Characters / Classical Mythology Protogenoi

Khaos (Chaos), Arche

A formless void that preceeded the universe. It translates from Greek as emptiness, vast void, chasm, abyss. In Classical Mythology all things came into existance from Khaos. It is among the oldest of the Protogenoi, probably the oldest. It is not clear whether it is alive or not. Arche, the other term used to name this being if being it is, translates roughly as; beginning, origin, first cause/power, sovereignty, domination, ultimate underlying substance, and ultimate undemonstrable principle. Thus Khaos is the Arche in Classical Mythology.


A serpent who ruled Mt. Olympus before the titans and Incubated the Orphic Egg from which all the other Protogenoi were born.


A serpent figure that does not age. He represents the concept of time and together with his consort Ananke, split open a cosmic egg to create the universe.

  • Demoted to Extra: He was a larger figure in Orphic religion, which was a little different than the classical Greek mythology we are more familiar with.
  • Multiple Head Case: He is usually described as a serpent with the heads of three different animals.
  • Winged Humanoid: However, this is how he is most often depicted.


A serpentine figure who accompanies Chronos. She represents the inevitability of things even the gods cannot change.

Phanes (Appearance), Protogenos (The First Born), Himeros/Eros (Procreation), Ericapaeus (Power), Metis (Thought)

Literally designated as the first born, among other names, implying that the previously mentioned beings, Khaos, Ophioneus, Chronos and Ananke were not born. Phanes is a hermaphrodite who is addressed with male pronouns rather than neutral ones. He is the first of the Protogenoi, personifications of concepts that have existed since the beginning of the universe. Thus somewhat less comprehensible for us. He is the personification of new life and procreation, who created the method of creation by mingling. He is described as having a helmet and broad golden wings. He has a long list of names, including Eros, though he is not the same being as the son of Aphrodite, he is the older representation of that concept and the embodiment of male sexual desire.


Personification of Creation, female creation that is, counterpart to Phanes. Born at the same time as Hydros. Not to be confused with Thetis, a Nymph who is the mother of Achilles by Peleus.


Personification of Primordial Waters, born at the same time as Thesis.


Nyx is the personification of Night, she is the daughter of Khaos, yet a few texts claim she is actually the first protogeneia. Nyx is the mother to many deities with her brother Erebus, including fearsome beings like Thanatos (Death), Moros (Doom), and Geras (Old Age), but also Philotes (friendship), Hemera (Day), and Hypnos (Sleep). She's often portrayed as a figure of exceptional power and beauty. Even Zeus fears her, and allowed Hypnos to escape after causing misfortune to Heracles.


The personification of darkness, son of Khaos, brother and mate of Nyx.


The son of Erebus and Nyx, personification of light, the upper sky, space, heaven and the bright, glowing, pure air that gods breath. Hemera is his sister and mate.


Personification of Day, daughter of Erebus and Nyx, mated to her brother Aether.


The underworld, or that special part of it where the dead suffer, and the personification there of. This makes him different from other gods of the under world in classical mythology in that while they rule, it is named after them only in the form of ruler's land(s)/domain/kingdom/what-have-you, a common mistake made all the more difficult to correct by the fear of speaking the name of such deities. He is located below the younger protogenoi; Gaea, Pontus and Ouranus. He is sometimes depicted as the father of Typhon, having had an affair with Gaia.

Gaia (Gaea)

The everpresent Mother Nature. Sometimes depicted as a titan (which to most people is a loose definition of any non-Olympian ancient deity), she was actually a protogeneia, in the same league as Ouranos and Nyx; with the former she copulated to give birth to the titans, as well as some critters like the cyclops. Because her husband didn't like the abominations they "created", she had to hide them in her bowels, which caused her immense pain, forcing thus Kronos to castrate his dad. But Kronos still imprisoned the cyclops and hekantonkheires (the non-titan offspring of Gaia and Ouranos, which Ouranos liked the least) in Tartaros (often depicted as a part of Gaia; keep reading), which in turn made her raise Zeus to overthrow his father. And later, Zeus imprisoned the titans in Tartaros, which made Gaia unhappy again, so she had sex with Tartaros (which, mind you, might or might not be part of her, as well being a physical location, not something alive) and gave birth to Typhon, which was thankfully overthrown by Zeus. She seems to have given up on killing the patriarch deity since then.

Her Roman name is Terra Mater/Tellus (the first literally means "Mother Earth"). While she was widely acknowledged by the Greeks and Romans alike, she was very inconsistently distinguished from other fertility goddesses such as Rhea or Demeter, much like Apollo and Helios were often considered the same. Confusion ensued when the Romans equated other fertility mother goddesses worshipped by conquered peoples, but the cult of the Mother Earth was more important than petty differenciation between deities. Nowadays, as you might have guessed, Gaia is very much worshipped by Neo-Pagans, being thus perhaps the most well known and loved of all pagan goddesses, being the mother of gods, humanity and the universe alike.

