In this lecture of Literary Tales, before we can proceed into any substantial dealing with Greek literature and mythology, we must first begin with Hesiod’s Theogony to set the stage and establish the cornerstones of the Greek pathological cosmos.

A mosaic of the god Oceanus, one of the primordial deities of the ancient Greek and Roman world. Note the liveliness of the mosaic. The cosmology and or cosmogony of the Antique world was one teeming with life and spirits and gods. They were not, as later Christian tradition would affirm, rational beings, but intensely pathological creatures.
H_Rubens Titans
Peter Paul Rubens’ “The Fall of the Titans,” ca. 1638.
H_War of the Gods
Francisco Bayeu y Subías, “Olympus: Battle of the Titans,” 1764.
Cruikshank, George, 1792-1878; Venus Rising from the Froth of the Sea
George Cruikshank’s “Venus Rising from the Froth of the Sea.” Cruikshank’s depiction of the birth of Aphrodite/Venus captures the original chaotic essence of Hesiod’s Theogony unlike most of the Catholic Renaissance depictions which humanized the chaotic agon and emphasized the Christian aesthetic of beauty instead.
Sandro Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus,” ca. 1486. Considered one of the masterworks of Renaissance art, we can note, however, the much more humanized aesthetic and environment of the painting which is opposite of the chaotic and bloody lustful strife which caused Aphrodite’s birth in the first place according to Hesiod. Botticelli’s Venus is still very much alive in a world of spirits and gods, but lacks the chaos that was integral to Hesiod’s cosmic vision.
The statue “Jupiter of Smyrna,” now held in the Louvre, Paris. Jupiter is the Roman equivalent of Zeus, head of the Olympian pantheon, whose exploits in war and conflict earned him the place as king of the gods in Hesiod’s Theogony.

I’ve written extensively on Greek literature and history in the public square. You can you my associated essays and articles here:


Reading Homer: From Here to Eternity (1 June 2020)

Achilles, Priam, and the Redemptive Power of Forgiveness (6 April 2020)

Heroes of Love (15 January 2020)

Homer’s “Iliad” and the Shield of Love and Strife (8 August 2019)

Homer’s Epic of the Family (16 October 2018)


Herodotus and the Human Quest for Justice (27 June 2020)


Lessons from Antiquity for Our Current Pandemic (18 May 2020)

The Human Impulse for Tyranny (12 February 2020)

The Geopolitical Law of Nature in Thucydides (6 January 2020)


Plato’s Crito and the Crisis of Sovereignty (7 January 2020)*

Better Understanding Plato’s Republic (9 September 2019)

Plato’s Symposium: Drama and Trial of Eros (21 July 2019)

Savagery, Irony, and Satire in Plato’s Republic (17 January 2018)*


Aristophanes: The First Poet Critic (4 September 2019)

Sophocles and the Necessity of Family (26 August 2019)

Euripides: Oracle of Modernity (19 August 2019)

Why Aeschylus Still Matters Today (15 August 2019)

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