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God of nightmares
Personal information
ParentsNyx (Hesiod), Nyx and Erebus (Cicero), Hypnos (Ovid)
SiblingsMorpheus, Phantasos, Moros, Hypnos, Thanatos, the Keres, the Moirai, the Hesperides, Momos, Oizys, Apate, Nemesis, Geras, Eris (Hesiod), Charon (Hyginus)
Roman equivalentthe Somnia

In Ovid's Metamorphoses, Phobetor (/fˈbtər/; Greek: Φοβήτωρ, "frightening") or Icelus (/ˈɪsələs/; Ἴκελος, Íkelos) was one of the Oneiroi, the personifications of dreaming. According to Hesiod,[1] the Oneiroi are the sons of Nyx, the primordial goddess of the Night, produced parthenogenetically, or as Cicero claims,[2] with Erebus, the embodiment of Darkness. The Oneiroi had the ability to appear in the mortal realm in the guise of various animals and could change their physical forms at will in order to interact with mortals in the waking world.

Phobetor was the personification of nightmares,[3] and appeared in dreams in the form of animals or monsters. Among the gods he was known by his true name, Icelus (Ikelos "semblance"). Together with his brothers, Phobetor resided in the land of dreams (Demos Oneiroi), a part of the underworld.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hesiod Theogony, 212
  2. ^ Cicero De Natura Deorum 3.17.
  3. ^ Ovid's Metamorphoses: The Arthur Golding Translation, 1567 ISBN 978-1-787-24018-6 p. 454