Primordial goddess of the night
|Siblings||Gaia, Tartarus, Erebus|
|Children||Aether, Hemera, Moros, Apate, Dolos, Nemesis, the Keres, the Moirai, the Hesperides, Oizys, Momus, the Oneiroi, Hypnos, Thanatos, Koalemos, Philotes, Geras, Eris, Charon|
Nyx ( // ; Ancient Greek : Νῠ́ξ, Nýx, [nýks] , 'Night') is the Greek goddess (or personification) of the night. A shadowy figure, Nyx stood at or near the beginning of creation and mothered other personified deities such as Hypnos (Sleep) and Thanatos (Death), with Erebus (Darkness). Her appearances are sparse in surviving mythology, but reveal her as a figure of such exceptional power and beauty that she is feared by Zeus himself.
In Hesiod's Theogony , Nyx is born of Chaos.With Erebus (Darkness), Nyx gives birth to Aether (Brightness) and Hemera (Day). Later, on her own, Nyx gives birth to Moros (Doom, Destiny), the Keres (Destruction, Death), Thanatos (Death), Hypnos (Sleep), the Oneiroi (Dreams), Momus (Blame), Oizys (Pain, Distress), the Hesperides, the Moirai (Fates), Nemesis (Indignation, Retribution), Apate (Deceit), Philotes (Friendship), Geras (Old Age), and Eris (Strife). Finally, Nyx bore the ferryman of Hades, Charon.
In his description of Tartarus, Hesiod locates there the home of Nyx,and the homes of her children Hypnos and Thanatos. Hesiod says further that Nyx's daughter Hemera (Day) left Tartarus just as Nyx (Night) entered it; continuing cyclicly, when Hemera returned, Nyx left. This mirrors the portrayal of Ratri (night) in the Rigveda, where she works in close cooperation but also tension with her sister Ushas (dawn).
At Iliad 14.249–61, Hypnos, the minor deity of sleep, reminds Hera of an old favor after she asks him to put Zeus to sleep. He had once before put Zeus to sleep at the bidding of Hera, allowing her to cause Heracles (who was returning by sea from Laomedon's Troy) great misfortune. Zeus was furious and would have smote Hypnos into the sea if he had not fled to Nyx, his mother, in fear. Homer goes on to say that Zeus, fearing to anger Nyx, held his fury at bay and in this way Hypnos escaped the wrath of Zeus by appealing to his powerful mother. He disturbed Zeus only a few times after that, always fearing Zeus and running back to his mother, Nyx, who would have confronted Zeus with a maternal fury.
Nyx took on an even more important role in several fragmentary poems attributed to Orpheus.[ citation needed ] In them, Nyx, rather than Chaos, is the first principle from which all creation emerges.[ citation needed ] Nyx occupies a cave or adyton, in which she gives oracles. Cronus – who is chained within, asleep and drunk on honey – dreams and prophesies. Outside the cave, Adrasteia clashes cymbals and beats upon her tympanon, moving the entire universe in an ecstatic dance to the rhythm of Nyx's chanting. Phanes – the strange, monstrous, hermaphrodite Orphic demiurge – was the child[ citation needed ] or father of Nyx. Nyx is also the first principle in the opening chorus of Aristophanes' The Birds , which may be Orphic in inspiration. Here she is also the mother of Eros.
The theme of Nyx's cave or mansion, beyond the ocean (as in Hesiod) or somewhere at the edge of the cosmos (as in later Orphism) may be echoed in the philosophical poem of Parmenides. The classical scholar Walter Burkert has speculated that the house of the goddess to which the philosopher is transported is the palace of Nyx; this hypothesis, however, must remain tentative.
In some accounts, the goddess of witchcraft, Hecate was also called the daughter of Night.
