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Myths about the Roman Goddess Nox

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Myths about the Roman Goddess Nox

Nox, or Night, the oldest of the deities, was held in great esteem among the ancients. She was even believed older than Chaos. Orpheus ascribes to her the generation of gods and men, and says, that all things had their beginning from her. Pausanias has left us a description of a remarkable statue of this goddess.

“We see,” says he, “a woman holding in her right hand a white child sleeping, and in her left a black child likewise asleep, with both its legs distorted; the inscription tells us what they are, though we might easily guess without it: the two children are Death and Sleep, and the woman is Night, the nurse of them both.”

The poets fancied her to be drawn in a chariot with two horses, before which several stars went as harbingers; that she was crowned with poppies, and her garments were black, with a black veil over her countenance, and that stars followed in the same manner as they preceded her; that upon the departure of the day she arose from the ocean, or rather from Erebus, and encompassed the earth with her sable wings. The sacrifice offered to Night was a cock because of its enmity to darkness, and rejoicing at the light.

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