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6226: Statue of Themis found in Rhamnous in the temple of the goddess. By the sculptor Chairestratos (according to the inscription on the base). Beginning of the 3C BC. National Archaeological Museum, Athens.

The Titaness Themis introduced the ordinances that concern the gods, and instructed men in the ways of obedience to laws and Peace.

Delivered oracles

Themis delivered oracles at Delphi until Apollo, the lovely son of Leto, came to the city, killed the serpent Python which guarded the oracle, and sitting in the tripod, took over it. It is told that Leto did not give Apollo her breast when he was born; but Themis, who was there, poured Nectar and Ambrosia with her own hands for him to taste.

Disputed privilege

Some say that when Apollo, still a child, killed the serpent that guarded the prophetic shrine, Gaia gave birth to Dream Visions of the Night, who told men the present and the future while they were asleep in their beds. In this way Gaia took the office of prophecy away from Apollo. But Apollo went back to Olympus and asked Zeus to restore his right, and Zeus took away from mortals the truth that appears in sleep, giving back the privilege to Apollo, and restoring in mortal men the confidence in prophecy.

Themis, the second at Delphi

Others say, however, that between Themis' office and Apollo's, Phoebe 1 the Titaness, delivered oracles at Delphi. Themis was then the second one to deliver oracles at Delphi, and that is why the Pythian Priestess could say:

"First, in this prayer of mine, I give the place of highest honor among the gods to the first prophet, Gaia; and after her to Themis, for she was the second to take this oracular seat of her mother, as legend tells. And in the third allotment, with Themis' consent and not by force, another Titan, child of Gaia, Phoebe, took her seat here. She gave it as a birthday gift to Phoebus (Apollo), who has his name from Phoebe." (Pythian priestess. Aeschylus, Eumenides 1).

Themis about Thetis

Zeus and Poseidon had been rivals for the hand of Thetis, but when Themis prophesied that the son born of Thetis would be mightier than his father they withdrew, and Thetis was in time married to Peleus, giving birth to Achilles.

Themis and the TITANS

Themis told the Titan Prometheus 1 (who called her "mother", but so he called Gaia too, as some will have it that Gaia and Themis were one and the same) not to join the TITANS in their war against the OLYMPIANS, because in that war, the clever not the brute, would prevail. When Prometheus 1 was punished by Zeus and bound to the Caucasian rock, Themis prophesied that a descendant of a Danaid (Heracles 1), none of them yet born, would deliver him.

Goddess of oaths lives in Olympus

Themis was deemed guardian of men's oaths, and for that reason she is also called goddess of oaths. She lives in Olympus close to Zeus, who is described as the real all-seeing as he whispers words of wisdom to Themis when she sits leaning towards him. But some affirm that it is thanks to Themis that Zeus rules in the sky.


Parentage (two versions)





Titanis & unknown


Titanis is one of the TITANS.

Astraea (Dike)

Related sections Themis in GROUPS: TITANS  

Apd.1.1.3, 1.3.1, 3.13.5; Dio.5.67.4; Hes.The.135, 901; Hyg.Ast.2.25; Hyg.Fab.183.