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Oceanus
Oceanus
(/oʊˈsiːənəs/; Greek: Ὠκεανός Ōkeanós,[1] pronounced [ɔːkeanós]), also known as Ogenus (Ὤγενος Ōgenos or Ὠγηνός Ōgēnos) or Ogen (Ὠγήν Ōgēn),[2] was a divine figure in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the divine personification of the sea, an enormous river encircling the world.

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Mythological account 3 Iconography 4 In cosmography and geography 5 Genealogical chart 6 See also 7 References 8 Sources 9 External links

Etymology[edit]

Oceanus
Oceanus
attending the Wedding of Peleus
Peleus
and Thetis
Thetis
on an Athenian, black-figure Dinos
Dinos
by Sophilos, c. 590 BC (British Museum)

R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek proto-form *-kay-an-.[3] In contrast, Michael Janda has reminded the scientific community of an earlier comparison[4] of the Vedic
Vedic
dragon Vṛtra's attribute āśáyāna- "lying on [the waters]" and Greek Ὠκεανός (Ōkeanós), which he sees as phonetical equivalents of each other, both stemming from a Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European
(PIE) root *ō-kei-ṃ[h1]no- "lying on", related to Greek κεῖσθαι (keîsthai "to lie").[5] Janda furthermore points to early depictions of Okeanos with a snake's body,[6] which seem to confirm the mythological parallel with the Vedic
Vedic
dragon Vṛtra. Another parallel naming can be found in Greek ποταμός (potamós "broad body of water") and Old English
Old English
fæðm "embrace, envelopment, fathom" which is notably attested in the Old English
Old English
poem Helena (v. 765) as dracan fæðme "embrace of the dragon" and is furthermore related (via Germanic *faþma "spreading, embrace") to Old Norse Faðmir or Fáfnir
Fáfnir
the well-known name of a dragon in the 13th century Völsunga saga; all three words derive from PIE *poth2mos "spreading, expansion" and thus bind together the Greek word for a "broad river, stream" with the Germanic expressions connected to the dragon's "embrace".[5]

Left to right: Nereus, Doris, a Giant (kneeling), and Oceanus, detail from the Pergamon Altar
Pergamon Altar
Gigantomachy

Mythological account[edit]

River
River
Divinity, second century AD, Farnese collection, Naples National Archaeological Museum

According to Homer, Oceanus
Oceanus
was the ocean-stream at the margin of the habitable world (οἰκουμένη, oikouménē), the father of everything,[7][8] limiting it from the underworld[9] and flowing around the Elysium.[10] Hence Odysseus
Odysseus
has to traverse it in order to arrive in the realm of the dead.[11] In the Iliad, Hera
Hera
mentions her intended journey to her foster parents, namely "Oceanus, from whom they all are sprung":

εἶμι γὰρ ὀψομένη πολυφόρβου πείρατα γαίης, Ὠκεανόν τε θεῶν γένεσιν καὶ μητέρα Τηθύν, οἵ μ' ἐν σφοῖσι δόμοισιν ἐὺ τρέφον ἠδ' ἀτίταλλον δεξάμενοι Ῥείας […]

(For I am faring to visit the limits of the all-nurturing earth, and Oceanus, from whom the gods are sprung, and mother Tethys, even them that lovingly nursed and cherished me in their halls, when they had taken me from Rhea […])[7]

Helios
Helios
rises from the deep-flowing Oceanus
Oceanus
in the east[12] and at the end of the day sinks back into the Oceanus
Oceanus
in the west.[13] Also the other stars "bathe […] in the stream of Ocean".[14] Oceanus
Oceanus
is called βαθύρροος (“deep-flowing”)[15] and ἀψόρροος (“flowing back to itself, circular”),[16] the latter quality being reflected in its depiction on the shield of Achilles:

Ἐν δ' ἐτίθει ποταμοῖο μέγα σθένος Ὠκεανοῖο ἄντυγα πὰρ πυμάτην σάκεος πύκα ποιητοῖο.

