DESCENDANTS OF THE TITANS
Greek Mythology Gods hyperion

DESCENDANTS OF THE TITANS

Greek Mythology Gods In considering the families of the Titans, we will exclude for the present the Titans who were the ancestors of the Olympian gods, and also those who became wives or mistresses of Zeus. If Kronos and Rhea, the founders of the main Olympian line, and Koios and Phoibe, the grandparents of Apollo and Artemis, are therefore put aside along with Themis and Mnemosyne, who will both enter into liaisons with Zeus, we are left with four Titan families whose members will consist mainly of deities who are connected with the natural world and its ordering. Two of these families are founded by Titan couples, namely Okeanos and Tethys, and Hyperion and Theia, while the two others are founded by male Titans who wed outside the circle of their sisters, namely Iapetos, who married his Okeanid niece Klymene, and Kreios, who married into the other family of Gaia by taking Eurybia, daughter of Pontos, as his wife. For a survey of the origins of the Olympian gods,; and for the children of the Titans Themis and Mnemosyne.

before we start further, please read our previous article Greek Mythology Gods: GAIA and OURANOS

Okeanos, Tethys and Okeanids

Greek Mythology Gods – Oceanus or Okeanos

Okeanos and Tethys and their children the Okeanids and rivers OKEANOS was the god of the Ocean (Okeanos, a word of non-Greek origin), a great river that was thought to encircle the lands of the earth on every side. The goddess TETHYS was traditionally regarded as his wife; indeed in one tradition, as we have just seen, the pair were regarded as the first couple and the ancestors of the other gods. Hesiod, who has other ideas on that matter, acknowledges the venerable status of Okeanos, at least as the source of all the rivers and springs of the earth, by classing him as the eldest of the Titans. Even if he was not a nonentity like some of his brothers and sisters, he lived too far away and was too closely identified with his streams to make many appearances in mythical narratives. The Iliad reports that Rhea entrusted her daughter Hera to Okeanos and Tethys to be reared in their palace in the Ocean while Zeus was confronting Kronos and the Titans; and Pherecydes recounts a tale in which Okeanos tried to intimidate Herakles by raising his waves while the hero was crossing his waters to fetch the cattle of Geryoneus. The god appears on the stage in the Prometheus Bound, arriving on a griffin or some creature of the kind to offer sympathy and advice to the enchained Prometheus. Tethys came to be identified with the sea in Hellenistic and later times; an astral myth suggests that she refuses to allow the Great Bear to set into the sea out of consideration for the feelings of her former foster-child Hera (for this polar constellation, which never sets below the horizon, was supposed to represent a former mistress of Zeus, Kallisto, who had been transformed into a bear,).

Greek Mythology Gods thetys
Greek Mythology Gods thetys

Okeanos and Tethys produced 3,0 (i.e. innumerable) sons, comprising all the RIVERS of the world (Potamoi, which are masculine in Greek), and 3,0 daughters, the Ocean-nymphs or OKEANIDS (Okeanidai, or Okeaninai). The functions of the latter were by no means confined to the water; Hesiod remarks that they are scattered everywhere, haunting the earth and deep waters alike, and observes in particular that they watch over the young.

