Greek Gods

Greek Primordial Gods

The Greek primordial gods were the first beings to populate the cosmos and gave birth to all the subsequent gods, creatures, and mortals of Greek mythology. Two of these primordial gods, Gaia and Uranus, were the parents of the Titans and the grandparents of the Olympians.

By Avi KapachLast updated on Nov. 20th, 2021
  • How were the primordial gods born?

    The earliest primordial gods—Chaos, Gaia, Eros, and Tartarus—came into existence spontaneously, without parents. The first children of these self-generated gods, whom the primordial gods begot without mates, can also be counted among the primordial gods.

  • What were the primordial gods like?

    Unlike the younger Greek gods (including the Olympians), the primordial gods were not generally regarded as anthropomorphic (that is, as having human qualities and attributes). Instead, they represented natural or abstract forces. Gaia, for example, was the earth; Uranus was the sky; Eros was love (or lust); and so on.

  • Were the primordial gods worshipped?

    The primordial gods were not widely worshiped in ancient Greece. Out of all of them, Gaia was probably worshipped the most. Others, like Nyx, were worshped extensively by unorthodox sects like the Orphics. Others still, like Chaos, had no known cult at all.

The primordial gods were the first beings to emerge after the creation of the cosmos. Unlike the Titans and Olympians, the primordial gods were not generally anthropomorphic—that is, they did not have the physical appearance and qualities of human beings. Many of them were personifications of elements or natural forces—most notably, Gaia (earth) and her consort Uranus (sky).

Together, Gaia and Uranus gave birth to many key deities and creatures of Greek mythology. For example, they were the parents of the Titans, who overthrew Uranus and became the rulers of the cosmos (until they, in turn, were usurped by the Olympians).

The primordial gods, having ceded their power to their descendants, were not widely worshiped in ancient Greece. However, Gaia was seen as the mother of creation. The most significant of the primordial beings, she was worshiped as one of the “chthonic” gods, a special class of deities associated with the earth, death, and the Underworld. The chthonic gods were honored through special rituals, such as nocturnal sacrifice or holocaust sacrifice (that is, a sacrifice in which the victim is completely burned rather than cooked and eaten).

List of Greek Primordial Gods

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