In the beginning there was Chaos.
We are told by the old ones that Chaos was formless and infinite and all there was for as far as the eye could see, if there were an eye that could see infinity, which there was, of course, not, since Chaos was all there was and all there was was just stuff, dark stuff, a mass of dark stuff unformed.
Then came out of the formless stuff the Earth, or Earth, depending on your persuasion. It is best not to inquire too closely into how came the Earth, or Earth. It was just one of those things that happen. You know: Earth happens.
Apparently Earth felt all naked and nude and alone sitting there in Chaos, so Earth gave birth. To Heaven, or Ouranos.
But first, it would be remiss not to mention the third element, Tartarus, which lay in the darkness far below Earth. So, in the beginning there was Chaos, and pretty much at the same time, maybe a few nanoseconds later there was Earth, known as Gaea had anyone been there to know Gaea, and Tartarus. Apparently Tartarus knew Gaea, thus giving the inchoate world Ouranos, who then also knew Gaea, and from Ouranos and Gaea we got Pontus, the Sea; Ourea, the Mountains; some Autochthons, grown men of the Earth who started the whole Greece thing; and some other things and forms of things.
There were the Titans and the Cyclops, both groups born of Heaven and Earth. The Titans were ruled by the Titans Cronus and Rhea, brother and sister, wink wink.
Cronus unfortunately was a paranoid schizophrenic who decided his children were going to kill him, or one of them was, so he swallowed them all whole. Rhea, aghast, hid the next one and presented Cronus with a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes, all of which Cronus swallowed. Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and the Stone, gone, just like that. But the hidden child, name of Zeus, grew to godhood, manhood, great powerfulhood, all unbeknownst to the Big C.
It would be well to point out that much of this was Cronus’s own fault. To please his mother, who suffered at the will and hand of Heaven, or Ouranos, young Cronus took a sickle, lay in ambush, and cut off Heaven’s genitals while Heaven was doing Earth, and then flung the bloody things away.
The blood that fell on the land birthed the Furies, hunters and punishers of evildoers. The blood that fell in the sea gave birth to, what else, the goddess of love and desire, Aphrodite.
So, in the way of things, on the wheel of justice, Zeus came round to Cronus’s house, poisoned him so that he vomited out Zeus’s brothers and sisters, and the stone, which was used to mark the center of the earth at Delphi.
Then followed the ten-year war in which Zeus, with the help of some other relatives, tossed Cronus and the Titans out of power and into Tartarus, and assumed command of all that there was. Zeus ruled the sky. His brother Poseidon ruled the sea, and the third brother, Hades, ruled Tartarus.
All was well for a long time.
Then along came Homer. You know, the poet. Blind guy. Created literature. And not too much later came the Philosophers, who began throwing monkey wrenches into the whole structure. (It is rumored that in an ancient dialect of Greek, now lost, long lost, way lost, Philosopher meant ‘Cursed of Zeus’. Just a rumor, of course.)