REH Word of the Week: Elder Gods

noun

1. An ongoing theme in Lovecraft’s work is the complete irrelevance of mankind in the face of the cosmic horrors that apparently exist in the universe, with Lovecraft constantly referring to the “Great Old Ones”: a loose pantheon of ancient, powerful gods from space who once ruled the Earth and who have since fallen into a deathlike sleep.

[origin: H. P. Lovecraft created a number of fictional deities throughout the course of his literary career, including the “Great Old Ones” and the “Outer Gods”, with sporadic references to other miscellaneous deities. According to HPL’s website, the term Elder Gods was coined by August Derleth. ]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

The elder gods have fled
Before Mahomet’s tread,
From the sands of the lands
Where the moons rise red.

[from “The Passing of the Elder Gods“; to read the complete poem see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 460 and A Rhyme of Salem Town, p. 70 ]