Who was Momus?
Momus was one of the primeval gods who was a son of Nyx was believed to be the mother of everything mysterious and anything that was inexplicable, such as death, disease, sleep, ghosts, dreams, witchcraft and enchantments. His father was Erebus, who reigned in a palace in the dark regions of the Underworld. As the brother of the many of the dark gods of death, night and the Underworld, Momus personified another aspect of the dark side of a mortal's life and his ability to develop new ideas and succeed in new ventures. The god instilled deep feelings of failure, depriving men of ambition and drive. The inability to 'shrug off' the results of criticism, ridicule, complaint, mockery and blame lead to a disappointing life with a feeling of total worthlessness and inadequacy. He was the twin brother of Oizys, the goddess of distress, anxiety and worry.
Momus in Ancient Greek Mythology
Momus is featured in an ancient myth in which his totally negative outlook on life and constant criticism of others led to the fury of Zeus and the expulsion of Momus from Mount Olympus. In the ancient legend (a fable) this god was asked to judge the work and the creations of Zeus, Athena and Prometheus. Zeus produced a man, Athena produced a house and Prometheus produced a bull. Momus had no good word to say about any. He criticised man, saying that his mind should have been placed on the outside of his body to enable everyone to see his bad thoughts and qualities. He criticised the house saying that it should have had wheels so it could be easily moved and he criticised the bull saying that its eyes should have been placed on its horns so it could see what it was attacking. This form of criticism only presented faults, with no mention of merits that could easily lead to feelings of failure resulting in over whelming depression.
Momus in Ancient Greek Mythology - God of Censure
In Greek mythology Momus was also deemed to be the god of satire and censure and therefore associated with writers and poets. He is therefore depicted in classical art as lifting a mask from his face Momus as shown in the painting by Hippolyte Berteaux. The term 'censure' is an expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism encompassing the act of blaming or condemning sternly which explains this connection to Momus.
Momus (Roman Counterpart was Querella)
When the Roman Empire conquered the Greeks in 146BC, the Romans assimilated various elements from other cultures and civilisations, including the gods and goddesses that were worshipped by the Ancient Greeks. Many of the Greek gods and goddesses, such as Momus, were therefore adopted by the Romans but were given Latin names. The Roman counterpart of Momus was Querella, meaning complaint.
The Brothers and Sisters of Momus
According to Greek Mythology Momus was the son of Nyx, the dark goddess of Night and Erebus whose province was the Underworld before the emergence of Hades. The siblings of Momus were all death spirits or strongly associated with the Underworld:
Thanatos, twin of Hypnos, a god of Death, the hard-hearted, pitiless, enemy of mankind
The Keres, or “Death Fates” described as 'scavengers who defiled the dead'
Eris the goddess of Discord, quarrels and feuds
Moros the god of old age
Oizys the goddess of distress, anxiety and worry
Hypnos, the god of sleep
Epiphron the demon of shrewdness
Nemesis avenging goddess of Divine Retribution
Charon, the Ferryman
Lyssa, the goddess of mad rage and frenzy
Hecate was the goddess of magic, witchcraft and ghosts
The Fates, the goddesses of Destiny
The Furies, the goddesses of vengeance and retribution
Momus and the Dynasties of Greek Gods
According to Greek mythology, Momus and the Ancient Greek gods and goddesses consisted of three major dynasties from different generations:
- The First generation of Ancient Greek Gods included Momus
- The Second generation were the Titans
- The Third generation of were the famous Olympian gods