Greek Mythlogy Part 2
The Golden Age
Zeus and his great company didn’t always live between the clouds on the mountain top. In ancient times, a wonderful family called Titans live there and ruled over all the world. There were twelve of them, six brothers and six sisters, and they said that their father was the Sky and their mother the Earth. They had the form and looks of men and women, but they were much larger and far more beautiful.
The name of the youngest of these Titans was Saturn; and yet he was so very old that men often called him Father Time. He was the king of the Titans, and so, of course, was the king of all the earth too.
Men were never so happy as they were during Saturn’s reign. It was the true Golden Age then. The springtime lasted all year. The woods and fields were always full of flowers, and the music of singing birds was heard every day and every hour. Apples and figs and oranges always hung ripe from the trees; and there were purple grapes on the vines, and melons and berries of every kind, which the people had but to pick and eat.
Of course nobody had to do any kind of work in that happy time. There was no such thing as sickness or sadness or old age. Men and women lived for hundreds and hundreds of years and never became gray or wrinkled, but were always handsome and young. They didn’t need houses, because there were no cold days nor storms or anything to make them afraid.
Nobody was poor, because everybody had the same precious things – the sunlight, the pure air, the wholesome water of the springs, the grass for a carpet, the blue sky for a roof, the fruits and flowers of the woods and fields. So, of course, no one was richer than another, and there was no money, or any locks; everybody was everybody’s friend, and no-one wanted to get more of anything than his neighbors had.
When these happy people lived long enough they fell asleep, and nobody saw their bodies anymore. They flew away through the air, and over the mountains, and across the sea, to a flowery land in the far-away west. And some men say that, even to this day, they are walking around happily on the earth, causing babies to smile in their cradles, easing the difficult times of the sick, and blessing mankind everywhere.
What a shame it is that this Golden Age had to come to an end! But it was Zeus and his brothers who caused the sad change.
It is hard to believe it, but men say that Zeus was the son of the old Titan king, Saturn, and that he was hardly a year old when he began to plan how to fight against his father. As soon as he was grown up, he convinced his brothers, Neptune and Pluto, and his sisters, Juno, Ceres, and Vesta, to join him; and they swore that they would drive away the Titans from the earth.
Then followed a long and terrible war. But Zeus had many strong helpers. A company of one-eyed monsters called Cyclopes were kept busy all the time, thunderbolts in the fire of burning mountains. Three other monsters, each with a hundred hands, were called in to throw rocks and trees against the stronghold of the Titans; and Zeus himself shot his sharp lightning arrows so thick and fast that the woods were set on fire and the water in the rivers boiled with the heat.
Of course, good, quiet old Saturn and his brothers and sisters could not hold out always against such enemies as these. At the end of ten years they had to give up and beg for peace. They were put in chains of the hardest rock and thrown into a prison in the Lower Worlds; and the Cyclopes and the hundred-handed monsters were sent there to be their jailers and to keep guard over them forever.
Then men began to grow unhappy with what they had. Some wanted to be rich and own all the good things in the world. Some wanted to be kings and rule over the others. Some who were strong wanted to make slaves of those who were weak. Some broke down the fruit trees in the woods, to prevent others from eating the fruit. Some, just for sport, hunted the poor animals which had always been their friends. Some even killed these poor creatures and ate their flesh for food.
At last, instead of everybody being everybody’s friend, everybody was everybody’s enemy.
So, in all the world, instead of peace, there was war; instead of plenty, there was starvation; instead of innocence, there was crime; and instead of happiness, there was misery.
And that was the way in which Zeus made himself so great; and that was the way in which the Golden Age came to an end.