Greek Mythology Gods oceanid
Greek Mythology Gods oceanid

The Theogony offers a catalogue of forty-one Okeanids. Although the names of many of them are no more than poetic inventions as in the case of the Nereids, a few noteworthy figures may be found among them. Metis, the personification of cunning intelligence, was swallowed by Zeus after conceiving Athena to him, and reappears accordingly in a later section of the Theogony, as does the Okeanid Eurynome, who bore the Charites to him. Peitho (Persuasion), who presided over all forms of persuasion from the political to the amatory, was often regarded as an attendant of Aphrodite. Tyche (Fortune, equivalent to the Roman Fortuna) became a goddess of some importance in Hellenistic and later times when she came to be widely honoured in cult both as a universal power and in relation to the fortunes of particular places or potentates. Dione, who was sometimes regarded as a consort of Zeus, was the mother of Aphrodite in the Homeric account . Hesiod includes a Kalypso in the list, but it need not be assumed that he had the lover of Odysseus in mind; although Odysseus’ liaison with the goddess of that name is mentioned in the present text of the Theogony, the reference comes at the very end of the poem in a section that was added after Hesiod’s time. Homer describes her as a daughter of Atlas. Doris was the wife of Nereus and mother of the Nereids, Klymene the wife of the Titan Iapetos, Kallirhoe the wife of Chrysaor and mother of Geryoneus, Perseis the wife of Helios, and Iduia the wife of Aietes, king of Colchis. If Hesiod places Styx, the goddess of the infernal river of that name, at the end of the list, he indicates that he is doing so because he regards her as the most important of the Okeanids; she will be considered below in connection with her husband . Most of the maidens who are named as attendants of Persephone in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter are Okeanids from Hesiod’s list. Apollodorus classes Amphitrite, the consort of Poseidon, as an Okeanid rather than as a Nereid as in the Theogony. The chorus in the Prometheus Bound is formed from a group of Okeanids.

 

On the male side of the family, Hesiod names only a few of the most notable RIVERS by way of example; and we will narrow the range further by picking out the four that are of greatest interest from a mythological point of view, the Eridanos, Acheloos, Alpheios and Skamandros. Originally a mythical stream that lay somewhere in north-west Europe, the ERIDANOS came to be identified with the Po107. Phaethon was supposed to have plunged into it when he fell from the chariot of the Sun, and the Argonauts were sometimes said to have sailed along it during their return journey, to pass from the head of the Adriatic to the western Mediterranean. Since amber was conveyed from the Baltic to the Mediterranean by way of the river-systems of western Europe (among other routes), it is understandable that the Eridanos should have come to be regarded as its source in Greek lore; for the legend that was devised to explain why amber appears in the river. The Greeks applied the name of the river to the great river-like constellation in the southern sky that is still known as Eridanus. The god of the Eridanos has no myths as a personal being. The ACHELOOS, which rose in Epirus in north-western Greece and flowed to the sea near the northern entrance to the Corinthian Gulf, was the largest river in Greece.

 

The river and its god play a significant role in the legend of the Argive hero Alkmaion ; and Herakles wrestled with him for the hand of Deianeira, who came from Calydon not far from his streams.

 

Acheloos also appears in two transformation myths recounted by Ovid. According to one, some naiad nymphs forgot to invite him to a local sacrifice and festival along with other deities of the area, causing him to swell with rage until his waters flooded over and washed them out to sea to become the Echinades, a group of islands just outside the Corinthian Gulf, not far from the mouth of the Acheloos. The other tale tells how he once seduced a maiden called Perimele, whose father Hippodamas was so angry to learn of it that he hurled her over a cliff into the sea. Acheloos held her up in the water, however, and appealed for the help of Poseidon, who turned her into an island that was known by her name.

The God of the ALPHEIOS

Greek Mythology Gods alpheios
Greek Mythology Gods alpheios

He is the longest river in the Peloponnese, was famous for his love of ARETHOUSA, a Syracusan spring-nymph. Although the idea of the river’s journey through the sea to Sicily was certainly quite old since it was known to Ibycus and Pindar, the bucolic poet Moschus (second century BC) is the first author to state that Alpheios made the journey out of love. Emerging from his rivermouth, he dived into the depths of the sea, passing through it in such a way that his own waters never mingled with its salt-waters. Ovid and Pausanias explain the origin of the Syracusan spring through transformation-stories. According to Ovid, Arethousa was originally a Peloponnesian nymph who was more interested in hunting than love, but inadvertently awakened the love of Alpheios by bathing naked in his waters after a hunting-trip. When he pursued her afterwards, Artemis tried to rescue her from him by first enveloping her in a mist and then transforming her into a stream; but since Alpheios simply resumed his original form to mingle his waters with those of the newly created stream, Artemis was obliged to take further action by opening up a cleft in the earth to enable Arethousa to escape to Sicily, where she formed the spring that bore her name. Ovid does not state that Alpheios travelled to Syracuse thereafter to pursue his love, as in the traditional story; and we are presumably not meant to assume this, for Artemis arranged her removal to Sicily for the specific purpose of preventing Alpheios from mingling with her. In Pausanias’ account, Alpheios also acquired his final form as the result of a transformation, for he was originally a Peloponnesian hunter who fell in love with a huntress called Arethousa. As is generally the case with huntresses in myth, she had no desire to marry him or anyone else, and therefore fled across the sea to Syracuse, where she was turned into a spring in unexplained circumstances; and Alpheios was then turned into a river ‘out of love’ (presumably to enable him to mingle with the spring).

