Genealogy of the
oldest Greek Gods

While many civilizations have invented a mythology to find their place in the world, the Greeks had the most diverse. Before the great Zeus and the other Olympians take the stage, the universe had to be formed. That’s the work of the primordial gods, who are the subjects of our first collection on Greek mythology.  Knowledge about the primordials comes from Hesiod’s poem, the Theogony (circa 700 B.C.).

 

In the beginning, Hesiod says, there was Chaos, vast and dark space. Out of the nothingness came Gaia (Earth), Tarturus (the Underworld) and Eros (Love). Through various marriages and liaisons, they gave birth to the gods of the natural world. Their offspring would be the Titans, and the Titans, in turn, would bear the Olympians. What starts with the primordials is a story of often violent conflict for three generations.   Credits   

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Chaos 

100

Description

Before anything else in the universe existed, there was the dark emptiness of Chaos. Located beneath the earth, but not as deep down as the realm of Tartarus, Chaos is the parent of Erebus and Nyx.

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Gaea

100

Description

The only female among the deities who exist from the beginning of the universe, Gaea is the fertile earth mother on which human beings live and grow their food. She is the mother of Pontus and Uranus. Gaea and Uranus are parents of the Titans, including Cronus and Rhea, the parents of the Olympian gods.

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Tartarus

100

Description

A vast and shadowy region deep under the earth where very bad or dangerous creatures go for punishment, Tartarus is one of four entities who exist from the beginning of the universe. The fearsome monster Typhoeus is the offspring of Tartarus and Gaea.

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Eros

100

Description

Some say that Eros, the essence of sexual desire, is one of the four deities who exist from the beginning of the universe. Others call him the son of Aphrodite and Ares. Though Eros is a winged child carrying a quiver of arrows and a bow, the passions he kindles are anything but child’s play.

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Erebus

100

Description

The darkest dark, the underworld, the world of the dead. Child of Chaos and brother of Nyx, Erebus is a dark and gloomy place for the dead and the wicked. With his sister Nyx, Erebus is the father of Aether and Hemera.

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Nyx

100

Description

The daughter of Chaos, the dark night sky makes her gloomy home at the ends of the earth. With her brother Erebus, Nyx is the mother of Aether and Hemera. On her own, she births Hypnos, Thanatos, the Hesperides, the Moirae, and Nemesis.

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Aether

100

Description

Aether, the child of Erebus and Nyx, is the airy blue sky overhead when the sun is visible, when the darkness of night gives rise to the bright light of day. Aether reaches all the way up to the lofty homes of the gods.

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Hemera

100

Description

Hemera, the daytime, shares a house at the ends of the earth with her mother Nyx. But only one of them is home at a time. At the start of each day, Hemera greets the returning Nyx and leaves the house. Each evening, Hemera returns, and Nyx goes out.

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Uranus

100

Description

Uranus is the wide vault of heaven, the vault that encloses the physical world, holds up the stars, and provides a home for the gods. With his mother Gaea, Uranus sires the Titans, including Cronus and Rhea, the parents of the Olympian gods.

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Pontus

100

Description

Pontus is the turbulent ocean with its salty, misty waves. Unlike his mother Gaea, nothing can grow from Pontus, the infertile sea. With Gaea, Pontus fathers a new generation of sea gods: Nereus, Thaumas, Phorkys, Keto, and Eurybia.

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Thanatos

100

Description

Thanatos is death, the end of a human life. He and his brother Hypnos are born from Nyx. They make their homes with her at the ends of the earth. Thanatos stalks mortal men with a will of iron and a pitiless heart, and they regard him with awe and fear.

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Hypnos

100

Description

Hypnos is sleep, a gentler version of his brother Thanatos. They are sons of Nyx, who holds Hypnos in her arms in her home at the ends of the earth. Hypnos roams over the earth and the sea, treating mortals with kindness.

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Hesperides

100

Description

Daughters of Nyx, the Hesperides make their home far to the west, beyond the ocean that encircles the inhabited world.  Most often three in number, these clear-voiced singers and a watchful serpent stand guard over miraculous fruit trees that bear golden apples.

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Moirai

100

Description

The three Moirai, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, are daughters of Nyx. They allot good and evil to mortals at birth. When someone does wrong, whether god or mortal, the Moirai pursue the sinner in righteous anger until they punish him for his misdeeds.

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Nemesis

100

Description

Nyx is the mother of Nemesis, or Retribution. When a deed is not met with the consequences it deserves, Nemesis swings into action. Whether an unearned windfall or an unpunished wrong, no deed is safe from the stern reckoning of Nemesis.

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Thalassa

100

Description

Born from the union of Aither and Hemera, Thalassa is the sea. With the earth and the sky, Thalassa is one of three realms into which the cosmos are apportioned. Her broad back carries ships far and wide, but her salty depths are infertile.

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