Perse (mythology)

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Member of Oceanids
Personal information
ParentsOceanus and Tethys
SiblingsOceanids, Potamoi
ChildrenCirce, Aeetes, Pasiphae, Perses, Aloeus

In Greek mythology, Perse (Ancient Greek: Πέρση) was one of the 3,000 Oceanid, water-nymph daughters of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys.[1][2][3] Her name was also spelled as Persa, Persea[4] or Perseis (Περσηίς).[5]


Perse was one of the wives of the sun god, Helios.[6][7] According to Homer and Hesiod, with Helios she had Circe and Aeetes,[8] with later authors also mentioning her children Pasiphae,[9] Perses[10] and Aloeus.[11]

When Aphrodite cursed Helios to fall in love with the mortal princess Leucothoe, he is said to have forgotten even about Perse.[12] She seems to have been linked to witchcraft and knowledge of herbs and potions, much like her daughters Circe and Pasiphae.[13] She might have also been associated with the witchcraft goddess Hecate, who was also called Perseis (as in "daughter of Perses")[14] and who is said to be Circe's mother in one version.[15]

Possible connections[edit]

Perseis' name has been linked to Περσίς (Persís), "female Persian", and πέρθω (pérthō), "destroy" or "slay" or "plunder".

An inscription of Mycenaean Greek (written in Linear B) was found on a tablet from Pylos, dating back to 1400–1200 BC. John Chadwick reconstructed[n 1] the name of a goddess, *Preswa who could be identified with Perse. Chadwick found speculative the further identification with the first element of Persephone.[17][18]


  1. ^ The actual word in Linear B is 𐀟𐀩𐁚, pe-re-*82 or pe-re-swa; it is found on the PY Tn 316 tablet.[16]


  1. ^ Hesiod, Theogony 356
  2. ^ Kerényi, Carl (1951). The Gods of the Greeks. London: Thames and Hudson. p. 40.
  3. ^ Bane, Theresa (2013). Encyclopedia of Fairies in World Folklore and Mythology. McFarland, Incorporated, Publishers. p. 270. ISBN 9780786471119.
  4. ^ Virgil, Ciris 66
  5. ^ Tzetzes on Lycophron, Alexandra 798
  6. ^ Hecataeus of Miletus, fr. 35A Fowler
  7. ^ Hard, p. 44
  8. ^ Homer, Odyssey 10.135; Hesiod, Theogony 956
  9. ^ Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 4.591; Apollodorus, 1.9.1; Cicero, De Natura Deorum 48.4
  10. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae Preface
  11. ^ Tzetzes ad Lycophron, Alexandra 174
  12. ^ Ovid, Metamorphoses 4.205
  13. ^ Ovid, The Cure for Love Part IV
  14. ^ Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 3.478
  15. ^ Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica 4.45.1
  16. ^ Raymoure, K.A. "pe-re-*82". Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B. Deaditerranean. "PY 316 Tn (44)". DĀMOS: Database of Mycenaean at Oslo. University of Oslo.
  17. ^ Chadwick, John (1976). The Mycenaean World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 95. ISBN 0-521-29037-6. At Google Books.
  18. ^ Comments about the goddess pe-re-*82 of Pylos tablet Tn 316, tentatively reconstructed as *Preswa
    "It is tempting to see ... the classical Perse ... daughter of Oceanus ... ; whether it may be further identified with the first element of Persephone is only speculative." John Chadwick. Documents in Mycenean Greek. Second Edition


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