There is a common pattern in various mythologies - particularly in the Indo-European "big family" set - of gods overthrowing monsters and sometimes being overthrown in turn by a new generation of deities. Does this trope of divine succession have a name?

  • 1
    It is NOT just IndoEuropean, I seen it closely related to more general great deluge myths Jul 17, 2022 at 20:46
  • From what I could find I thought it must be global, but I know it best from those myth-cycles - the Irish Book Of Invasions, the Olympians and Titans, Marduk and Tiamat and so on, seemingly right across Eurasia.
    – glenatron
    Jul 18, 2022 at 10:14
  • 1
    Yes, and you already said it. "Divine succession."
    – cmw
    Jul 24, 2022 at 21:30

1 Answer 1


Yes and no.

I'm afraid, from what I know, there isn't necessarily a nice, clean term to encapsulate what you're looking for, especially not one that has survived since the age of the Indo-European language. However, I'll do my best to supplement this disillusionment with some information to steer you towards something similar.

Firstly, what you mention is most certainly an Indo-European mythological concept, but since the upheaval and replacement of cultures is ubiquitous across the world, it is not a unique concept. The invasions of Ireland, the war between the Greek Olympians and Titans, and the Aesir-Vanir War are all examples of this Indo-European myth that has spread throughout Eurasia.

The closest term to this "war-between-generational-gods" is "theomachy," simply meaning "god war" in Greek.

In other senses, it can be interpreted as intergenerational conflict, acculturation, colonization, and assimilation, for the basis of these myths is the emergence of new cultures and new gods, which symbolically wage war against and defeat the gods of the former culture. The most general approach to this is the agrarian vs. warlike peoples, as evidenced by the newer, warlike Aesir fighting the older, agrarian Vanir as well as the more agrarian Titans (Rhea and Cronus both had significant agricultural ties) fighting the more warlike Olympians that superseded them as rulers of the realm.

For further information, see the Crecganford channel for scholarly dives into Indo-European mythology. These two videos on giants and the oldest gods explain the prominence of this myth in fascinating depth.

Hope this helps a little, even if it's not the answer you're looking for. Have a fantastic day.

  • If the right answer is "no" then that's what I need! This is a very interesting answer.
    – glenatron
    Jul 25, 2022 at 11:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.