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Characters / Classical Mythology Protogenoi

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The Creator

    Kaos / Chaos / Arche 
A formless void that preceded the universe. It translates from Greek as emptiness, vast void, chasm, abyss. In Classical Mythology all things came into existence from Kaos. 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 Kaos is the Arche in Classical Mythology.

The Gods of Destiny

Aion is a somewhat confusing god, commonly conflated with Khronos (who by himself is commonly conflated with Cronus). This is because he is a god of Time, like Khronos. However, while Khronos represents the concept of time, aka empirical time as divided into past present and future, Aion represents "unbound time". In other words, he is a god of eternity. He is also associated with the Zodiac and the orb or sphere that encompasses the universe.

    Ananke / Anangke / Anance / Anagke / Necessitas 
A serpentine figure who accompanies Khronos. She represents the inevitability of things even the gods cannot change. The goddesses of fate are her own children.

    Khronos / Chronus 
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.

Often confused with Cronus even in antiquity due to the similarity of their names.

  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Of time itself.
  • 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.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: Because of the similar sound of Cronus and Chronus (or Kronos and Khronos), the titan Cronus become associated with Time, like the protogen Khronos. The character of Father Time is based on this overlap — Father Time has a scythe (as would fit a harvest god) and has the idea of being succeeded by a child (the New Years baby / Zeus).
  • Winged Humanoid: However, this is how he is most often depicted.


First Generation

    Erebos / Erebus 
The personification of darkness, son of Kaos, brother and mate of Nyx.

    Eros / Cupid 
The god of love, he was dainty and non-threatening, but still managed to best even the greatest of gods (usually by taking potshots from far away with his bow, which had arrows that could inspire both love and hate). Early sources thought of him as a protogenos who emerged self formed from an egg at the beginning of creation, but later ones saw him as the young son and/or servant of Aphrodite. His more famous Roman name is Cupidus (Cupid).
  • Age Lift: Modern portrayals often depict him as a child, but he was frequently depicted as a young adult in classical art.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Of love. That is the minor god version, Eros as a Protogenoi is seen as procreation and desire more than the feeling of love.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Eros was known to be pretty coldly unforgiving against those who slighted and insulted him and he shows a darker side in these moments, despite being one of the most benevolent and good natured gods towards mortals. Just ask Apollo how much hurt this guy can lay out towards you
  • Cupid's Arrow: Eros was depicted making people fall in love by shooting them in many myths, and can be considered the Trope Maker. Medea with Jason and Narcissus with his own image in a pond, for example.
  • Eternal Love: With Psyche.
  • Friendly, Playful Dolphin: Eros gets along with them and was often depicted riding them, though his sacred animal was a hare.
  • God Couple: With Psyche by the end.
  • Happily Married: With Psyche, even though Aphrodite is a real bitch to her daughter-in-law.
  • Heart Beat-Down: If he has anything to say about it (and he does) you will feel the love tonight, no ifs, ands, or buts. Just ask Hades.
  • Like Mother, Like Son: He had a lot in common with Aphrodite; he was one of the most beautiful of the Gods, wasn't coy about taking his clothes off, had a dominion over love and lust, etc.
  • Love at First Sight: Inspires this. Also ends up a victim of this: see Psyche's entry directly below.
  • Love God
  • Love Potion: His arrows. Though he also had the opposite as well. Eros had TWO types of arrows in his arsenal. The love inducing arrows that everyone knows about were described as made of gold with sharp tips, but the second type was made of lead with blunted tips. Those hit with the lead arrows would feel powerful hated for the first person they saw.
  • Momma's Boy: He was his mother's constant companion.
  • Moral Dissonance: From the gods perspective using Cupid to have mortals fall in love is pragmatism. However, these relationships don't always last, like Dido and Medea, who are used and then discarded by their paramours.
  • Mr. Fanservice/Hot God: Like mother, like son it appears; he was very often depicted as an extremely handsome young man and he was very rarely depicted as wearing clothes.
  • Non Human Lover Reveal
  • Opposites Attract: Golden-winged, joyful protogenos Eros mated with dark, unsmiling Khaos and created all birds. Also, in some of the myths where he's a protogenos he brought all the elements of Khaos together to create the world.
  • Parental Favoritism: Aphrodite obviously liked him better than her other children.
  • Parental Incest: Averted. In a family already more inbred than even the most stereotypical American redneck family, the mother-son gods of love and sex are somehow never shown even contemplating having sex with eachother.
  • Pet the Dog: Towards mortals as a whole he was more compassionate and good natured in comparison to the majority of the other gods. This is seen in the fact that he shows his Beware the Nice Ones side with them quite less than towards immortals.
  • Physical God
  • The Power of Love: Not even the king of the gods himself is immune to love. Ironically, not even Eros himself is immune to it. Cue Psyche's myth.
  • Pretty Boy: Pretty much every version of him is described as 'the fairest of the deathless gods'.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: The whole "love is blind" thing. He was originally considered superior to Ananke (Necessity) because he did value beauty and drove people and gods to do more than just what was necessary.
  • Theme Twin Naming: With Himeros, and sometimes Anteros.
  • Thicker Than Water: Despite Aphrodite being shallow, unreliable, and all around bitchy, he still served her faithfully.
  • The Trickster: Shows subtle elements of this.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Shirtless, pantsless, underwearless...he wasn't too into clothing.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Apollo thought this, but he quickly found out that Heart Is an Awesome Power and Love Hurts.
  • Winged Humanoid

