"...It is most advantageous, when truly wise, to be deemed a fool."
(Oceanus to Prometheus: Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, 386)
|Oceanus, resin and mixed media, 50 x 36 x 36 cm. 2015|
Oceanus, constellations detail's, resin and mixed media, 50 x 36 x 36 cm. 2015
OCE′ANUS (Ôkeanos), was theTitan god or Protogenos (primeval deity) of the great earth-encircling river Okeanos, the font of all the earth's fresh-water: including rivers, wells, springs and rain-clouds. God of the river Oceanus, by which, according to the most ancient notions of the Greeks, the whole earth was surrounded. An account of this river belongs to mythical geography, and we shall here confine ourselves to describing the place which Oceanus holds in the ancient cosmogony. Okeanos was also the god who regulated the rising and setting of the heavenly bodies which were believed to emerge and descend into his watery realm at the ends of the earth.
Oceanus is the god of the backward-flowing river that encircles the Earth and is the source of all rivers, oceans and seas. In a conversation between Circe and Odysseus, Homer tells us through Circe (Odyssey 10.510) that we have to cross this river in order to reach Hades: " . . . when in your ship you have now crossed the stream of Oceanus, where is a level shore and the groves of Persephone . . . beach your boat there by Ocean's swirling streams and march on into Hades ' dark house."
About his wife Tethys it is told that she nursed and protected Hera at the time when the OLYMPIANS were fighting the TITANS. The constellation of the Great Bear (Callisto) never sets because Tethys has forbidden her to dip herself in the ocean, and that is so because Tethys, wife of Oceanus, was Hera's nurse, and Callisto a concubine in Hera's bed. When Aesacus 1, a Trojan interpreter of dreams who declared that the newborn Paris was to become the ruin of the country, leaped into the sea out of grief because of his wife's death, Tethys transformed him into a diving bird.
|4th Century Mosaic The old sea-god Okeanos, depicted with crab-claw horns, sits beside his wife Tethys, whose temples are decked with wings.|
In the Homeric poems he appears as a mighty god, who yields to none save Zeus. (Il. xiv. 245, xx. 7, xxi. 195.) Homer does not mention his parentage, but calls Tethys his wife, by whom he had three daughters, Thetis, Eurynome and Perse. (Il. xiv. 302, xviii. 398, Od. x. 139.) His palace is placed somewhere in the west (Il. xiv. 303, &c.), and there he and Tethys brought up Hera, who was conveyed to them at the time when Zeus was engaged in the struggle with the Titans. Hesiod (Theog. 133, 337, &c., 349, &c.) calls Oceanus a son of Uranus and Gaea, the eldest of the Titans, and the husband of Tethys, by whom he begot 3000 rivers, and as many Oceanides, of whom Hesiod mentions only the eldest. (Comp. Apollod. iii. 8. § 1, 10. § 1.)
Representations of the god are seen on imperial coins of Tyre and Alexandria.