Greek mythology is full of recognizable figures whose stories captivate audiences several thousands of years later. We’re all familiar with the feats of Zeus, the beauty of Aphrodite, and the journeys of heroes like Heracles and Perseus.
But before any of those figures existed, many lesser-known gods ruled the world. Even before the start of the Succession Myth, primordial deities personified the foundations of the world. While they didn’t have much lasting impact on the mythos, their contributions to ancient Greece and the legends that came from that period can’t be understated.
The Origins of Oreios
To understand where Oreios came from, we have to go back to the beginning of time itself! According to Hesiod’s “Theogony,” the world came from a state of primal nothingness called “Chaos.” The universe was in its infancy, and life, as we know it now, was nothing more than a distant dream.
One day, Gaia emerged from Chaos. Gaia is the personification of the Earth, essentially acting as the mother of all things. She started life itself, making her an early ancestor of all immortals to follow!
Gaia eventually gave birth to Uranus, Eros, and the Ourea. The Ourea are the demi-gods who represent the mountains of the known world. There are ten Ourea in total. The Ourea considered Gaia their mother. But, they didn’t have a father. Gaia created them on her own to add variety to the lands.
Depictions of Oreios
Like other Ourea, there’s not much to say about the physical appearance of Oreios. These demi-gods existed long before humans. They were primordial deities who acted as background figures rather than major players. Later, many ancient Greeks didn’t view them with human-like figures at all, reserving those depictions for Titans and Olympians instead.
In the few surviving works of art from ancient Greece that show the Ourea, the demi-gods are usually older men. Poets describe them as old wise figures who emerge from the crags of their mountains on only rare occasions. We can assume that Oreios fits that description, as there aren’t any works of art that show him specifically.
Oreios likely behaved the same way as other Oureas. The demi-gods were wise deities who only appeared to provide counsel and judgment when necessary. Beyond a few instances, the Ourea didn’t meddle with affairs that didn’t concern them. They only made themselves known when conflicts arose in their respective mountains.
Mount Othrys – The Domain of Oreios
There are a few conflicting accounts of what mountain Oreios presided over. Some retellings mention the demi-god ruling over Mount Oita (Oeta). It’s in central Greece, which could be the source of the confusion. Other poets say that he was the king of the Pindus mountain range in Northern Greece.
Despite those conflicting stories, most modern scholars agree that the deity lived on Mount Othrys.
This mountain is in central Greece, standing approximately 1,726 meters tall. It’s not the largest mountain in the country by any means, but it is still significant.
Mount Othrys is the location of the Titan home base. After Zeus challenged Cronus and forced him to disgorge the Olympians, the two generations of gods established home bases on different mountains. The Titans went to Mount Othrys while the Olympians went to Mount Olympus.
What happened next was a tumultuous war that lasted a decade. Known as the Titanomachy, it’s the end of the Succession Myth. The Titanomachy was ended when Zeus advanced the Olympian forces to Mount Othrys with the Hecatoncheires and the Cyclops. The Hecatoncheires and Cyclops hurled rocks at Mount Othrys until the Titans fell.
The Olympians rose to power with Zeus taking the mantle as king. As for the Titans, they were banished to Tartarus, and Mount Othrys was abandoned.
During this time, Oreios was nowhere to be found. There are no written accounts about the demi-god appearing during the Titanomachy. However, the same applies to Olympus, the Ourea of Mount Olympus. The two gods remained neutral and didn’t intervene at all. The was was among two later generations of gods, and all of the primordial deities stayed away from the conflict.
Oreios Life and Family
We don’t know much about Oreios home life. The little surviving information that exists pertains to his legacy. We can presume that Oreios got married at some point or had a brief affair. He had two children.
The first was Oxylos. Oxylos was the rustic demi-god of mountain forests.
Some accounts say that Oreios also fathered Hamadryas. Hamadryas was a dryad-nymph of Mount Othrys.
Oreios two children eventually married. Oxylos and Hamadryas went on to have eight children. Collectively, they’re known as the Hamadryad Nymphs. According to mythology, the nymphs represented the eight species of trees found on Mount Othrys. They reportedly lived in the trees, bonded to it forever. Even after the trees died, the nymphs’ spirits lived on to protect the species.
Oreios is the mountain demi-god of Mount Othyrs.
Mount Othyrs is in central Greece, rising 1,726 meters tall.
Some accounts say that the demi-god presided over Oita mountain in Malis or the Pindus mountain range.
Oreios presided over the mountain where the Titans lived during the Titanomachy.
This demi-god had two notable children and is considered an ancestor of many nymphs.
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