Web Theoi
DAIMONES KHRYSEOI
 
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Δαιμονες Χρυσεοι Daimones Khryseoi Daemones Chrysei Golden Spirits
Ἁγνοι Δαιμονες
Επιχθονιοι
Hagnoi Daimones
Epikhthonioi
Hagni Daemones
Epichthonii
Pure Spirits
Above the Earth

THE DAIMONES KHRYSEOI were thirty thousand air-dwelling spirits who watched over the deeds of man and rewarded the just with with agricultural bounty. They were originally the Golden race of man who had lived a lfie of virtue in the time of Kronos (Cronus). After death the whole tribe was transformed into beneficient daimones. The Daimones Khryseoi (Golden Spirits) were superior to the Daimones Argeoi (or Silver Spirits)--the former resided in the air, while the latter dwelt within the earth.

The close connection between agricultural bounty and justice can also to be found in the figure of Demeter Thesmophoros ("the law bringer") and the Horai (Seasons) Peace, Justice and Good Order.

PARENTS
Born or created from GAIA

Hesiod, Works & Days 109 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"First of all the deathless gods who dwell on Olympos made a Golden (khryseoi) Race of mortal men who lived in the time of Kronos when he was reigning in heaven. And they lived like gods without sorrow of heart, remote and free from toil and grief: miserable age rested not on them; but with legs and arms never failing they made merry with feasting beyond the reach of all evils. When they died, it was as though they were overcome with sleep, and they had all good things; for the fruitful earth unforced bare them fruit abundantly and without stint. They dwelt in ease and peace upon their lands with many good things, rich in flocks and loved by the blessed gods. But after earth had covered this generation--they are called Pure Spirits (daimones hagnoi) dwelling on the earth (epikhthonioi), and are kindly, delivering from harm, and guardians of mortal men; for they roam everywhere over the earth, clothed in mist and keep watch on judgements and cruel deeds, givers of wealth [i.e. agricultural bounty]; for this royal right also they received."

Hesiod, Works & Days 238 ff :
"For those who practise violence and cruel deeds far-seeing Zeus, the son of Kronos, ordains a punishment. Often even a whole city suffers for a bad man who sins and devises presumptuous deeds, and [Zeus] the son of Kronos lays great trouble upon the people, famine and plague together, so that the men perish away, and their women do not bear children, and their houses become few, through the contriving of Zeus Olympios. And again, at another time, the son of Kronos either destroys their wide army, or their walls, or else makes an end of their ships on the sea. You princes, mark well this punishment you also; for the deathless gods are near among men and mark all those who oppress their fellows with crooked judgements, and reck not the anger of the gods. For upon the bounteous earth Zeus has thrice ten thousand Spirits (daimones), Watchers of mortal men, and these keep watch on judgements and deeds of wrong as they roam, clothed in mist, all over the earth."

Plato, Laws 713a (trans. Lamb) (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
[Plato employs the myth of the Golden Age to describe an ideal state ruled by a philosopher-princes:]
"Long ages before even cities existed . . . there existed in the time of Kronos (Cronus), it is said, a most prosperous government and settlement . . . Well, then, tradition tells us how blissful was the life of men in that age, furnished with everything in abundance, and of spontaneous growth. And the cause thereof is said to have been this: Kronos was aware of the fact that no human being is capable of having irresponsible control of all human affairs without becoming filled with pride and injustice; so, pondering this fact, he then appointed as kings and rulers for our cities, not men, but beings of a race that was nobler and more divine, namely, Daimones (Spirits). He acted just as we now do in the case of sheep and herds of tame animals: we do not set oxen as rulers over oxen, or goats over goats, but we, who are of a nobler race, ourselves rule over them. In like manner the god, in his love for humanity, set over us at that time the nobler race of Daimones who, with much comfort to themselves and much to us, took charge of us and furnished peace and modesty and orderliness and justice without stint, and thus made the tribes of men free from feud and happy. And even today this tale has a truth to tell, namely, that wherever a State has a mortal, and no god, for ruler, there the people have no rest from ills and toils; and it deems that we ought by every means to imitate the life of the age of Kronos, as tradition paints it." [Cf. The Daimones of Hesiod's Works and Days above.]

Plato, Gorgias 523a ff :
"Sokrates: Now in the time of Kronos (Cronus) [i.e. in the Golden Age of Man] there was a law concerning mankind, and it holds to this very day amongst the gods, that every man who has passed a just and holy life departs after his decease to the Isles of the Blest (Nesoi Makaron), and dwells in all happiness apart from ill."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 1. 113 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"When Saturnus [Kronos, Cronus] fell to dark Tartara and Jove [Zeus] reigned upon the earth, the Proles Argentea (Silver Race) [of man] replaced the Gold, inferior, yet in worth above he tawny bronze. Then Juppiter [Zeus] curtailed the pristine spring and led the year through winter, summer, autumn’s varying days and brief precarious spring in seasons four. Then first the blazing sky with torrid heat sweltered, and ice hung frozen in the gale; then men sought shelter--shelter under caves and thickets and rough hurdles bound with bark; then in long furrows first were set the seeds of grain and oxen groaned beneath the yoke."


Sources:

  • Hesiod, Works & Days - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
  • Plato, Gorgias - Greek Philosophy C4th B.C.
  • Plato, Laws - Greek Philosophy C4th B.C.
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses - Latin Epic C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.