Nyx is a figure from Greek mythology who represents the primordial goddess of the night. She is one of the first beings to have emerged at the creation of the universe, born from Chaos, the void of emptiness. Nyx is often depicted as an incredibly powerful figure, one of the few whom even Zeus, king of the gods, is said to fear.
Nyx is said to have given birth to a number of deities, often by herself, that personify various aspects of the world and the human condition. These include Aether (Brightness), Hemera (Day), Moros (Doom), Thanatos (Death), Hypnos (Sleep), the Fates, and many others. In some myths, she is also said to be the mother of Eris (Strife), and through her, the grandmother of various spirits associated with conflict and distress.
She is often depicted as a figure of exceptional beauty and is typically associated with mystery, as she embodies the darkness of night, a time traditionally associated with the unknown and the supernatural in many cultures.
Despite her fundamental role in the cosmogony, Nyx doesn’t play a major active role in many myths, instead serving as the personification of night and the mother of several significant deities. Her power, however, is unquestionable in the ancient sources, making her one of the more formidable figures in the Greek pantheon.
Hemera, in Greek mythology, is the personification of day and one of the Greek primordial deities. She is the daughter of Erebus (personification of darkness) and Nyx (personification of the night). Hemera is known to have a brother named Aether, who is the personification of the upper air or light.
In the ancient cosmogonies, Night and Day are considered as independent entities where Night and Darkness (Erebus) are in one region (considered the underworld or Tartarus), while Day and Light (Hemera and Aether) are in the other region, considered as the upper world or the sky. They intermingle when Hemera exits Tartarus and travels to the upper world, signifying day, and she then goes back to Tartarus, signifying night.
Despite this role in the ancient cosmogonies, Hemera is not a widely characterized figure in Greek mythology. Her function and attributes are often assimilated with other deities, like Eos, the goddess of dawn. Hemera’s main mythological role is as the embodiment of day, signifying the cycle of day and night.
Persephone is a figure from Greek Mythology, known as the goddess of vegetation and the queen of the Underworld. She is the daughter of Zeus, the king of the gods, and Demeter, the goddess of agriculture and fertility. Her Roman equivalent is Proserpina.
The most famous myth about Persephone is her abduction by Hades, the god of the underworld. According to the myth, Persephone was gathering flowers in a field when Hades burst from the ground and carried her away to the Underworld. Her mother, Demeter, was so grief-stricken that she neglected her duties, and the earth became barren.
Eventually, Zeus intervened, sending Hermes to the underworld to bring Persephone back. However, because Persephone had eaten pomegranate seeds in the Underworld (the food of the dead), she was bound to spend part of the year there. It was agreed that she would spend one-third of the year (the winter months) with Hades, and the rest of the year with her mother.
The myth of Persephone’s descent into the Underworld and her return to the surface is an allegory for the changing of the seasons: her departure for the Underworld corresponds with the arrival of winter and the death of vegetation, while her return to the surface world brings about spring and the renewal of life. As such, Persephone is often associated with the concept of rebirth and the cycle of life and death.
Persephone was worshipped alongside her mother Demeter in the Eleusinian Mysteries, a major cult in ancient Greece that was based around the myth of Persephone’s abduction. This ritual was held annually and was considered one of the most important religious events of the ancient Greek world.
In Greek mythology, the Titans were a group of powerful, primordial deities who ruled the cosmos before the Olympian gods came to power. The Titans were the twelve children of the sky god Uranus and the earth goddess Gaia. They were part of the second generation of divine beings, succeeding the primordial deities and preceding the gods of Olympus.
The twelve Titans were:
- Oceanus: The Titan of the ocean.
- Tethys: The Titaness of freshwater and the wife of Oceanus.
- Hyperion: The Titan of light, father of the sun god Helios, the moon goddess Selene, and the dawn goddess Eos.
- Theia: The Titaness of sight and the shining light of the clear blue sky. She was the wife of Hyperion and mother to Helios, Selene, and Eos.
- Crius: The least individualized among the Titans, associated with the constellation Aries.
- Iapetus: Associated with the mortal lifespan, father of Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Menoetius.
- Coeus: Titan of intellect and the axis of heaven.
- Phoebe: Titaness of the “bright” intellect and prophecy, and consort of Coeus.
- Cronus: The leader of the Titans, who overthrew his father Uranus and was later overthrown by his own son, Zeus.
- Rhea: The Titaness of motherhood and fertility, wife to Cronus and mother of the first generation of Olympians.
- Themis: Titaness of divine law and order.
- Mnemosyne: Titaness of memory and remembrance.
The Titans played a key role in the creation myths of the Ancient Greeks. Cronus, having overthrown his father Uranus, became the ruler of the cosmos. However, after learning of a prophecy that he would be overthrown by one of his children, Cronus swallowed each of his children as they were born. Rhea, his wife, managed to save the youngest, Zeus, and had Cronus swallow a stone instead. Zeus grew up in secret, and eventually forced Cronus to disgorge his siblings, leading to a great war between the Titans and the Olympians. The Olympians emerged victorious, and the Titans were imprisoned in Tartarus, the deepest part of the underworld.