I peered closely at the River Styx. In the center was a small island of trees. I could just barely see a long wooden canoe-like boat gliding around the island.
The Styx, (river/goddess of hate) is both a river and a goddess in Greek mythology. Primordials were confusing like that. In Goddess form, she was a nymph who lived in a grotto with silver columns near the entrance of Hades (the realm, not the deity). In river form, she’s winds around the Underworld seven times.
Depending on which version of the mythology you choose to follow, Styx is either the daughter of Erebus and Nyx or the daughter of Tethys and Oceanus. She married Pallas and had four to five children (Zeluz, Nike, Kratos, Bia, and sometimes Eos). She had a rather tragic love story involving the river of fire (Phlegethon). They were in love, but eternally separated. So in the Underworld, one flows into the other so they can always be together. This results in a steam-filled, marshy atmosphere in the Underworld.
In the titanomachy, Styx rushed to Zeus’s aid. Thus she and her children were spared the forced relocation of the elder gods. She also became the binding oath the gods swore by. A swear by the Styx can not be undone.
Her water was rumored to have healing properties. Achilles was dipped into the Styx as a child, and all but the bit of ankle his mother held him by proved to be invulnerable. Her waters were also very destructive. Stygian water (water from the Styx) and sulfur could destroy plants and animals. All divine weapons and cool stuff were forged from Stygian metal.
She connects to the Persephone myth in some versions as well as one of the nymphs who were playing with Persephone in the meadow, along the river, on the day she was abducted.
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