Greek primordial gods
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The ancient Greeks proposed many different ideas about primordial deities in their mythology, which would later be largely adapted by the Romans. The many religious cosmologies constructed by Greek poets each give a different account of which deities came first.
The pre- or early Hellene Pelasgian (from c. 3,500 BC) belief was that Eurynome produced the Universal Egg and her son, Ophion, wrapped around it, breaking it in half—revealing the entire universe, the deities, and humans.
- The Iliad, an epic poem attributed to Homer about the Trojan War (an oral tradition of 700 or 600 BC) states that Tethys and Ocean are the parents of all the deities.
- In Hesiod (c. 700 BC) Chaos ("void", "gap") stands at the beginning, followed by Gaia, Tartarus, and Eros. After these forces manifest on their own, they have children through various methods, including Erebus, Pontus, Ourea, the Titans, Nyx, and Aether. (See Protogenoi)
- Alcman (c. 600 BC) made the water-nymph Thetis the first goddess, producing poros "path", tekmor "marker" and skotos "darkness" on the pathless, featureless void.
- Orphic poetry (c. 530 BC) made Nyx the first principle, Night, and her offspring were many.
- Also in the Orphic tradition, Phanes (a mystic Orphic deity of light and procreation, sometimes identified with the Elder Eros) is the original ruler of the universe, who hatched from the cosmic egg. 1
- Aristophanes (c. 456–386 BC) wrote in his Birds, that Nyx is the first deity also, and that she produced Eros from an egg.
- Pherecydes of Syros (c. 600-550 BC) made Chronos ("time") the first deitiy in his Heptamychia.
- Empedocles (c. 490–430 BC) wrote that Aphrodite and Ares were the first principles, who wove the universe out of the four elements with their powers of love and strife.
- Plato in (360 BC) introduced the concept that Timaeus, the demiurge, modeled the universe on the Ideas.