The First Generation of Greek Deities
The primordial Greek deities were the first gods and goddesses that emerged during the creation of the universe. They preceded the Olympian Gods and Goddesses, who would later come to dominate Greek mythology.
This genealogy, composed by Hesiod, has come to be considered the standard mythological creation story for Greek mythology, and it established the basic cosmology of the Greek world. The primordial deities were followed by the Titans, a race of giant gods who ruled the universe until they were overthrown by Zeus and the Olympians.
The primordial Greek deities were the first generation of gods and goddesses. They represented the physical forces and foundations of the universe. They weren’t largely worshipped. Instead of having human characteristics, they were personifications of abstract concepts or places.
For more on the Greek Pantheon, check out the article Greek Pantheon: Greek Titans and Titanides.
List of Greek Primordial Gods
The goddess of poisons and eternal night, Achlys was one of the primordial Greek gods and goddesses. She was said to have existed before Chaos itself. Her name means “the mist of death” or “the darkness of night.” She was a very mysterious figure, known as the personification of misery and sadness. She was associated with dark and deadly things.
Aether was the personification of the “upper sky”, space and heaven, in early Greek mythology. He embodies the pure upper air that the gods breathe, as opposed to the normal air breathed by mortals. He was the god of light, and the spark of life for everything alive.
Aion was the god of eternity, and the personification of perpetual and cyclical time. His name comes from the Greek word aion, which meaning “century.”
Aion was a very important god in the ancient world. He was believed to be the force that held together the universe. He was also believed to be the god of eternity, and the ages.
The Greek goddess Ananke was the personification of inevitability, compulsion and necessity. She was often depicted as a powerful, stern woman who represented the forces that controlled the destiny of all mankind.
Ananke was one of the primordial Greek gods and goddesses who emerged from Chaos at the dawn of creation. She was sometimes referred to as the mother of the Moirai, or the Fates, along with her daughters Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos.
As the goddess of inevitability, Ananke represented the unyielding force that governs all of existence. She was the force that determined the course of a person’s life, and she could not be swayed by anyone or anything. Even the other gods were subject to her will.
Chaos was the first of the primordial Greek gods and goddesses. He was the personification of the void, of emptiness and potential.
From Chaos came forth Erebus (darkness) and Nyx (night). Together they produced Aether (light) and Hemera (day). Chaos also fathered Gaea (earth), Tartarus (the underworld) and Eros (love). All of these primordial deities were born without mates, without parents and without order.
Chaos was a formless void that was the origin of everything. It was an empty space where anything could happen. There was no order or structure, just pure potential. Chaos was the womb from which all other things were born.
The Greek god, Chronos, is the personification of time. Often times confused with the primordial god Aion or the titan Cronos, Chronos personifies the destructive and changing aspects of time. He is the god of progressive, linear and historical time.
Erebus was the personification of darkness in Greek mythology. He was the son of Chaos, and a sibling to Nyx. He was the god of the shadows and symbolized the dark and silence of the night. Erebus fathered many creatures with Nyx.
The primordial Greek god of love, Eros, was one of the most important and beloved deities in all of Greek mythology. He was often depicted as a handsome young man with wings.
For more on the Greek God Eros, check out the article Greek Gods and Goddesses: Eros.
In Greek mythology, Gaia was the personification of Earth and one of the primordial deities. She was the great mother of all: the primal Mother Earth goddess. She symbolized the physical side of the cosmos.
For more on the Greek Goddess Gaia, check out the article Greek Pantheon: Goddess Gaia.
The primordial goddess of day was Hemera. According to Hesiod’s Theogony, she was created by Nyx and Erebus. She separated light from darkness and dawn from night. Her brother was Aether.
Nesoi were the goddesses of islands, islets and rocks in Ancient Greek religion. They were counted among the primordial deities who came into existence by Gaia. Each island was believed to have its own personification.
Nyx was the Greek goddess of the night, one of the primordial gods and goddesses who emerged at the beginning of time. She was a dark and enigmatic figure, often associated with death and darkness. Nyx was feared and revered by mortals and gods alike.
Nyx was the daughter of Chaos, the emptiness that existed before the universe was created. She was the mother of a host of other gods and goddesses, including Hypnos (Sleep), Thanatos (Death), Geras (Old Age), and the Fates.
For more on the Greek Goddess Nyx, check out the article Greek Pantheon: Goddess Nyx.
Ourea were the primordial Greek goddesses of mountains. They were born from Gaia, and represented the high places of earth.
Phanes is a primordial deity who is often associated with the creation of the universe. He is said to have emerged from the Chaos at the beginning of time. Phanes is also sometimes referred to as the “Father of the Gods,” because he is associated with creation and procreation. He has been depicted as emerging from a cosmic egg wrapped by a serpent.
The primordial god of the sea was Pontus. He was one of the Protogenoi, the first-born gods. His parents were Gaia, the earth, and Aether, the sky. However, a separate account states he was born from Gaia alone.
Pontus was a large and powerful god. His domain was the ocean, which he ruled with his wife, Thalassa. Together they had thousands of children, including the fish, seals, dolphins, and other creatures of the sea.
Tartarus is a primordial god in Greek mythology. He is often referred to as the “pit of Hades” or the “Deepest Abyss,” as he is viewed as both a place and a god. He is the third primordial deity after Chaos and Gaia.
Tartarus is the father of Typhon. He is also the grandfather of Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guards the entrance to the Underworld. He is often used as a symbol of punishment or imprisonment, as it is said that those who disobey the gods are cast into Tartarus.
The Greek god Thalassa was one of the primordial deities born at the beginning of time. She was the personification of the sea.
Thalassa was considered to be the mother of all sea creatures and was the wife of Pontus, the god of the deep sea. Together they had many children, including the sea nymphs and monsters. She was a peaceful goddess who was rarely involved in the wars and conflicts of the other gods.
Uranus was a sky god, and his domain was the heavens. He was one of the primordial Greek gods, born of Gaia, the earth. He was the father of the Titans, the Cyclopes and several more.
Uranus is often associated with the planet of the same name. In fact, in some ancient cultures, the planet was known as Uranus long before it was given its current name. His Roman equivalent was Caelus.
For more on the Greek God Uranus, check out the article Greek Primordial Gods and Goddesses: Uranus.