Asteria

Asteria was the daughter of the Titan gods Coeus and Phoebe and sister of Leto. Asteria flung herself into the ocean in the form of a quail in order to escape the advances of Zeus. She became the island of the same name. By Zeus she became the mother of Heracles (not to be confused with the Greek demi-god) who was worshipped at Tyre. By Perses she had a daughter Hecate. Later, the island Asteria was identified with Delos, which was the only piece of earth to give refuge to the fugitive Leto when, pregnant with Zeus's children, she was pursued by vengeful Hera.




Astraeus

In Greek mythology, Astraeus is an astrological deity. His original Greek name, Astraios, translates to "Starry". In Hesiod's Theogony and in the Bibliotheca, Astraeus is a second-generation Titan, descended from Crius and Eurybia. However, Hyginus wrote that he was descended directly from Tartarus and Gaia, and referred to him as one of the Gigantes.

The wife of Astraeus is Eos, the goddess of the dawn, and their sons include the four Anemoi ("Winds"), Boreas, Notus, Eurus, and Zephyrus, and the five Astra Planeta ("Wandering Stars", i.e. planets), Phainon (Saturn), Phaethon (Jupiter), Pyroeis (Mars), Eosphoros/Hesperos (Venus), and Stilbon (Mercury). A few sources mention one daughter, Astraea, but most writers considered Astraea the child of Zeus and Themis.

He is sometimes associated with Aeolus, the Keeper of the Winds.

Astraeus




Atlas

Atlas was the son of Iapetus and the nymph Clymene, and brother of Prometheus. He was the father of the Hesperides, Maera, the Hyades, Calypso and the Pleiades. Atlas led the Titans in a war against the gods of Mount Olympus. When the Titans were defeated, Zeus punished him with the burden of carrying the heavens upon his shoulders. Atlas was turned to stone by Perseus using Medusa's head in the place where the Atlas mountains now stand, after he threatened Perseus when wanting to speak to his father Zeus about the punishment that had fallen upon him. He is also known as one of the founding kings of Atlantis.

Atlas was tricked by the hero Heracles, one of whose Twelve Labors involved the retrieval of some of the golden apples of the Hesperides; Heracles offered to hold the heavens for a little while in exchange for the apples, and Atlas agreed. Upon his return with the apples, however, Atlas refused to take the heavens back from Heracles. Heracles then tricked the giant again by agreeing to take his place if he would only take the sky again for a few minutes so Heracles could rearrange his cloak as padding on his shoulders. When Atlas took the heavens upon his shoulders again, Heracles left

The etymology of the name Atlas is uncertain and still debated: some derive it from the Proto-Indo-European root 'tel', 'to uphold, support'; others suggest that it is a pre-Indo-European name. Since the Atlas mountains fall in the region inhabited by Berbers, it could be that the latin name as we know it is taken from Berber.

In fact, the sun is often called the 'eye of the sky'.

And since it sets to the west, the Atlantic ocean can be called "the place of concealement of the sun" or Antal n Tit. Greeks could have borrowed this name for the ocean and called it Atlantic, and later used its root ATL to form the name Atlas."Atlas" is also the presently used name of many objects and places (see Atlas (disambiguation)).

Since the middle of the sixteenth century, he is often shown in cartographic atlases. However it was not he but rather the mythical King Atlas that was depicted by Mercator in the first book to bear the name "atlas" and who gave his name to that type of book.

Atlas continues to be a commonly used icon in western culture (and advertising), as a symbol of strength or stoic endurance such as the superhero, Captain Marvel who was granted the stamina of Atlas as part of his powers. In such contemporary depictions, he is often shown kneeling over on one knee while supporting an enormous round globe on his back and shoulders. (The depiction of Atlas holding a large round disk on his back is more accurate, however, since the Greeks believed that the world was flat.)

The image of Atlas bearing a great burden was used by the author Ayn Rand in her novel Atlas Shrugged, which serves as an important metaphor throughout the novel. A character in the novel says that Atlas is "the giant who holds the world on his shoulders", although Atlas actually held the heavens and not the Earth.

