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Oceanus, God of Waters
Titans and the Golden Age of Man in Greek Mythology
Oceanus, God of Waters
Parents: Uranus (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth)
In Greek mythology and classical antiquity, the Titan god Oceanus personified the world ocean. He was the god of seas, lakes, rivers, oceans, all bodies of water. It is believed by some scholars that Oceanus was god of only salt waters.
Oceanus is considered the god of the outer sea encircling the earth at the equator, thus he flows back upon himself. From the union of Oceanus and his sister Tethys, the sea goddess, came their children, the Oceanids (sea nymphs), and the river gods. The Oceanids were the 3000 daughters. Each daughter became a patroness of a particular spring, river, ocean, lake, pond, pasture, flower or cloud. Their 3000 sons became river gods. Although most scholars limit the Oceanids in reference to only the daughters, the sons are included by other sources.
In the Theogony, Hesiod (8th to 7th century BC) wrote:
(ll. 334-345) And Tethys bare to Ocean eddying rivers, Nilus, and Alpheus, and deep-swirling Eridanus, Strymon, and Meander, and the fair stream of Ister, and Phasis, and Rhesus, and the silver eddies of Achelous, Nessus, and Rhodius, Haliacmon, and Heptaporus, Granicus, and Aesepus, and holy Simois, and Peneus, and Hermus, and Caicus fair stream, and great Sangarius, Ladon, Parthenius, Euenus, Ardescus, and divine Scamander.
In the Iliad by Homer, Hera twice speaks of her journey "to the ends of the generous earth on a visit to Oceanus, whence the gods have risen, and Tethys our mother who brought me up kindly in their own house." In classical Greek mythology, Hera is the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus. She is the goddess of women and marriage.
Also in the Iliad, When Odysseus and Nestor walk together along the shore of the sounding sea their prayers are addressed "to the great Sea-god (Oceanus) who girdles the world."
Oceanus is depicted in Hellenistic and Roman mosaics with an upper body of a muscular man with a long beard and horns of crab claws, and the lower torso of a serpent. He is sometimes portrayed with the lower body being that of a fish. The beautiful sculpture above was created by Pietro Bracci in the early 1760's. The statue received a place of honor in the central niche of the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy. The fountain was completed in 1762. It is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome and one of the most famous fountains in the entire world.
Although Oceanus is a Titan, it seems he was not a war god, or at least preferred not to be. In the stories of the war of the Titans and the Olympians, Oceanus did not participate. He withdrew from the Battles of the Titans along with his brothers Prometheus and Themis. The war with the Olympians lasted ten years. Nor did Oceanus take part in the revolt against his father, Uranus, when his brother Cronus betrayed Uranus.
That Long Scan of Waves
By that long scan of waves, myself call'd back, resumed upon myself,
In every crest some undulating light or shade--some retrospect,
Joys, travels, studies, silent panoramas--scenes ephemeral,
The long past war, the battles, hospital sights, the wounded and the dead,
Myself through every by-gone phase--my idle youth--old age at hand,
My three-score years of life summ'd up, and more, and past,
By any grand ideal tried, intentionless, the whole a nothing,
And haply yet some drop within God's scheme's ensemble--some
wave, or part of wave,
Like one of yours, ye multitudinous ocean.
- Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
Photographs of Oceanus retrieved from Wikimedia Commons, is in the Public Domain
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