(Therein he set also the great might of the river Oceanus, around the uttermost rim of the strongly-wrought shield.)[17]

Oceanus
Oceanus
faced gargoyle, originally from Treuchtlingen, Bavaria, now at the Staatliche Antikensammlungen, Munich

In Greek mythology, this ocean-stream was personified as a Titan, the eldest son of Uranus and Gaia. Oceanus' consort is his sister Tethys, and from their union came the ocean nymphs, also referred to as the three-thousand Oceanids, and all the rivers of the world, fountains, and lakes.[18] In most variations of the war between the Titans and the Olympians, or Titanomachy, Oceanus, along with Prometheus
Prometheus
and Themis, did not take the side of his fellow Titans against the Olympians, but instead withdrew from the conflict. In most variations of this myth, Oceanus also refused to side with Cronus
Cronus
in the latter's revolt against their father, Uranus. He is, it appears, some sort of an outlaw to the society of Gods, as he also does not – and unlike all the other river gods, his sons – take part in the convention of gods on Mount Olympus.[19] Besides, Oceanus
Oceanus
appears as a representative of the archaic world that Heracles
Heracles
constantly threatened and bested. As such, the Suda identifies Oceanus
Oceanus
and Tethys as the parents of the two Kerkopes, whom Heracles
Heracles
also bested. Heracles
Heracles
forced Helios
Helios
to lend him his golden bowl, in order to cross the wide expanse of the Ocean
Ocean
on his trip to the Hesperides. When Oceanus
Oceanus
tossed the bowl about, Heracles threatened him and stilled his waves. The journey of Heracles
Heracles
in the sun-bowl upon Oceanus
Oceanus
became a favored theme among painters of Attic pottery. Iconography[edit]

Mosaic depicting Oceanus
Oceanus
and Tethys, Zeugma Mosaic Museum, Gaziantep

In Hellenistic and Roman mosaics, this Titan was often depicted as having the upper body of a muscular man with a long beard and horns (often represented as the claws of a crab) and the lower body of a serpent (cfr. Typhon). On a fragmentary archaic vessel of circa 580 BC ( British Museum
British Museum
1971.11-1.1), among the gods arriving at the wedding of Peleus
Peleus
and the sea-nymph Thetis, is a fish-tailed Oceanus, with a fish in one hand and a serpent in the other, gifts of bounty and prophecy.[6] In Roman mosaics, such as that from Bardo, he might carry a steering-oar and cradle a ship.

In cosmography and geography[edit]

Head of Oceanus
Oceanus
from Tivoli's second century Hadrian's Villa, Vatican Museum

Oceanus
Oceanus
appears in Hellenic cosmography as well as myth. Both Homer[20] and Hesiod[21] refer to Okeanós Potamós, the "Ocean Stream". When Odysseus
Odysseus
and Nestor walk together along the shore of the sounding sea they address their prayers "to the great Sea-god who girdles the world".[22] Cartographers continued to represent the encircling equatorial stream much as it had appeared on Achilles' shield.[8] Herodotus
Herodotus
was skeptical about the physical existence of Oceanus
Oceanus
and rejected the reasoning—proposed by some of his coevals—according to which the uncommon phenomenon of the summerly Nile flood
Nile flood
was caused by the river's connection to the mighty Oceanus. Speaking about the Oceanus
Oceanus
myth itself he declared:

As for the writer who attributes the phenomenon to the ocean, his account is involved in such obscurity that it is impossible to disprove it by argument. For my part I know of no river called Ocean, and I think that Homer, or one of the earlier poets, invented the name, and introduced it into his poetry.[23]

