Coeus

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In Greek mythology, Coeus (Ancient Greek: Κοῖος, Koios, "query, questioning") was one of the Titans, the giant sons and daughters of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth). His equivalent in Latin poetry—though he scarcely makes an appearance in Roman mythology[1]—was Polus,[2] the embodiment of the celestial axis around which the heavens revolve. The etymology of Coeus' name provided several scholars the theory that Coeus was also the Titan god of intellect, who represented the inquisitive mind.

Like most of the Titans he played no active part in Greek religion—he appears only in lists of Titans[3]—but was primarily important for his descendants.[4] With his sister, "shining" Phoebe, Coeus fathered Leto[5] and Asteria.[6] Though it is not explicitly mentioned, Lelantos was implied to be a son of Coeus, or at least Leto's male counterpart. Leto copulated with Zeus (the son of fellow Titans Cronus and Rhea) and bore Artemis and Apollo.

Given that Phoebe symbolized prophetic wisdom just as Coeus represented rational intelligence, the couple may have possibly functioned together as the primal font of all knowledge in the cosmos. Along with the other Titans, Coeus was overthrown by Zeus and other Olympians. After the Titan War, he and all his brothers were banished into Tartarus by Zeus. Coeus, later overcome with madness, broke free from his bonds and attempted to escape his imprisonment, but was repelled by Cerberus. [7]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ovid in Metamorphoses (VI.185) alludes to Coeus' obscure nature: "Latona, that Titaness whom Coeus sired, whoever he may be." (nescio quoque audete satam Titanida Coeo): M. L. West, in "Hesiod's Titans" (The Journal of Hellenic Studies 105 [1985:174–175]) remarks that Phoibe's "consort Koios is an even more obscure quantity. Perhaps he too had originally to with Delphic divination", and he suspects that Phoebe, Koios and Themis were Delphic additions to the list of Titanes, drawn from various archaic sources.
  2. ^ Specifically in the surviving epitome of Hyginus' Preface to the Fabulae; the name of Coeus is repeated in the list of Gigantes.
  3. ^ Such as Hesiod, Theogony 133; Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke 1.2–1.3; Diodorus Siculus, 5.66.1.
  4. ^ Hesiod included among his descendents Hekate, daughter of Asteriē, as Apostolos N. Athanassakis, noted, correcting the OCD, noted (Athanassakis, "Hekate Is Not the Daughter of Koios and Phoibe" The Classical World 71.2 [October 1977:127]); R. Renehan expanded the note in "Hekate, H. J. Rose, and C. M. Bowra", The Classical World, 73.5 (February 1980:302–304).
  5. ^ Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo, 61; in the Orphic Hymn to Leto she is Leto Koiantes, "Leto, daughter of Koios".
  6. ^ Hesiod, Theogony 404 ff; Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke 1.8.
  7. ^ Valerius Flaccus, "Argonautica" 3. 224 ff

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