Thetis Picture

Rosamund Pike as Thetis

Leader of the Nereids who presided over the spawning of marine life in the sea.

was a sea
goddess, the leader of the Nereids and the mother of Achilles, the great Greek warrior. Thetis had the power of prophecy as well as the power to change her shape at will, like many other sea gods were capable of doing.

Thetis was the daughter of Nereus and Doris. By far, Thetis was probably the most important sea-goddess, because she played a prominent role in several important events in Greek myths. According to Homer, Hera, Poseidon and Athena had rebelled against Zeus, and had the king of gods bound. Why the gods had mutinied against Zeus, Homer did not explain. Thetis called upon Briareus, one of the Hundred-Handed, from guarding the Titans, to rescue Zeus. This was why Zeus owed a favour to the goddess. When Hera gave birth to Hephaestus, without a male father, she found to him be so ugly that she threw him out of Olympus. When Hephaestus crashed to earth at the island of Lemnos or into the sea, the infant became crippled in both legs. It was Thetis who rescued Hephaestus and nursed him back to health in her cave. It was her aid that Hephaestus was willing to make new set of armour for Thetis' mortal son (Achilles), during the Trojan War. It was Thetis, who rescued the Argonauts from the monster Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis. The Argo avoided Scylla and Charybdis, as she tossed the ship from side to side.

Both Zeus and Poseidon wanted to sleep with her until they discovered a prophecy from either the goddess Themis or the Titan Prometheus that any son Thetis bore, would become greater than the father, possibly ruling Olympus, if Zeus became the father. This stopped their lustful advances upon Thetis dead in their tracks. Zeus quickly arranged to have her marry a mortal. It was said that Thetis had also refused Zeus' advances because of her deep friendship with Hera. Zeus decided to marry her to the hero, Peleus, king of Phthia. Thetis, however, like other sea-deities, had the ability to change her shape as well being gifted with prophetic power. In order for Peleus to marry Thetis, Peleus had to capture while the goddess slept in the cave. Peleus had to hold the goddess as she changed herself into a fire, water, lioness, wolf and other shapes, until she gave in and consent to marry Peleus. Their wedding, however, was disrupted by Eris, the goddess of discord, the only goddess who was not invited. In anger, Eris threw a golden apple in their midst, it was inscribed: "To the Fairest". Three powerful goddesses (Hera, Athena and Aphrodite) dared to claim to be the fairest and each wanted the prize. This led to Paris being the judge of the dispute, who awarding the apple to Aphrodite and caused the Trojan War. This war would ultimately lead to Thetis' son's death.

Thetis and Peleus had many sons. Thetis secretly tried to make all seven sons immortal. She would anoint each infant in ambrosia, before burning away the mortal parts in a fire. Before she could complete the process with her youngest son, Achilles, Peleus disrupted her causing her to drop her son. Achilles' body became invulnerable to all weapons, except for his heels, which remained vulnerable. Angry about Peleus' interferences, Thetis left her husband and son. Since Thetis had the gift of prophecy, she knew that her son had two possible destinies. If Achilles decided not to go to Troy, he would live a long and uninteresting life of a farmer. If he went to war in Troy, he would have a life of fame and glory in battle, his name immortalised, but he would die young. Thetis tried to prevent him from fulfilling the second destiny. When the Greeks were gathering men to join the army, Thetis hid Achilles in the court of Lycomedes, king of the island of Scyrus. Thetis disguised Achilles as a girl. The Greeks found out from the seer Calchas that Troy would not fall without the aid of Achilles. But the cunning hero, Odysseus saw through the disguise. Achilles agreed to join the Greek despite the fact that he was never a suitor of Helen. Using her oracular power, she warned her son, not to kill Tenes, son of Apollo and king of Tenedos, otherwise he would later die at the hand of Apollo himself. But when Achilles landed on the island, he forgot his mother's warning and killed Tenes.

When Achilles had a quarrel with his commander, Agamemnon, and her son withdrew his support and men from the fighting, he appealed to his mother, to make Agamemnon regret his action against him. Thetis went to Zeus and asked him to make the Greeks to suffer for the insult to her son. Achilles only returned to the fighting when his companion and lover, Patroclus was killed by the Trojan hero, Hector. Since he gave his father's magic armour to Patroclus, he now has no armour, since Hector taken possession of the armour. Thetis again helped her son. She went to the Hephaestus and asked him to fashion a new set of armour for Achilles. Not long after Achilles avenged the death of his friend and killed Hector, Achilles was himself killed a couple of months later. As Thetis had foretold, Apollo guided an arrow, shot from Paris' bow, to Achilles' only weakness, one of his heels. Thetis and her sisters, the Nereids, mourned for his death. It was Thetis who decided to award the armour of Achilles to the bravest Greek warrior. Only Ajax, Achilles' cousin, and Odysseus, king of Ithaca, dared to contest for the armour. This brought about Ajax's death. Later, Thetis invited Peleus to her home in the sea, and made her husband immortal. Though, some say that Thetis mourned for Peleus' death, when the sons of Acastus murdered the aged king.


Wise - She was also a prophet and could see omens of the future.

Feisty - It is said that Zeus himself desired her, but she rebuffed his advances time and time again.

Motherly - When Hephaestus crashed to earth at the island of Lemnos or into the sea, the infant became crippled in both legs. It was Thetis who rescued Hephaestus and nursed him back to health in her cave. The relationship between Achilles and his mother Thetis is strained by the fact that she is a goddess and can see his fate but she can do nothing about it. He is aware of his fate through his mother but seems to choose glory and action over anything that his mother wants.

Sacred Symbols and Animals

Silver - Footed - Thetis is often called Argyropeza (silver-footed) by Homer.

Hippokampos - She is also seen sitting atop a hippokampos.

None of this information belongs to me or has been written by me, expect for the casting face claim. The information collected belongs to these sources:

Greek Mythology Wikia/Thetis

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