The Protogenoi: the first-born Gods
by: R. Aurelius Orcus
THALASSA

Thalassa is the female equivalent of Pontos and is a Sea Goddess herself. Her name also means Sea. Her parents are Aither and Hemera and with Pontos She begot the fishes, with Ouranos Aphrodite (the severed members of Ouranos) and Aigaion. She, like Pontos, was seen as the personification of the sea. Thalassa was also known as Thalatta, Thalath, or Tethys. She was the wife of Pontos and the mother of nine Telchines, who are known as fish children because they have flippers for hands; yet, they have the head of a dog. In some Greek stories, she is known as the mother of all. "Thalassa even goes with fish mother" This name is not only because she bore Telchines, it's also because she is creator of all sea life. Thalassa's name means 'sea'.

The term for a mercantile sea kingdom is also associated with her name: thalassocracy. In Greece, she is specifically the personification of the Mediterranean Sea. Thalassa did not have god-like qualities. She was more of a metaphor than a person. She was also a vast, lonely sea on non-populated shores. So, she was never a true goddess. In most accounts, she is seen as the mother of most Leviathans. In the temples of Poseidon, allegedly she had statues dedicated to her.

Source:
  • The Theoi Project
HEMERA

Hemera was the female personification of day. She was married to her brother Aither (Light). Hemera is the Goddess of the Day. She is the daughter of Erebos and Nyx. Alkman tells us that Erebos is the father of Hemera with no mother suggesting a similar birth like the one Athena had. In Bacchylides it is stated that Nyx and Kronos are the parents but Hyginus mentions Chaos as the mother/ father. The name itself, Hemera, means Day. She has other names, such as Amar or Dies which both mean Day.

Dies is the Roman equivalent of Hemera. Hyginus is our source when it comes to her offspring. He tells us that Ouranos, Gaia and Thalassa are her children with Aither. Pausanias seems to confuse her with Eos when saying that she carried Kephalos away. Pausanias makes this identification with Eos upon looking to the tiling of the royal portico in Athens where the myth of Eos and Kephalos is illustrated. He makes this identification again at Amyklai and at Olympia upon looking at statues and illustrations where Eos is present.

Sources:
  • Pausanias, Guide to Greece - Greek Geography C2nd AD
  • Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd AD
  • Hesiodos, Theogony - Greek Epic C8th-7th BC Greek Lyric II
  • Alcman, Fragments - Greek Lyric C7th BC Greek Lyric IV
  • Bacchylides, Fragments - Greek Lyric C5th BC
OKEANOS

Okeanos is the Titan of the (River) Oceans. In Antiquity the oceans were seen as the rivers that surrounded the earth. He is the son of Gaia and Ouranos. Hesiodos, Apollodorus Rhodius and Diodolus Siculus all mention this. He is the source of fresh water, wells and rains. Unlike his siblings he was also a cosmological deity both as personification of the ocean as its manifestation. Like his sons, the River Gods, he was depicted as a horned god with a tail of a serpentine fish. His name in Greek, Okeanos, just like his other name, Ogenos, means ocean. He has two titles: Bathudine and Bathupous. Bathudine means Deep-Eddying. Bathupous mean Deep-Flowing.

The Theogony mentions the Okeanides and the Potamoi as the children of Okeanos with Tethys. Diodorus Siculus says that only the Potamoi are his children while the Cercopes says it are the Kerkopes with Theia, daughter of Memnon, who are his children. But Apollodorus tells us that Triptolemos who is his son with Gaia.

Hesiodos tells us in his Theogony that on Okeanos' advice, Styx came to Olympos to align herself with Zeus. Apollodorus tells us that not all the Titans attacked Ouranos; only Okeanos stood aside when Gaia (Ge) persuaded the Titans to attack Ouranos. Tethys, the wife of Okeanos whom the Gods greatly revere, was the foster mother of Juno who on request of Juno forbade the constellation of the Bear to set in the Oceanus. (Hyginus Fab 177, Metamorphoses 2.512-547) When Palaemon jumped into the sea and became Glaucus, he called on Tethys and Oceanus to take away his mortal essences. (Metamorphoses 13.950-952)

The Dionysiaca states that after the slaughter of what they call the first Dionysos (Zagreus), Gaia was attacked by Zeus with avenging brand and he locked away the murderers of the horned Dionysos within the gates of Tartaros after a long war. Okeanos poured rivers of tears from his eyes and when Zeus claimed his wraith and pitied her, he washed away the wounds and ruins of the land with water in the flood of Deukalion. In the Dionysiaca it is said that Hera was afraid of Zeus, whom she called Kronides, for being banished from Heaven due a earthly marriage. She went to Tethys and Okeanos and then to Ophion.