Some scholars[who?] believe that Oceanus
Oceanus
originally represented all bodies of salt water, including the Mediterranean Sea
Sea
and the Atlantic Ocean, the two largest bodies known to the ancient Greeks.[citation needed] However, as geography became more accurate, Oceanus
Oceanus
came to represent the stranger, more unknown waters of the Atlantic Ocean (also called the " Ocean
Ocean
Sea"), while the newcomer of a later generation, Poseidon, ruled over the Mediterranean Sea.[citation needed] Late attestations for an equation with the Black Sea
Sea
abound, the cause being – as it appears – Odysseus' travel to the Cimmerians
Cimmerians
whose fatherland, lying beyond the Oceanus, is described as a country divested from sunlight.[9] In the fourth century BC, Hecataeus of Abdera writes that the Oceanus
Oceanus
of the Hyperboreans
Hyperboreans
is neither the Arctic nor Western Ocean, but the sea located to the north of the ancient Greek world, namely the Black Sea, called "the most admirable of all seas" by Herodotus,[24] labelled the "immense sea" by Pomponius Mela[25] and by Dionysius Periegetes,[26] and which is named Mare majus on medieval geographic maps. Apollonius of Rhodes, similarly, calls the lower Danube the Kéras Okeanoío ("Gulf" or "Horn of Oceanus").[27] Hecataeus of Abdera also refers to a holy island, sacred to the Pelasgian (and later, Greek) Apollo, situated in the easternmost part of the Okeanós Potamós, and called in different times Leuke or Leukos, Alba, Fidonisi or Isle of Snakes. It was on Leuke, in one version of his legend, that the hero Achilles, in a hilly tumulus, was buried (which is erroneously connected to the modern town of Kiliya, at the Danube delta). Accion ("ocean"), in the fourth century AD Gaulish Latin of Avienus' Ora maritima, was applied to great lakes.[28] Genealogical chart[edit]

Oceanus's family tree [29]

Uranus

Gaia

Pontus

OCEANUS

Tethys

Hyperion

Theia

Crius

Eurybia

The Rivers

The Oceanids

Helios

Selene [30]

Eos

Astraeus

Pallas

Perses

Cronus

Rhea

Coeus

Phoebe

Hestia

Hera

Hades

Zeus

Leto

Asteria

Demeter

Poseidon

Iapetus

Clymene (or Asia) [31]

Themis

(Zeus)

Mnemosyne

Atlas [32]

Menoetius

Prometheus [33]

Epimetheus

The Horae

The Muses

See also[edit]

Oceanid NOAAS Okeanos Explorer (R 337) Ogyges Rasā Uranus

References[edit]

^ Ὠκεανός. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project. ^ Ὤγενος in Liddell and Scott. ^ Robert S. P. Beekes: Etymological Dictionary of Greek. Brill, 2009, p. xxxv. ^ Traced back to Adalbert Kuhn, ὠκεανός, in: Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung auf dem Gebiet des Deutschen, Griechischen und Lateinischen, vol. 9 (1860), 240, who had refined an earlier suggestion by Theodor Benfey. At around the same time, the Swiss linguist Adolphe Pictet
Adolphe Pictet
had published quite the same discovery in his Les origines indo-européennes, ou les Aryas primitifs. Essai de paléontologie linguistique. Paris 1859, Band 1, S. 116. ^ a b Michael Janda: Die Musik nach dem Chaos. Der Schöpfungsmythos der europäischen Vorzeit. Institut für Sprachwissenschaft der Universität Innsbruck, Innsbruck 2010, p. 57 ff. ^ a b London 1971.11-1.1 (Vase) at the Perseus Digital Library. See the whole object in several photos on the site of the British Museum. Cfr. also the entry on Theoi Greek Mythology. ^ a b Iliad
Iliad
XIV, 200 ff., 245 f. and 301 ff. ^ a b Livio Catullo Stecchini. "Ancient Cosmology". www.metrum.org. Retrieved 2017-03-30.  ^ a b Odyssey
Odyssey
XI, 13–19. ^ Odyssey
Odyssey
IV, 563–569. ^ Odyssey
Odyssey
XI, 639 f. ^ Iliad
Iliad
VII, 421 f.; VIII, 485; XVIII, 239 ff.; Odyssey
Odyssey
XIX, 433 f. ^ Iliad
Iliad
VIII, 485. ^ Iliad
Iliad
V, 5; XVIII, 489. ^ Iliad
Iliad
VII, 422; XIV, 311. ^ Iliad
Iliad
XVIII, 399; Odyssey
Odyssey
XX, 65. ^ Iliad
Iliad
XVIII, 607 f. ^ The late classical poet Nonnus
Nonnus
mentioned "the Limnai [Lakes], liquid daughters of Oceanus" (Dionysiaca VI, 352). ^ Iliad
Iliad
XX, 4–8. ^ Odyssey
Odyssey
XII, 1. ^ Theogonia V, 242, 959. ^ Iliad
Iliad
IX, 182. ^ Histories II, 21 ff. ^ Histories IV, 85. ^ De situ orbis I, 19. ^ Orbis Descriptio V, 165. ^ Argonautica
Argonautica
IV, 282. ^ Mullerus in Cl. Ptolemaei Geographia, ed. Didot, p. 235. ^ Hesiod, Theogony
Theogony
132–138, 337–411, 453–520, 901–906, 915–920; Caldwell, pp. 8–11, tables 11–14. ^ Although usually the daughter of Hyperion and Theia, as in Hesiod, Theogony
Theogony
371–374, in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes
Hermes
(4), 99–100, Selene
Selene
is instead made the daughter of Pallas the son of Megamedes. ^ According to Hesiod, Theogony
Theogony
507–511, Clymene, one of the Oceanids, the daughters of Oceanus
Oceanus
and Tethys, at Hesiod, Theogony 351, was the mother by Iapetus of Atlas, Menoetius, Prometheus, and Epimetheus, while according to Apollodorus, 1.2.3, another Oceanid, Asia was their mother by Iapetus. ^ According to Plato, Critias, 113d–114a, Atlas was the son of Poseidon
Poseidon
and the mortal Cleito. ^ In Aeschylus, Prometheus
Prometheus
Bound 18, 211, 873 (Sommerstein, pp. 444–445 n. 2, 446–447 n. 24, 538–539 n. 113) Prometheus
Prometheus
is made to be the son of Themis.

