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8107: Mosaic panel from a fountain basin: The sea-god Oceanus. Roman, 3rd century AD. British Museum, London.

"For I am faring to visit the limits of the all-nurturing earth, and Oceanus, from whom the gods are sprung …" (Hera. Homer, Iliad 14.200).

"… Know yourself and adapt yourself to new ways; for new also is the ruler among the gods." (Oceanus to Prometheus 1. Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 310).

"… it is most advantageous, when truly wise, to be deemed a fool." (Oceanus to Prometheus 1. Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 386).

Oceanus, one of the TITANS, is sometimes considered to be at the origin of all things. This is the god of the backward-flowing river Ocean, which bounds the earth and from which all rivers flow and every sea, and all the springs and wells. In order to reach the Underworld it is necessary to cross this river:

"… when in your ship you have now crossed the stream of Oceanus, where is a level shore and the groves of Persephone…beach your boat there by Ocean's swirling streams and march on into Hades' dark house." (Circe to Odysseus. Homer, Odyssey 10.510).

When the TITANS revolted against their father, which resulted in the Castration of Uranus, Oceanus was the only one among the TITANS who did not attack his father. The rather mild Oceanus also felt compassion for Prometheus 1, and came to see him when he was chained in Caucasus.

About his wife Tethys it is told that she nursed and protected Hera at the time when the OLYMPIANS were fighting the TITANS (see Titanomachy). The constellation of the Great Bear (Callisto) never sets because Tethys has forbidden her to dip herself in the ocean, and that is so because Tethys, wife of Oceanus, was Hera's nurse, and Callisto a concubine in Hera's bed. When Aesacus 1, a Trojan interpreter of dreams who declared that the newborn Paris was to become the ruin of the country, leaped into the sea out of grief because of his wife's death, Tethys transformed him into a diving bird.









For Tethys, see also TITANS.






Phorcus is also called son of Pontus and Gaia. Phorcus consorted with Ceto 1, perhaps his own sister, and had by her the GRAEAE (the three old women from birth who had but one eye and one tooth, and passed them to each other in turn), the GORGONS, Ladon 4 (the guardian snake with one hundred heads who kept the golden apples of the HESPERIDES), and Echidna (see BESTIARY). Phorcus also made love to Hecate, and was the father by some unknown of Thoosa, mother of the Cyclops Polyphemus 2.



Rhea 1







Caanthus is brother of Melia, one of the OCEANIDS. He was commissioned by his father to seek his sister, who had been carried away. Finding that Apollo had her, and being unable to get her from him, he set fire to the precinct of Apollo. For this reason the god shot him dead.


Aes.Pro.286; Apd.1.1.3, 1.2.2; Hes.The.133, 338ff.; Hom.Il.14.201; Hyg.Ast.2.32; Nonn.38.108; Pau.1.14.3, 9.10.5; Pla.Tim.40e.