     Gaia / Gaea / Tellus / Terra 
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", he cast them into Tartarus. forcing Cronus to castrate his dad. But Cronus still imprisoned the cyclops and hekantonkheires (the non-titan offspring of Gaia and Ouranos, which Ouranos liked the least) in Tartarus (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 Tartarus, which made Gaia unhappy again, so she had sex with Tartarus 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 differentiation 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 pollute; 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.
  • Jerkass 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, Ouranos 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.

    Hydros / Hydrus 
Personification of Primordial Fresh Waters in Orphic religion, born at the same time as Thesis.

    Nyx / Nox 
Nyx is the personification of Night, she is the daughter of Kaos, yet a few texts claim she is actually the first protogeneia. Nyx is the mother to many deities with her brother Erebos, 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.

    Protogenos / Phanes / Protogonos 
Literally designated as the first born, implying that earlier beings like Kaos, Ophioneus, Chronos and Ananke were not born. Has other names depending on the oral tradition for what the first concept was, including: Phanes (Appearance), Himeros/Eros (Procreation), Ericapaeus (Power), and Metis (Thought).

Protogenos 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.

The underworld, or that special part of it where the dead suffer, and the personification there of. This makes him different from other underworld gods in mythology, as their underworld takes on their name, in the form of ruler's land(s)/domain/kingdom/what-have-you; a common mistake, complicated by the fear of speaking the name of death-related 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.

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

Second Generation

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

The goddesses, and personification thereof, of islands, they were classified as protogenoi. Were apparently Ourea cast into the sea by an angry Poseidon.

    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 Tartarus shortly after they were born with their other brothers, the Cyclopes. In some versions, Cronus either freed them and put them back in some time later or just kept them inside Tartarus, 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. Afterword, 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. Sometimes, they were separate entities (Aegaion was usually on Zeus's side. Briareus was usually either a Titan or a hundred-hander on Cronus'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 received 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.

    Hemera / Dies 
Personification of Day, daughter of Erebos and Nyx, mated to her brother Aether.

    Ouranos / Uranus / Caelus 
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 Tartarus because of their bizarre appearances. Gaia didn't like this, and had one of the Titans, Cronus, castrate, dismember, 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 Cronus 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 anywhere else.
  • Abusive Dad
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Of the sky itself.
  • Asshole Victim: Although he is still alive after Cronus 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 Cronus could be considered this since it was paranoia from this prediction that led Cronus 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.

A group of gods that were the offspring of Gaia alone. They were the gods of mountains, quite literally the mountains themselves, and were named Aitna, Athos, Helikon, Kithairon, Nysos, Olympus, Oreios, Parnes, and Tmolus. Each mountain was also said to have its own local nymph as well, called an Oread. Were apparently never personified by the Greeks.

God and personification of the Sea, born from Gaea without a mate like Ouranus. He is the god of the primordial sea, while in Orphic religion, the primordial fresh waters are covered by Hydros and his mate Thalassa.

Third Generation

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


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