“Sky and Earth were once a single form”


Euripides,fr. 484 (Melanippe Wise): Alternative Cosmogony

An alternate idea of beginning for this season of new beginnings.

“The story is not mine, but from my mother:
Sky and Earth were once a single form.
When they were split apart from one another
They created and delivered all things to the light:
Trees, birds, beasts the sea supports
And the race of mortal men.”

κοὐκ ἐμὸς ὁ μῦθος, ἀλλ’ ἐμῆς μητρὸς πάρα,
ὡς οὐρανός τε γαῖά τ’ ἦν μορφὴ μία•
ἐπεὶ δ’ ἐχωρίσθησαν ἀλλήλων δίχα,
τίκτουσι πάντα κἀνέδωκαν εἰς φάος,
δένδρη, πετεινά, θῆρας οὕς θ’ ἅλμη τρέφει
γένος τε θνητῶν.

Euripides wrote more than one play about Melanippe. If this cosmogonic account sounds familiar, it is close to some ancient Indic traditions–everyone say Hiranyagarbha!

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