Atlas




Clymene

In Greek mythology, Clymene or Klymene ("famous might") is the name of at least six possibly distinct females.

Clymene




Dione

Dione in Greek mythology is a vague goddess presence who has her most concrete form in Book V of Homer's Iliad as the mother of Aphrodite: Aphrodite journeys to Dione's side after she has been wounded in battle while protecting her favorite son Aeneas.

In this episode, Dione seems to be the equivalent of Rhea the Earth Mother, whom Homer also placed in Olympus. Dione's Indo-European name is really less a name than simply a title: the "Goddess", etymologically a female form of Zeus. Roman "Diana" has a similar etymology but is not otherwise connected with Dione.

After the Iliad, Aphrodite herself was sometimes referred to as "Dionaea" and even "Dione", just "the goddess" (Peck 1898). At the very ancient oracle of Zeus at Dodona, Dione rather than Hera, was the goddess resorted to in the company of Zeus, as many surviving votive inscriptions show.

Although Dione is not a Titan in Hesiod, but appears instead in his Theogony among the long list of Oceanids, Apollodorus includes her among the Titans (1.1.3 and 1.3.1).

A later mythographer, Hyginus, (Fabulae 82, 83) says that Dione is a daughter of Atlas and the mother, by Tantalus, of Pelops, Niobe and Broteas.

Dione




Epimetheus

In Greek mythology, Epimetheus was the son of Iapetus and brother of Prometheus and Atlas; "Epimetheus" is Greek for "hindsight."

He was responsible for giving a positive trait to every animal, but when it was time to give man a positive trait, there was nothing left. His brother Prometheus then stole fire from Zeus and gave it to man. As punishment, Zeus created Pandora for Epimetheus, knowing that he would fall in love with her despite the warnings of his more intelligent brother, who told him never to accept a gift from the Olympian gods ("Prometheus" means "foresight").

Epimetheus and Pandora were married. Pandora had been given a box by Hermes and was instructed never to open it. However, Hermes also gave her curiosity, and she opened it anyway releasing all the misfortunes of mankind. She shut it in time to keep one thing in the box: hope. Thus mankind always has hope in times of evil.

The daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora was Pyrrha, who married Deucalion and was one of the two who survived the deluge.

Epimetheus




Hyperion

Hyperion is the Titan of light, an early sun god. He is the son of Gaea and Uranus. He married his sister Theia the Goddess of Sight. Their children are Helius (the sun), Selene (the moon), and Eos (the dawn). In the Homer's Iliad and Odyssey the sun god is called Helios Hyperion, 'Sun High-one'. But in the Odyssey, Hesiod's Theogony and the Homeric Hymn to Demeter the sun is once in each work called Hyperonides 'son of Hyperion' and Hesiod certainly imagines Hyperion as a separate being in other places.

In later Greek literature Hyperion is always distinguished from Helios as a Titan, the son of Gaia 'Goddess Earth' and Uranus 'God Sky', and the father of Helios 'God Sun', Selene 'Goddess Moon' and Eos 'Goddess Dawn' by his sister Theia 'Goddess Sight'.

Hyperion




Leto

In Greek mythology, Leto is a daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe: Kos claimed her birthplace. In the Olympian scheme of things, Zeus is the father of her twins, Apollo and Artemis, the Letoides. Leto is scarcely to be conceived apart from being pregnant and finding a suitable place to be delivered of Apollo, the second of her twins. This is her one active mythic role: once Apollo and Artemis are grown, Leto withdraws, to remain a dim and benevolent matronly figure upon Olympus, her part already played.

In Roman mythology her equivalent, as mother of Apollo and Diana, is Latona.

In Crete, at the city of Dreros, Spyridon Marinatos uncovered an eighth-century post-Minoan hearth house temple in which there were found three unique figures of Apollo, Artemis and Leto made of brass sheeting hammered over a shaped core. Walter Burkert notes (in Greek Religion) that in Phaistos she appears in connection with an initiation cult. Leto was the principal goddess of Anatolian Lycia. Her sanctuary, the Letoon near Xanthos, united the Lycian confederacy of city-states. The people of Cos also claimed Leto as their own.

