Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Thetis

In Greek mythology, Thetis was described as the daughter of Nereus and Doris, and the leader of the fifty Nereid.  Thetis was the goddess of sea, and like many other sea gods she possessed the gift of prophesy and power to change her shape at will.     
Thetis

                                                                             When Hephaestus had been cast from heaven by his mother Hera at birth, because she was ashamed at bearing a lame or crippled son. Hephaestus was rescued by Thetis and Eurynome, and raised in a cave on the shores of river Oceanus, where he became a skilled smith. 

Dionysus, Thetis and sea nymphs

                                              When Dionysus was pursued by Lycurgus and took refuge in the sea, Thetis gave him a kindly welcome and he gave her the amphora (a golden urn). 
                           
                          Zeus and Poseidon were attracted towards Thetis stunning beauty and wanted to marry or establish sexual relation with her. But when Themis, the goddess of justice, declared that son of  Thetis would be stronger than his father, the two gods bowed out. In order to ensure a mortal father for her eventual offspring, Zeus and Poseidon made arrangements for her to marry a human,  Peleus, the king of Myrmidons of Thessaly.         
                                  

                                        In some versions,  Thetis rejected to have sex with Zeus because she was brought up by his wife, Hera. So Zeus in fury wanted to marry her off to a mortal. 
Zeus and Thetis

                                     In some versions, when Zeus was eager to have sex with Thetis, Prometheus told him that his son by her would be stronger than him. For fear the world might ever have a greater than himself. Zeus shunned the bed of Thetis, fair sea-goddess, though his heart was fired with no cool flame and commanded his mortal grandson Peleus to marry her.  

                            Thetis unwilling to wed a mortal, resisted Peleus' advance by changing herself into various shapes. Peleus prayed to the sea god, Proteus, offering wine poured on the water, smoke of incense, flesh of sheep, till Proteus gave advice to him how to gain Thetis as his bride.  Or in some versions, Chinon informed his friend Peleus how he might gain possession of Thetis.  
    
Peleus and Thetis

                       When Thetis was sleeping in her rocky cave, Peleus caught her off guard and trussed her tight with ropes that she would not escape by changing forms. She did shift shapes, becoming flame, water, a raging lioness, and a snake. Peleus held fast, whatever shape Thetis change, until she came into her original shape. Thetis felt her body trussed, her arms pinioned apart. She surrendered herself and Peleus had sex with her. Thetis also agreed to marry him. The child of their union was the warrior Achilles. In rear version, Thetis was described to bore seven children, all of whom perished to render them immortal by fire or when she destroyed them as the tokens of an unwilling alliance.
                        
The feast of the gods at he wedding of Peleus and Thetis
                             The wedding of Thetis and Peleus was celebrated on Mt Pelion outside the cave of Chiron and attended by the deities. At the marriage celebration, Apollo played the lyre and Muses sang. At the wedding Chiron gave Peleus a spear that had been polished by goddess Athene and had a blade forged by Hephaestus. Poseidon gave him the immortal horses Balius and Xanthus.
Eris with golden apple

                                               Eris, goddess of discord, had not been invited.  Eris threw a golden apple into the midst of the goddesses that was to be awarded only "to the fairest". In most interpretation the aware was made during the Judgement of Paris and eventually occasioned the Trojan War.  
Thetis dipped Achilles in the water of the river Styx

                                       Thetis bestowed upon her son, Achilles, the tenderest care and love. Her prayers to Zeus for Achilles were listened because at one time when Zeus was threatened by gods she induced Briareus or Aegaeon to come to his assistance. According to one version, Thetis dipped child Achilles in the waters of the River Styx, by which he became invulnerable, except for the part of his heel by which she held him—the proverbial “Achilles’ heel.” According to some versions, Thetis without the knowledge of Peleus, used to put the baby in the fire by night in order to destroy the mortal element which Achilles had inherited from Peleus, while anointing him with ambrosia during the day. But when Peleus saw the child writhing on the fire, he cried out, thus preventing Thetis from accomplishing her purpose. Then she threw the screaming child to the ground, and leaving both husband and son and never returned again to Phthia, though she always kept an eye on her offspring. Peleus gave Achilles to the centaur Chiron, to raise on Mt. Pelion.
Thetis bring armor for Achilles

                                                    When the Trojan War broke out, Thetis was anxious and concealed Achilles, disguised as a girl, at the court of Lycomedes. When Odysseus found that one of the girls at court was not a girl, he came up with a plan to reveal the truth. 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.


When Achilles was killed by Paris, Thetis came from the sea with the Nereids to mourn him, and she collected his ashes in a golden urn, raised a monument to his memory, and instituted commemorative festivals.


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