Sunday, 2 December 2012

#TwitterFiction Festival: 100 Myths in 100 Tweets (The Full Story 1-20)

This is for those who have asked to see my entire #twitterfiction offering in one place, with a very simple expanded explanation.  Anyone who wants even more detail can find it in my book,

which was written for children, but also seems to be the 'ready reference' book of choice for many university Classics students.  It's available HERE

The first 20 - Creation to the Minotaur

Earth/Sky divorce rocks Heavens! Sky dooms own kids to Tartarus! Cronos gelds Sky in shock sickle strike! Earth weds Sea! 
This is the creation story of Gaia and Ouranos (Mother Earth and Father Sky). Gaia and Ouranos married, made the earth and sky and had beautiful Titan children (including Cronos). They were happy for a while,  but then Gaia gave birth to a series of one-eyed Cyclops kids, plus a crowd of hideous hundred-armed monsters. Ouranos hated these and wanted to lock them up in the Underworld prison of Tartarus.  Gaia objected violently to this, loving all her children equally, and gave Cronos a magic stone sickle with which he gelded his father and sent him fleeing to the far heavens, never to return.  Gaia then married Pontus, the Sea.

Sulky Cronos swallows 5 godlets! Wife Rhea devastated! Gran Gaia’s secret stone supper saves baby Zeus from dad’s greedy gob
Cronos married his Titan sister Rhea, but remembering what he'd done to his own father, decided to swallow his own children as each was born.  Rhea asked Gaia for help, and Mother Earth suggested hiding the next baby (Zeus) and feeding Cronos a stone instead.

Metis feeds pa-in-law toxic brew! Cronos vomits 5 furious deities, flees minus mighty powers! Zeus declared Lord of Universe 
Zeus married the Titan Metis, who tricked Cronos into drinking an emetic. Cronos vomited up the stone, plus his children Hades, Poseidon, Hestia, Demeter and Hera, who then attacked their father.  Cronos dropped his powers, which Zeus then picked up, and ran into hiding, just as his own father had.  Zeus picked them up and declared himself King of the Universe.

Triple god power share! Zeus seizes Heavens/Earth! Hades grabs Underworld domain! Brother Poseidon snatches Seas for self
After a battle with the Titans (who they then banished to Tartarus), Zeus, Hades and Poseidon divided the realms of earth and heaven between them.  The now-freed Cyclopes, who had been their allies in that battle made them gifts - a helmet of darkness for Hades, a trident for Poseidon and magic thunder and lightning bolts for Zeus.

Gods battle Gaia’s monster brood! 100-headed Typhon trapped under Mount Etna, fat snake mate Echidna flees! Deities triumph
Gaia was furious that her Titan children were banished, and gave birth to the appalling monsters Echidna and Typhon, who then attacked the gods.  Typhon was finally trapped under Mount Etna in Sicily, and Echidna fled to Greece.

Daedalus takes rap from vexed monarch Minos! Cunning wax-winged escape leads to tragedy! Sun-struck son Icarus in sea plunge
This is the story of Daedalus and his son Icarus.  After Theseus (see below) had fought the Minotaur and escaped from the maze which imprisoned it (which Daedalus had designed), King Minos of Crete condemned the inventor and his boy to a tower.  Daedalus made wings for them both out of beeswax and pigeon feathers, and they flew away.  Icarus, however, flew too close to the sun, the wax melted, and he fell to his death in the sea.

Prometheus in ‘sneaky’ fire snatch! Zeus chains to rock, condemns to daily liver ripping! Giant eagle says 'Yum!' to new job 
Prometheus (one of the 'good Titans' who were not imprisoned in Tartarus) stole fire from the gods and brought it to warm the humans living on earth. A furious Zeus comdemned Prometheus to be chained to a rock in the Caucasus and to have his liver torn out every day by a giant eagle.

Prying Pandora gets nosy! Opens forbidden box! Lets vile evils into unsuspecting world! 'Only Hope left!' sobs weeping teen
Epimetheus (brother to Prometheus) has been given the task of guarding a box. His wife, the incurably inquisitive Pandora, can't resist opening the box, thus releasing the evils of anger, jealousy, greed, envy etc out into the world.  Only Hope is left at the bottom of the box.

Man destroyed by Flood! Deucalion’s Ark in 11th hour rescue of birds/beasts! Pyrrha remakes humans in stone spell surprise
This is the Greek version of The Great Flood (Noah's Ark).  Deucalion, son of Prometheus, and his wife, Pyrrha save the animals in a great boat, and then repopulate the earth with humans by throwing 'the bones of Mother Earth' (ie stones) over their shoulders.

