Thetis ( ancient Greek Θέτις Thétis ) is a sea nymph from Greek mythology . She was the most beautiful of the numerous daughters of the sea god Nereus, called Nereids . The Titan Tethys was her grandmother.
In a prophecy of Themis had been predicted that the son of Thetis would be when his father stronger and more powerful. Therefore none of the gods wanted to marry her, and they gave her the mortal Peleus as husband.
Peleus surprised Thetis asleep in a grotto, grabbed her and did not let go of her. Now she tried to evade him by transforming herself into various shapes: she became fire and water, a lion and a snake. She turned into an octopus. Peleus continued to hold onto her the entire time, though he was burned, drenched, badly scratched, bitten, and splattered with ink. Ultimately, Peleus remained the winner of this tough wrestling match.
From this connection came Achilles , whom Thetis dipped into the river Styx in order to make him invulnerable; only his heel, on which she held him, remained unwetted - this was then the proverbial Achilles heel .
All the Olympian gods were invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis , except for Eris , the goddess of discord . In revenge, she threw a golden apple with the inscription " καλλίστῃ " - " The most beautiful " among the guests. The then erupting dispute between Hera , Athene and Aphrodite should be decided by Zeus, but the latter passed the decision (and with it the apple) on to the Trojan prince Paris . All three goddesses tried to win him over by making promises. Aphrodite promised him the most beautiful woman, and he chose her. The promised wife was Helena , but she was already married. Paris kidnapped her husband Menelaus with Aphrodite's help , which then led to the Trojan War , in which Achilles won his fame as the strongest hero of the Greeks, but fell at the Skaean Gate.
Sources for the transformation of the Thetis
- Ovid , Metamorphoses 11, 221 ff.
- Pindar , Nemean Odes 4.62
- Scholiast zu Pindar, Nemean Oden 3.35
- Libraries of Apollodorus 3,13,5
- Pausanias , Description of Greece 4,18,1
- Tzetzes, Via Lycophron 175; 178
- Scholiast to Apollonios of Rhodes , 1,582
- Herodotus , Histories 7,191
- Philostratos , Heroikos 19.1
- Michael Maier describes in the text of the 35th fugue of his composition Atalanta fugiens, hoc est emblemata nova de secretis naturae chymica, 1618 with 52 engravings by Matthäus Merian the Elder. Ä. appeared as Thetis tries to make her son Achilles immortal. The title of the fugue: Ceres Triptolemum , Thetis Achillem, ut sub igne morari assuefecit, sic artifex lapidem. Like Ceres Triptolemum, which Thetis Achillem waved to tawren under the Fewr, so the artist should wrench the stone.
- In Georg Philipp Telemann's suite Hamburger Ebb 'and Fluth from 1723, two movements ( Sarabande and Bourrée ) have the programmatic titles Die Schlafende Thetis and Die Awachende Thetis .
- Around the same time, Jean-Philippe Rameau composed the cantata Thétis for bass, violin and basso continuo. Content of the cantata: Neptune and Jupiter fight for the hand of Thetis , but because of the prophecy that the son of Thetis will be stronger than the father, they distance themselves from courtship; she will marry a mortal.
- Lexicon of Antiquity. Der kleine Pauly Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag (dtv), Munich 1999, Volume 5, Column 765-766
- Quoted after the recording by Ensemble Plus Ultra Michael Noone, conducted by Atalanta fugiens. Music, alchemy and Rosicrucianism in the early 17th century , Glossa GCD P31407
- Quoted from the recording by Peter Harvey, baritone and the Ensemble London Baroque French cantatas , BIS-CD-1495