NYX was the ancient personification of night and one of the PROTOGENOI (primeval gods).
She rode across the sky in a two horse chariot, drawing her dark mists across the sky. A daughter of Khaos (Air), she was also the mother of Aither (Light) and Hemera (Day) by her consort Erebos (Darkness) as well as a large family of Daimones (Spirits).
Nyx was one of the most ancient of goddesses and it was said that even Zeus held her in awe, fearing to do anything to displease her.
She was sometimes depicted as a winged goddess.
Hymn to Nyx--
"To Nyx (Night), Fumigation with Torches. Nyx, parent goddess, source of sweet repose from whom at first both Gods and men arose. Hear, blessed Kypris [Aphrodite], decked with starry light, in sleep’s deep silence dwelling ebon night! Dreams (oneiroi) and soft ease attend thy dusky train, pleased with the lengthened gloom and feastful strain, dissolving anxious care, the friend of mirth, with darkling coursers riding round the earth. Goddess of phantoms and of shadowy play, whose drowsy power divides the natural day; by fate’s decree you constant send the light to deepest hell, remote from mortal sight; for dire necessity (ananke), which nought withstands, invests the world with adamantine bands. Be present, Goddess, to thy suppliant’s prayer, desired by all, whom all alike revere, blessed, benevolent, with friendly aid dispel the fears of twilight’s dreadful shade."
- Orphic Hymn 3 to Nyx
From the Theogony--
"And there [at the ends of the earth, where sky meets earth], all in their order, are the sources and ends of gloomy earth and misty Tartaros and the unfruitful sea and starry heaven, loathsome and dank, which even the gods abhor ... There stands the awful home of murky Nyx (Night) wrapped in dark clouds. In front of it the son of Iapetos [Atlas] stands immovably upholding the wide heaven upon his head and unwearying hands, where Nyx (Night) and Hemera (Day) draw near and greet one another as they pass the great threshold of bronze: and while the one is about to go down into the house, the other one comes out the door. And the house never holds them both within; but always one is without the house passing over the earth, while the other stays at home and waits until the time for her journeying come; and the one hold all-seeining light for them on earth, but the other holds in her arms Hypnos (Sleep) the brother of Thanatos (Death), even evil Nyx (Night), wrapped in a vaporous cloud.
And there the children of dark Nyx (Night) have their dwellings, Hypnos (Sleep) and Thanatos (Death) , awful gods. Glowing Helios (the Sun) never looks upon them with his beams, neither as he goes up into heaven nor as he comes down from heaven."
- Hesiod, Theogony 744
Into the bosom of the rebus dark and deep,
Laid a wind-born egg, and as the seasons rolled
Forth sprang Love,
the longed for,
with wings of gold."
She was depicted as riding in a chariot, trailing stars and bringing the night, and accompaied by Her sons Hypnos and Thanatos. She could be helpful or harmful to mankind, bringing either sleep or death.
Nyx had prophetic powers, and gave oracles from a cave. She was older and more powerful than Zeus, who deferred to Her wishes.
In Greece, Night is only rarely the recipient of cult. According to Pausanias, she had an oracle on the acropolis at Megara (Paus. 1.40.1).
More often, Nyx lurks in the background of other cults. Thus there was a statue called Night in the temple of Artemis at Ephesus. The Spartans had a cult of Sleep and Death, conceived of as twins (Paus. 3.18.1) - no doubt with Night as their mother. Cult titles composed of compounds of nyx- are attested for several gods, most notably Dionysus Nyktelios "nocturnal" (Paus. 1.40.6) and Aphrodite Philopannyx "who loves the whole night" (Orphic Hymn 55).
Orpheus Hymn to Night--
NIGHT, parent goddess, source of sweet repose,
From whom at first both Gods and men arose,
Hear, blessed Venus, deck'd with starry light, 3
In sleep's deep silence dwelling Ebon night!
Dreams and soft case attend thy dusky train, 5
Pleas'd with the length'ned gloom and feaftful strain.
Dissolving anxious care, the friend of Mirth,
With darkling coursers riding round the earth.
Goddess of phantoms and of shadowy play,
Whose drowsy pow'r divides the nat'ral day: 10
By Fate's decree you constant send the light
To deepest hell, remote from mortal sight
For dire Necessity which nought withstands,
Invests the world with adamantine bands.
Be present, Goddess, to thy suppliant's pray'r, 15
Desir'd by all, whom all alike revere,
Blessed, benevolent, with friendly aid
Dispell the fears of Twilight's dreadful shade.
The Theogony of Hesiod --whole version
Links on MW:
Any devotees of Nyx?