A personified idea of the mythical cosmogonies. According to that of Hyginus,1 he was, together with Nyx (Night), Hemera (Day), and Erebus, begotten by Chaos and Caligo (Darkness). According to that of Hesiod,2 Aether was the son of Erebus and his sister Nyx, and a brother of Hemera.3 The children of Aether and Hemera were Land, Heaven, and Sea, and from his connexion with the Earth there sprang all the vices which destroy the human race, and also the Gigantes and Titans.4

These accounts show that, in the Greek cosmogonies, Aether was considered as one of the elementary substances out of which the Universe was formed. In the Orphic hymns (4) Aether appears as the soul of the world, from which all life emanates, an idea which was also adopted by some of the early philosophers of Greece. In later times Aether was regarded as the wide space of Heaven, the residence of the gods, and Zeus as the Lord of the Aether, or Aether itself personified.



  1. Fabulae: Preface, 1 (ed. Staveren).
  2. Theogony, 124.
  3. Comp. Phornutus. On the Nature of the Gods, 16.
  4. Fabulae: Preface, 2 ff.


  • Lucretius, v, 499.
  • Pacuvius ap. Cicero. On the Nature of the Gods ii, 36, 40.
  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
  • Virgil. Aeneid xii, 140; Georgics ii, 325.

This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.