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MITOLOGY DICTIONARY(T)

T

Taphius
The son of Poseidon and Hippothoe. He was regarded as the founder of the city Taphos on the island with the same name

Taras
The son of Poseidon. He traveled from the Peloponnesus to southern Italy where he founded Tarentum (Greek: Taras, the current Taranto). According to others, the city was founded by Heracles (Virgil III, 551).

Tartarus
Tartarus is the lowest region of the world, as far below earth as earth is from heaven. According to the Greek poet Hesiod, a bronze anvil falling from heaven would take nine days and nights to reach earth, and an object would take the same amount of time to fall from earth into Tartarus. Tartarus is described as a dank, gloomy pit, surrounded by a wall of bronze, and beyond that a three-fold layer of night. Along with Chaos, Earth, and Eros, it is one of the first entities to exist in the universe. While Hades is the main realm of the dead in Greek mythology, Tartarus also contains a number of characters. In early stories, it is primarily the prison for defeated gods; the Titans were condemned to Tartarus after losing their battle against the Olympian gods, and the hecatoncheires stood over them as guards at the bronze gates. When Zeus overcomes the monster Typhus, born from Tartarus and Gaia, he hurls it too into the same abyss. However, in later myths Tartarus becomes a place of punishment for sinners. It resembles Hell and is the opposite of Elysium, the afterlife for the blessed. When the hero Aeneas visits the underworld, he looks into Tartarus and sees the torments inflicted on characters such as the Titans, Tityos, Otus and Ephialtes, and the Lapiths. Rhadymanthus (and, in some versions, his brother Minos) judges the dead and assigns punishment.

Tartessos

The Myth Of Tartessos. The Greeks were fascinated by the notion of a mythical and fabulously wealthy kingdom in the far west beyond the Pillars of Hercules. It was a rich emporium of valuable and precious metals and the luxurious lives led by its inhabitants linked it in their minds to the legends of Atlantis and Hesperides, the Isles of the Blessed, which were located in the same direction and were maybe even in the same place. They called it Tartessos. Strabo, 58 BC-25 CE, who described it in his Geography was drawing very largely on Herodotos, 484 BCE - 420 BCE, who described in detail the immense wealth and generosity of the Tartessans and particularly of their King Arganthonios, "The Silver One". This included the story of a Greek sailor called Koliaos whose ship was blown off course and landed in Tartessos. After being royally entertained for some months, his ship was loaded up with silver and he was sent home. The story is also told of the Tartessans, in the 6th century BCE, giving the Phocaean Greeks 1 1/2 tons of silver to pay for a defensive wall around their city to keep out the Persians. And yet apart from a few fragments of trade goods in Andalusia in Southern Spain there is neither sign of a Tartessan civilization, nor any indication where the capital city might have been. The Phoenicians, who were based on some offshore islands near Cadiz, used Tartessan silver to pay tribute to the Assyrians who had captured their hometown of Tyre in the 7th century BCE. One result of this, it is claimed, was the collapse of the bullion market in Babylon. And yet apart from the mines of Rio Tinto which have been producing copper and silver and gold for 5000 years - the oldest mines in the world still to be in production - there is no evidence of this wealth nor what it bought or built. The Ancient Hebrews had their own myths of the fabulous and even sinful wealth of Tartessos or Tarshish as they called it. In Psalm 72 we can read of the kings of Tarshish bringing presents, in Jonah we can see how Jonah's plans to go to Tarshish so infuriated the Lord that he had Jonah swallowed by a whale as a punishment. In Chronicles, we read of King Jehosaphat building ships to go to Tarshish and the fury of the Lord causing them to be wrecked. In Kings we read of ships of Tartshish bringing the gold to decorate the Palace and the Temple of King Solomon, and in Kings and in Chronicles we can read of these same Ships of Tarshish bringing Peacocks and Apes and Ivory, which can only have been from India! So not only was Tarshish/Tartessos a legendary place but also their ships were legendary and capable of crossing the Indian Ocean. Tarshish is in fact the only European place mentioned in the Old Testament, yet apart from the 5000-year-old mining town, suggestively named Tharsis, in Andalusia in Southern Spain, nobody knows where Tarshish/Tartessos was located. Yet it is here in Andalusia that the Pillars of Hercules are located and here that Hercules/Heracles stole the Cattle of Geryon as one of his Ten Labours. And this is the home of the Spanish cult of the Bull as much as Knossos, buried under modern day Heraklion, was the home of the Minoan cult of the Bull. And it is almost certain that the Minoans traded in Tartessan Bronze for over 2000 years, supplying the Sumerians and the Ancient Egyptians and indeed the whole of the Mediterranean basin and beyond. Today only the ancient mines of Rio Tinto and Tharsis stand as mute witnesses to the past glories of Tartessos. In historical times the Romans made them the main source for financing the construction and expansion of the Empire and that in turn made Merida the nearest town to the mines, the tenth largest city of the Roman Empire, and Julius Caesar tapped their wealth to make good his claim to become Emperor. But before the Romans came to Andalusia, what we know of Tartessos is largely speculation, myth, legend and fable.

