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-->''ή τοι μεν πρώτιστα Χάος γένετ' ...''
-->''é toi men prótista Cháos génet'...''[[note]]Verily, at the beginning, Chaos came to be...[[/note]]

As the Muses taught Creator/{{Hesiod}}, in the beginning there was Chaos -- and indeed, this is one of the [[WorldOfChaos most chaotic]] texts in the world's literary canon. Written most probably circa 700 BCE in classical epic dactylic hexameter, it is mainly a genealogical treatise with not a few elements of theological gossip about which god slept with whom and who was born as a result. "''Theogony''" means "The Origin of Gods", and it is ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. Presenting the whole divine family on one genealogical tree is [[http://www.theoi.com/TreeHesiod.html almost]] impossible, but the Greeks apparently had little problems with memorizing all the details, as numerous stories from Greek mythology are perfectly consistent with the version of events described in ''Theogony'' (though, to complicate things even more, there is also a rival version written by Pseudo-Apollodorus, known as ''The Library'').

To cut a long story short, in the beginning there was not only Chaos but also Gaia (Mother Earth), Tartarus (Ineffably Deep Abyss), and Eros (who in those times resembled rather Will To Procreate than Romantic Love). Then, Gaia gave birth, among other creatures, to Ouranos (Heaven) and Pontus (Sea), both of whom later [[ParentalIncest fathered many children with her]]. This strange family had three main branches:

'''1)''' Chaos
* Erebus (Darkness) and Nyx (Night)
** Erebus and Nyx reproduced to make: Aether (Light) and Hemera (Day)
** Nyx produced parthenogenetically: Moros (Doom), Oneiroi (Dreams), the Keres (Destinies), Eris (Discord), Momos (Blame), Philotes (Love), Geras (Old Age), Thanatos (Death), Moirai (Fates), Nemesis (Retribution), Hesperides (Daughters of Night), Hypnos (Sleep), Oizys (Hardship), Apate (Deceit)
*** Children of Eris: Ponos (Pain), Hysmine (Battles), the Neikea (Quarrels), the Phonoi (Murders), Lethe (Oblivion), Makhai (Fight), Pseudologos (Lies), Amphilogia (Disputes), Limos (Famine), Androktasia (Manslaughters), Ate (Ruin), Dysnomia (Anarchy and Disobedient Lawlessness), the Algea (Illness), Horkos (Oaths), Logoi (Stories)

'''2)''' Gaia ([[Characters/ClassicalMythology Olympians]] in '''Bold''')
* Ouranos (Sky); he and Gaia reproduced to make:
** Titans: Cronus and Rhea
*** Hestia
*** '''Demeter'''
*** '''Hera'''
---> produced parthenogenetically: '''Hephaestus'''
*** Hades
*** '''Poseidon'''
---> with Nereid Amphitrite: Triton
---> with mortal Medusa: Chrysaor and Pegasus.
*** '''Zeus'''
---> with Oceanid Metis produced: '''Athena'''
---> with Titan Themis produced: Horae (Hours): Eunomia (Order), Dikē (Justice), Eirene (Peace), the three Moirai (Fates)[[note]]Clotho (Spinner), Lachesis (Alotter), Atropos (Unturned)[[/note]], Tyche (Luck)
---> with Oceanid Eurynome: Charites (Graces): Aglaea, Euphrosyne and Thalia
---> with his sister Demeter produced: Persephone
---> with Titan Mnemosyne produced: nine Muses
---> with Leto produced: '''Apollo''' and '''Artemis'''
---> with his sister Hera produced: Hebe, '''Ares''', and Eileithyia
---> with Pleiad nymph Maia produced: '''Hermes'''
---> with mortal Semele produced: '''Dionysius'''
---> with mortal Alcmene produced: '''Heracles'''
** Titans: Oceanus and Tethys
*** Potamoi (Rivers)
---> Naiad nymphs
*** Oceanid nymphs
** Titans: Hyperion and Theia
*** Helios (Sun), Selene (Moon), Eos (Dawn)
** Titans: Coeus and Phoebe
*** Leto and Asteria
** Titan: Crius, with his mate produces
*** Astraios, Pallas, Perses
** Titan: Iapetus, with an Oceanid nymph produced
*** Atlas
---> with an Oceanid nymph produced the Pleiad nymphs, Hyad nymphs, and Hyas
*** Menoetius
*** Prometheus
*** Epimetheus
** Titan: Mnemosyne
** Titan: Themis
** Cyclopes (one-eyed giants): Brontes, Steropes, Arges
** Hecatonchires (hundred-armed giants): Kottos, Briareos, Gyges
** Ouranos upon his castration by Cronus produced: Erinyes (the Furies), Giants, Meliai (Dryad) nymphs, '''Aphrodite'''
* the Ourea (Mountains)
* Pontus (Sea), with Gaia produced
** Nereus (Old Man of the Sea)
*** with Oceanid nymph Doris produces: the Nereid nymphs
** Thaumas
*** with Oceanid nymph Electra produces: Iris (Rainbow) and two Harpies
** Phorcys and Ceto, who reproduce to make
*** the Graiae, the Gorgons, Echidna, and Ophion