There was no known temple dedicated to Nyx, but statues are known to have been made of her and a few cult practices of her are mentioned. According to Pausanias, she had an oracle on the acropolis at Megara. :Pausanias wrote
When you have ascended the citadel [of Megara], which even at the present day is called Karia (Caria) from Kar (Car), son of Phoroneus, you see a temple of Dionysos Nyktelios (Nyctelius, Nocturnal), a sanctuary built to Aphrodite Epistrophia (She who turns men to love), an oracle called that of Nyx (Night) and a temple of Zeus Konios (Cronius, Dusty) without a roof.
More often, Nyx was worshipped in the background of other cults. Thus there was a statue called "Night" in the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus.The Spartans had a cult of Sleep and Death, conceived of as twins. Cult titles composed of compounds of nyx- are attested for several deities, most notably Dionysus Nyktelios "nocturnal" and Aphrodite Philopannyx "who loves the whole night".
Roman authors mentioned cult practices and wrote hymns in her honor. Ovid wrote: "May 9 Lemuria Nefastus. You ancient rite will be performed, Nox Lemuria; here will be offerings to the mute dead",and she is also mentioned by Statius:
O Nox . . . Ever shall this house throughout the circling periods of the year hold thee high in honour and in worship; black bulls of chosen beauty shall pay thee sacrifice [black animals were sacrificed to the chthonic gods], O goddess! And Vulcanus' [Hephaistos'] fire shall eat the lustral entrails, where-o'er the new milk streams.
In 1997, the International Astronomical Union approved the name Nyx for a mons (mountain/peak) feature on the planet Venus. Nyx Mons is located at latitude 30° North and longitude 48.5° East on the Venusian surface. Its diameter is 875 km.
On June 21, 2006, the International Astronomical Union renamed one of Pluto's recently discovered moons (S/2005 P 2) Nix, in honor of Nyx. The name was spelled with an "i" instead of a "y", to avoid conflict with the asteroid 3908 Nyx.
In Greek mythology, Hypnos is the personification of sleep; the Roman equivalent is known as Somnus. His name is the origin of the word hypnosis.
In the Ancient Greek religion, Hestia is the virgin goddess of the hearth, the right ordering of domesticity, the family, the home, and the state. In Greek mythology, she is the firstborn child of the Titans Cronus and Rhea.
In Greek mythology, the Titans were the pre-Olympian gods. According to the Theogony of Hesiod, they were the twelve children of the primordial parents Uranus (Sky) and his mother, Gaia (Earth), with six male Titans: Oceanus, Coeus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus, and Cronus, and six female Titans, called the Titanides : Theia, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, and Tethys. Cronus mated with his older sister Rhea and together they became the parents of the first generation of Olympians – the six siblings Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Hestia, Demeter, and Hera. Some descendants of the Titans, such as Prometheus, Helios, and Leto, are sometimes also called Titans.
Mnemosyne is the goddess of memory in Greek mythology. "Mnemosyne" is derived from the same source as the word mnemonic, that being the Greek word mnēmē, which means "remembrance, memory".
Rhea or Rheia is a goddess in Greek mythology, the Titaness daughter of the earth goddess Gaia and the sky god Uranus, Gaia's son. She is the older sister of Cronus, who was also her consort. In early traditions, she is known as "the mother of gods" and therefore is strongly associated with Gaia and Cybele, who have similar functions. The classical Greeks saw her as the mother of the Olympian gods and goddesses. The Romans identified her with Magna Mater, and the Goddess Ops.
In Greek mythology, Apate was the personification of deceit. Her mother was Nyx, the personification of night. Her Roman equivalent was Fraus. Her male counterpart was Dolos, daemon of trickery, and her opposite number was Aletheia, the spirit of truth.
Eileithyia or Ilithyiae or Ilithyia was the Greek goddess of childbirth and midwifery. In the cave of Amnisos (Crete) she was related with the annual birth of the divine child, and her cult is connected with Enesidaon, who was the chthonic aspect of the god Poseidon. It is possible that her cult is related with the cult of Eleusis. In his Seventh Nemean Ode, Pindar refers to her as the maid to or seated beside the Moirai (Fates) and responsible for creating offspring.