Sources[edit]

Greek mythology
Greek mythology
portal

Aeschylus, Persians. Seven against Thebes. Suppliants. Prometheus Bound. Edited and translated by Alan H. Sommerstein. Loeb Classical Library No. 145. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-674-99627-4. Online version at Harvard University Press. Apollodorus, Apollodorus, The Library, with an English Translation by Sir James George Frazer, F.B.A., F.R.S. in 2 Volumes. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1921. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Caldwell, Richard, Hesiod's Theogony, Focus Publishing/R. Pullins Company (June 1, 1987). ISBN 978-0-941051-00-2. Hesiod, Theogony, in The Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White, Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1914. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Hymn to Hermes
Hermes
(4), in The Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White, Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1914. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Karl Kerenyi. The Gods of the Greeks. Thames and Hudson, 1951.

External links[edit]

Livio Catullo Stecchini, "Ancient Cosmology"  "Oceanus". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911. 

v t e

Ancient Greek deities by affiliation

Primordial deities

Achlys Aether Aion/Chronos Ananke Chaos Erebus Eros/Phanes Gaia Hemera Nyx The Ourea Pontus/Thalassa Tartarus Uranus Fates

Atropos Clotho Lachesis

Titan deities

Titanes (male)

Coeus Crius Cronus Hyperion Iapetus Oceanus Ophion

Titanides (female)

Dione Eurybia Mnemosyne Phoebe Rhea Tethys Theia Themis

Hyperionides

Eos Helios Selene

Koionides

Asteria Leto

Krionides

Astraeus Pallas Perses

Iapetionides

Atlas Epimetheus Menoetius Prometheus

Mousai (Muses)

Aoide Arche Melete Mneme

Olympian deities

Dodekatheon

Aphrodite Apollo Ares Artemis Athena Demeter Dionysus Hephaestus Hera Hermes Hestia Poseidon Zeus

Theoi Olympioi

Asclepius Deimos Ganymede Eileithyia Enyo Eris Iris Harmonia Hebe Heracles Paean Pan Phobos

Mousai (Muses)

Daughters of Zeus

Calliope Clio Euterpe Erato Melpomene Polyhymnia Terpsichore Thalia Urania

Daughters of Apollo

Apollonis Borysthenis Cephisso

Muses
Muses
of the Lyre

Hypate Mese Nete

Muses
Muses
at Sicyon

Polymatheia

Charites
Charites
(Graces)

Aglaea Antheia Euphrosyne Hegemone Pasithea Thalia

Horae
Horae
(Hours)

Dike Eirene Eunomia

Styktides

Bia Kratos Nike Zelos

Aquatic deities

Theoi Halioi

Amphitrite Benthesikyme Brizo Calypso Ceto Glaucus The Ichthyocentaurs Kymopoleia Leucothea Melicertes Nereus Nerites The Nesoi Oceanus Phorcys Pontus/Thalassa Poseidon Proteus Rhodos Tethys Thaumas Thetis Triton

