Created By: Ekuran on May 15, 2011 Last Edited By: Ekuran on May 27, 2011
Troped

The Old Gods

Gods that are above/came before the other/current gods.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Alt Title: Precursor Gods, Old Gods, Elder Gods.

It seems in almost every mythology known to man, there is mention of beings that came before and/or are above the current set of gods. This trope is about them.

This type of being can occasionally be an Eldritch Abomination. In fact, they usually are if you check most mythologies. This also has a large overlap with Precursors, for gods at least.

See Death of the Old Gods, for an explanation on why they're not around anymore.

If there's only one of them, see God of Gods. See also, Divine Ranks.


Examples

Comics

Literature

Mythology and Religion
  • There's the Titans in Greek Mythology.
  • Arguably, Izanami and Izanagi in Shintoist beliefs. They were the first humans, created by one god, who had them make more gods.
  • Norse Mythology has Ymir, a gigantic being who slept in Ginnungagap, the emptiness of the cosmos. Odin, Ville and Ve were his children, who murdered him and used his body to create the Earth - from his bones, the mountains - from his blood, the seas - from his flesh, the land - from his skull, the heavens - from his teeth, the stars - from his eyeballs, the sun and the moon. Also, while Odin went on to fame as the King and Father of the Gods, Ville and Ve - who helped make the earth, AND who helped create mankind from a piece of driftwood - were ultimately forgotten, arguably making THEM examples as well.

Video Games
  • The Dragon Age mythology has this - "The Maker" displaces the "Old Gods".
    • There are actually three sets of Old Gods in the Dragon Age lore:
      • The Creators, nine "good" Elven gods, who were supposedly betrayed by one of theirs, Fen'Harel, and are currently sealed powerless in their respective otherworldly realms.
      • The Forgotten Ones, the "evil" Elven gods, whom the Creators fought, possibly after supplanting them.
      • And the above mentioned Old Gods, seven powerful dragon-like beings worshiped long ago in the Tevinter Imperium. They are currently sealed deep underground by the Maker and occasionally come up to lead a Blight.
  • It's been referenced in the Silent Hill series.
    "The old gods have not left this place..."

Community Feedback Replies: 26
  • May 15, 2011
    bluepenguin
    To get the obvious one out of the way, there's the Titans in Greek mythology.
  • May 15, 2011
    Deboss
    Make sure you differentiate between this and The Elder Gods.
  • May 16, 2011
    Ryuuma
    Overlaps with Eldritch Abomination ?
  • May 16, 2011
    Minkovsky
    ^ No. This is for gods that once ruled but now retired. In this case, Mortal Kombat movies provide an example.
  • May 16, 2011
    Ekuran
    ^ These guys can occasionally be an Eldritch Abomination. In fact, they usually are if you check most mythologies.
  • May 16, 2011
    ArtisticPlatypus
    This has a large overlap with Precursors, I believe.
  • May 16, 2011
    Ghilz
  • May 16, 2011
    Damr1990
    i think is more about of the God Dynasties, while those other two are mor about the hyerarchies takin' the greek pantheon, the titans came first, then Zeus came and imprissioned them, and became the Top God of his period
  • May 16, 2011
    Koveras
    We also have Death Of The Old Gods.
  • May 16, 2011
    cathstuart
    don't really know many examples other than the Ancient Greek pantheon - I'm sure there's a trope page about them...
  • May 16, 2011
    Deboss
  • May 17, 2011
    Windsong12
    The "Old Gods" from American Gods.
  • May 18, 2011
    Riddlewizard
    Elder gods sounds like something from the Call of Cthulu, I've heard about it, but ever read it, so I'm not sure. Someone clarify, please? You could go with "The Gods of Old" perhaps, but that could be seen as the pantheon a previous generation worshiped. Anyway, for gods that came before another set, you could argue the Titans of Greek mythology, seeing as the Gods of Olympus were the children of the Titan, though the Olympians got rid of the Titans at one point. Also arguable, Izanami and Izanagi in Shintoist beliefs. They were the first humans, created by one god, who had them make more gods. Izanami became Ruler of Yami, the underworld, if memory serves.
  • May 18, 2011
    leaveonlyfootprints
    The Dragon Age mythology has this - 'The Maker' displaces the 'Old Gods'
  • May 18, 2011
    Madrugada
    I would suggest calling it The Old Gods, rather than Elder Gods, since The "Elder Gods" is a widely used and widely known name outside the wiki for one very specific group of the Old Gods -- the ones in the Cthulhu Mythos.
  • May 20, 2011
    Vox
  • May 21, 2011
    GuesssWho
    Would Ymir count?
  • May 21, 2011
    MorganWick
  • May 21, 2011
    Ekuran
    ^^Uh... could you elaborate in an example format?
  • May 21, 2011
    Ardiente
    In A Song Of Ice And Fire, the Old Gods are nameless beings that you can pray to, but that have no temple or woship. The Seven are the Cristal Dragon Jesus septinity, and the Lord Of Light is... something spooky.
  • May 21, 2011
    Koveras
    There are actually three sets of Old Gods in the Dragon Age lore:
    • The Creators, nine "good" Elven gods, who were supposedly betrayed by one of theirs, Fen'Harel, and are currently sealed powerless in their respective otherworldly realms.
    • The Forgotten Ones, the "evil" Elven gods, whom the Creators fought, possibly after supplanting them.
    • The Old Gods, seven powerful dragon-like beings worshiped long ago in the Tevinter Imperium. They are currently sealed deep underground by the Maker and occasionally come up to lead a Blight.
  • May 21, 2011
    Gatomon41
    I think Norse had something similar, but I can't recall the reference.
  • May 22, 2011
    Koveras
    ^ You probably mean the Vanir, an race of Norse gods separate from Odin's Aesir, whom they fought but eventually learned to coexist.
  • May 22, 2011
    BlackDragon
    ^No, I suspect he's talking about Ymir, a gigantic being who slept in Ginnungagap, the emptiness of the cosmos. Odin, Ville and Ve were his children, who murdered him and used his body to create the Earth - from his bones, the mountains - from his blood, the seas - from his flesh, the land - from his skull, the heavens - from his teeth, the stars - from his eyeballs, the sun and the moon...

    Also, while Odin went on to fame as the King and Father of the Gods, Ville and Ve - who helped make the earth, AND who helped create mankind from a piece of driftwood - were ultimately forgotten, arguably making THEM examples as well.

    ...anyway, another example from fiction would be the Old Gods of David Eddings' Sparhawk series. They were ultimately banished and sealed away by the Young Gods of Styricum, and by all accounts, were somewhat unpleasant - primal, in a sense, concerned only with base emotions. One of them managed to escape confinement and was the main antagonist of the first trilogy.
  • May 22, 2011
    ssfsx17
    Video Games:
    • Silent Hill series: "The old gods have not left this place..."
  • May 22, 2011
    captainbrass2
    In The Silmarillion Illuvatar, who created the world, is a God of Gods who effectively delegates running the world after creation to the Valar, the main group of gods/goddesses. Thereafter, he steps in only when the Numenoreans attack Valinor, at which point the world needs to be re-shaped to take the Blessed Realm outside the physical realm.
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