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date: 31 March 2023



  • William Keith Chambers Guthrie
  •  and Antony Spawforth


Nyx (Νύξ), personification of night. In Greek mythology she was a great cosmogonical figure, feared and respected even by *Zeus (Hom. Il. 14. 259). In *Hesiod she is born of *Chaos and mother of Aether, Hemera, and lesser powers. Frequent touches in the description recall her nocturnal aspect, but this is scarcely seen in the Orphic theogonies, where her influence over creation is immense (cf. orphic literature; orphism). In the Rhapsodies she is daughter of *Phanes and succeeds to his power. When in turn she hands the sceptre to her son *Uranus she continues to advise the younger generations, Uranus, *Cronus, and especially *Zeus, in the task of world-making. Her influence is due to her oracular powers, exercised from a cave. There are signs that in an earlier Orphic version Phanes was absent and Nyx the primal power. The theogony of the Birds (Ar.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

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