Taygete

One of Pleiades, Taygete was loved by Zeus but she prayed for Artemis to help her. Artemis turned her into a doe, but Zeus took advantage of her when she was unconscious and she gave birth to Lacedaemon.

Telchines

A mythical genus of priests that in ancient times migrated from Crete, via Cyprus, to Rhodos. They were regarded as the ones who reared Poseidon, and were particularly skilled in metallurgy. They were occasionally identified with the Cyclopes, Dactyls, or Curetes. When they slowly turned into vicious magicians they were killed by the gods.

Telemus

A seer among the Cyclopes.

Telesphorus
A Greek deity with healing powers, son of Asclepius and brother of Hygieia. He cult originated in Hellenistic times at Pergamum (ca. 200 BCE). Telesphorus was portrayed with a wide cloak and a low hood, occasionally wearing a with a Phrygian cap. Images can be found on coins and reliefs from Asia Minor.

Telesto

A sea nymph, daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. The tenth of Jupiter's moons is named after her.

Tereus

The son of Ares, and husband of Procne.

Terpsichore

One of the nine Muses of ancient Greece. Terpsichore is the Muse of dancing and the dramatic chorus, and later of lyric poetry. Hence the word terpsichorean, pertaining to dance. She is usually represented seated, and holding a lyre. According to some traditions, she is the mother of the Sirens with the river-god Achelous. She is also occasionally mentioned as the mother of Linus by Apollo.

Tethys
The personification of the fertile ocean. She married her brother Oceanus and had over 3000 children by him, they were the springs, lakes, rivers of the world. Tethys was the god-mother of Rhea and raised her during the civil war between the Titans and the Olympians.

Thalassa
Thalassa, also known as Thalatta, Thalath, or Tethys is the Greek personification of the sea. Aether and Hemera were her parents. Sheıs called the mother of Aphrodite by Zeus. She was the wife of Pontus and the mother of nine Telchines, who are known as fish children because they have flippers for hands; yet, they have the head of a dog. In some Greek stories, she is known as the mother of all. "Thalassa even goes by fish mother" This name is not only because she bore Telchines, itıs also because she is creator of all sea life. Thalassaıs name means 'sea'. A mercantile sea kingdom is also associated with her name: Thalassocracy. In Greece, she is specifically the personification of the Mediterranean Sea. Thalassa did not have god-like qualities. She was more of a metaphor than a person. She was also a vast, lonely sea on non-populated shores. So, she was never a goddess.

Thalia
The Muse who presided over comedy and pastoral poetry. She also favored rural pursuits and is represented holding a comic mask and a shepherd's crook (her attributes). Thalia is also the name of one of the Graces (Charites).

Thamyris

A legendary minstrel from Thrace who, because of his many victories, had become so vain that he challenged the Muses themselves to a contest. For this insult they struck him with blindness.

Thanatos

The Greek personification of death who dwells in the lower world. In the Iliad he appears as the twin brother of Hypnos ("sleep"). Both brothers had little to no meaning in the cults. Hesiod makes these two spirits the sons of Nyx, but mentions no father. Thanatos was portrayed as a youngster with a inversed torch in one hand and a wreath or butterfly in the other. He appears, with Hypnos, several times on Attican funerary vases, so-called lekythen. On a sculpted column in the Temple of Artemis at Ephese (4th century BCE) Thanatos is shown with two large wings and a sword attached to his girdle.

Thaumas
Thaumas ("wonder") is a Greek sea god and the son of Pontus and Gaia. By the Oceanid Electra he fathered the Harpy and Iris.

Thebe
1. The daughter of Zeus and the Boeotian nymph Iodame. She is the wife of King Ogyges. Their daughter is Aulis. 2. One of the Amazons. 3. According to Pindar, a daughter of Asopus and Metope; beloved of Zeus, and wife of Zethus.

Theia

Theia is a minor Greek goddess, one of the Titans. Her husband and brother is Hyperion with whom she had three children - Helios (the sun), Eos (the dawn) and Selene (the moon).


Themis

Themis is one of the daughters of Uranus and Gaia. She is the personification of divine right order of things as sanctioned by custom and law. She has oracular powers and it is said that she build the oracle at Delphi. By Zeus she is the mother of the Horae and the Moirae. Themis is depicted as a stern looking woman, blindfolded and holding a pair of scales and a cornucopia. The Romans called her Justitia.