  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Of the Earth itself.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Much like Ouranos and Nyx, she was more of a force of nature than the typical "human with superpowers" the posterior gods like the Olympians were. If the myths are to go by she has some seriously Bizarre Alien Biology, as well as a barely human way of thinking (but still understandable).
  • Elemental Embodiment: Of the Earth.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Literally, and three times according to mythology. She, however, couldn't care less about how many trees you cut or oceans you polute; in Greek myth, after all, she wasn't responsible for all aspects of nature. To her, what mattered was whereas someone was causing her pain or not, as well as rewarding those who worshiped her.
  • Green Thumb: Along with Dishing Out Dirt. Within her capacities, but by no means the only powers she had.
  • Jerk Ass Gods: Now you know where Zeus et al get it from. Gaia instigated several divine conflicts, most notably birthing Typhon to avenge Cronus being deposed by Zeus, never mind that Cronus was guilty of the same thing Gaia had Cronus castrate his own father, Uranus for.
  • Lazy Bum: She is depicted in mythology as extremely powerful, but prefers to spawn (relatively) minor abominations to do her dirty work.
  • Mama Bear: Sort of. It is unknown if she actually cared for her offspring or if she just wanted to have them out of her.
  • Mother of a Thousand Young: Just like her sister Nyx.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: Unlike modern interpretations (and very much unlike other contemporary fertility goddesses, like Demeter), Gaia was not a pure benevolent figure as much as she is a true force of Nature; she cared little for everyone else, so long as they weren't filling her bowels and causing her pain. Thus, she spawned several monsters to kill the ruling gods like Ouranos and Zeus, regardless of the lives at stake. She did care about her followers, however.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: She is often filed in with the Titans.

Ouranos (Uranus)

Primordial sky-being, husband of Gaia and father of the Gigantes, Cyclopes, Hecatonchires and Titans. A cruel and overbearing ruler who imprisoned his children in Tartaros (or in Gaia's womb) because of their bizarre appearances. Gaia didn't like this, and had one of the Titans, Kronos, castrate and overthrow Ouranos. The drops of his blood from this became the avenging Furies, and his severed genitals mixed with the ocean's foam and created Aphrodite. He spitefully predicted, however, that Kronos would also be destroyed by his own children. He is also Gaia's first child which she had by parthenogenesis, he is grouped with the Protogenoi because Gaia had so many children with him and he doesn't fit aywhere else.

  • Abusive Dad
  • Anthropomorphic Personification
  • Asshole Victim: Although he is still alive after Kronos castrated him, he was sliced to so many pieces that he is effectively dead, unable to do anything.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Ouranos wasn't regarded by the Greeks as very humanoid; while he probably assumed a humanoid form to copulate with Gaia, he was seen as either a shapeless being or as a solid dome or sphere that formed the sky... and that was still alive and screwed Gaia regularly.
  • Elemental Embodiment: Of the Sky.
  • Evil Overlord
  • Groin Attack
  • Light Is Not Good: Sort of. In art he is generally depicted as a Grandpa God much like Zeus and Poseidon, generally wearing light blue or other light colours, but he was an evil tyrant. Of course, the only humanoid depictions made by the Greeks have him as considerably younger looking and naked, as otherwise he appeared as a dome or sphere as mentioned above, always carried by Atlas.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: His prediction to Kronos could be considered this, since it was paranoia from this prediction that led Kronos to swallow his kids alive. Guess how happy they were about that.
  • Taking You with Me: Unwilling to go down without leaving his son paranoid about suffering the same fate...or giving the Titans their nickname.


Goddess and personification of the Primordial Sea. Daughter of Aether and Hemera. Mate of Pontus


God and personification of the Sea, born from Gaea without a mate like Ouranus. Note: though he is a protogenoi, he is not the god of the primordial sea, that is covered by Hydros and his mate Thalassa.

The Hekatonkheires (Hecatoncheires)

Three brothers: Briareus (sometimes known as Aegaion), Kottos (Cottus) and Gyges. They are sons of Ouranos and Gaia. Embodiments of natural forces, they each have a hundred arms and fifty heads, which Ouranos thought so ugly that he sealed them away in Tartaros shortly after they were born with their other brothers, the Cyclopes. In some versions, Kronos either freed them and put them back in some time later, or just kept them inside Tartaros, guarded by the Dragon Kampe. In the final year of the Titanomachy, Zeus freed them and they proved a pivotal point in the Olympians' victory. Afterwords, they served as jailers to the Titans in the same way Kampe was to them. They had the same names in Roman myths, but their collective name was Centimani.

  • Almighty Janitor: By some accounts, Briareus became Zeus' gardener after ousting the Titans.
  • Depending on the Writer: The treatment of Briareus and Aegaion. Sometime, they were separate entities (Aegaion was usually on Zeus's side. Briareus was usually either a Titan or a hundred-hander on Kronos's side) or they are the same with men calling him Aegaion the Gods calling him Briareus. Or either of them was a Giant that fought against the Gods.
  • Eldritch Abomination
  • Elemental Embodiment: Of Natural Disasters.
  • Flat Character: Gyges and Kottos never recieved a fraction of attention as Briareus/Aegaion did.
  • The Grotesque: They were very ugly, but are most definitely loyal to Zeus.
  • The Lancer: Briareus/Aegaion has been described as Zeus' champion, and has come to his aid before when some of the Olympians rebelled.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous
  • Person of Mass Destruction
  • Red Baron: Briareus was "The Vigorous", Aegaion was the "Sea Goat", Kottos was "The Furious", and Gyges was the "Big Limbed".
  • Sealed Good in a Can
  • Spam Attack: With their hundred hands, the Hekatonkheires were able to launch hundreds of mountain-sized rocks at the Titans continuously until they were too overwhelmed to fight back.