5/30/2008

Goddess of the week - Nyx

Name: Nyx
Location: Greece
Sphere of influence: The Night
Famous portraits: None

This Greek goddess was one of the more important figures of Greek mythology, even though she does not appear very frequently in the myths. She is one of the earliest gods, being the daughter of Chaos (according to Hesiod's Theogony) or (according to the Hellenistic Orphic hymns) even being the first principle of this world. She was so fearsome that not even Zeus dared approach her - when he was on the hunt for one of her children who had helped his wife Hera in a way that he did not approve of.

Apart from being a fearsome old goddess she was also a mother - to quite a few number of children, with some different fathers, including her brother Erebus, the god of darkness and shadow (and some she even got by herself). They include: Eris (Strife), Hemera (Day - though she might be Nyx's sister, the stories are not quite clear on this), Hypnos (Sleep) and Thanatos (Death).

We do not know that much about her cult, but the writer Pausanias states that she had an oracle at Megara and there was a statue of her at the temple of Artemis at Ephesus.

The Romans called her Nox (Latin for night).

There are not really any known ancient portraits or statues of Nyx from antiquity, that we know of at least. The picture at this entry was done in 1883 by the French painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau.

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