Oceanids

Acaste Admete Adrasteia Amalthea Asia Callirrhoe Ceto Clytie Dione Dodone Doris Electra Eurynome Idyia Melia Metis Nemesis Perse Pleione Plouto Styx Telesto Zeuxo

Nereides

Amphitrite Arethusa Dynamene Galatea Galene Psamathe Thetis

Potamoi

Achelous Almo Alpheus Anapos Asopus Asterion Axius Caanthus Cebren Cephissus Clitumnus Enipeus Kladeos Meander Nilus Numicus Phyllis Peneus Rivers of the Underworld

Cocytus Eridanos Lethe Phlegethon Styx

Sangarius Scamander Simoeis Strymon

Naiads

Aegina Achiroe Aganippe The Anigrides Argyra Bistonis Bolbe Caliadne Cassotis Castalia Cleocharia Creusa Daphne Drosera Harpina The Ionides Ismenis Larunda Lilaea Liriope Melite Metope Minthe Moria Nana Nicaea Orseis Pallas Pirene Salmacis Stilbe The Thriae

Corycia Kleodora Melaina

Tiasa

Chthonic deities

Theoi Chthonioi

Angelos Demeter Gaia Hades Hecate The Lampads Macaria Melinoë Persephone Zagreus

Erinyes
Erinyes
(Furies)

Alecto Megaera Tisiphone

Earthborn

Cyclopes Gigantes Hecatonchires Kouretes Meliae Telchines Typhon

Apotheothenai

Trophonius Triptolemus Orpheus Aeacus Minos Rhadamanthus

Personifications

Children of Nyx

Achlys Apate Dolos Eleos Elpis Epiphron Eris Geras Hesperides Hybris Hypnos Ker The Keres The Moirai

Aisa Clotho Lachesis

Momus Moros Oizys The Oneiroi

Epiales Morpheus Phantasos Phobetor

Nemesis Philotes Sophrosyne Thanatos

Children of Eris

Algos Amphillogiai Ate The Androktasiai Dysnomia Horkos Hysminai Lethe Limos Machai Phonoi Ponos Neikea Pseudea Logoi

Children of other gods

Aergia Aidos Alala Aletheia Angelia Arete Bia Caerus The Younger Charites

Eucleia Eupheme Euthenia Philophrosyne

Corus Deimos The Erotes

Anteros Eros Hedylogos Hermaphroditus Hymen

Eupraxia Hedone Homonoia Iacchus Kratos The Litae Homonoia Nike Peitho Phobos Tyche Zelos

Others

Adephagia Alala Alke Amechania Anaideia Alastor Apheleia Aporia The Arae Dikaiosyne Dyssebeia Ekecheiria Eulabeia Eusebeia Gelos Heimarmene Homados Horme Ioke Kakia Kalokagathia Koalemos Kydoimos Lyssa The Maniae Methe Nomos Palioxis Peitharchia Penia Penthus Pepromene Pheme Philotes Phrike Phthonus Pistis Poine Polemos Poros Praxidike Proioxis Prophasis Roma Soter Soteria Techne Thrasos

Other deities

Sky deities

The Anemoi The Astra Planeti

Stilbon Eosphorus Hesperus Pyroeis Phaethon Phaenon

Aura Chione The Hesperides The Hyades Nephele The Pleiades

Alcyone Sterope Celaeno Electra Maia Merope Taygete

Agricultural deities

Aphaea Ariadne Carmanor Demeter Despoina Eunostus Philomelus Plutus

Health deities

Asclepius Aceso Epione Iaso Hygieia Panacea Telesphorus

Rustic deities

Aetna The Alseids The Auloniads Amphictyonis The Anthousai Aristaeus Attis Britomartis The Cabeiri Comus The Dryades

Erato Eurydice The Hamadryades

Chrysopeleia

The Epimeliades Hecaterus Leuce Ma The Maenades The Meliae The Napaeae The Nymphai Hyperboreioi The Oreads

Adrasteia Echo Helike Iynx Nomia Oenone Pitys

The Pegasides Priapus Rhapso Silenus Telete

Others

Acratopotes Adrasteia Agdistis Alexiares and Anicetus Aphroditus Astraea Circe Eiresione Enyalius Harpocrates Ichnaea Palaestra

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 32796

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