Mt Erebus in Antarctica
Mount Erebus is the most southerly active volcano on the planet. It began to form about 1.3 million years ago and now stands 12,448 feet above sea level. Its slopes are covered with snow and ice, glaciers, crevasses, and the occasional lava flow, but steam usually rises from its summit, betraying the heat within. If Erebus were a dessert, it would be a reverse baked Alaska—frozen on the outside, hot in the middle.
The perceived meaning of Erebus is “darkness”; the first recorded instance of it was “place of darkness between earth and Hades”.
In Greek mythology, Erebus /ˈɛrəbəs/, also Erebos (Greek: Ἔρεβος, “deep darkness, shadow”), was often conceived as a primordial deity, representing the personification of darkness; for instance, Hesiod’s Theogony identifies him as one of the first five beings in existence, born of Chaos.
EREBOS (Erebus) was the primordial god (protogenos) of darkness and the consort of Nyx (Night). His dark mists encircled the world and filled the deep hollows of the earth. In the evening, Erebos’ wife Nyx drew Erebos’ darkness across the sky bringing night and his daughter Hemera scattered it at dawn bringing day–the first obscuring Aither (Aether), the heavenly light of the ether, the second revealing it. In the ancient cosmogonies the heavenly ether (aither) and the dark mists of the netherworld (erebos) were regarded as the sources of day and light rather than the sun.
The name Erebos was also used as a synonym for the netherworld realm of Haides.
As the Wikipedia quote notes, Erebos is the personification of darkness. He is neither a deity nor a domain; he is both. Which aspect of him we are talking about, depends on context.
This is a common pattern for primordials:
- Chaos is the personification of the void, but also the void itself.
- Ouranos is the personification of the sky, but also the sky itself.
- Gaia is the personification of the earth, but also the earth itself.
However, it should be noted that some writers used Erebos as an alternative name for Tartaros, and vice versa. One such instance can be found in The Eumenides, the final play of Aeschylus’ Oresteia.
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