Thethis and Metis

Thetis (/ˈθɛtɪs/Ancient Greek: Θέτις, [tʰétis]), is encountered in Greek mythology mostly as a sea nymph or known as the goddess of water, one of the fifty Nereids, daughters of the ancient sea god Nereus[1]

When described as a Nereid in Classical myths, Thetis was the daughter of Nereus and Doris,[2] and a granddaughter of Tethys with whom she sometimes shares characteristics. Often she seems to lead the Nereids as they attend to her tasks. Sometimes she also is identified with Metis.

Some sources argue that she was one of the earliest of deities worshipped in Archaic Greece, the oral traditions and records of which are lost. Only one written record, a fragment, exists attesting to her worship and an early Alcman hymn exists that identifies Thetis as the creator of the universe. Worship of Thetis as the goddess is documented to have persisted in some regions by historical writers such as Pausanias.

In the Trojan War cycle of myth, the wedding of Thetis and the Greek hero Peleus is one of the precipitating events in the war, leading also to the birth of their child Achilles.

Most extant material about Thetis concerns her role as mother of Achilles, but there is some evidence that as the sea-goddess she played a more central role in the religious beliefs and practices of Archaic Greece. The pre-modern etymology of her name, from tithemi (τίθημι), “to set up, establish,”

In Iliad I, Achilles recalls to his mother her role in defending, and thus legitimizing, the reign of Zeus against an incipient rebellion by three Olympians, each of whom has pre-Olympian roots:

“You alone of all the gods saved Zeus the Darkener of the Skies from an inglorious fate, when some of the other Olympians—HeraPoseidon, and Pallas Athene—had plotted to throw him into chains… You, goddess, went and saved him from that indignity. You quickly summoned to high Olympus the monster of the hundred arms whom the gods call Briareus, but mankind Aegaeon,[4] a giant more powerful even than his father. He squatted by the Son of Cronos with such a show of force that the blessed gods slunk off in terror, leaving Zeus free” (E.V. Rieu translation).

Quintus of Smyrna, recalling this passage, does write that Thetis once released Zeus from chains; but there is no other reference to this rebellion among the Olympians, and some readers, such as M. M. Willcock,[5] have understood the episode as an ad hoc invention of Homer’s to support Achilles’ request that his mother intervene with Zeus. Laura Slatkin explores the apparent contradiction, in that the immediate presentation of Thetis in the Iliad is as a helpless minor goddess overcome by grief and lamenting to her Nereid sisters, and links the goddess’s present and past through her grief.[6] She draws comparisons with Thetis’ role in another work of the epic Cycle concerning Troy, the lost Aethiopis,[7] which presents a strikingly similar relationship—that of the divine Dawn, Eos, with her slain son Memnon; she supplements the parallels with images from the repertory of archaic vase-painters, where Eros and Thetis flank the symmetrically opposed heroes with a theme that may have been derived from traditional epic songs.[8]

…But in his rage Achilles pursues the Trojans into the very gates of Troy, and at the Scaean Gates he is killed by an arrow shot by Paris, assisted by the god Apollo…. Achilles’ body is rescued by Ajax and Odysseus. Thetis does not need to appeal to Zeus for immortality for her son, but snatches him away to the White Island Leuke in the Black Sea, an alternate Elysium[9]where he has transcended death, and where an Achilles cult lingered into historic times.

File:Detail Pioneer Group Louvre G65.jpg

In Greek mythologyMetis (Μῆτις, “wisdom,” “skill,” or “craft”) was of the Titan generation and, like several primordial figures, an Oceanid, in the sense that Metis was born of Oceanus and Tethys, of an earlier age than Zeus and his siblings. Metis was the first great spouse of Zeus.[1]

By the era of Greek philosophy in the fifth century BC, Metis had become the Titaness of wisdom and deep thought, but her name originally connoted “magical cunning” and was as easily equated with the trickster powers of Prometheus as with the “royal metis” of Zeus.[1] The Stoic commentators allegorized Metis as the embodiment of “prudence“, “wisdom” or “wise counsel”, in which form she was inherited by the Renaissance.[2]

An ancient depiction of a winged goddess who may be Metis.[citation needed]

The Greek word metis meant a quality that combined wisdom and cunning. This quality was considered to be highly admirable and was regarded by Athenians as one of the notable characteristics of the Athenian character. Metis was the one who gave Zeus a potion to cause Kronos to vomit out Zeus’ siblings.[3]

Metis was both a threat to Zeus and an indispensable aid (Brown 1952:133):

“Zeus lay with Metis but immediately feared the consequences. It had been prophesied that Metis would bear extremely powerful children: the first, Athena and the second, a son more powerful than Zeus himself, who would eventually overthrow Zeus.”[4]
Ural Mountains – Ural River – to Caspian – people who were different from all who lived and there is little known of who they are…
Bacchus, the name meaning, “son of Cush.”  (‘Cush” is meaning of “AEthiopian”) The Caspian Sea was once known as the ‘Marde Bachu,’ or the Sea of Bacchus. The word “Ethiopian” is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word “Cush”…
Caspians (Greek: Κάσπιοι KaspioiAramaickspyOld Armenianկասպք kaspkʿPersian: کاسپی ها ‎) is the English version of a Greek ethnonym mentioned twice by Herodotus among the satrapies of Darius[1] and applied by Strabo[2] to the ancient people dwelling along the southern and southwestern shores of the Caspian Sea, in the region which was called Caspiane after them.[3]The name is not attested in Old Iranian.[4]

The Caspians have generally been regarded as a pre-Indo-European people…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s