What to Know About Tethys in Greek Mythology

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In Greek mythology, she was a Titan goddess who was one of Uranus and Gaea’s children. She was primarily referred to as the goddess of the ocean. Although she wasn’t a prominent figure in Greek mythology, she was still mentioned in a few stories. As the goddess of the ocean, the word, Tethys, was also used to refer to not only the goddess herself, but also the sea. Here’s more information about Tethys, the titan goddess of the ocean:

Information about Tethys

As mentioned above, Tethys was one of Uranus and Gaea’s children. Her brother, Oceanus, also became her husband and together they had several children. The pair’s children included the Potamoi, the gods of the rivers, and also the Oceanids, or the ocean nymphs. The names of their children include Thetis, Metis, Amphrite, Dodone, Pleione, Neda, Nephele, Amphiro, Inachus, and Aminisos. The two actually had a lot more children than that. The Potamoi lived in all the rivers that the Ancient Greeks knew about, including the Nile River, and it is said that there were thousand of ocean nymphs. Several of their children, such as Metis who became one of Zeus’s wives and birthed the goddess Athena, played an active role in some of the Greek mythological stories.

Stories Involving Tethys

 Tethys really wasn’t an active player in Greek mythology, but she was mentioned in some of the stories. We know enough about her to know about her parentage, husband, and her children. According to Hera, she was given to Tethys and Oceanus to keep her safe while Zeus revolted against their father, Cronus. Tethys and Oceanus both had a high regard for Hera and Tethys considered her to be a stepchild of sort. This came into play later on in the myth that described why the constellation, Ursa Major, didn’t ever go below the horizon. In the story, Tethys forbade Callisto, Zeus’s lover, from touching too close to the ocean, saying that she was concerned for Hera, who was often jealous of Zeus’s consorts.

Tethys and the Titanomachy

As one of the twelve titans, Tethys was, by default, involved with the Titanomachy, or the War of the Titans. In the story Zeus, the titan Cronus’s only child whom he hadn’t swallowed whole, revolted against his father and after that, worked with his allies to depose the titans. One of the only mentions in Greek mythology of her involvement with this war involve when Zeus sent Hera to Tethys and Oceanus so they could keep her safe while Zeus deposed Cronus. This formed a bond between Hera and Tethys that would come into play later on.

Although Tethys wasn’t a major goddess and didn’t really have an active role in some of the stories, she was still important. She was the mother of several children, many of whom played a part in some of the most memorable stories in Greek mythology. For instance, Metis was the goddess Athena’s mother and also one of the children of Tethys and Oceanus.


Wikipedia – Tethys (mythology)

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