A measure of what a primal goddess Leto was can be recognized in her father and mother. Her Titan father is called "Coeus," and his name links him to the sphere of heaven from pole to pole. Leto's mother "Phoebe" is precisely the "pure" and "purifying" epithet of the full moon.

Origin and Meaning of Name

Several explanations have been put forward to explain the origin of the goddess and the meaning of her name. Some have seen her as an importation of the ancient Middle Eastern deity Al Latu, Latu meaning Goddess in classical Arabic (Allatu is the feminine form of Allah).

It has also been proposed that the name "Leto" originates from the verb "lanthanein" (to be concealed or oblivious) that also gives "lethe" (oblivion) and "Lotus" (the fruit that brings oblivion to those who eat it). It would thus mean "the hidden one".

Others say it comes from the same origin as "Leda", meaning "woman/wife" in ancient Lydian.

Birth of Artemis and Apollo

When Hera, the most conservative of goddesses - for she had the most to lose in changes to the order of nature discovered that Leto was pregnant and that Zeus was the father, she realized that the offspring would cement the new order. She was powerless to stop the flow of events, but she banned Leto from giving birth on "terra firma", the mainland, any island at sea, or any place under the sun.

Some mythographers hinted that Leto came down from the land of the Hyperboreans in the guise of a she-wolf, or that she sought out the "wolf-country" of Lycia for her denning. Most accounts agree that she found the barren floating island of Delos, which was neither mainland nor a real island, and gave birth there, promising the island wealth from the worshippers who would flock to the obscure birthplace of the splendid god who was to come. The island was surrounded by swans. As a gesture of gratitude, Delos was secured with four pillars and later became sacred to Apollo.

It is remarkable that Leto brought forth Artemis, the elder twin, without struggle or pain - as if she were merely revealing another manifestation of herself. Leto labored for nine nights and nine days for Apollo, according to the Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo, in the presence of all the first among the deathless goddesses as witnesses: Dione, Rhea, Ichnaea, Themis and the "loud-moaning" sea-goddess Amphitrite. Only Hera kept apart, perhaps to kidnap Eileithyia or Ilithyia, the goddess of childbirth, to prevent Leto from going into labor. Instead Artemis, having been born first, assisted with the birth of Apollo. Another version states that Artemis was born one day before Apollo, on the island of Ortygia, and that she helped Leto cross the sea to Delos the next day to give birth to Apollo.

Leto was threatened and assailed in her wanderings by chthonic monsters of the ancient earth and old ways, and these became the enemies of Apollo and Artemis. One was the Titan Tityos, a phallic being who grew so vast that he split his mother's womb and had to be carried to term by Gaia herself. He attempted to waylay Leto near Delphi, but was laid low by the arrows of Apollo - or possibly Artemis, as another myth-teller recalled.

Another ancient earth creature that had to be overcome was the dragon Pytho, or Python, which lived in a cleft of the mother-rock beneath Delphi and beside the Castalian Spring. Apollo slew it but had to do penance and be cleansed afterwards, since Python was a child of Gaia. Sometimes the slaying was said to be because Python had attempted to rape Leto while pregnant with Apollo and Artemis, but one way or another, it was necessary that the ancient Delphic Oracle pass to the protection of the new god.

A Queen of Thebes and wife of Amphion, Niobe boasted of her superiority to Leto because she had fourteen children (Niobids), seven male and seven female, while Leto had only two. For her hubris, Apollo killed her sons as they practiced athletics, with the last begging for his life, and Artemis her daughters. Apollo and Artemis used poisoned arrows to kill them, though according to some versions a number of the Niobids were spared (Chloris, usually). Amphion, at the sight of his dead sons, either killed himself or was killed by Zeus after swearing revenge. A devastated Niobe fled to Mount Sipylus in Asia Minor and either turned to stone as she wept or killed herself. Her tears formed the river Achelous. Zeus had turned all the people of Thebes to stone so no one buried the Niobids until the ninth day after their death, when the gods themselves entombed them.

