Thetis - Mother of Achilles
She was courted by both Zeus and Poseidon, but neither of them married her, out of fear of a prophecy that said Thetis' son would surpass his father in glory. Thetis, a goddess of the sea, is the mother of Achilleus. Her husband—though they seem to be estranged—is the mortal Peleus. As a result of this mortal. The story of Peleus and Thetis was a favorite in classical times. The stories are accounts of the relationship between mortality and immortality, or the quest for.
On a less-Homeric moral level, the judgment of Paris is also a story about choices, their inherent limitations and unfortunate consequences. Why Achilles is not immortal Peleus and Thetis stories after Homer's day also explain why Achilles is mortal, even though his parentage is mixed. The stories illustrate how heroic poetry can grow through new additions, as one story suggests others.
In one version of the story, after the birth of Achilles Thetis tries to immortalize the baby, but her god-making rites are disturbed by Peleus. A brief account of the story is told by Apollonius of Rhodes in his Agonautica Voyage of the Argoa Hellenistic poem that imitates Homer's style: Sharp pain pierced Peleus, for never again had he seen Thetis, since first she left her bridal chamber and bed in anger, because of her son Achilles, then a babe.
In the night she used to burn away the child's mortal flesh with the flame of fire; then by day she would anoint his tender body with ambrosia, so that he would become immortal and she would prevent loathsome old age from corrupting him.
But one night Peleus found out. He leapt up from his bed when he saw his dear son gasping in the flame, and at the sight he uttered a terrible cry--fool that he was.
Thetis heard him, and catching up the child threw him screaming to the ground, and she like a breath of wind passed swiftly from the hall as a dream and leapt into the sea, exceeding angry, and thereafter returned never again. Since she holds him by the foot as she dips him, she fails to submerge his heel.
Thetis, Nereid Mother of Achilles
Accordingly Achilles' body is immortal--except for his Achilles' heel or Achilles' tendon. According to legend Achilles is killed at Troy by an arrow in the heel. The non-Homeric stories of Thetis' inability to immortalize her son are stories about the limitation of magic by nature. They grow out of Homer's presentation of Thetis as the grieving mother, always lamenting her son's fate.
They offer no consolation that Achilles wins a hero's everlasting fame or glory through art. Return to the sea The Iliad represents Thetis living with her old father Nereus and her sister sea-nymphs in the depths of the sea Iliad i, ; xiv, 83; xviii, 35while her mortal husband drags out a miserable and solitary old age back on the Greek mainland Iliad xviii Through her brief brush with mortality the goddess possesses a tragic sense of loss and grief that other gods and goddesses generally lack, prolific father Zeus excepted.
The search for permanence brings us back to Peleus' courtship of Thetis, his attempt to hold her, and her continuous shape-shifting. The story belongs with popular folktales of the marriage of a man to a mermaid or other slippery marine creature.
These storybook marriages are happy but very short, typically ending with the return of the beautiful spouse to her native place in the sea. The image reflects life emerging out of the formlessness of primordial chaos and soon returning to it again.
According to classical mythology, the wedding of Thetis and Peleus was celebrated on Mount Pelionoutside the cave of Chironand attended by the deities: Apollo played the lyre and the Muses sang, Pindar claimed.
At the wedding Chiron gave Peleus an ashen spear that had been polished by Athene and had a blade forged by Hephaestus. While the Olympian goddesses brought him gifts: His father-in-law Nereus endowed him a basket of the salt called 'divine', which has an irresistible virtue for overeating, appetite and digestion, explaining the expression ' Zeus then bestowed the wings of Arce to the newly-wed couple which was later given by Thetis to his son, Achilles.
Furthermore, the god of the sea, Poseidon gave Peleus the immortal horses, Balius and Xanthus. She threw, in spite, a golden apple into the midst of the goddesses that was to be awarded only "to the fairest.
Thetis dips Achilles in the Styx by Peter Paul Rubens between and In the later classical myths Thetis worked her magic on the baby Achilles by night, burning away his mortality in the hall fire and anointing the child with ambrosia during the day, Apollonius tells. When Peleus caught her searing the baby, he let out a cry.
Thetis - Wikipedia
However, the heel by which she held him was not touched by the Styx's waters and failed to be protected. A similar myth of immortalizing a child in fire is connected to Demeter compare the myth of Meleager. Some myths relate that because she had been interrupted by Peleus, Thetis had not made her son physically invulnerable. His heel, which she was about to burn away when her husband stopped her, had not been protected. Peleus gave the boy to Chiron to raise. Prophecy said that the son of Thetis would have either a long but dull life, or a glorious but brief one.
When the Trojan War broke out, Thetis was anxious and concealed Achilles, disguised as a girl, at the court of Lycomedes.Thetis & Peleus Fall in Love
When Odysseus found that one of the girls at court was not a girl, he came up with a plan. Raising an alarm that they were under attack, Odysseus knew that the young Achilles would instinctively run for his weapons and armour, thereby revealing himself. Seeing that she could no longer prevent her son from realizing his destiny, Thetis then had Hephaestus make a shield and armor.
