Tethys (mythology)

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Tethys. Mosaic in the Archaeological Museum of Antakya

Tethys ( ancient Greek Τηθύς Tēthýs ) was a Greek titan and sea goddess. The daughter of Uranus and Gaia was married to her brother Okeanos . One of her granddaughters was Thetis , later the mortal Peleus the Achilles gave birth.


Tethys was a goddess of earthly fresh water sources and the mother of the Potamoi (rivers such as the Nile , Alpheus and large meanders ), around 3000 Oceanids (springs, streams and wells) and the Nephelai (clouds). In the mythological imagination, Tethys nourished her children by supplying them with the waters of the Ocean through underground aquifers. Her name is probably derived from the ancient Greek word têthê, which means grandmother. On Greek vases, Tethys can often be seen next to Eileithyia , the goddess of childbirth, or her husband, Oceanus. In some of the mosaics she has a pair of wings on her forehead. Later in poetry she was often portrayed as the personification of the sea and sometimes equated with the sea goddess Thalassa .

During the war against the Titans, Tethys raised Hera whom Rhea had entrusted to her. For example, Homer described in the Iliad book 14 of how Hera said to Aphrodite : “[…] Now that I am going to the end of the earth to visit Oceanus […] and Tethys our mother, who kindly brought me into her own house and herself took care of me and took me in from Rhea at the time when Zeus banished Kronos under the surface of the earth and the barren waters. [...]. "

Hera was not pleased with the placement of Callisto and Arcas as the constellations Big and Little Bear in the sky, so she asked her nurse Tethys for help. Tethys cursed the constellations for wandering around the sky forever and never sinking below the horizon.

Pedigree of the Titans

chaos Gaia Uranus
Family of gods of the titans

Tethys as namesake

The ocean of Tethys , which existed predominantly in the Mesozoic and the older Cenozoic , was named after the Titaness.


  • Konrad Schwenck: The mythology of the Greeks, Romans, Teutons and Slavs. Volume 1: The Mythology of the Greeks. JD Sauerländer, Frankfurt / Main 1843–1849, OCLC 6360873. ( Online )

Web links

Commons : Tethys  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Gods and legendary figures of Greek mythology. from Greek-sagen.de, accessed on February 27, 2014.
  2. ^ Tethys on theoi.com, accessed February 27, 2014.
  3. Tethys mother of Creation, nurse of Hera. on theoi.com, accessed February 27, 2014.
  4. Konrad Schwenck: Okeanos and Tethys. in: The mythology of the Greeks. P. 285.
  5. ^ Tethys, Hera & the constellation of Callisto. on theoi.com, accessed February 27, 2014.