The SKAMANDROS or Scamander

The SKAMANDROS is familiar from the Iliad as the main river of the Trojan plain. Homer reports that it sprang up from two adjoining springs, one steaming hot and the other ice-cold, and was known to the gods as Xanthos115 (the Yellow River, evidently because it was coloured by the soil that was carried in its waters). Skamandros was highly honoured by the Trojans, who sacrificed many bulls to him and used to cast living horses into his streams. While Achilles was advancing against Troy after the death of Patroklos, he gravely offended Skamandros by polluting his waters with a multitude of Trojan corpses; and on finding that his protests were greeted with contempt, the river-god overflowed his banks, casting the bodies ashore and almost drowning Achilles. When he then called on the assistance of Simoeis, the other main river of the Trojan plain, Achilles would surely have perished if Hera (an eager supporter of the Greeks) had not asked Hephaistos to force Skamandros to return to his courses by setting fire to his banks. Later sources report that Teukros, the first king of Troy, was a son of Skamandros, and that two subsequent kings, Tros and Laomedon, were married to daughters of his (seeff). This reflects a common pattern in which primordial rulers or their wives are classed as children of local river-gods, as is understandable since rivers are such prominent features of the untransformed landscape.

 

According to a tradition mentioned by Aristotle, the Skamandros was called the Xanthos because it turned sheep yellow if they drank from it. This idea inspired a late myth in which Hera, Athena and Aphrodite (or the latter alone) were said to have bathed in it to turn their hair gold before the judgement of Paris.

Descendants of Hyperion, Theia and The Children

Greek Mythology Gods hyperion
Greek Mythology Gods hyperion

The children and descendants of Hyperion and Theia The Titan HYPERION and his wife and sister THEIA, who have no myths of their own, were the parents of three children who brought light to the heavens, Helios (the Sun, Sol in Latin), Selene (the Moon, Luna in Latin) and Eos (Dawn, Aurora in Latin). These deities were little worshipped in Greece, although HELIOS was often invoked in oaths in his capacity as an all-seeing god who would be able to bear witness to any perjury. His most important cultic centre was Rhodes, where he was honoured as a god of the very first rank. Pindar recounts a legend that explains how he came to be lord of the island. Long ago, when the gods were dividing the earth among themselves, Helios was granted no land of his own because he happened to be absent (presumably on his daily journey through the sky).

Greek Mythology Gods theia
Greek Mythology Gods theia

Although Zeus offered to make amends by ordering a recasting of the lot, Helios told him that he would be satisfied with a wonderful new land that he had seen rising up from the sea, the fertile island of Rhodes. So he took Rhodes as his bride and fathered seven sons by her, one of whom (named elsewhere as Kerkaphos) was destined to father the eponyms of the three greatest cities of the island, Ialsysos, Kameiros and Lindos. On the mainland, Helios was most highly honoured at Corinth;for the story of how he competed with Poseidon for the city and land. From the classical period onwards, he was sometimes identified with Apollo, who was a radiant deity like himself. The fact that both gods were archers (the Sun’s rays being described as his arrows by a common and natural metaphor) may have encouraged the identification.

