Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Progeny of Night

Night bore stygian Moros and black Ker, the spirit of death,
Thanatos (Death) and Hypnos (sleep) and the race of Dreams.
Then, after these, dark Night, a goddess not lying with anyone,
brought forth Momos, the spirit of blame, and burdensome Misery,
[215]and the Hesperides, who over glorious Okeanos guard
the beautiful apples of gold and the trees producing this fruit.
And she bore the Morai and Keres, avengers of evil,
[220]who pursue the transgressions both of men and of gods,
never relenting until as demons of terrible wrath
they have wreaked a dire retribution on whoever sins.
Baneful Night also bore Nemesis, and avenging plague for
mortal men; and then Deceit and Sexual Love and
[225]baneful Old Age and Eris (Strife), a hard-hearted demon.
And the stygian Eris produced burdensome Labor
and the curse of Forgetfulness, Hunger, and lachrymose Pains,
Conflicts of Battle and Fights and Murders and Killings of Men,
[230]Disorderly Government and her accomplice, the power of Ruin,
and the oath-god Horkos, who is the greatest plague for
every man on the earth who wilfully swears a false oath.

Night had hellish Moros and Ker, who is the spirit of death,
Thanatos (who IS Death) and Hypnos (who is Sleep)* and Dreams.
Then, alone, Night gave birth to the spirit of blame, and Misery, and the Hesperides, who guard the golden apples and the trees they come from, over Water personified.
She also gave birth to the Moirai and Keres, avengers of evil, they pursue the crimes of both men and gods, never relenting, until, acting as demons of wrath, they've gotten retribution for the sin(s) committed.
Night also had Nemesis, who is an avenging plague for man; Then Deceit and Sexual Love, Old Age and Strife, who is a hard-hearted demon.
Then the hellish Strife gave birth to Labor, who is a burden, and the curse of Forgetfulness, Hunger, and Melancholy Pains,
Conflicts of Battle and Fights and Murders and Killings of Men,
Disorderly Government and her accomplice, the power of Ruin,
and the oath-god, Horkos, who haunts and terrorizes any man who swears a false oath knowingly.

*Hypnos is where we get the word Hypnotize. Hypnos is not the god of natural slumber. a Hypnos sleep is an unnatural sleep, usually brought on by a spell or a drug.

Frazer's Comment::

The children of Night are powers connected with darkness, whether physical or spiritual. The Hesperides, for instance, live in the darkness on the other side of Okeanos near the house of Night, while Momos (Blame) and Misery darken man's spiritual life.
The Morai (Fates) and the Keres are similar to the Erinyes in that they are avengers of trespasses. I have omitted the description of the Morai in lines 218f.: "Klotho, Lachesis, Atropos, powers that determine the fates of / mortals at birth and grant them to have both good things and bad." These lines are almost identical to likes 905f., where the Moirai are again being described, but as children of Zeus and Themis; and it seems likely that they have been interpolated into the text here from that source. But the question remains why Hesiod gives the Moirai two different parentages in Theog. Perhaps, as suggested in the introduction (soon to be a link?), he is trying to solve the problem posed by the belief that the Moirai and Zeus are equally responsible for men's fates. But perhaps he is also distinguishing between two different functions of the Moirai. Those who are daughters of Night are avengers of evil, while those who are daughters of Zeus and Themis allot good and bad to men in the nature of things and not as punishments.
The powers of Deceit and Sexual Love are listed together. We can compare the coupling of deceit and love in the story of the creation of woman (pandora) and in the enumeration of Aphrodite's powers (205).
Night's last child is the bad Eris (strife), who in turn has a number of children, among whom are spirits of killing and, last but not least, the oath-god Horkos, who punishes perjury (for more on oaths and perjury see Theog. 399f. and 780ff., which deal with Styx; and W.D[the works and days] 194, 219, and 282ff.). At the beginning of W.D. (11f.) Hesiod introduces another Eris, the good spirit of peaceful competition, with whom he contrasts the bad Eris of the present passage.

right now, i don't have any plans to do The Works and Days, but i may later.
also, he mentions the introduction in this comment. i haven't copied that out, and i'm not sure i will, to be honest. if you really want it up here, i will though.

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