Themis is an ancient Greek Titaness. She is described as "[the Lady] of good counsel," and is the personification of divine order, fairness, law, natural law, and custom. Her symbols are the Scales of Justice, tools used to remain balanced and pragmatic. Themis means "divine law" rather than human ordinance, literally "that which is put in place", from the Greek verb títhēmi (τίθημι), meaning "to put."
In Greek mythology, Erebus, or Erebos, was often conceived as a primordial deity, representing the personification of darkness; for instance, Hesiod's Theogony identifies him as one of the first five beings in existence, born of Chaos.
In Greek mythology, Hemera was the personification of day and one of the Greek primordial deities. She is the goddess of the daytime and, according to Hesiod, the daughter of Erebus and Nyx.
In Greek mythology, dreams were sometimes personified as Oneiros or Oneiroi. In the Iliad of Homer, Zeus sends an Oneiros to appear to Agamemnon in a dream, while in Hesiod's Theogony, the Oneiroi are the sons of Nyx (Night), and brothers of Hypnos (Sleep).
In Greek mythology, Moros /ˈmɔːrɒs/ or Morus /ˈmɔːrəs/ is the 'hateful' personified spirit of impending doom, who drives mortals to their deadly fate. It was also said that Moros gave people the ability to foresee their death. His Roman equivalent was Fatum.
In Greek mythology, Geras, also written Gēras, was the god of old age. He was depicted as a tiny, shriveled old man. Gēras's opposite was Hebe, the goddess of youth. His Roman equivalent was Senectus. He is known primarily from vase depictions that show him with the hero Heracles; the mythic story that inspired these depictions has been lost.
In Greek mythology, Pasithea, or Pasithee, was one of the Charites (Graces), and the personification of relaxation, meditation, hallucinations and all other altered states of consciousness. The Charites are usually said to be the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, but Pasithea's parentage is given as Hera and Dionysus. She was married to Hypnos, the god of sleep.
In Greek mythology, Aether is one of the primordial deities. Aether is the personification of the "upper sky". He embodies the pure upper air that the gods breathe, as opposed to the normal air breathed by mortals. Like Tartarus and Erebus, Aether may have had shrines in ancient Greece, but he had no temples and is unlikely to have had a cult.
Euphrosyne, in ancient Greek religion and mythology, was one of the Charites, known in ancient Rome as the Gratiae (Graces). She was sometimes called Euthymia (Εὐθυμία) or Eutychia (Εὐτυχία).
In Greek mythology, Philotes was a minor goddess or spirit (daimones) personifying affection, friendship, and sex.
In Greek mythology, Oizys is the goddess of misery, anxiety, grief, and depression. Her Roman name is Miseria, from which the English word misery is derived. Oizys is a minor goddess without a great cult following, but a primordial goddess of misery and depression with a certain amount of mythological weight nonetheless.
In Greek mythology, Gaia, also spelled Gaea, is the personification of the Earth and one of the Greek primordial deities. Gaia is the ancestral mother—sometimes parthenogenic—of all life. She is the mother of Uranus, from whose sexual union she bore the Titans, the Cyclopes, and the Giants; as well as of Pontus, from whose union she bore the primordial sea gods. Her equivalent in the Roman pantheon was Terra.
Uranus, sometimes written Ouranos, was the primal Greek god personifying the sky and one of the Greek primordial deities. Uranus is associated with the Roman god Caelus. In Ancient Greek literature, Uranus or Father Sky was the son and husband of Gaia, the primordial Earth Mother. According to Hesiod's Theogony, Uranus was conceived by Gaia alone, but other sources suggest he was born from Nyx, or Aether and Hemera. Uranus and Gaia were the parents of the first generation of Titans, and the ancestors of most of the Greek gods, but no cult addressed directly to Uranus survived into Classical times, and Uranus does not appear among the usual themes of Greek painted pottery. Elemental Earth, Sky, and Styx might be joined, however, in solemn invocation in Homeric epic.