A Note Concerning Translation: The Theogony was originally written in Unown script, the most ancient written language. The Unown language is rough and minimalistic, with many verbs and prepositions assumed. Taking past translations as a guide, we have done our best to fill in the gaps. Additionally, Unown script uses the non-gendered pronoun xe to refer to the legendary pokemon. Our language does not contain an equivalent usage. Many translations use the pronoun 'it', but this does not accurately reflect the animus of the legendary pokemon. We have instead assigned gender to the legendary pokemon – but the careful reader will understand that this gender designation is arbitrary.
This translation's aim is to bring the tales of the legends to life while keeping close to the intent and tone of the text. For a primarily literalistic translation see the stellar work of Sinnoh Champion Cynthia Keles.
A Note Concerning Authorship: Each section of the Theogony is ended with the Unown sign Z. The author of the Theogony is thus called Unown Z; little more can be said of them. Unown Z was most likely more than one person. The mark could be the sign of a group of scribes, a village, or simply an end-marker that has since fallen out of usage.
Many regions have tried to claim the Theogony's author(s) as their own. Sinnosians argue that the primacy of Arceus and the Sinnosian deities proves that Unown Z came from Sinnoh. Kantonians, on the other hand, point out the central role of Mew in the text. It is clear, however, that Unown Z did not have access to the tales of Unova and Kalos, since their foundational deities do not make an appearance in the Theogony.
The Theogony is clearly a compilation of tales told by the peoples of the Kanto, Johto, Hoenn and Sinnoh regions, but how these tales were compiled is one of classic scholarship's greatest mysteries, and is likely to remain so.
The First Days
First there was chaos, and from that chaos we say a great egg was formed, a planet (1). And from the breaking of that egg came Arceus, the first. So we name her Original One, because she was the first to raise her head and conceive.
In the wildness of the early days she brought order. Matter she made hers, and to govern its opposing force she looked over her shoulder and Giratina was. Lord of the the Distortion World, we name her (2), Queen of the Shadow realm.
For the ordering of time and space, Arceus brought forth two guardians: Dialga, and his domain is time; Palkia, and his domain is space.
This was before the world had shape.
Then Arceus was weary and sleep came upon her. In her sleep she saw an egg, like the one she herself had sprung from. It began to crack, but no figure emerged. Instead, there came void, a blackness to engulf her whole creation. Arceus awoke in terror, and so Darkrai, Lord of Nightmares, was born.
Arceus fell to sleep again. Again she saw the great egg, but this time a figure emerged, like Arceus and yet unlike, similar yet distinct. Arceus saw an equal, as beautiful and glorious as herself. She reached out a hoof, full of joy, but as she touched the figure her dream shattered and Arceus awoke. Thus Cresselia was born, the Queen of Pleasant Dreams. But Arceus' heart was full of the pain these imaginings had brought her. She banished Darkrai to a darkness like that of her nightmare, and Cresselia, whose empty hopes had hurt her most, to existence only when the moon was full.
So Arceus made night and day, and the sun and moon to light them.
At this, Giratina was filled with wonder. When the darkness comes I know it for Night, she said. When the light comes I know it is day. So Giratina spoke, and from this knowing Uxie became. But we also say (3) that when Arceus ordered the world she left one egg. And from this egg hatched the trio: Mesprit, Uxie, and Azelf. Their birth brought spirit into the world. For the first time, pokemon knew themselves from others. They divided the world into the darkness behind their eyes and the darkness beyond them (4).
You have felt Mesprit. She lives inside the stomach.
You have known Uxie. She lives inside the heart (5).
You have willed Azelf. She lives inside the head.
When Arceus brought forth Giratina, Dialga, and Palkia, another too was born. This was Heatran, hot and steely, and in his fierce fires the earth was born.
(1) The word we have translated as both egg and planet is in fact the same phrase. The most literal translation is "large life stone". The phrase is used in many contexts across Unknown script, some of which suggest an egg, others which suggest a planet. The repetition of the word may be used to suggest that Arceus' birth was both egg and planet. For the past century the word was translated exclusively in the sense of egg, giving rise to such renderings as "from chaos an egg, the greatest egg." But the discoveries of modern science indicate that the Theogony's simple origin story may be a rough version of the truth – the formation and destruction of a planet as the catalyst for the earth's development. In light of this we have chosen to translate as both egg and planet.
(2) The 'royal we' is typical of Unown writing. The ancient writers seem to have believed that since the letters they used were also pokemon, they wrote in agreement with the unown pokemon themselves. So a single author will likely speak in the plural.
(3) Such conflicting mythologies are typical of the Theogony.
(4) This difficult sentence seems to deal with consciousness. Though Arceus made the Creation Trio, it was the birth of the Lake Trio which brought them a sense of self.
(5) The ancients believed the heart to be the repository of intelligence.