sons (Zeus, Poseidon and Hades) and three daughters (Hera, Hestia and Demeter). Cronus heard of a prophecy that predicted he would eventually be overthrown by one of his sons, so he began eating them (at birth)! #cannibalismmuch
Only one chosen child escaped this fate, and his name was Zeus. His mother Rhea birthed him in secret and gave Cronus a rock in disguise to swallow instead. According to Hesiod`s Theogony, Zeus was raised in a secret Diktaion cave and then he sneaked into Mount Olympus. He secretly mixed something in Cronus’ drink that made him ‘Merlion’ (vomit) all his kids out, and the siblings were finally reunited!
Zeus eventually led a ten-year war called Titanomachy with his siblings and overthrew his father and the Titans. Zeus and his two brothers Hades and Poseidon drew lots to decide who would rule Olympus, and Zeus drew the lot that put him as the ruler of Olympus. Poseidon, meanwhile, became the god of the sea, earthquakes and floods and Hades became the god of the underworld (FUN FACT: that was also named Hades after him).
Keeping It In The Family
But where is the incest? And here it is, dear reader. Hera married her brother Zeus. Before Hera, Zeus married his distant relative Metis, an Oceanid and daughter of two Titans, but ate her because of a prophecy threatening his rule. He tricked his sister Demeter into having sex with him, and his other exploits includes his aunt Themis.
But Zeus is not the only perpetrator who couldn’t keep his junk in his drawer. Poseidon, along with nephew Apollo, wooed sister Hestia but she successfully evaded them both by swearing a vow of eternal chastity with permission from Zeus. Poseidon also tricked poor sister Demeter into sex, and had a son with his grandmother Gaia. Meanwhile, Hades famously kidnapped, or raped (depending on the source), his niece Persephone.
And there you have it, the overview of the Greek Gods’ family tree!
P.S: We sincerely hope you are not scarred for life. (winks)