Religion Explained

The Kingdom of Haltbent follows Greek Mythology, with minor changes to its teachings. Below you will find a simplified explanation of Greek Mythology.

The Creation of the World

In the beginning there was Chaos, the great void from which everything sprang. She alone birthed Gaea (the earth), Tartarus (the region beneath earth), Eros (the god of love and attraction), Erebus (the darkness of the netherworld) and Night (the darkness that covered earth). Erebus and Night created Ether (the heavenly light) and Day (the earthly light). Night alone birthed  Doom, Fate, Death, Sleep, Dreams, Nemesis and many other atrocities that plague man in the dark.

In that same time, Gaea alone birthed Uranus (the starry night sky), the Mountains and Pontus (the sterile sea). Uranus became Gaea's mate and equal, surrounding her on all sides. They created the twelve Titans, the three Cyclopes and the three  Hecatoncheires (beasts with fifty heads and a hundred arms each).

Uranus proved to be a harsh husband and father. Each of the  Hecatoncheires hated him, and he hated them in return. Uranus pushed them back into Gaea's womb, causing her to writhe in pain. She plotted revenge on her husband, making a flint sickle and calling on her children to avenge her. Only one was not too afraid of his father to do so, and that was the youngest titan Cronus. 

That night, when Uranus lay without his wife, Cronus ambushed him. He severed his father's genitals with Gaea's sickle;  as the blood fell to earth the Furies (creatures who punish crimes) the Ash-Tree Nymphs, and the race of Giants were created. Cronus threw the member into the sea, from which sprang Aphrodite (the goddess of love and beauty). The mutilated Uranus withdrew forever, promising Cronus that he and the other Titans would be punished. 

Cronus confined the Cyclopes and  Hecatoncheires to Tartarus, thus beginning his reign. He married his sister Rhea, and under him the Titans produced many offspring. He would not allow his own children to survive, as Gaea and Uranus had prophesied that he should be overthrown by a son. He swallowed  Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades and Poseidon shortly after their births. Rhea was furious and took action to save her sixth son, Zeus. She bore Zeus in secret and gave Cronus a stone wrapped in swaddling cloth to swallow instead. 

Zeus was raised to manhood by Nymphs, all while his father, Cronus, was growing old. Zeus sought advice on how to defeat his father from the Titaness Metis, who made an emetic potion. Zeus disguised himself as a cupbearer, and gave the potion to Cronus, who vomited up Zeus's brothers and sisters as well as the rock Rhea had given him. The gods were alive and unhurt, and they helped Zeus to defeat their father and bind him in Tartarus. 

The other Titans, with the exception of  Prometheus and Oceanus rebelled against the gods. They fought for ten years, a time when natural forces raged without check. When neither could claim victory, Zeus released the Cyclopes and  Hecatoncheires from Tartarus. The Cyclopes rewarded Zeus with their weapons of thunder and lightning, and the  Hecatoncheires threw boulders at the Titans. The Titans were defeated. Zeus imprisoned them in Tartarus, with the exception of Atlas, who was damned to hold the weight of the world on his shoulders. 

Gaea was enraged to see her children fall. Through her union with Tartarus, she birthed one last monster, the dragon  Typhoeus who had a hundred heads that never rested. Most of the gods fled in terror, and Zeus was captured. He was released by Hermes, and finally defeated the dragon by hurling lightning at it over and over. 

There was but one more attempt to overthrow the gods. The Giants, who were created by Uranus's blood, were dissatisfied with the gods' rule. They laid siege to Olympus by piling mountain on top of mountain to try and reach the top. It required all the gods and the elf Heracles to kill the Giants. Having defeated the Titans,  Typhoeus and the Giants, the gods' rule was undisputed.

Major Deities

Zeus: King of the gods, ruler of Mount Olympus, and god of the sky, weather, thunder, lightning, law, order, and justice. He is the youngest son of Cronus and Rhea. He overthrew Cronus and gained the sovereignty of heaven for himself. In art he is depicted as a regal, mature man with a sturdy figure and dark beard. His usual attributes are the royal scepter and the lightning bolt. His sacred animals include the eagle and the bull.

Hera: Queen of the gods, and goddess of marriage, women, childbirth, heirs, kings, and empires. She is the wife and sister of Zeus, and the daughter of Cronus and Rhea. She was usually depicted as a regal woman in the prime of her life, wearing a diadem and veil and holding a lotus-tipped staff. Although she is the goddess of marriage, Zeus's many infidelities drive her to jealousy and vengefulness. Her sacred animals include the heifer, the peacock, and the cuckoo.

Hades: God of the underworld and the dead. His consort is Persephone. His attributes are the drinking horn or cornucopia, key, sceptre, and the three-headed dog Cerberus. His sacred animals include the screech owl. He was one of three sons of Cronus and Rhea, and thus sovereign over one of the three realms of the universe, the underworld. As a chthonic god, however, his place among the Olympians is ambiguous. In the mystery religions and Athenian literature, Pluto ("the Rich") was his preferred name, with Hades referring to the underworld itself.