 

In art and literature Helios is normally represented as a charioteer who drives across the sky each day from east to west (although he is also imagined very occasionally as riding on horseback, or as flying on his own wings); in pictorial images, his head is often surrounded with a nimbus and rays of light. His chariot-team consists of four (or less commonly, two) gleaming horses, which are usually winged in earlier images. The poets liked to give them appropriate names such as Pyroeis (Fiery), Eoos (Orient), Aithon or Aithops (Blazing), Phlegon (Flaming) and the like. Helios plunged into the stream of Ocean in the furthermost west after his daily journey, where he bathed and relaxed before travelling back to the east during the night. It was naïvely imagined that he made this journey by floating around the encircling Ocean in a huge golden cup which had been made for him by Hephaistos; he lent it to Herakles on one or two occasions as we shall. His palace lay near the sunrise in the east (although we occasionally hear of a western palace in the late tradition). According to the early elegiac poet Nimnermus, he kept his sunbeams in a golden chamber in his palace.

 

It is mentioned in the Odyssey that Helios owned seven herds of immortal cattle and seven flocks of sheep which were pastured by two of his daughters on Thrinacia, an island vaguely situated in the remote west (though later identified with Sicily).

 

When detained on this island by bad weather, the followers of Odysseus killed some of the cattle to satisfy their hunger even though their leader had expressly ordered them not to, an act of sacrilege that was reported to Helios by his daughter Lampetie.

 

Helios was so angry that he approached Zeus and the other gods with his grievance, threatening to desert the sky and shine among the dead in Hades if he was not adequately avenged; so Zeus took action on his behalf by striking Odysseus’ ship with a thunderbolt, causing the death of everyone on it apart from Odysseus himself. Helios also appears in a wholly different context in the Odyssey, as the all-seeing god who informed Hephaistos that his wife Aphrodite was engaging in an adulterous love affair with Ares. By virtue of his position in the sky, he is able to perform a comparable service for Demeter in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, by telling her that her daughter has been carried away by Hades.

 

Augeias, king of Elis, was sometimes said to have acquired his innumerable cattle from his father Helios; according to Theocritus, twelve of them were special swanwhite beasts that were sacred to Helios. For the tales in which Helios was said to have reversed his course to provide a portent for Atreus or in horror at the cannibal meal served by Atreus.

The Official Consort of Helios

Greek Mythology Gods helios
Greek Mythology Gods helios

The official consort of Helios, if one may so call her, was Perse or Perseis, daughter of Okeanos, who bore him two children in the earliest tradition, Aietes, king of Colchis, whose legend will be recounted in connection with the Argonauts, and the enchantress Kirke, whose remote island home was visited by Odysseus and the Argonauts. Further children are credited to the couple in later sources, most notably Pasiphae, the wife of Minos, and Aloeus, a primordial king of Sicyonia. Lampetie and Phaethousa, who tended the cattle of Helios on Thrinacia, are described in the Odyssey as daughters of his by a certain Neaira.

 

The most notable of the illegitimate children of Helios was PHAETHON (‘the Radiant’), who was borne to him by Klymene, the wife of Merops, king of the Ethiopians; this Klymene is said to have been a daughter of Okeanos like the wife of Helios (although she must obviously be distinguished from the Okeanid of that name who is the wife of Iapetos in the Theogony). Although there is no very early evidence for the famous legend of Phaethon’s misadventure with his father’s chariot, the story was probably recounted in the Hesiodic literature131 (whether the Catalogue or the Astronomy) and certainly in the lost Heliades of Aeschylus. The story takes the following form in the fullest narrative by Ovid. Phaethon was reared by Klymene in her husband’s palace, which lay in the remote east no great distance from the palace of Helios. She told him that he was a son of Helios, and he bragged about his high descent until one of his comrades could stand it no longer and retorted that it was a lie. When he approached his mother for reassurance, she swore by Helios himself that she had spoken the truth and advised him to visit his father’s palace if he wanted further confirmation. So he set off for the splendid palace of the sun-god, which had walls and pillars of gleaming metal and a roof of ivory; and he received a kindly welcome from Helios, who acknowledged him as his son and offered him the choice of whatever he most desired. When he responded by asking to drive the chariot of the sun across the sky on the following day, Helios tried to warn of the dangers, but was finally obliged to grant his consent in accordance with his promise. As Helios had foreseen, Phaethon was unable to control the spirited chariot-horses and drove an erratic course, sometimes soaring too high and sometimes descending too low, much to the alarm of Earth, who began to fear for her own survival as her surface caught fire and her waters dried up. So she appealed urgently to Zeus, who hurled a thunderbolt at Phaethon, causing him to fall from the chariot and plunge to his death in the river Eridanos far below.

