So the Romans adopted creation and origin stories unchanged from the Greeks. The Romans always regarded the Greeks as slippery, devious and far too clever for their own good but the Romans acknowledged that they knew a thing or two.
According to the Greeks, the gods emerged out of darkness and chaos. First came Gaia (the Earth), Eros (Love) and then Tartarus (the Underworld). Gaia produced Uranus (the Sky) and Pontus(the Sea). She lay with Uranus and produced eighteen children. Six of them were useful monsters. She lay with Pontus and produced 3,000 Oceanids or sea nymphs.
That is only the start. It got more twisted and bizarre as it goes on. Castration of Uranus; birth of the Giants from his blood; birth of Aphrodite from the foam thrown up from his testicles when they landed in the sea near the island of Cythera, birth of Athena fully grown and fully armoured from Zeus’ head after he ate her mother.
No wonder the Romans left these sorts of things to those clever Greeks.
The Romans even adopted a universal flood story from the Greeks. Deucalion and Pyrrha were the only survivors who survived by building a chest after Deucalion’s father, Prometheus, warned them of the coming flood. But he would, wouldn’t he. Prometheus’ name means ‘forethought’.
When the waters rose, 82 year old Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha climbed into the chest. After the floodwaters subsided, the two repopulated the earth after being instructed to cover their head and throw the bones of their mother behind them. I have always thought that a very oblique reference indeed. However, Deucalion knew rocks meant the bones of mother earth. The rocks thrown by him turned into men; the rocks thrown by Pyrrha turned into women.
Next time, we are going to visit the minor gods of place and purpose and I can promise plenty of interesting Roman weird as we visit my favourite minor gods and their priesthoods.