'You’ll never sit in MY lap,' claims coy Hera! Zeus fools shy fiancée with cuckoo con trick! Olympian wedding bells ring out
Hera refuses to marry Zeus (her brother) unless he can sit in her lap without her noticing.  Zeus turns into a cuckoo and flies into Hera's room, wet and bedraggled from a storm of his own making.  Hera comforts the poor bird, and takes him into her lap, whereupon he turns back into Zeus and makes her keep her promise.

Hades in Kore kidnap sensation! Demeter’s deft daughter deal seals seasons! Queen of Underworld returns spring to cold world
Hades kidnaps Kore, the daughter of Demeter, goddess of harvest, and takes her to the Underworld to be his queen.  As Demeter searched in vain, the world turned cold and wintry - spring never came.  After some negotiation, it was agreed that Kore (now Persephone) would return to the world as spring/summer for nine months of the year, and spend the rest (autumn/winter) in the Underworld as Hades' wife.

Aphrodite arises! Ouranos blood births goddess in sea foam spectacle! Beauty’s love arrows take aim, pierce hearts everywhere
Ouranos let fall three drops of blood when he was gelded.  One of them fell into the ocean and changed to sea foam. This became Aphrodite, goddess of love, who married Hephaestus the blacksmith god.  She had a son called Eros (Cupid) who fired arrows to make people fall in love.

Zeus riled! Hurls craftsman son to earth! Hera in risky rescue! Lame Hephaestus wows gods with gorgeous gems, amazing armour
Zeus and his son Hephaestus had a row, and Zeus flung his son down to earth.  Hephaestus fell onto Lemnos, where he broke every bone in his body, and was lame thereafter.  Hera smuggled him back to Olympus, where he redeemed himself by making magic armour and beautiful things for the gods and goddesses.

Europa in bull beach sex scandal! Claims bulky bovine abductor 'was really Zeus'! Pregnant princess defies despairing dad
Europa meets a beautiful white bull on the beach (Zeus in disguise), which then carries her out to sea and has his way with her.  Despite Europa's father's objections, she married Zeus as his mortal wife, had sons and ruled Crete.

Zeus gifts captive Danäe with baby surprise! Grandpa Acrisius in foiled marine murder plot! Mum & Perseus saved by fisherman
Zeus made Danäe pregnant while she was locked up in a tower on the orders of her father.  After she gave birth to Perseus, her father put mother and baby in a chest, and threw it into the sea.  The chest washed up on Seriphos, where the two castaways were saved by a local fisherman.

Perseus aces ‘impossible’ quest! Cunning mirror ploy slays Medusa! Invisibility hat scuppers Gorgon sisters’ revenge plans
Perseus is given a quest by the evil king of Seriphos.  He has to kill the snake-haired gorgon, Medusa, who turns people to stone with a single look.  He uses Athene's magic mirror shield to avoid looking at her as he cuts off her head, then escapes from Medusa's gorgon sisters using Hermes' invisibility cap and winged sandals.

Rescued Andromeda dubs Perseus 'My Hero'! Pouting princess free from scary sea-monster fate! "It's Love" says smitten prince
Andromeda is tied to a rock, waiting to be sacrificed to a sea-monster.  Perseus rescues her, carries her off to Seriphos, and marries her, after turning the evil king to stone with Medusa's head and taking his throne for himself.

Apollo in successful snake skirmish! Python driven from Delphi! Psychic Sibyl prophesies Underworld career move for serpent
Apollo attacks the black Python who holds the shrine at Delphi and slays her with his arrows of the sun.  She flees to the Underworld and finds a new career whispering the names of the dead into Hades' ear.  Apollo puts his own Sibyl prophetess in her place, and the shrine becomes dedicated to the worship of the sun god.

Virgin naiad snubs sexy Sun God! 'Save me, Mother!' cries fleeing nymph Daphne! Gaia o-bays with timely tree transformation
Nymph Daphne flees from Apollo, and calls on Gaia for help.  Gaia turns her into a bay tree, so that the sun god can't touch her.

Theseus/Ariadne in Minotaur massacre. Shrewd string scheme saves sacrifices! Lovers' heartbreak leads to sail mix-up tragedy
Theseus is helped by Ariadne of Crete to defeat the Minotaur. She gives the hero a ball of string, so he can find his way out of the maze when the bull monster is dead.  They then flee, hoping to get married, but Zeus forbids it, and she marries the god Dionysius instead.  Theseus is so sad that he forgets to give the pre-agreed signal (white sails instead of black) when sailing into Athens, and his father Aegeus, seeing this, commits suicide by throwing himself off the cliffs at Sounion

Click HERE for Part 2: Myths 21-40 Endymion to Echo and Narcissus
Click HERE for Part 3: Myths 41-60 Actaeon to Autolycus
Click HERE for Part 4: Myths 61-80 Death of Heracles to Odysseus's Call-up to the Trojan War
Click HERE for Part 5: Myths 81-100 Philoctetes to Odysseus's Return to Ithaca (the whole Iliad and Odyssey)

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