 

All the main features of this story can be found in earlier sources; there was also a slightly different version in which Phaethon mounted the chariot in secret without gaining his father’s permission.

 

Phaethon’s sisters, the HELIADES, mourned for him so grievously after his death that Zeus or the gods took pity on them and transformed them into poplar-trees; they continue to weep for their brother in their new form, shedding resinous tears into the Eridanos, hence the origin of amber. Or in a less favoured account, their father transformed them into trees to punish them for yoking his chariot for Phaethon without his consent. The death of Phaethon was also lamented by KYKNOS, king of the Ligurians, a superb musician who had been a relative or friend of his, or indeed his lover. The gods (or Apollo specifically) pitied his sorrow and turned him into a swan (kyknos in Greek), a bird that shares his musical nature and sings mournfully before it dies. Some accounts add that Kyknos was transferred to the sky to become the constellation of the Swan (Cygnus).

 

When a myth was devised to explain the origin of the heliotrope, a plant that keeps its flowers constantly turned toward the sun, Helios was bound to play a central part in it.

 

Ovid’s account runs as follows. On beholding LEUKOTHOE, daughter of Orchamos, king of Persia, the most beautiful girl in the land of spices, Helios conceived a desperate passion for her, forgetting all his previous loves. So he made his way into her room in the guise of her mother and dismissed her attendants, and then resumed his proper form in order to seduce her. One of his former mistresses, a certain KLYTIE (who is described elsewhere as a sister of Leukothoe) was so jealous of Leukothoe that she caused it to become generally known that she had a lover. On hearing the rumour, her cruel father buried her alive, and she died before Helios could rescue her. Overcome by sorrow, he sprinkled nectar over her body and the surrounding soil, causing an incense-tree to grow up in place of her. As for Klytie, he would have nothing to do with her, and she pined away for love of him, refusing all food and drink, until she finally turned into a heliotrope; and she retains her love for Helios even in this new form, as is witnessed in the movement of the flowers of the heliotrope.

 

In another account, the father of Leukothoe is called Orchomenos, which would imply that her story is now set in Boeotia in mainland Greece.

Selene The Goddess of The Moon

Greek Mythology Gods selene
Greek Mythology Gods selene

The gently radiant SELENE (or Selenaia, or quite often Mene in poetic usage), the goddess of the moon, could be pictured as a charioteer like her brother; no one who has seen the Parthenon marbles is likely to forget the marvellous head of one of her chariot-horses that survives among them. Some authors specify that she drives a pair rather than a four like her brother, in accordance with the standard image in vasepaintings and other works of art. She is drawn by two snow-white horses or occasionally by oxen. Or in some portrayals, she rides through the heavens on a horse (or steer or mule, or even a ram), facing sideways with both legs on one flank of her mount. There is an attractive literary account of her journey through the sky in the Homeric Hymn to Selene, which also reports that she once slept with Zeus and bore him a daughter called Pandeia (an obscure figure whose name may have been derived from a title of Selene). The only notable legend recorded for the moon-goddess is the one that tells of her love for Endymion, a hero of Elis in the western Peloponnese. There is also an interesting but poorly attested legend in which Pan is said to have seduced her. Vergil mentions in passing in the Georgics that he won her over by offering her the snowy fleece of a sheep, and the scholia report that the Hellenistic poet Nicander offered an account in which Pan wrapped himself in a sheepskin to approach her. The rusticity of the tale suggests that it may have originated as a local legend in Arcadia.