Iliad and the Trojan War[ edit ] Thetis and attendants bring armor she had prepared for him to Achillesan Attic black-figure hydria, c. The two goddesses realized that by helping Hephaistos they were placing themselves in the middle of a dispute between Hera and Zeus but their sympathy for the injured young god overcame their reticence To protect Hephaistos and themselves, Thetis and Eurynome kept Hephaistos hidden in a cave where he diligently toiled to prefect his metal working skills.
After nine years, he returned to Mount Olympos where he was joyously received by the Immortals and declared to be the Artificer of the Olympians Hephaistos never forgot the lifesaving assistance that Thetis and Eurynome gave him.
Hera finally accepted the fact that Hephaistos had become one of the Olympians but she still cursed Thetis for helping Hephaistos The Marriage of Thetis Thetis came to the notice of Zeus because of her youthful beauty. Although Zeus was married to his sister Hera, he made no secret of his desire for Thetis but she did not share or welcome his amorous desires. Thetis avoided Zeus for two reasons: Zeus finally became disinterested in Thetis when he was advised that one of his immortal sons would dethrone him Thetis was given to Peleus [a mortal] because of his undying devotion to the gods on Mount Olympos According to tradition, Thetis was not a willing bride.
Peleus and Thetis
Peleus had to wrestle with her as she manifested a variety of vicious animal-personas to frighten him into releasing her In the above image, when Peleus tried to force Thetis to come with him, she manifested snakes and other animals to frighten him. The wedding of Thetis and Peleus was the backdrop for a defining event that set the stage for the Trojan War.
This event has come to be known as The Judgment of Paris The goddess Eris [Discord or Strife] was in attendance but she did not come to celebrate Eris tossed a golden apple into the midst of the assembled Immortals with the inscription, 'For the most beautiful one.
Just as Eris intended, a conflict erupted Aphrodite promised Alexandros the hand of Helen Helen was the daughter of Zeus and without doubt, the most desirable woman in the civilized world. Alexandros could not refuse such a prize Hera and Athene knew that Aphrodite had bewitched Alexandros but they still harbored an intense personal resentment for him and by extension, all Trojans In retrospect, the marriage of Thetis and Peleus became a very sad historical landmark.
By the time of the Quest for the Golden Fleece, Thetis and Peleus had been married and then separated Jason was traveling to his ancestral home of Iolkos when he encountered the goddess Hera Jason saw her plight and plunged into a river to save her. Of course Hera's presence on the road to Iolkos was not happenstance Hera and Jason were both on missions of vengeance Jason wanted to claim his rightful inheritance from King Pelias and Hera wanted to punish Pelias for excluding her from his sacrificial rituals.
Jason was the rightful king of Iolkos but his uncle Pelias had usurped the throne and refused to step down unless Jason could retrieve the Golden Fleece from Kolchis at the eastern edge of the Euxine [Black Sea]. The Golden Fleece was from a flying ram that the god Hermes had created to save Helle and Phrixus from being harmed by their stepmother, Ino.
Helle died when she fell from the back of the flying ram but Phrixus managed to fly all the way to Kolchis where he sacrificed the ram and hung its Golden Fleece in the Garden of Ares.
When Pelias proposed that Jason retrieve the Golden Fleece, he assumed that Jason and his companions, the Argonauts, would be dead long before they reached Kolchis Pelias did not suspect that Hera would get other gods and goddesses to aid and protect Jason. Even with Hera's blessing, the Quest for the Golden Fleece was fraught with hardships and dangers Jason was guided by his own good sense and the omens of the Immortals during the perilous journey Zeus was intent on punishing Jason and Medeia but Hera was equally intent on saving them.
In order to reach Kirke's island, Jason had to sail the Argo past the six-headed Skylla and the whirlpool Charybdis Skylla would swoop down from her rocky perch and snatch sailors from the decks of their ships Charybdis was a vicious whirlpool that would suck and spew torrents of water to sink passing ships. If he survived Skylla and Charybdis, Jason would then have navigate the waters of the forbidding Planktae, also known as the Wandering Rocks or the Rovers.
The Planktae were giant stone islands that clashed together to destroy anyone and anything caught between them In order to put her plans into motion, Hera sent the wind-footed goddess Iris to summon Thetis to Mount Olympos. Iris found Thetis at her father's house under the sea Iris explained Jason's peril to Thetis and asked her to come to Olympos and meet with Hera.
Thetis flew to Mount Olympos without hesitation. With kind words and a certain amount of urgency, Hera explained that the Quest for the Golden Fleece was within "a hair's breath" of failure. She asked Thetis to enlist the help of her sisters and calm the seas so that Jason and the Argonauts could sail past the dreaded monsters Skylla and Charybdis without incident Thetis replied that if Hephaistos would not vent his fires into the sea and if the Master of the Winds, Aeolus, would keep his charges in check, the Nereids would lend their protection to Jason and his crew.
The Nereids swam to the Argonauts and a truly amazing spectacle took place. On one side of the sea passage was the steep rock of Skylla and on the other side Charybdis spouted and roared As the Argo drew near the Planktae, the Nereids surrounded the vessel as Thetis grasped the rudder-blade under the ship. In a way reminiscent of dolphins, the Nereids darted upward and circled around the ship while Thetis guided its course.