Creation myths are really, really complicated. And weird. More weird than complicated, like there is a word or a golden egg in unending waters or a lifeless water body of chaos. Chaos. Yes, everything stems from chaos, or something very similar to it in most cultures (that was a perfect segue and if you believe otherwise then shame on you).
I have always found it extremely fascinating how ancient humans tried to get as far away as possible from chaos as they can and embrace order even though everything they know of and hold in regard came from chaos. Maybe that is the reason why and I’m totally stupid for not seeing it. Anyways, not straying away from the topic, the beginning, if we are to believe the ancient Romans, was from Chaos even though it’s quite a stretch.
Now this particular myth didn’t really have any real Roman variation as far as I could find out other than maybe the Roman equivalents of some of the Greek characters but since I am going to use Hesiod’s version of the myth, I am going to use the Greek names so that if you want to check out Theogony (wonderful read by the way), you don’t get confused. If you already know what it is, humor me.
The Creation Myth
In the beginning, the creation myth was only Chaos, a void of nothingness; an abyss that lasted for as far as one could see (but of course there was no “one” to see). Out of this Chaos, came the five primordial beings- Gaia, Tartaros, Eros (in some versions he is the son of Aphrodite but I like this myth better since Love is the first emotion humans learn to feel and it would make sense that Eros was one of the first beings to emerge out of an eternal gap), Nyx and Erebus.
Tartaros was a dark pit, another abyss (that will be later on associated with the deepest, darkest parts of Hell or Hades). Eros was the most beautiful of the immortal gods and he was the god of love (Cupid to the Romans, in the myth of Psyche and Eros, Eros is described as the worst of all monsters). Nyx was the primordial for of night and Erebus was the place where death dwelled, which safe to say, is a hyperbole for Hell. Nyx and Erebus had two children- Aether and Day.
Gaia was the Earth herself. She gave birth to the mountains and the open waters called Pontus, that is all water bodies- the oceans, the seas, the whole deal, without the help of a man (kudos to Gaia for being the epitome of the independent female) then she fashioned for herself an equal, Ouranos who was the Heavens. Now Gaia and Uranus had kids, a lot of them. There were the Titans Oceanus and Koios and Kreios and Hyperion and Iapetos and Thea and Rheia and Themis and Mnemosyne and golden-garlanded Phoebe and Tethys and the last of them, Kronos (all these ands are a tribute to the translation of Theogony I read that probably used even more ands).
Other children include the Kyklopes or the original three Cyclopes, Brontes and Steropes and Arges who were thrown in Tartaros by Ouranos for being too ugly and The Hekatonkheires or the hundred-handed ones (fifty faces don’t know how they existed, storm giants, kinda ugly), Kottos and Briares and Gyges who were thrown in Tartaros by Ouranos for being too ugly. Needless to say, Ouranos was not going to win the father of the millennium award that millennium. Also another award Ouranos was not winning that millennium was the husband of the millennium. Gaia was seriously offended and a grieving primordial mother who also fashioned you for her own convenience is not someone you want for an enemy.
Ouranos did not know that unfortunately, which is why he died even being one of part of the creation myth. Now the death of a god is a very controversial thing because, of course, how could a god die? Honestly I don’t know, maybe like driving a stake to the heart can kill vampires, chopping them up in a gazillion pieces can kill gods. Here is what happened, Gaia was supremely angry and positively livid.
So she created an element (the chemistry kind) and created a deathly blade, namely a sickle out of it (I don’t know why writing this sent chills down my spine but the image of an earth goddess with a flower crown on her head and a sickle intended for murder in her hands is very creepy). Then she asked her children who were still free, with imploring eyes, to kill their daddy.
Now, the Titans among others may not have liked Ouranos, but they were obviously scared of him. So none of them was willing to kill him except Kronos, the youngest, the cruelest, the deadliest. So she gave him the sickle, he hid in the bushes and Gaia and Ouranos had date night!!!
Basically, the two of them were having great time getting cozy when Kronos suddenly appeared, holding a mean looking blade in his hand, and chopped of Daddy Ouranos’ genitals. Where the blood that spurted out fell, sprang the Erinyes or the Furies (whom I will talk about in a whole separate article because I love them so much), and great Giants and the Ash Tree Nymphs. His fallen genitals fell in the sea, where from the sea foam arose the fairest maiden in all of the cosmos, Aphrodite.
How Nyx Gave Birth to Cool Evil Stuff
On a sideline, while this was happening, Nyx gave birth to a whole bunch of children – the twins Hypnos, the god of sleep, and Thanatos who was the god of death (not to be confused with Hades who was the god of the dead), Nemesis or the goddess of revenge, Oizys who was the goddess of misery, Momus who was the god of blame, Moros who was the god of doom, the Oneiroi who were the spirits of dreams, Eris who was the goddess of strife (she created the apple of discord), Apate who was the goddess of deceit. This is the first list of the creation myth.
Keres who was the goddess of death and doom, Geras who was the god of old age, Hemera who was the goddess of light and day, the Hesperides who were the daughters of the evening (in some myths the Titan Atlas is their father), Philotes who was the goddess of friendship and the Moirai or the fates Klotho, who spun the thread of each individual’s life, Lachesis who was the Dispenser of Lots, and Atropos, the Unturnable One, who distributed among mortals everything they get in life, the good and the bad. Finally, this talks about all in the creation myth.
(This seemed like a subtle way of saying that most of the bad stuff in life comes from the night and in the night.)
Anyways Hesiod for some insane reason, goes on to mention every offspring every god has had which I will not tell you for the sake of your own sanity. Now I will let you soak in all the evil spirits that night bore and like sign out.
So, this article is all about the creation mythology from the beginning times.