 

There is some disagreement about the descent of Selene. According to the Homeric Hymn to Hermes, her father was Pallas, son of Megamedes (otherwise unknown), who may perhaps be identified with the Pallas who is classed as a son of the Titan Kreios in the Theogony. Or in the Homeric Hymn to Helios, Hyperion is said to have fathered her and her two siblings by Euryphaessa (‘she who shines far and wide’) rather than by Theia. One or two passages in tragedy refer to her as a daughter of Helios (rather than as his sister), which seems appropriate enough in view of her borrowed light. Herse (Dew), the goddess or personification of the dew, is described as a daughter of Zeus and Selene in a lyric fragment from Alcman, but this is really no more than an allegorical fancy referring to the heavy dew-fall associated with clear moonlit nights. Selene was quite often equated with Artemis in post-classical times, just as Helios came to be equated with Apollo; this already seems to be implied in a fragment from Aeschylus which suggests that Selene was a daughter of Leto. She was of importance in magic as a goddess who could be appealed to in the laying of spells, especially love-spells; in the second Idyll of Theocritus, she is invoked by a girl who is portrayed as laying a spell of this kind.

Eos The Light Bringing Goddess

Greek Mythology Gods eos
Greek Mythology Gods eos

The third child of the union between Hyperion and Theia was EOS (the Dawn, Latin Aurora). As a light-bringing goddess who ascends into the sky ahead of Helios, she represents something more than what we might ordinarily understand by the dawn, namely the light of the new day (and, to an increasing extent, even daylight without qualification). Hemera, Day personified, was often identified with Eos as a consequence, even if she is a separate being in the Theogony. Eos is usually shown as winged in works of art, unlike her brother and sister; but in her capacity as a light-bringer, she ascends in a chariot just as they do, commonly a two-horse chariot like that of Selene. In poetry from Homer onwards, she is described by picturesque epithets that refer to the colours of the sky at dawn, such as ‘rosyfingered’ (rhododaktylos) or ‘saffron-robed’ (krokopeplos).

 

Eos has a comparatively well-marked personality, being pictured as an amorous goddess who liked to abduct handsome young men. The most famous and bestrecorded story of this kind is that which tells of her relationship with TITHONOS, a son of Laomedon, king of Troy, and a brother of Priam. The legend was plainly very ancient since both the Iliad and the Odyssey refer to Eos as rising ‘from her bed beside lordly Tithonos’ when she sets off to bring the light of day to gods and mortals. Homer mentions that Tithonos was a son of Laomedon, and later sources indicate that he was a legitimate child of the king (by Strymo, daughter of Skamandros in most accounts). The Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite provides the earliest full account of his story. Eos carried him off and asked Zeus to render him immortal, but never thought to ask in addition that he should retain his youth and so be exempted from the ravages of age. While he was still young, the two of them lived happily together by the streams of Ocean at the edges of the earth; but when the first grey hairs began to sprout on his head and chin, Eos abandoned his bed even though she continued to take care of him in her house, providing him with food and ambrosia and fine clothing; and when he became so feeble that he could no longer move his limbs, she laid him in a room behind closed doors, where he has babbled away helplessly ever since. According to a familiar tale that first appears in the classical period, Eos finally transformed him into a musical insect, the cicada (tettix). This idea was presumably inspired by the reference to the ceaseless talking (aspetos phe¯me¯) of the incapacitated Tithonos in the Homeric Hymn; the high-pitched talk of old men is compared to the singing of cicadas in a famous passage in the Iliad. It may also be relevant that cicadas were supposed to survive on dew alone (for it would seem that Tithonos was no longer fed when he was shut up behind closed doors). It is stated in one late source that Eos transformed him so as to be able to enjoy his song. In earlier and happier days, she bore him two children, namely Memnon, king of the Ethiopians, who fought as an ally of the Trojans in the last stages of the Trojan War, and Emathion, who was killed by Herakles in Ethiopia. We should imagine that the couple lived somewhere in the remote east near the dawn. Their son Memnon was usually associated with the east accordingly, as we will see, rather than with the African Ethiopia.

