10 Most Famous Children of Tethys and Oceanus

Children of Oceanus and Tethys | Mosaic of Tethys and Oceanus, excavated from the House of Menander, Daphne (modern Harbiye, Turkey), third century AD, Hatay Archaeology Museum 1013

Tethys and Oceanus were among the first generation of Greek Titans bore by Gaea (earth) and Uranus (sky). Together with Oceanus, Tethys bore a myriad of river gods children, including the Oceanids, Scamander, Metis, Achelous, and Alpheus.

The Oceanids (or Oceanides) were the three thousand daughters of Tethys and Oceanus. Similarly, the Potamoi (river gods) referred to the three thousand sons of Tethys and Oceanus.

Worldhistoryedu.com takes a quick look at the 10 most famous children of Oceanus and Tethys.

Metis

A second generational Titanese, Metis was one of the famous children of Tethys and Oceanus. She was revered as the deity of deep thought and wisdom. As an offspring of those titans, Metis had numerous brothers and sisters that were river gods (Potamois).

Many sources described her wisdom to be as cunning as the one possessed by fellow Titan Prometheus. Owing to shrewd intelligence, Athenians were quite fond of her. Metis was also considered the first wife of Zeus. Fearing that the child that he had with Metis would go on to overthrow him, Zeus swallowed Metis’ new born Athena, who would ultimately emerge from the forehead of Zeus.

Did you know: The word “metis” in Greek evokes a meaning of shrewd wisdom mixed with some cunningness?

Achelous

Achelous was the son of Oceanus and Tethys. Ancient Greeks often associated him with the Achelous River, which was not only hugely venerated but also considered by the ancient Greeks as the largest river* in Greece.

*Even though the Achelous River stretches for about 137 miles, the title of longest river in Greece belongs to the Haliacmon.

A second generational Titan, Achelous fathered a number of children, including the Sirens and nymphs. He was once bested out by the demigod Heracles over the right to marry Calydonian princess Dejanira (also known as the “man-destroyer”). In many myths, Achelous was said to be the oldest son of Oceanus and Tethys. He was also perhaps the most honoured of the early river gods.

Perse

Perse was a water-nymph and the wife of Helios, the sun god. Both Hesiod and Homer stated that Perse and Helios were the parents of Aeetes and Circe.

In some accounts, Perse was associated with Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft, magic and night.

The nymph Perse was also noted as the mother of Pasiphae and Aloeus. One time, Helios was cursed (by Aphrodite) to fall in love with Leucothoe, a Babylonian princess and daughter of Persian king Orchamus. The curse was so deep that Helios abandoned Perse.

Doris

A water goddess, Doris was one of the 3,000 Oceanids bore by Tethys and Oceanus. Her name is related to the word “Dôron”, which translates into “present” or “gift”. She was seen as a deity of fertility and fishing areas. She and her consort Nereus gave birth to fifty sea nymphs that were famously called the fifty Nerieds. Thetis, the mother of Achilles, was one of the fifty daughters of Doris.

Alpheus

Ancient Greeks believed that Alpheus, the son of Oceanus and Tethys, was the embodiment of the Alfeios River. Measuring at around 68 miles (110 km), the Alfeios is the longest river in the Peloponnes.

In a bid to accomplish his fifth labor, Heracles is believed to have re-channeled the Alpheus and Peneus to clean the squalid stable of King Elis of Augeas.

Together with Telegone – one of the daughters of Pharis (who was the son of Hermes and the Danaid Phylodameia) – Alpheus gave birth to king Orsilochus.

Alpheus once followed the nymph Arethusa all the way to Syracuse, only for her to be turned into a spring by Artemis, the goddess of the hunt.

Clymene

Clymene (also known as Klymene) was a very important sea nymph in Greek mythology. A revered member of the 3,000 Oceanids, Clymene married her uncle and fellow Titan Iapetus (“the Piercer”), the brother of Cronus.

According to Hesiod’s Theogony, Clymene and Iapetus gave birth to second generational titans like Atlas, Prometheus, Menoetius, and Epimetheus. Those children of Clymene were revered as the first ancestors of the race of men.

For example, the trickster titan Prometheus was regarded as the deity who sculpted man and then gifted mankind fire from Mt. Olympus. Ancient Greeks also believed that the race of men inherited many of the qualities of those four titans, including the trait of cunningness (from Prometheus), ineptness and stupidity (from Epimetheus), strength (from Atlas), and arrogance (from Menoetius).

Eurynome

The ancient Greek Titaness Eurynome was one of the oldest daughters of Tethys and Oceanus. At one point in time, she was a bride of Zeus.

Often times, she is closely identified with the Charites, goddesses of grace and beauty; with some accounts calling her as the mother of the Charites.

Eurynome, along with the sea nymph Thetis, was the one who took in the god Hephaestus after he was cast out of Olympus by Hera. Eurynome and Thetis raised the child Hephaestus until he grew up into the famous god of the forges and metal.

Scamander

Most likely the embodiment of the Scamander River, which is located in Çanakkale, Scamander encircled the mythical city of Troy in Greek mythology. And during the Trojan War, the river god Scamander lent his support to the Trojans. The god intervened after the Greek hero Achilles threw insults at him by contaminating the Scamander River with Trojan blood and corpses. And had it not being for the protection of Hephaestus, Athena and Hera, Scamander would have killed Achilles.

Known to the Greek gods as Xanthos, Scamander fathered numerous children, including King Teucer and a daughter called Glaucia.

More:

Styx

According to Hesiod, the deity Styx was the eldest and most important Oceanid in Greek religion. She was considered the goddess of the River Styx, a major river in the Underworld. The river is famed for dividing the world of the living from the world of the Underworld. Along with the rivers Cocytus, Acheron, Phlegethon, and Lethe, the river Styx forms the five major rivers in the Underworld.

From her union with her cousin Pallas (the son of the Titans Crius and Eurybia), Styx bore several children, including Kratos (strength), Bia (force and anger), Zelus (dedication and zeal), and Nike. The latter, the goddess Nike, was the famed goddess of victory, the Roman equivalent of Victoria.

Callirrhoe

The Oceanid Callirhoe was perhaps the most beautiful of all the Oceanids. Her name literally means “beautiful flow”.  She had a number of consorts including Manes, Poseidon and Chrysaor. With the latter, she gave birth to Geryon, the fierce giant who lived on the island Erytheia. Callirhoe also gave birth to Minyas and Cotys.

Callirrhoe offered emotional support to the goddess Persephone when her daughter Demeter was adopted by Hades.

Did you know: One of the moons of the planet Jupiter is called Callirrhoe or Jupiter XVII?

Facts about Tethys and Oceanus

Deities of: Water

Parents: Uranus and Gaia

Siblings: Titans, the Cyclops, and the Hecantoncheires

Notable children: Oceanids, including Doris; Ptotamoi (river gods such as Alpheus, Achelous and numerous others); Nephelai (clouds)

Symbols: wings, a rudder/oar, fish

Epithets: “Mother of the gods”; and “Father of Rivers, Clouds and Nymphs”

Roman names: Tethys and Ocean

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