Poseidon: God of the sea, rivers, floods, droughts, and earthquakes. He is a son of Cronus and Rhea, and the brother of Zeus and Hades. He rules one of the three realms of the universe, as king of the sea and the waters. In art he is depicted as a mature man of sturdy build, often with a luxuriant beard, and holding a trident. His sacred animals include the horse and the dolphin. His wedding with Amphitrite is often presented as a triumphal procession. In some stories he rapes Medusa, leading to her transformation into a hideous Gorgon and also to the birth of their two children, Pegasus and Chrysaor.

Athena: Goddess of reason, wisdom, intelligence, skill, peace, warfare, battle strategy, and handicrafts. According to most traditions, she was born from Zeus's forehead, fully formed and armored. She is depicted as being crowned with a crested helm, armed with shield and spear, and wearing the aegis over a long dress. Poets describe her as "grey-eyed" or having especially bright, keen eyes. She is a special patron of heroes such as Odysseus. She is the patron of the city Athens (which was named after her) and is attributed to various inventions in arts and literature. Her symbol is the olive tree. She is commonly shown as being accompanied by her sacred animal, the owl.

Apollo: God of music, arts, knowledge, healing, plague, prophecy, poetry, manly beauty, and archery. He is the son of Zeus and Leto, and the twin brother of Artemis. Both Apollo and Artemis use a bow and arrow. Apollo is depicted as young, beardless, handsome and athletic. In myth, he can be cruel and destructive, and his love affairs are rarely happy. He is often accompanied by the Muses. His most famous temple is in Delphi, where he established his oracular shrine. His signs and symbols include the laurel wreath, bow and arrow, and lyre. His sacred animals include roe deer, swans, and pythons.

Aphrodite: Goddess of beauty, love, desire, and pleasure. She was born from sea-foam and Uranus's severed genitals. She was married to Hephaestus, but bore him no children. She had many lovers, most notably Ares, to whom she bore Harmonia, Phobos, and Deimos. She was also a lover to Adonis and Anchises, to whom she bore Aeneas. She is usually depicted as a naked or semi-nude beautiful woman. Her symbols include myrtle, roses, and the scallop shell. Her sacred animals include doves and sparrows.

Demeter: Goddess of grain, agriculture, harvest, growth, and nourishment. Demeter is a daughter of Cronus and Rhea, and a sister of Zeus, by whom she bore Persephone. Demeter is one of the main deities of the Eleusinian Mysteries, in which her power over the life cycle of plants symbolizes the passage of the human soul through life and into the afterlife. She is depicted as a mature woman, often crowned and holding sheafs of wheat and a torch. Her symbols are the cornucopia, wheat-ears, the winged serpent, and the lotus staff. Her sacred animals include pigs and snakes.

Hephaestus: God of fire, metalworking, and crafts. Either the son of Zeus and Hera or Hera alone, he is the smith of the gods and the husband of the adulterous Aphrodite. He was usually depicted as a bearded, crippled man with hammer, tongs, and anvil, and sometimes riding a donkey. His sacred animals include the donkey, the guard dog, and the crane. Among his creations was the armor of Achilles.

Hestia: Virgin goddess of the hearth, home, and chastity. She is a daughter of Rhea and Cronus, and a sister of Zeus. Not often identifiable in Greek art, she appeared as a modestly veiled woman. Her symbols are the hearth and kettle.

Hermes: God of boundaries, travel, communication, trade, language, and writing. The son of Zeus and Maia, Hermes is the messenger of the gods, and a psychopomp who leads the souls of the dead into the afterlife. He was depicted either as a handsome and athletic beardless youth, or as an older bearded man. His attributes include the herald's wand or caduceus, winged sandals, and a traveler's cap. His sacred animals include the tortoise.

Artemis: Virgin goddess of the hunt, wilderness, animals, young girls, childbirth, and plague. In later times, Artemis became associated with bows and arrows. She is the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and twin sister of Apollo. In art she is often depicted as a young woman dressed in a short knee-length chiton and equipped with a hunting bow and a quiver of arrows. Her attributes include hunting spears, animal pelts, deer and other wild animals. Her sacred animals include deer, bears, and wild boars.

Dionysus: God of wine, fruitfulness, parties, festivals, madness, chaos, drunkenness, vegetation, and ecstasy. In art he is depicted as either an older bearded god or an effeminate, long-haired youth. His attributes include the thyrsus, a drinking cup, the grape vine, and a crown of ivy. He is often in the company of his thiasos, a group of attendants including satyrs, maenads, and his old tutor Silenus. The consort of Dionysus was Ariadne. His sacred animals include dolphins, serpents, tigers, and donkeys.

Ares: God of war, bloodshed, and violence. The son of Zeus and Hera, he was depicted as a beardless youth, either nude with a helmet and spear or sword, or as an armed warrior. Homer portrays him as moody and unreliable, and as being the most unpopular god on earth and Olympus. He generally represents the chaos of war in contrast to Athena, a goddess of military strategy and skill. Ares is known for cuckolding his brother Hephaestus, conducting an affair with his wife Aphrodite. His sacred animals include vultures, venomous snakes, dogs, and boars.

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