Brill’s New Pauly

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(256 words)

[German version]

(Χάος; Cháos). It is with chaos, presumably a derivative of χαίνω/χάσκω (chaínō/cháskō; ‘to gape’), with the meaning ‘hole’, ‘gaping fissure’ (Aristot. Ph. 208b 25ff.: ‘empty space), as that which is no further reducible but nevertheless exists, that Hes. Theog. 116 and 123 ushers in the creation of the world. Chaos is the abyss, to be closed by heaven and earth [1. 12], and replaces the dualism contained in the Akkadian concept of the original state (sea not yet separated from ground water)…

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Caduff, Gian Andrea (Zizers), “Cha­os”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 24 July 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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