Chapter One The Contrast of Chinese and Western Myths
Section One The Contrast of Chinese and Western Creation Myths
I. Learning Objectives
1. To know the main characters and plots of Chinese and Western creation myths
2. To make a comparison and contrast between Chinese and Western creation myths and to summarize their infl uences upon Chinese and Western cultures
II. Key Points and Difficult Points
1. To summarize the similarities of Western creation myths and the relations with other aspects of Western culture
2. To summarize the similarities of Chinese creation myths and the relations with other aspects of Chinese culture
3. To compare and contrast Chinese and Western creation myths
III. Lead-in Questions
1. What are the differences of the characters between the Chinese and Western creation myths?
2. Are there any differences between Chinese and Western cultural origins? If so, what are they?
3. What is the connection between the shaping of cultural characters and creation myths?
IV. Learning Contents
1. Creation myths in ancient Greece
In ancient Greece, some people began telling stories to explain the mysteries of life. Over much time, the stories grew rich and imaginative. The storytellers actually wove in their customs, beliefs and theories about life, death, and the wonders of nature. The myths were about gods and goddesses, fearful monsters, brave heroes, and mysterious beauties.
According to mythology, the gods and goddesses looked and acted like human. They married each other. They laughed, loved, quarreled and fought with each other. But they were immortal. They lived forever because a fl uid called ichor—not blood—fl owed through their veins.
The mightiest of the gods and goddesses lived in a golden palace on Olympus—a mountain so high, the top was hidden by clouds. They feasted an ambrosia and nectar—the food and drink of the gods. And whenever they wished, they could change shape and speed down to earth, to mingle with the mortals. The awesome Olympians earned their thrones on Olympus. They fought a fi erce battle and won.
This is the story of how it happened. In the very beginning, there was a dark space named Chaos and Gaea. The Earth grew out of this dark space and later Gaea gave birth to Uranus, the Sky. Uranus rained down on young Gaea, and plants, animals, and rivers appeared.
Gaea became Mother Earth, mother of all living things—and mother of the fi rst gods.
Gaea and Uranus had many children. Their fi rst born were the twelve giant Titans, six girls and six boys. Later, more children were born. Three were the mighty Cyclopes—strong, one-eyed giants. Three were the Hecatoncheires—monsters each with a hundred arms and fi fty heads. Uranus hated the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires, because they were ugly. He threw them into Tartarus—the deepest pit in the Underworld.