Mythos Book Summary - Mythos Book explained in key points
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Mythos summary

Stephen Fry

A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece

4.7 (549 ratings)
18 mins
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    Creation and the First Order

    Scientists today propose that the Universe started with the Big Bang.  But the Greeks believed that in the beginning, there was only Chaos. What exactly was that? Perhaps a divine being, perhaps just nothing at all, or as Fry says, perhaps a “grand cosmic yawn.” Whatever the case, one thing scientists agree on is that everything will eventually return to Chaos, or entropy.

    But just as you might wonder who or what came before the Big Bang, you might also wonder who or what came before the Greek’s Chaos. The answer is that there was nothing before Chaos. Indeed, the word before was meaningless as Time itself didn’t yet exist.

    From out of Chaos, two creations emerge: Erebus, the darkness, and Nyx, the night. Upon their creation, Erebus sleeps with his sister and from their union spring forth Hemera, day, and Aether, light. Simultaneously – remember, there’s no Time yet – two other entities come into being: Gaia, the earth, and Tartarus, the underworld. None of these are gods or goddesses. There are no stories about them. These are primordial deities, the First Order of divine beings. It’s from them that all the gods, monsters, and heroes of Greek mythology later arise.

    Gaia has two sons all of her own: Pontus, the sea, and Ouranos, the sky. Ouranos is often referred to as Uranus – a name that now engenders great hilarity to children of all ages!

    Gaia’s son, Ouranos, covers her. Not just as the sky covers the earth but also, as Fry puts it, “a stallion covers a mare.” At that moment, Time begins, and with it, personality, drama, character, and meaning. From the union of Gaia and Ouranos spring 12 beautiful healthy children – six male, and six female – the Titans. These 12 will eventually become the Second Order of divine beings. But in addition to them, there are two sets of particularly unattractive triplets: the Cyclopes – one-eyed giants; and the Hecatonchires – who have 50 heads and 100 hands. Although Gaia loves them, Ouranos is revolted by them – so much so that he pushes them back into Gaia’s womb. Gaia, in agony, and unhappy about the treatment of her offspring at the hands of their father, begins to plot Ouranos’s downfall.

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    What is Mythos about?

    Mythos (2017) is a fabulous retelling of the Greek myths. It provides a great introduction to anyone interested in knowing more about the Greek gods and goddesses without any preknowledge or a classical education.

    Who should read Mythos?

    • Lovers of Greek mythology
    • Anyone interested in creation stories from ancient cultures
    • Humans who want to understand their origin as seen by the ancient Greeks

    About the Author

    Stephen Fry is a multitalented phenomenon. A director, actor, broadcaster, comedian, and writer, he first became well-known in the 1980s as half of a comedy duo with Hugh Laurie and then in the late 1980s in Blackadder with Rowan Atkinson. Since then, he’s appeared in many films including Wilde, The Hobbit, and Alice in Wonderland as well as many TV series, theater productions, and quiz shows. Fry’s writing is similarly prolific. Since his first novel, The Liar, he’s gone on to write more fiction and several nonfiction titles. He’s also been a columnist for the Listener, the Daily Telegraph, and the Guardian.

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