The Fading of the Golden Age
Jupiter and his Olympians did not always dwell amid the clouds in their mountain kingdom. In times long gone a glorious family of Titans lived there and ruled our world. There were twelve; six brothers and six sisters. They believed that their father was the Sky and their mother the Earth. They resembled men and women, but in truth, they were much larger and far more beautiful. Saturn was the youngest of the Titans and yet he was also their king. He was so ancient that men called him “Father Time.”
This was the Golden Age and men were never so happy as they were then. The springtime lasted the whole year. The woods and meadows were full of blossoms, and the music of singing birds was heard every hour of the day. It was spring, but summer and autumn, too. Apples and figs and oranges hung ripe from the trees; there were purple grapes on the vines; dates, melons and berries of all kinds. Men have but to pick and eat.
Nobody had to work in that happy time. Sickness, sorrow and old age were scarcely known. People lived for hundreds of years and never became gray, wrinkled or lame. They had no need of houses, for there were no storms to shelter from and no cold days.
Poverty was unknown. Everyone shared the sunlight, the pure air, and the cool water of the springs. The grass was a carpet; the blue sky was a roof; the fruits and flowers were ornaments. No man was richer than another, and no one desired this. There were no locks or bolts; harmony prevailed everywhere and in everything.
When people had lived enough they simply fell asleep. Their bodies were seen no more. They drifted away through the air, and over the mountains, and across the sea, to a glorious sunset land in the West. Men say that, to this day, they wander through the ether, hither and thither about the earth, causing babies to smile in their cradles, easing the burdens of the sick, and bringing what blessings they can to mankind.
The Golden Age came to an end, and it was Jupiter and his brothers who closed the gate on it. Jupiter was the son of Saturn, and he was hardly a year old when he began to dream of how to wage war against his father. As soon as he was grown, he persuaded his brothers, Neptune and Pluto, and his sisters, Juno, Ceres, and Vesta, to join him; and they vowed to drive the Titans from Earth.
Soon there began a long and terrible war. Jupiter had mighty allies. He employed an army of Cyclops, to forge thunderbolts in the fire of burning volcanoes. Three monsters, each with a hundred hands, were brought in to throw rocks and trees into the stronghold of the Titans. Jupiter himself hurled thunderbolts so thick and fast that the forests were set ablaze and the rivers boiled in the heat.
Saturn and his siblings could not hold out against such foes forever. After ten years they surrendered and begged for peace. So they were bound in chains made from the hardest rock and thrown down into a prison in the Lower Worlds. The Cyclops and the many-handed monsters became their jailers and keep guard over them even now.
It was then that men began to grow dissatisfied with their lot. Some wanted to be rich and own the wealth of the Earth. Others wanted to be kings and rule over whole tribes. Those who were strong wanted to enslave the weak. Some even destroyed the fruit trees, to prevent others from sharing in the fruit. Some hunted animals for sport, and even killed these poor creatures and ate their flesh. Gradually, everyone was divided between warring tribes and there was even war within tribes.
In the world, instead of peace, there was war; instead of plenty, there was starvation; instead of innocence, there was crime; and instead of happiness, there was misery.
That was how Jupiter made himself so mighty, and that was how the Golden Age died.
From Title: Old Greek Stories, Author: James Baldwin Edited Robin Bloor