'''3)''' Tartarus
* with Gaia produced: Typhon
** with Echidna produced the monsters: Orthrus, Cerberus, Hydra, Chimera, Sphinx, Nemean Lion

Yes, the Fates appear there twice, and yes, they are the same Fates, because their names are identical in both cases. Two identical sets of Fates look so uncanny that scholars usually believe one of them to be an interpolation.

There is also [[Literature/WorksAndDays another poem]] by this author, but it is considerably less mythological and much more didactic.

!! ''Theogony'' provides examples of:

* ActionGirl: Athena and Artemis. The former was not only a LadyOfWar but also a GeniusBruiser, and both had particularly impressive VirginPower.
* AlmightyJanitor: Tartarus. Apparently powerful enough to hold the titans, cyclopes, and hekatoncheires prisoner for eternity, the only thing he ever actually does is sleep with Gaia to father Typhon. Even then, it's Gaia who sets Typhon on Zeus, not Tartarus. Tartarus is apparently content to sit back and enjoy his role as jailer/jail for the gods.
* AnthropomorphicPersonification: Loads of them. Virtually all the primordial divinities were this.
* ApronMatron: Gaia. She even gave birth to one of her children ([[MixAndMatchCritter Typhoeus]]) only to revenge the previous ones on their father, who thrust them down into Tartarus. Tartarus himself was the father of Typhoeus, which makes it even more weird.
* BadassFamily: It doesn't come much more Badass then Divine.
* BecauseDestinySaysSo: That is why Cronos had to be overthrown by Zeus.
* BigScrewedUpFamily: An Ur example.
* BrotherSisterIncest: Most notably, Zeus with Hera, but also Zeus with Demeter, Erebus with Nyx, Phorkys with Keto, and four Titans (Cronos, Oceanus, Hyperion, Coeus) with four Titanesses (Rhea, Tethys, Theia, Phoebe).
* DoubleInLawMarriage: As hard as it is to believe it, combined with BrotherSisterIncest.
* EpicCatalog: ''Theogony'' comes close to being nothing but this trope, but the straightest examples would be the lists of the lovers of Zeus and the male gods their children (lines 886-964) and of the mortal lovers of goddesses and their children (965-1022).
* FacelessGoons: The children of Erebus and Nyx. We do not know much about them except that they are mostly unfriendly and there are many of them.
* GenderRarityValue: There are many more females than males in the text - mainly because of the [[OneGenderRace water nymphs and wood nymphs]], but the tendency to group goddesses and even monsters into [[SameSexTriplets sets of three]] is also a relevant factor.
* HappilyEverAfter: Heracles [[{{Immortality}} and]] Hebe.
* HaremSeeker: Zeus. The list of the gods' descendants gives as many as ten names of his bed companions, all of whom were [[IncestIsRelative his relatives]]. Hera was [[ClingyJealousGirl so angry]] about it that it is no wonder that [[VideoGame/GodOfWar their son]] was nicknamed 'the sacker of towns'.
* HealingFactor: [[TheWoobie Prometheus]].
* HeroKiller: Typhon makes his first appearance here.
* InTheBlood: The tradition of [[strike:killing]] incapacitating one's father before seizing the rule over the world was very prominent in the family of Zeus. Also, the children of Phorkys and Keto were all monsters, whereas water was more than essential for all the descendants of Oceanus and Tethys.