 

The Odyssey refers to two other love affairs of Eos, stating in the first place that she abducted the hunter Orion, causing resentment among the gods, who tended to disapprove of liaisons between goddesses and mortals; so they incited Artemis to kill him in his new home of Ortygia (usually identified with Delos in later times).

 

This account of the death of Orion was displaced by other stories in the later tradition. The Odyssey also mentions that Eos was so attracted by the beauty of Kleitos, son of Mantios, a grandson of the great seer Melampous, that she carried him away to dwell with the immortals. It is reported in the Theogony (in a section added after Hesiod’s time) that Eos loved a certain Kephalos and bore him a son Phaethon (not to be confused with the son of Helios above), who was seized by Aphrodite to serve in her temple. Although this Kephalos – who was apparently a son of Hermes – was properly a separate figure from the Kephalos, son of Deion who was the husband of Prokris in Attic legend, the two were sometimes identified in the later tradition, and Eos was occasionally introduced into the legend of Kephalos and Prokris as a consequence. To explain the over-susceptible nature of Eos, some claimed that Aphrodite caused her to be constantly falling in love to punish her for having slept with Ares (who was Aphrodite’s lover or husband).

 

In addition to her many lovers, Eos had an official consort, ASTRAIOS (Starry), a son of the Titan Kreios and the Okeanid Eurybia. Her children by this marriage were the stars of the heavens and the three main winds, Boreas (the North Wind), Zephyros (the West Wind) and Notos (the South Wind).

 

Hesiod singles out the Morning Star, HEOSPHOROS, as the most notable of the starry children of Eos. It should be remembered in this connection that the planets or ‘wandering stars’ (plane¯tes asteres) were not regarded as being essentially different from the fixed stars.

 

The planet now known as Venus was called Heosphoros (Dawn-bringer) and Phosphoros (Light-bringer) in Greek in its nature as the Morning Star, or Hesperos as the Evening Star (hesperos aste¯r); it was recognized quite early, however, certainly before the classical period, that the two stars are one and the same. Even if Eos were not the mother of all the stars, it might naturally be assumed that Heosphoros would be a child of hers since he is the harbinger of the dawn. It was perhaps as a result of this initial thought, indeed, that Hesiod decided to make her the mother of all the stars and gave her a starry husband. Although Heosphoros has no surviving myths as a personal being, he makes some slight appearance in the heroic genealogies as the father of Keux, husband of Alkyone, and of Telauge, the mother of Autolykos.

 

Eos was presumably regarded as a suitable mother for the winds because the wind often rises at dawn in Greece. Hesiod classes the three greatest winds as her children while all the harmful winds of inferior nature are described as offspring of the monstrous Typhon. Although ZEPHYROS (the West Wind) is characterized as a cleansing wind in the Theogony and tends to be stormy in Homer, he is customarily viewed as mild and gentle in the later tradition (an idea preserved in our English word ‘zephyr’). The divine messenger Iris visits ‘fierce-blowing Zephyros’ in his home in the Iliad, while he is dining there with the other winds, to summon him and Boreas to blow on the funeral-pyre of Patroklos, for Achilles had prayed for their help after it had failed to kindle. As we will, Homer states that Zephyros fathered the horses of Achilles by a Harpy. BOREAS, the violent North Wind, descended on Greece from his northern homeland of Thrace. His most important story is the Athenian legend that told how he abducted Oreithuia, a princess of that land, to make her his wife. She bore him twin sons, Zetes and Kalais, the Boreads (Boreadai), who shared something of their father’s nature as winged beings who could fly swiftly through the air, and were famous for their pursuit of the Harpies . As a consequence of his marital connection with Athens, Boreas brought special help to the Athenians on more than one occasion. NOTOS, the god of the moist west wind (which was considered to be unhealthy) never developed into a mythical figure of any significance. The Winds were usually pictured as winged and bearded, and often as wild of aspect. According to differing conceptions that can both be found in Homer, the winds could be regarded either as independent agents or as being subject to the control of Aiolos, the lord of the winds.

