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Primordial goddess of the night
""William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) - La Nuit (1883).jpg
La Nuit by "William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1883)
Personal information
Consort "Erebus
Children "Aether, "Hemera, "Moros, "Apate, "Dolos, "Nemesis, the "Keres, the "Moirai, the "Hesperides, "Oizys, "Momus, the "Oneiroi, "Hypnos, "Thanatos, "Philotes, "Geras, "Eris, "Eleos
Parents "Chaos
Siblings "Erebus, "Gaia, "Tartarus
Roman equivalent Nox

Nyx ("/nɪks/;[1] "Ancient Greek: Νύξ, "Night";[2] "Latin: Nox) 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.


Mythology and literature[edit]


In "Hesiod's "Theogony, Nyx is born of "Chaos.[3] With "Erebus (Darkness), Nyx gives birth to "Aether (Brightness) and "Hemera (Day).[4] Later, on her own, Nyx gives birth to "Moros (Doom, Destiny), "Keres (Destruction, Death), "Thanatos (Death), "Hypnos (Sleep), the "Oneiroi (Dreams), "Momus (Blame), "Oizys (Pain, Distress), the "Hesperides, the "Moirai (Fates), the "Keres, "Nemesis (Indignation, Retribution), "Apate (Deceit), "Philotes (Friendship), "Geras (Old Age), and "Eris (Strife).[5]

"Roman-era bronze statuette of Nyx "velificans or "Selene ("Getty Villa)

In his description of "Tartarus, Hesiod locates there the home of Nyx,[6] and the homes of her children Hypnos and Thanatos.[7] Hesiod says further that Nyx's daughter "Hemera (Day) left "Tartarus just as Nyx (Night) entered it; continuing cyclicly, when Hemera returned, Nyx left.[8] 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 smitten 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.

Nyx, as represented in the 10th-century "Paris Psalter at the side of the Prophet "Isaiah


In Greece, Nyx was only rarely the focus of cults. According to "Pausanias, she had an oracle on the acropolis at "Megara.[9]

More often, Nyx lurked in the background of other cults. Thus there was a statue called "Night" in the "Temple of Artemis at "Ephesus.[10] The "Spartans had a cult of Sleep and Death, conceived of as twins.[11] Cult titles composed of compounds of nyx- are attested for several deities, most notably "Dionysus Nyktelios "nocturnal"[12] and "Aphrodite Philopannyx "who loves the whole night".[13]


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.


  1. ^ Oxford dictionary
  2. ^ νύξ. "Liddell, Henry George; "Scott, Robert; "A Greek–English Lexicon at the "Perseus Project.
  3. ^ Hesiod, p. 123.
  4. ^ Hesiod, Theogony 124–125; Gantz, p. 4.
  5. ^ Hesiod, Theogony 212–225; Gantz, pp. 4–5.
  6. ^ Hesiod, Theogony 744–745.
  7. ^ Hesiod, Theogony 758–759.
  8. ^ Hesiod, Theogony 746–750.
  9. ^ Pausanias 1.40.1).
  10. ^ "Pausanias, 10.38.6.
  11. ^ Pausanias 3.18.1.
  12. ^ Pausanias 1.40.6)
  13. ^ "Orphic Hymn 55.


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