Leto was intensely worshipped in Lycia, Asia Minor. In Delos and Athens she was worshipped primarily as an adjunct to her children. Herodotus reported hearsay of a temple to her in Egypt attached to a floating island called "Khemmis" in Buto, which also included a temple to Apollo. There, Leto was wosrhipped in the form of Wadjet, the cobra-headed goddess of lower Egypt. However, Herodotus didn't believe in the existence of either temple.

Witnesses at the Birth of Apollo

According to the Homeric hymn, the goddesses who assembled to be witnesses at the birth of Apollo were responding to a public occasion in the rites of a dynasty, where the authenticity of the child must be established beyond doubt from the first moment. The dynastic rite of the witnessed birth must have been familiar to the hymn's 8th-century hearers. The dynasty that is so concerned to be authenticated in this myth is the new dynasty of Zeus and the Olympian Pantheon, and the goddesses at Delos who bear witness to the rightness of the birth are the great goddesses of the old order. Demeter is not present; her mother Rhea attends. Aphrodite, a generation older than Zeus, is not present either. The goddess Dione (in her name simply the "Goddess") is sometimes taken by later mythographers as a mere feminine form of Zeus (see entry Dodona): if this were so, she would not have assembled here.

Leto of the Golden Spindle

Pindar calls the goddess Leto Chryselakatos (Sixth Nemean Ode, 36), an epithet that was attached to her daughter Artemis as early as Homer. "The conception of a goddess enthroned like a queen and equipped with a spindle seems to have originated in Asiatic worship of the Great Mother", O. Brendel notes, but a lucky survival of an inscribed inventory of her temple on Delos, where she was the central figures of the Delian trinity, records her cult image as sitting on a wooden throne, clothed in a linen chiton and a linen himation.

The Lycian Peasants

According to Ovid's Metamorphoses, when Leto was wandering the earth after giving birth to Apollo and Artemis, she attempted to drink water from a pond in Lycia. The peasants there refused to allow her to do so by stirring the mud at the bottom of the pond. Leto turned them into frogs for their inhospitality, forever doomed to swim in the murky waters of ponds and rivers. This scene is represented in the central fountain, the Bassin de Latone, in the garden terrace of Versailles.

Leto




Metis

In Greek mythology, Metis was of the Titan generation and, like several primordial figures, an Oceanid, in the sense that Metis was born of Oceanus and Tethys, of an earlier age than Zeus and his siblings. Metis was the first great spouse of Zeus, indeed his equal (Hesiod, Theogony 896) and the mother of Athena, the goddess of war and wisdom. By the era of Greek philosophy Metis had become the goddess of wisdom and deep thought, but her name originally connoted "magical cunning" and was as easily equated with the trickster powers of Prometheus as with the "royal metis" of Zeus. The Stoic commentators allegorized Metis as the embodiment of "wisdom" or "wise counsel", in which form she was inherited by the Renaissance.

Metis was both a threat to Zeus and an indispensable aid. In order to forestall these dire consequences, Zeus tricked her into turning herself into a fly and promptly swallowed her. He was too late: Metis had already conceived a child. In time she began making a helmet and robe for her fetal daughter. The hammering as she made the helmet caused Zeus great pain and Prometheus, Hephaestus, Hermes, or Palaemon (depending on the sources examined) either cleaved Zeus's head with an axe, or hit it with a hammer at the river Triton, giving rise to Athena's epithet Tritogeneia. Athena leaped from Zeus's head, fully grown, armed, and armored, and Zeus was none the worse for the experience. The similarities between Zeus swallowing Metis and Cronus swallowing his children have been noted by several scholars.

The second consort taken by Zeus, according to the Theogony was Themis, "right order". Hesiod's account is followed by Acusilaus and the Orphic tradition, which enthroned Metis side by side with Eros as primal cosmogenic forces. Plato makes poros, or "creative ingenuity", the child of Metis.

