The Greeks had many different gods to portray different aspects of dreams. And while Morpheus served as the dream messenger, his brother Phobetor was the bringer of nightmares. His name translates from Greek as “to be feared.” Every night, he emerges from the land of eternal darkness as awinged demonto infest the dreams of the living.
The poemMetamorphosesdescribes Phobetor as a shapeshifter who “forms the beasts and birds andlong sliding snakes.” He is the son of Darkness, and is one of the most important figures of the Oneiroi. The Oneiroi are the pantheon of dream gods who live in Erebos, which was part of the Greek underworld. Phobetor’s children are the shapes of nightmares themselves, allowing him to extend his reach to all the sleeping people of the world.