Thetis
Thetis was one of the Nereids. Zeus desired her, but she rejected his advances. The goddess Themis then revealed that Thetis was fated to bear a son who was mightier than his father; fearing for his dominion, Zeus gave Thetis as bride to a mortal, Peleus, and all the gods attended the wedding. Thetis bore one son, Achilles, whom she tried unsuccessfully to make immortal. In one version of the story, she anointed the infant's body with ambrosia and then placed it upon a fire in order to burn away the mortal parts; when she was interrupted by the child's horrified father, she deserted their household in a rage. In a later version, she dipped the child in the river Styx holding him by the heel; all the parts that the river touched became invulnerable, but the heel remained dry. Achilles was later killed in the Trojan war.

Thoosa
A daughter of Phorcys and Ceto. With Poseidon she became the mother of the Cyclop Polyphemus.

Thriae

Thriae are three Greek, holy sisters who are virgins. They recieved their name, Thriae, because they are lesser goddesses of nature who can foresee the future or foretell the unknown by inspiration, magic, signs, or omens. They learned the art of prophesizing from the god Hermes. Some suggest that they are meant to be white-haired and old or that the image is supposed to look like bees covered with pollen. They appear to be women with wings; probably their hair is literally powdered with white flour. They live under a ridge of Mt. Parnassus, and the word Thriae means "pebbles," because the future was foretold by tossing pebbles.

Thyrsus

The staff carried by Dionysus and his attendants. It is topped with a pine cone and decorated with vine and ivy leaves.

Tisiphone

The first meaning of the name Tisiphone is one of the Erinyes. Tisiphone was the avenger of murder. She fell in love with Cithaeron whom she killed by having a snake from her head bite him. The second meaning of the name Tisiphone is the daughter of the Alcmaeon (one of the Epigoni) and his wife Manto, she was the sister of Amphilochus. In an attack of madness, Alcmaeon left his children behind with Creon of Corinth. Jealous of Tisiphoneıs beauty Creonıs wife sold her into slavery, with none of the involved parties realizing at first that the buyer was Tisiphoneıs father. When Alcmaeon later returned to Corinth to reclaim his children, he recognized his daughter and also got his son back.

Titanomachy

The Titanomachy was a war between Zeus and the Titans. This war lasted for 10 years. Zeus had the Cyclopes, Hecatonchires, Themis, Prometheus, and the Olympian pantheon an his side. The Titans were defeated and placed in Tartarus. There to be guarded for eternity by the Hecatonchires.

Titans

In Greek mythology, the Titans are a race of godlike giants who were considered to be the personifications of the forces of nature. They are the twelve children (six sons and six daughters) of Gaia and Uranus. Each son married, or had children of, one of his sisters. They are: Cronus and Rhea, Iapetus and Themis, Oceanus and Tethys, Hyperion and Theia, Crius and Mnemosyne, and Coeus and Phoebe.

Tmolus

A mountain deity who was the arbitrator in a musical contest between Apollo and Pan.

Tyche
A Greek goddess, originally of fortune and chance, and then of prosperity. She was a very popular goddess and several Greek cities choose her as their protectress. In later times, cities had their own special Tyche. She is regarded as a daughter of Zeus (Pindar) or as a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys (Hesiod). She is associated with Nemesis and with Agathos Daimon ("good spirit"). Tyche was portrayed with a cornucopia, a rudder of destiny, and a wheel of fortune. The Romans identified her with their Fortuna.

Typhon

Typhon is the offspring of Gaia and Tartarus. His mate is Echidna and both were so fearful that when the gods saw them they changed into animals and fled in terror. Typhon's hundred, horrible heads touched the stars, venom dripped from his evil eyes, and lava and red-hot stones poured from his gaping mouths. Hissing like a hundred snakes and roaring like a hundred lions, he tore up whole mountains and threw them at the gods. Zeus soon regained his courage and turned, and when the other gods saw him taking his stand, they came back to help him fight the monster. A terrible battle raged, and hardly a living creature was left on Earth. But Zeus was fated to win, and as Typhon tore up huge Mount Aetna to hurl at the gods, Zeus struck it with a hundred well-aimed thunderbolts and the mountain fell back, pinning Typhon underneath. There the monster lies to this very day, belching fire, lava and smoke through the top of the mountain. Echidna, his hideous mate, escaped destruction. She cowered in a cave, protecting Typhon's offspring, and Zeus let them live as a challenge to future heroes. Echidna and Typhon's children are the Nemean Lion, Cerberus, Ladon, the Chimera, the Sphinx, and the Hydra.

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