In Greek mythology, Erebus (pronounced: ˈɛrəbəs), also Erebos (Ancient Greek: Ἔρεβος, "deep darkness, shadow"), was the son of a primordial god, Chaos, and represented the personification of darkness and shadow, which filled in all the corners and crannies of the world. His name is used interchangeably with Tartarus and Hades since Erebus is often thought of as part of the underworld. Erebus married his sister Nyx (goddess of the night) and their children include: Aether (god of sky), Hemera (goddess of day), the Moirai (Fates).


The perceived meaning of Erebus is "darkness"; the first recorded instance of it was "place of darkness between earth and Hades". Hebrew עֶרֶב (ˤerev) 'sunset, evening' is sometimes cited as a source,[1] or alternatively it is attributed to a Proto-Indo-European root *h₁regʷ- 'to be dark', however note also related Greek ἐρεμνός (eremnós) 'darkness' with -m-.


According to Hesiod's Theogony, Erebus was born the son of Chaos and darkness itself, without intercourse,[2] and brother to Nyx. Chaos' other children were Eros, Tartarus, and Gaia.[3] Eventually Nyx and Erebus courted and gave birth to Hemera (goddess of day), Aether (god of sky), Cer (goddess of death), Oneiroi (god of dreams), as well as Hypnos (god of sleep), Thanatos (god of death), Momus (god of criticism), Nemesis (goddess of revenge), the Hesperides (guardians of the golden apples), and Charon, the ferryman.[4] He was also the father of Geras (god of old age) according to Hyginus (circa 1 CE). Some accounts attest that Erebus is the father of the Moirai with Nyx as well.[5]

As a mythological place

Erebus was later depicted as a material region, the lower half of Hades, the underworld.[4] It was where the dead had to pass immediately after dying. Charon ferried the souls of the dead across the river Acheron, upon which they entered the land of the dead.

Place names

Mount Erebus is the name of a volcano on Ross Island, Antarctica. It is the southernmost historically active volcano.[6]



  1. Douglas Harper (2001). "Online Etymology Dictionary: Erebus". 
  2. Hansen, p. 164.
  3. Morford, and Lenardon, p. 36.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Turner and Coulter, p. 170.
  5. Randall, p. 55.
  6. Smithsonian Institute (2011). "Global Volcanism Project, "Erebus"". 


  • Javier M. Saenz (2004). Handbook of Classical Mythology. ABC-CLIO. 
  • Geoffrey H. Hartman (1987). The Unremarkable Wordsworth. University of Minnesota Press. 
  • Mark P. O. Morford; Robert J. Lenardon (1999). Classical Mythology. Oxford University Press. 
  • Alice Elizabeth Sawtelle Randall (1896 (digitized 2006)). The Sources of Spenser's Classical Mythology. Harvard University. 
  • Patricia Turner; Charles Russell Coulter (2001). Dictionary of Ancient Deities. Oxford University Press. 
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Erebus. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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