Who is Eurynome? The Eurynome Creation Story?
Throw out everything you thought you knew about what is accepted tradition in the Greek Mythology and what isn’t. The Orphics present a different story to the entirety of creation.
There was once Chaos. Chaos was Eurynome. Eurynome produced Ophion to be her husband, and then created an egg. Ophion wrapped himself around that egg until it hatched, and from the hatching was born Phanes and the Universe.
At least, that’s the story of the Orphic Egg. Making Ophion and Eurynome the creators of the whole world. There are other takes on the matter.
Eurynome, in the more common account, is related to the oceans and the moon. In this account, she is the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys which makes her an Oceanid Titan.
What Is Eurynome The Goddess Of?
Specifically, it is not really elaborated on. She definitely has a relation to both water and the moon, as she is an Oceanid and she is often depicted with the moon. She may also be a deity related to motherhood given the Orphic Egg.
Eurynome does appear to have similarities in her story with Gaea, however Gaea is separated from her by every known tradition or practice. This means she is not the Earth, and nor does she seem to simply be the universe as the universe is supposed to be born with Phanes. Eurynome seems to be something of Chaos, beyond rationality.
Who Is Eurynome’s Husband?
Eurynome’s husband is Ophion. Ophion’s origin varies. In the version that tells that Eurynome is the mother of the universe, Ophion is created by her which would make him technically both her son and husband. In the version that tells Eurynome is an Oceanid Titan, Ophion is also a Titan.
The Titan Ophion was born to Gaea and Tartarus some time not that long after the original twelve Titans were born to Gaea and Uranus. This is a sensible parentage because Tartarus is the same deity who Gaea also went to in the story of Typhon. Typhon is also serpentine, and it could be possible that Typhon and Ophion are very directly linked.
Ophion, like other children of Tartarus, was considered monstrous and rendered an outcast by the Titan children of Uranus. Ophion, as an outcast Titan, finds Eurynome on the shores after she leaves her home of the oceans. The two fall in love, and travel until they find a home to form their own palace.
Eurynome And Ophion – Titan Rulers
After the two of them became lovers, they migrated until finally finding a mountain to settle on. The other Titans stayed at a place called Mount Othrys. The mountain where Ophion and Eurynome built their home would come to be known as Mount Olympus, the future home of the Olympian Gods.
Under Ophion, Mount Olympus was known to be a great snowy place. The world seemed to forget about Ophion and his wife, Eurynome, as they stayed to themselves on their mountain that was covered with snow and took a long slumber.
While the two of them were asleep, Cronus overthrew his father Uranus–who was the ruler of the cosmos at the time. By defeating Uranus, Cronus was now the one who would claim the throne as ruler of the cosmos.
Cronus brought on a Golden Age to the world and there was a great deal of prosperity via his reign. With the help of his brothers, the order was kept much better than under Uranus.
Eventually, Cronus’s rule took a negative turn. By angering his mother Gaea, Cronus had found himself stuck in a prophecy to be overthrown by a child of his just as he overthrew his father.
Cronus took to the extreme and devoured all of his children except for Zeus, who was hidden away by his mother and replaced with a rock. The young Zeus was then taken away to the island of Crete to be raised hidden from where Cronus could find him so that he would be able to grow up.
However, during the youth of Zeus, Ophion and Eurynome awakened. They emerged from Mount Olympus and brought with them a great wave of snow and ice (the Ice Age?). Ophion declared himself the king of the Titans and the king of the cosmos!
Ophion VS Cronus
While the young Zeus watched from the view of a cave, Ophion went to battle Cronus. The two of them wrestled and appeared to be an even match for one another. The two claimants to the throne of the cosmos fought viciously with one another, and it finally seemed as though Ophion was gaining the advantage.
In order to turn the tide to his favor, Cronus unfairly brought in a weapon–the adamantine scythe. This scythe was the same weapon that Cronus had used to defeat his father, Uranus, with. It was capable of mutilating and destroying the physical form of a deity!