The Iliad and the Homeric hymns tell us that Okeanos was not only the place where the night sky came out of but also the place where the sun went under at the end of each day. It was also the place where Goddesses bathe themselves. It is also said that at the end of the world, the entrance to the Underworld could be found and that is was there where the Gorgones and the Hesperides lived. It's even said in Aeschylus' work "Prometheus Bound" that Okeanos went to visit Prometheus in the Caucasus to talk to him.

Okeanos seems to be among the wistest and oldest of all the Gods. It's no wonder that the Gods revered Him. His wisdom and his pacifistic attitude is what kept him out of trouble with the other Gods. Okeanos doesn't seem to come across as a violent Titan. Thanks to Arionssite (Jessy) I have a list of the Titans with their functions and attributes. For Okeanos this is the Water Element, Shape Shifting, Psychism, personification of the 6th month and Titan of the Water/ Sea. He has learned this over the years.

Sources:
  • Hesiodos, Theogony - Greek Epic C8th-7th BC
  • Homerica, The Cercopes - Greek Epic BC
  • Homerica, The Cypria - Greek Epic BC
  • Homer, The Odyssey - Greek Epic C9th-8th BC
  • Homer, The Iliad - Greek Epic C9th-8th BC
  • The Homeric Hymns - Greek Epic C8th-4th BC
  • Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound - Greek Tragedy C6th-5th BC
  • Apollodorus, The Library - Greek Mythography C2nd BC
  • Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History - Greek History C1st BC
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses - Latin Epic C1st BC - C1st AD
  • Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd AD
  • Valerius Flaccus, The Argonautica – Latin Epic C1st AD
  • Nonnos, Dionysiaca - Greek Epic C6th AD
TETHYS

Tethys is the Titaness of the Sea, Beaches, Islands, Fishing and Harbours. She created coral and silver. She represents the 4th month. She is also the Titaness of Nursing and Underground Flow of Fresh Water. She is married to Okeanos and mother of the Potamoi and the Okeanides. Her name, Tęthys, means Nurse/ Grandmother/ Aunt. The pronounciation of her name is: thee'-thus. Her Roman name is Salacia. At the wedding, she is accompanied with Eileithyia, the Goddess of Childbirth. Tethys is usually depicted as a woman accompanied by Eileithyia,due to her being the mother of so many children. Hesiodos gives her many names, like Tethys the Lovely, Lady Tethys and Lovely-Haired Tethys. She is even called Fertile Tethys as reference to her as the mother of so many children (Prometheus Bound 139). She is, like Okeanos, seen as the personification of her element.

Hesiodos, Apollodorus Rhodius as Diodorus Siculus seem to agree that Ouranos and Gaia are her parents but neither agree on who her children are. Hesiodos and Hyginus mention the Okeanides and the Potamoi. But Diodorus Siculus says it's only the Potamoi who are her children. She was even the foster mother of Hera (Juno) but I think this is actually Roman. That as Salacia, She was the foster mother of Juno.

The god Neptunus wanted to marry her but she ran off and hid from him in the Atlantic ocean. Neptune sent a dolphin to look for her and when the animal found her it brought her back to him. Salacia agreed to marry Neptune and the dolphin was awarded a place in the heavens. Salacia bore Neptune three children. She is identified with the Greek goddess, Amphitrite. This could mean that Tethys and Okeanos were adopted deities who were adopted into the Roman pantheon as Tethys and Oceanus because they had no Roman counterparts.

Sources:
  • Hesiodos, Theogony - Greek Epic C8th-7th BC
  • Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound - Greek Tragedy C6th-5th BC
  • Apollodorus, The Library - Greek Mythography C2nd BC
  • Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History - Greek History C1st BC
  • Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd AD
  • Elseviers Mythological Encyclopedia
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