Metis




Prometheus

In Greek mythology, Prometheus is the Titan chiefly honored for stealing fire from Zeus in the stalk of a fennel plant and giving it to mortals for their use. For that, Zeus ordered him to be chained on top of the Caucasus. Every day an eagle would come and eat his liver, but since Prometheus was immortal, his liver always grew back, so he was left to bear the pain every day. He is depicted as an intelligent and cunning figure who had sympathy for humanity. To this day, the term Promethean refers to events or people of great creativity, intellect, and boldness.

As a god of fire, burning, and craft, Prometheus had a small shrine in the Keramikon, or potter's quarter, of Athens, not far from Plato's Academy.

The Myth

Prometheus was a son of Iapetus by Clymene (one of the Oceanids). He was a brother of Atlas, Menoetius, and Epimetheus. He surpassed all in cunning and deceit. He held no awe for the gods, and he ridiculed Zeus and Zeus's lack of insight and fought alongside of the gods against the Titans.

Prometheus was the creator of man. When he and Epimetheus (hindsight) set out to make creatures to populate the earth under the orders of Zeus, Epimetheus went with quantity and made many creatures, endowing them with many gifts that were alloted to the brother for that purpose (fur, claws, wings, and fins were some of these gifts). While his brother was making creatures, Prometheus was carefully crafting a creature after the shape of the gods. It was a human.

However, Prometheus took so long in crafting his masterpiece that when he was finished, Epimetheus had already used up all the gifts from Zeus. Prometheus was sorry for his creations, and watched as they shivered in the cold winter nights.

He decided to steal fire from the gods after Zeus disagreed with his idea of helping the humans. He climbed Olympus and stole fire from the chariot of Helios (or, in later mythology, Apollo). He carried the fire back in the stalk of a fennel plant, which burns slowly and so was appropriate for this task. Thus mankind was warm.

To appease Zeus, Prometheus told the humans to burn offerings to the gods. He killed a great bull for this purpose. When the gods smelled the offerings, Prometheus decided to play a trick on the gods. The meat he hid beneath a layer of bone and sinew, whilst the bones he disguised with delicious-looking fat. He then offered Zeus his choice of "meat" for the gods to eat. Zeus picked the plate of bones, and Prometheus took the plate of meat for himself and the mortals.

To punish Prometheus for this hubris (and all of mankind in the process), Zeus took fire away from the earth.


Vulcan Chaining Prometheus

To get revenge on Prometheus for his continued offenses, Zeus had Hephaestus (Vulcan) make a woman made of clay named Pandora. Zeus brought her to life and sent her to Prometheus, along with a jar with all the valuable presents she had received from the gods in it. Prometheus was suspicious and would have nothing to do with Pandora, claiming that she was foolish (lacking foresight), and she was sent on to Epimetheus, who married her.

Zeus was further enraged by Prometheus's escape and had Prometheus carried to Mount Caucasus, where an eagle by the name of Ethon (offspring of the monsters Typhon and Echidna) would eat out his liver; it would grow back each day and the eagle would eat it again.

This punishment was to last 30,000 years. About 30 years into the punishment, Heracles, passing by on his way to find the apples of the Hesperides as part of the Twelve Labors, freed Prometheus, in a bargain he had agreed with Zeus in exchange for Chiron's immortality, by shooting the eagle with an arrow.

Zeus did not mind this time that Prometheus had again evaded his punishment, as the act brought more glory to Heracles, who was Zeus's son. Prometheus was invited to return to Olympus, though he still had to carry with him the rock that he was chained to.

As the introducer of fire and inventor of sacrifice he is seen as the patron of human civilization. Uncertain sources claim he was worshipped in ancient Rome.

He was the father of Deucalion with Celaeno. Epimetheus, the husband of Pandora, was his brother.

Promethius



TITANS - MAJOR GODS & GODDESSES



OLYMPIAN GODS & GODDESSES INDEX


GREEK MYTHOLOGY INDEX


ANCIENT GREECE INDEX


ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS INDEX


ALPHABETICAL INDEX OF ALL FILES


CRYSTALINKS HOME PAGE


PSYCHIC READING WITH ELLIE


2012 THE ALCHEMY OF TIME