Greek Mythology: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Shelley Vessels

Shelley has taught at the middle school level for 10 years and has a master's degree in teaching English.

While we may find Greek mythology entertaining, it was a source of information for those in ancient Greece. Read the following lesson to learn how the earth came to be and how Zeus, the king of the gods, came to power.

Greek Mythology

If you lived in ancient Greece, you would be as inquisitive as you are today. You'd have so many questions that you just needed the answers to, but you wouldn't have the ability to search the internet the way you do every day. So, what would you do?

The ancient Greeks created their own stories - complete with a cast of characters - like gods, goddesses, and monsters - to explain what they didn't know. These traditional stories became part of Greek mythology.

How the Gods Came to Be

According to Greek mythology, Gaea, or Mother Earth, appeared so long ago that no one knows exactly how, when, or why she came to be. However, what the ancient Greeks did believe is that Uranus, the lord of the universe, became Gaea's love, and all living things were the result of their union.

Gaea gave birth to six Titans, six Titanesses, and three monsters. Her husband, Uranus, was cruel to their monsters, so Gaea asked her Titan sons to help. The youngest son, Cronus, scared away his father, and with his exit, went all of his powers.

With Uranus gone, Cronus took over as the lord of the universe, and all of the people on earth were happy. Cronus sat on his throne on the top of the highest mountain with his wife, a Titaness named Rhea. Fearing that some of his children would overpower him, Cronus ate - yes, ate - each of his babies (no one ever said that Greek mythology didn't get a little crazy from time to time).

Rhea felt empty without having a child, and when she gave birth to Zeus, she hid him from her husband. It was on the island of Crete that Zeus was secretly raised and cared for by nymphs, or spirits. Zeus eventually married a Titan's daughter, Metis, and did something really interesting to make sure that he became the lord of the universe himself.

Metis met Cronus and convinced him to eat a magic herb that made him vomit up all of his children: Hades, Poseidon, Hestia, Demeter, and Hera. Zeus overthrew Cronus and exiled him to the underworld. Now Zeus was the lord of the universe.

Major Greek Gods and Goddesses

Because Zeus held court with 11 other gods and goddess on Mt. Olympus, let's take a minute to introduce them.

A Statue of Zeus
zeus

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