“Light was also linked to the
divine realm and many ancient religions of antiquity had some concept of divine
light or luminescence” 1
The concept of first light is shared in Egyptian and Greek mythology, but the
similarity in these creation stories continues beyond their first events. In
both the Egyptian Creation Epic and the history of creation in Greek Mythology,
there was only darkness before the gods created light. In Egypt, this darkness
was called Nun and in Greece it was called Chaos.2
These are also similar in that they were the first things to exist. Later in
both myths, light was born from nothing. The Egyptian myth describes an egg
that held the creator Aman-Re, who emerged from the egg in a blue lotus. “Light
streamed from the body of this Divine Child, banishing darkness to the far
reaches of the universe” 3.
He then created an island on which to stand, but quickly grew lonely. The Greek
story has many parallels, most notably that the first gods Erebus and Gaea
appeared from nothing. “All else was empty, silent, endless, dark. Then, Love
was born bringing along the beginning of order. From Love emerged Light,
followed by Gaea, the earth.”1
Meanwhile, the Egyptian myth
explains how Amen-Re created Maat and Thoth, the goddess of truth and the God
of wisdom. As time went on, more gods and goddesses were formed and the world
became more disordered. For instance when Geb and Nut, the god of the heavens
and the goddess of the earth fell in love, “The Earth and Sky, entangled in
love, were intermixed and chaotic”2. As more Cyclops, Hecatoncheires
with fifty heads, gods and goddesses were born the Greek world fared no better.
A main factor in contributing to the disorder was that Gaea had a son, Uranus,
who became her husband and a cruel leader. “Uranus was a cruel father and
husband. He hated the Hecatoncheires and imprisoned them by pushing them into
the hidden places of the earth”1.
The world of Egyptian mythology
was righted when Aman-Re forced the sky and the earth apart. The Greek gods,
however, were faced with a much larger challenge to fix their world. Cronus,
one of Gaea’s sons defeated Uranus and took the throne. Cronus however, became
just as terrible as Uranus. He ate his children in fear of losing his throne to
them. His last son, Heracles, was hidden by his mother and grew up in hiding.
When he was an adult Heracles fed Cronus a potion to release the other gods
from Cronus’ body with great success. While Cronus was drunk and ill from the
potion Heracles released the Hecatoncheires and Cyclops who helped defeat
Cronus and bring stability to the mythological Greek world.