Cronus attacked Ophion with the scythe and it was able to hurt him, but the scythe would not destroy the snake’s physical form. For some reason, Ophion was even more resistant than Uranus to the cutting power of the adamantine blade.
Cronus was surprised by this result, but still he had managed to damage Ophion badly. He hoisted up his own throne and smashed Ophion into the ground with it, crushing him. Cronus then lifted up the defeated would-be Titan King and tossed him into the deepest depths of the ocean to remain there forever.
Eurynome VS Rhea
Compared to Ophion’s battle with Cronus, Eurynome’s battle with Rhea went way more one sided. Whereas Ophion was actually able to stand up to Cronus and even gain the advantage against him at one point, Rhea constantly dominated Eurynome.
Rhea and Eurynome wrestled, and Rhea performed as if she were a seasoned expert against a beginner. Rhea’s performance in wrestling was of such high caliber that it gave her a reputation as a beloved patron of wrestlers to wrestlers all over Antiquity.
After thoroughly beating Eurynome, Rhea drug her by her hair all the way to the pits of Tartarus and then tossed Eurynome down into the pits which makes her one of the earliest known beings to be trapped down there.
With Ophion and Eurynome both gone, Olympus is now a vacant mountain. Later, Zeus will turn Olympus into his new home and the home of the Olympian Gods instead of using Mount Othrys like Cronus and the Titans did.
There is definitely some irony in this turn of events for Ophion and Eurynome. Ophion came from Tartarus, but was then imprisoned in the ocean. Eurynome came from the ocean, but was then imprisoned into Tartarus.
However, Eurynome does not remain in Tartarus forever.
Eurynome And Zeus
At some point, Eurynome was let out of Tartarus. My guess is that Eurynome possibly escaped at the same time that the Hecatoncheires and Cyclopes escaped, which would be during the Titanomachy. This makes sense because Zeus was there to free the prisoners and she would have been one of them at that time.
Eurynome, now freed from Tartarus, and the goal of being the queen of the cosmos seemingly long tossed aside, seems to join the ranks of the Heavens. She raises Hephaestus for nine years after his mother throws him off of Mount Olympus. Eurynome also has daughters with Zeus, which was not uncommon among the Titanesses.
Daughters of Eurynome and Zeus
The Daughters of Eurynome and Zeus are known as the Charites. The Charites are a group of goddesses that are very beautiful and represent nature and creativity and other positive aspects of the world and humanity.
The three most commonly known Charites are Aglaea, Euphrosyne, and Thalia. But there are many more as well. Eurynome is not known to have raised these daughters, despite being their mother, it is told that Hera was the one who nursed and raised them. They act as attendants to the Olympian Gods often.
Where Did Eurynome Come From?
According to Philo of Byblos, he declares that the origin of Ophion and Eurynome is the culture of Phoenicia. Philo was the chief on documenting Phoenicia and the Phoenicians for the Romans, but we do not have the text of his original declaration. All we have is citations of it.
Though only fragments of the story of Ophion and Eurynome in Orphism survive, they were very popular in the Orphic Poetry. The Argonautica included a summary of a song made by Orpheus about Ophion and Eurynome and their battle with Cronus and Rhea.
One of the earliest known mentions of Ophion comes from Pherecydes of Syros who lived around 580 BC. Pherecydes learned from Hesiod and is considered a Pre-Socratic Philosopher. Pherecydes believes that a war went on for the cosmos with Cronus leading one side and Ophion leading the other side.
In Pherecydes’s depiction, Ophion and his followers are depicted as having been birthed straight from the cosmos itself but having fallen from being the ruling powers. Ophion is considered a chaotic force that cannot be destroyed by any means, and thus when he loses to Cronus this is why he is trapped in the ocean. Cronus banished the rest of Ophion’s forces into Tartarus after his loss.