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In "Greek mythology, the primordial deities are the first gods and goddesses born from the void of "Chaos. In "Orphic tradition, they are born from "Chronos and "Ananke. "Hesiod's first (after Chaos) are "Gaia, "Tartarus, "Eros, "Erebus and "Nyx. The primordial deities Gaia and "Uranus give birth to the "Titans and "Aphrodite. The Titans "Cronus and "Rhea give birth to "Zeus, "Poseidon, "Hades, "Hestia, "Hera and "Demeter who "overthrow the Titans. The warring of the gods ends with the reign of "Zeus.


Hesiod's primordial genealogy[edit]

"Hesiod's "Theogony (c. 700 BC) tells the story of the genesis of the gods. After invoking the "Muses (II.1-116), he tells of the generation of the first four primordial deities:

"First Chaos came to be, but next... Earth... and dim Tartarus in the depth of the... Earth, and Eros..."[1]

According to Hesiod, the next primordial gods that come to be are:

Genealogical tree[edit]

Other sources[edit]

Non-Hesiodic theogonies[edit]

The "ancient Greeks entertained different versions of the origin of "primordial deities. Some of these stories were possibly inherited from the pre-Greek Aegean cultures.[2]

Homeric primordial theogony[edit]

The "Iliad, an "epic poem attributed to "Homer about the "Trojan War (an oral tradition of 700 or 600 BC), states that "Oceanus (and possibly "Tethys, too) is the parent of all the deities.[3]

Other Greek theogonies[edit]

Philosophical theogonies[edit]

Philosophers of "Classical Greece also constructed their own "metaphysical cosmogonies, with their own primordial deities:

Interpretation of primordial deities[edit]

Scholars dispute the meaning of the primordial deities in the poems of Homer and Hesiod.[5] Since the primordials give birth to the Titans, and the Titans give birth to the Olympians, one way of interpreting the primordial gods is as the deepest and most fundamental nature of the cosmos.

For example, "Jenny Strauss Clay argues that Homer's poetic vision centers on the reign of Zeus, but that Hesiod's vision of the primordials put Zeus and the Olympians in context.[6] Likewise, Vernant argues that the Olympic pantheon is a "system of classification, a particular way of ordering and conceptualizing the universe by distinguishing within it various types of powers and forces."[7] But even before the Olympic pantheon were the Titans and primordial gods. Homer alludes to a more tumultuous past before Zeus was the undisputed King and Father.[8]

Mitchell Miller argues that the first four primordial deities arise in a highly significant relationship. He argues that Chaos represents differentiation, since Chaos differentiates (separates, divides) Tartarus and Earth.[9] Even though Chaos is "first of all" for Hesiod, Miller argues that Tartarus represents the primacy of the undifferentiated, or the "unlimited. Since undifferentiation is unthinkable, Chaos is the "first of all" in that he is the first thinkable being. In this way, Chaos (the principle of division) is the natural opposite of Eros (the principle of unification). Earth (light, day, waking, life) is the natural opposite of Tartarus (darkness, night, sleep, death). These four are the parents of all the other Titans.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Theogony of Hesiod". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 2016-01-21. 
  2. ^ Clay, Jenny Strauss (2006-05-26). The Politics of Olympus: Form and Meaning in the Major Homeric Hymns (2 ed.). London: Bristol Classical Press. p. 9. "ISBN "9781853996924. 
  3. ^ Homer, Iliad (Book 14)
  4. ^ Phanes
  5. ^ Nagy, Gregory (1992-01-01). Greek Mythology and Poetics. Cornell University Press. "ISBN "0801480485. 
  6. ^ Clay, Jenny Strauss (2006-05-26). The Politics of Olympus: Form and Meaning in the Major Homeric Hymns (2 ed.). London: Bristol Classical Press. p. 9. "ISBN "9781853996924. 
  7. ^ Vernant, Jean Pierre (1980-01-01). Myth and Society in Ancient Greece. Harvester Press. "ISBN "9780855279837. 
  8. ^ "The Internet Classics Archive | The Iliad by Homer". classics.mit.edu. pp. Book I (396–406); Book VIII (477–83). Retrieved 2016-01-21. 
  9. ^ "'First of all': On the Semantics and Ethics of Hesiod's Cosmogony - Mitchell Miller - Ancient Philosophy (Philosophy Documentation Center)". www.pdcnet.org. Retrieved 2016-01-21. 

External links[edit]

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