* KissingCousins: Too many to count.
* LivingForeverIsAwesome: For Heracles, especially that he also seems to have been given EternalLove.
%%* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters.
* TheLongList: The children of Oceanus and the daughters of Nereus.
* MultipleChoicePast: The Theogony contradicts itself on some occasions (possibly because of textual corruption). Are the Moiria the daughters of Nyx alone or of Zeus and Themis? Is Athena the daughter of Zeus and Metis or is she born to Zeus without mother?
* MythicalMotifs: Three [[GorgeousGorgon Gorgons]], [[HydraProblem Hydra]], {{Pegasus}}, and a [[OurDragonsAreDifferent Dragon]] (only one, but not a few of his relatives were also more or less dragon-like).
* NarrativePoem: And one which is OlderThanFeudalism.
* NominalImportance: Strongly averted. Everyone here has a name, even if he or she doesn't appear anywhere else.
* OffingTheOffspring: The only possible justification for Cronos' actions is that he really didn't have a good paternal example to follow.
* OneSteveLimit: There are a couple of aversions in the text.
** There are two Thalia, both daughters of Zeus: one of the Muses and one of the Charites.
** There are two Doris: one of the Oceanid and wife of Nereus and one of the Nereid and daughter of the first.
** There are two Urania: one of the Muses and and one of the Oceanid.
** Titaness Thetys and Nereid Thetis (better known as Achilles' mother) have similar names.
* ParentalIncest: Gaia and Ouranos, initiating the whole divine dynasty which shaped the imagination of the people who were the cradle of Western civilization. 'Nuff said.
* PaterFamilicide: Cronos swallowed alive as many as five of his children.
* ThePatriarch: Zeus.
* RageAgainstTheHeavens: Prometheus, with surprisingly effective result.
* RuleOfThree: The story mentions three cases of dethronement of the father by his son, the last of which was prophesied sufficiently early to avert it by swallowing the pregnant mother of a dangerous child. When the child was eventually [[MisterSeahorse given birth to by the father]], it inexplicably turned out to be a girl, and [[DaddysGirl not a one]] particularly inclined to commit patricide.
* SpontaneousGeneration: [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge Erinyes]], [[PlantPerson Meliae]], [[GiantMook Giants]], and [[LoveGoddess Aphrodite]] were born from Earth impregnated by the [[PhysicalGod cut-off genitals]] of her son and husband, Heaven, who was castrated by the son whom he himself had begotten on Earth.
%%* TangledFamilyTree: And how.
* TrulySingleParent: Chaos, Gaia, Nyx, Hera, and probably Zeus were this. The case of Athena was probably the only one in history when it was uncertain whether or not the child had a mother even though the father was well known.
* TheWeirdSisters: There are three Moirai or goddesses of fate: Clotho ("spinner") spins the thread of life at the birth of a human being, Lachesis ("allotter") measures it, and Atropos ("inevitable"), also called Aisa ("destiny"), cuts it when life is at its end. The notion of three Moirai was codified by ''Theogony''; in traditions predating Creator/{{Hesiod}} there are two Moirai or only one Moira.
* YoungestChildWins: Though, if throwing his children up by Ouranos served as a second birth, Zeus was actually the eldest.