Black winged Nyx, some say, laid a germless egg in the infinite bosom of Erebus, the Darkness of the Underworld, and after long ages, sprang golden-winged Eros. But others have said that Nyx is the daughter of Eros, whereas others called both of them children of Chaos. Nyx is Night, a powerful goddess whose dark light falls from the stars, and who dictates not only to men but also to gods. Even Zeus does not wish to upset Night: It happened that Hera bribed Hypnos in order to make Zeus fall asleep, so that she could have it her way during the Trojan War. Hypnos obeyed the goddess in spite of his fears; for once he had performed a similar task, and when Zeus woke up in anger, he sought him everywhere, and would have hurled him from heaven into the deep, had Nyx not saved him. For Zeus stopped and thought twice before doing anything that could displease Nyx. Some seem to think that Nyx appears because light is gone as if anything could be and yet do not exist on its own right. But when counting the days, not seldom the nights are mentioned first as when it is said:
"… a brazen anvil falling down from heaven nine nights and days would reach the earth upon the tenth: and again, a brazen anvil falling from earth nine nights and days would reach Tartarus upon the tenth." (Hesiod, Theogony 725).
In Tartarus, both a place and her brother, Nyx has her home and spreads around him in triple line like a necklace. At the gates of Tartarus and above it are the sources and ends of heaven, earth and sea, and it is told that if a man should find himself inside the gates, he would not reach the bottom for one year, being carried by blasts in all directions.
"… night's sightless eye, and radiant sun proceed upon their yearly course on equal terms and neither of them is envious when it has to yield." (Jocasta to her sons. Euripides, Phoenician Women 543).
"If night leaves anything undone in the working of destruction, day follows to accomplish it." (Sophocles, Oedipus the King 196).
So Cronos, protected by the darkness of the night, attacked his father Uranus from an ambush, castrating him with the sickle of the jagged teeth. And it was in night-time that Heracles surprised his enemies and took the island of Cos, which is off the southwestern coast of Asia Minor, slaying King Eurypylus 4. During the Trojan War it was Night who protected the comings and goings of spies, for it was protected by the darkness of immortal Night that Odysseus entered, disguised as a beggar, the city of Troy; and it was during the night that the Thracian Rhesus 2 met his death attacked by Odysseus and Diomedes . And it was also in night-time that the Achaeans pretended to return home, burning their own tents and waiting with their fleet off the island of Tenedos, which is opposite the coast of the Troad, in order to stealthily sail back disguised by the shades of the following night. This time true beacon lamps, lighted by Sinon, and some say by Helen, guided them, so that they could land and take Troy, which fell by night, but on another night during their returns, the ACHAEAN LEADERS suffered shipwreck because of the false beacon lamps, lighted by Nauplius 1, the father of Palamedes.
"It was night when I reached the porch of Adrastus." (Polynices to Jocasta. Euripides, Phoenician Women 415).
"… night is now upon us, and it is well to yield obedience to night's behest." (Homer, Iliad 7.282).
And those who are fortunate do not wish the day to end, but those who are endangered during the hours of light welcome Night as a blessed relief:
"Sorely against the will of the Trojans sank the daylight, but over the Achaeans welcome, aye, thrice-prayed-for, came the darkness of night." (Homer, Iliad 7.487).
As Night opens the gates of her child Love, mortal lovers prefer to meet by night, as do the gods, for when Zeus visited Alcmena he not only did it by night, but duly prolonged that particular night threefold. And the results of these meetings not seldom are recorded in nights, for it is said that when Alcmena bore Heracles, whom she had by Zeus, he became the elder by one night and Iphicles, whom she had by Amphitryon, was born the night after. But whereas Alcmena consorted with Zeus and Amphitryon in two consecutive nights, Leda consorted with Zeus and with Tyndareus on the same night, giving birth to both mortals and immortals. And the same did Theseus' mother Aethra, for she was loved by Aegeus and by Poseidon during the same night.
Some divine manipulations are done in the night-time while mortals sleep, and that is why Thetis used to hide little Achilles in the fire by night, in order to make him immortal, but by day she anointed him with ambrosia, and it was also by night that Demeter put the little Demophon 2 into the fire, with identical purpose.
Night is also a time of inspiration, and that is why it is told that the MUSES sing during night-time their praises to the gods and Nyx on Mount Helicon, and they themselves are the result of the nine nights that Zeus spent with Mnemosyne.