Mythology

Thalassa – Greek Primordial Goddess of the Sea

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Although most of us know all about the main twelve gods and goddesses of Greek mythology who were said to live on Mount Olympus, there is more to the stories than that. There were actually several generations of gods and goddesses and the familiar Olympians are actually the third generation. Thalassa, the Greek goddess of the sea, is considered to be one of the primordial deities who came before the Olympians. Here’s more information about her:

Characteristics of the Primordial Deities

The primordial gods and goddesses in Greek mythology represent aspects of the creation of the universe. By being a part of the origin of life and the universe, the primordial collective created the groundwork of the rest of existence. By their existence, the primordial gods could not diminish themselves sufficiently to take on human characteristics and qualities like the Olympians.

Even though they are depicted as men or women in some of the representations, they are though to more closely resemble what they represent. Because of this, they are said to have had limited interactions with humans, unlike the Olympian gods and goddesses. This made the group less accessible to humans than the Olympian deities, yet no less important as a canvass for the remaining characters of Greek myth. 

About Thalassa of Greek Mythology

Thalassa’s parents are the god Aether, the god of air and light, and the goddess Hemera, the goddess of day. Thalassa’s male complement was Pontus, the pre-Olympian god of the seas. Together, the pair produced offspring including: 

  • Telchines. These are nine beings who are also called the storm gods and typically known as the first beings to live on the island of Rhodes 
  • Halia. A sea nymph who was the mother to seven of Poseidon’s children 
  • Aphrodite. According to numerous accounts, Thalassa conceived Aphrodite after coming in contact with Ouranos’ severed manhood.
  • Aigaion. Some texts disagree about the parentage of Aigaion, the god of storms on the Aegean Sea. However, several times manuscripts call Thalassa the mother of the god of storms
  • All of the fish in the sea

How Thalassa is Depicted

While traditional representations of Thalassa are as the sea itself, other images of the sea goddess exist. 

  • In several mosaic works, Thalassa appears as a sturdy woman who is half under the sea. She wears seaweed in lieu of clothing, holds the oar of a ship in one hand as well as a dolphin in her other hand. Also, in these images, Thalassa has crab-claws protruding like horns from her head. 
  • According to fables written by Babrius (although often cited as fables of Aesop) Thalassa transforms herself into the shape of a half-submerged woman, made of water rising from the sea to answer humans who are critical of her.

Thalassa is the Greek primordial goddess of the sea. According to the stories, she was the offspring of Aether, the god of air and light, and Hemera, the goddess of light. She is also said to be the mother of several sea creatures, along with her male complement Pontus.

Sources:

Greek primordial deities

Thalassa

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This post was written by GreekBoston.com

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