I wish our modern “scientists” took just a little time to learn a bit of ‘classical knowledge’, and maybe even spend a little time soaking up some of the old culture and learning what their “Gods” were and what their names meant.
January 6th, 2009 by sabrina
Khaos is the Greek Goddess of the air. There are two schools of thought as to how she came into existence—either she was the first being (in the beginning, there was only chaos), or she is the daughter of Ananke and Khronos, two of the primeval Gods. In the first instance, Khaos created Erebos (God of darkness), Nyx (Goddess of the night), Aither (God of light), and Hemera (Goddess of the day). In the second, she is the sister of Erebos and Aither. Either way, Khaos represented the empty misty air in between the earth and the heavens. Her name, which means “the gap” or “the chasm,” is also seen as Khaeos, Chaos, or Chaeus.
Yes, the old Greek Goddess of the atmosphere, the “gap” (one envisions the tropopause ;-) is Chaos.
Oh, the irony… As they know they can not model or predict Chaos ;-)
And, of course, there’s a wiki:
Chaos (Greek χάος khaos) refers to the formless or void state preceding the creation of the universe or cosmos in the Greek creation myths, more specifically the initial “gap” created by the original separation of heaven and earth.
The motif of chaoskampf (German for “struggle against chaos”) is ubiquitous in such myths, depicting a battle of a culture hero deity with a chaos monster, often in the shape of a serpent or dragon. The same term has also been extended to parallel concepts in the religions of the Ancient Near East.
Shades of “Slaying the Sky Dragon”!
The origins of the chaoskampf myth most likely lie in the Proto-Indo-European religion whose descendants almost all feature some variation of the story of a storm god fighting a sea serpent representing the clash between the forces of order and chaos. Early work by German academics in comparative mythology popularized translating the mythological sea serpent as a “dragon.” Indo-European examples of this mythic trope include Thor vs. Jörmungandr (Norse), Tarhunt vs. Illuyanka (Hittite), Indra vs. Vritra (Vedic), Θraētaona vs. Aži Dahāka (Zorastrian), and Zeus vs. Typhon (Greek) among others.
This myth was ultimately transmitted into the religions of the Ancient Near East (most of which belong to the Afro-Asiatic language family) most likely initially through interaction with Hittite speaking peoples into Syria and the Fertile Crescent. The myth was most likely then integrated into early Sumerian and Akkadian myths, such as the trials of Ninurta, before being disseminated into the rest of the Ancient Near East. Examples of the storm god vs. sea serpent trope in the Ancient Near East can be seen with Baʿal vs. Yam (Canaanite), Marduk vs. Tiamat (Babylonian), and Yahweh vs. Leviathan (Jewish) among others.
There is also evidence to suggest the possible transmission of this myth as far east as Japan and Shintoism as depicted in the story of Susanoo vs. Yamata no Orochi. The exact route of this particular transmission is unknown.
The chaoskampf would eventually be inherited by descendants of these ancient religions, perhaps most notably by Christianity. Examples include the story of Saint George and the Dragon (most probably descended from the Slavic branch of Indo-European and stories such as Dobrynya Nikitich vs. Zmey Gorynych) as well as depictions of Christ and/or Saint Michael vs. the Devil (as seen in the Book of Revelation among other places and probably related to the Yahweh vs. Leviathan and later Gabriel vs. Rahab stories of Jewish mythology). More abstractly, some aspects of the narrative appear in the crucifixion story of Jesus found in the gospels.
And here we are to this day, living that same tale. On one side, the folks fighting for order and understanding, working to slay that sky dragon: The Chaos. On the other, the confusion of the devil of deception that claims it can control or predict the Khaos of the atmosphere.
The more things change, the more I think we need to teach the classics…
Totally Gratuitous Link
This is a totally gratuitous link to a page that describes “1800 and Froze to Death” or “the year without a summer” or 1816.
Just because I want to keep a copy of the link somewhere, and what could be more Chaotic than a year without a summer ;-)
A sample of the text:
Several cold spells in May 1816 delayed the start of the planting season. June began well, but crops were lost in a cold spell between the 5th and 11th. Snow accumulated throughout all but southernmost New Hampshire. A warm spell starting the last third of June provided hope that summer had arrived, but a killing frost on July 9th dashed that hope. The rest of the month was warmer, but didn’t equal the warmest days of June. A warming trend in August abruptly ended with frost on the 21st and a worse one on the 30th.
Some crops did well, apple and pear harvests were very good, perhaps due in part to the cold weather being hard on insect pests. Potatoes did well too. Some people were able to raise a good crop of wheat, and they were rewarded with prices that were double that of normal years. Increased farm efficiencies have exceeded inflation – the high price was never equaled until the 1970s.
In Ashland, Reuben Whitten shared his wheat crop with his neighbors. After his death in 1847, they paid for his headstone in his family graveyard. Later, relatives erected a monument saying “A pioneer of this town. Cold season of 1816 raised 40 bushils of wheat on this land whitch kept his family and neighbours from starveation.” His farm was on a south facing hillside, so probably benefited from the extra sun and being above the valley chill.
Note to self: Have a farm on a south facing hillside (north facing in the souther hemisphere) and above the valley. Grow apples and pears and barely…
(Do you have to ask about the barley? Hey, it’s cold tolerant and whiskey keeps ;-) But growing some wheat and potatoes would be OK too ;-)