The Children of Kreios and Eurybia

Greek Mythology Gods krios
Greek Mythology Gods krios

The children of Kreios and Eurybia The Titan KREIOS (or Krios), a thoroughly obscure figure, married a daughter of Pontos (Sea) called Eurybia. They had three sons, Astraios, Pallas and Perses, who were of genealogical significance alone as the husbands of Eos, Styx and Asterie respectively, goddesses of greater individuality than themselves. Astraios has already been considered in connection with Eos. PALLAS (genitive Pallantis, to be distinguished from Pallas, gen. Pallados, the well-known title of Athena) married STYX, the goddess of the infernal river of that name, who is classed by Hesiod as the eldest of the Okeanid nymphs. As her children by Pallas, she gave birth to four personifications, Zelos (Emulation or Glory), Nike (Victory), Kratos (Strength or Power) and Bia (Might or Force). When the great war between the Titans and the younger gods was about to break out and Zeus was assembling his allies, Styx, at the urging of her father Okeanos, brought him her children, who all represented forces that would be invaluable in the forthcoming conflict. Zeus was duly grateful and paid high honour to Styx and her children, declaring that the solemn oaths of the gods would be sworn by her waters, and that her children would live with him forever (in so far as the qualities that they represent would become attributes of his own). When serious disputes arose between the gods thereafter, Zeus would send Iris to the Underworld to fetch some water from Styx in a golden jug; and if any god swore falsely by it, he would be deprived of nectar and ambrosia for a year (and so rendered insensible), and would be banished from the company of the gods for nine years. PERSES, the remaining son of Kreios and Eurybia, married Asteria, a daughter of the Titans Koios and Phoibe, and fathered the goddess Hekate by her. Hesiod remarks that he was pre-eminent for his wisdom, but no myths are recorded to show how he displayed it. He should be distinguished from two mortal heroes of the same name, a brother of Aietes  and a son of Perseus.

Greek Mythology Gods eurybia
Greek Mythology Gods eurybia

The children of Iapetos and Klymene The Titan IAPETOS married the Okeanid Klymene (or the Okeanid Asia) and fathered four sons by her, Prometheus and Epimetheus, whose interrelated myths will be considered in the next chapter, and Atlas, who supported the heavens, and the comparatively obscure Menoitios. Hesiod indicates that NENOITIOS clashed with Zeus like his more famous brother Prometheus, but offers no details, merely stating that Zeus struck him with a thunderbolt and hurled him down to Erebos (the nether darkness, presumably of Tartaros) on account of his folly and presumption. It appears that later authors knew little more about him than we do. Apollodorus remarks, to be sure, that he was struck down by Zeus during the war between the Titans and the younger gods (evidently because he was supporting the Titans), but this may well be some mythographer’s conjecture rather than a genuine early tradition.

 

ATLAS performed the arduous but essential duty of holding up the sky. Much as in the case of Menoitios, it was suggested in later times that he had angered Zeus by supporting (or even leading) the Titans in their war with the younger gods, and was burdened with this duty as a consequence; but there is no reason to assume that it was regarded as a punishment for some specific offence in the early tradition.

 

According to the Theogony, he supports the sky on his head and hands, standing at the edges of the earth near the Hesperides (i.e. in the far west); or in a gentler account in the Odyssey, he holds the tall pillars that keep the earth and sky apart, apparently standing somewhere in the sea. In works of art he is usually shown holding up a globe that represents the sky (and sometimes has figures of the constellations marked on it accordingly). Although Pausanias states that he was shown holding up the earth and sky in images on the chest of Kypselos and the barriers around the statue of Zeus at Olympia, the artists had presumably intended the globe to represent the sky alone. Herodotus is our earliest source for the rationalistic account in which sky was said to rest on Mt Atlas in the western reaches of North Africa. Atlas lived so far away and was so constrained by his task that there was little occasion for him to appear in heroic myth; indeed, the story in which Herakles took over his burden while he went to fetch the apples of the Hesperides is his only myth of that nature that is at all ancient. He was of genealogical importance nonetheless as the founder of one of the great heroic families, that of the Atlantids.

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