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Genealogy of the First Gods

Part 3: Descendants of Pontos - Nereus, Thaumas, Phorkys, and Keto


Table 1 Genealogy of the 1st Gods

Table 1: Genealogy of the 1st Gods

NS Gill
Pontos (sea) and Gaia (earth) had 5 children:
  1. Nereus,
  2. Phorkys,
  3. Thaumas,
  4. Keto, and
  5. Eurybia.

Part 2 of Genealogy of the Gods, Descendants of the Titans - Pallas, Perses, and Astraios, showed Eurybia (see #5 above) and Kreios (son of Ouranos and Gaia), their offspring, and grandchildren. Now, Part 3: Descendants of Pontos - Nereus, Thaumas, Phorkys, and Keto takes a quick look at Eurybia's brothers and sister.


Nereus (#1 above) earned a name in Greek mythology from his encounter with Hercules. Hercules held Nereus aloft until he revealed the location of either Geryoneus' cattle or the Hesperides, depending on which version of the legend you read. Pherekydes says Nereus changed shape, becoming fire and water to escape Hercules. According to some versions, Gaia may not have been Nereus' mother, but in versions where she was, Nereus gained strength from her whenever Hercules hurled him to the ground.

Nereus married Doris, daughter of Titans Okeanos and Tethys. Lines 240-264 of Hesiod's Theogony list the names of all 50 of their daughters, the Nereids. The most important of these daughters were Amphitrite (Poseidon's mate), Thetis (famed as the mother of Achilles and would-be bride of Zeus and Poseidon), Galateia, and Psamathe.


Thaumas (#3 above) married Elektra, another Okeanid (daughter of Oceanos and Tethys). To them were born children known for their speed, Iris, messenger and cupbearing goddess who helps Aphrodite away from the Trojan battlefield after Diomedes wounds her, and the winged, food-stealing Harpuiai (Harpies), Aello and Okypete. According to a fragment of Alkaios (Alcaeus), Iris mated with Astraios' son and her cousin, Zephyros, to produce Eros.

Phorkys and Keto

Phorkys (#2) mated with Hekate to produce Skylla and also with his sister Keto (#4) to produce monsters, the Graiai, the Gorgons, Echidna, and the snake Ophis. The Graiai (Pamphredo, Enyo, and Deino) are described as gray and swanlike, having one eye and one tooth among them. They live far to the east where they protect their sisters, the Gorgons.

Two of the Gorgons are immortal, Sthenno and Euryale, but the third, Medusa, was not. After mating with Poseidon she did not produce children in the usual manner. Following her decapitation by Perseus, her children, Pegasus and Chrysaor, sprang from her neck. Chrysaor married another Okeanid, Kallirhoe, who bore the three-headed Geryoneus.

Echidna was half beautiful woman and half snake. She mated with Typhoeus, son of Gaia and Tartaros. He had one hundred noisy, fire-beathing snake heads on his shoulders. Their offspring were:

  • Orthos, Geryoneus' watchdog
  • Kerberos
  • Hydra of Lerna
  • Chimaira (although the Hydra may actually have been Chimaira's mother)
  • Prometheus' eagle

The table showing the origins of the Titans should help clarify the relationships among Pontos, Ouranos, Gaia, Tartaros, and the descendants of Pontos.

Next page > Chaos > Page 1, 2, 3, 4

© N.S. Gill November 2000

Part 1: First Gods
Part 2: Descendants of the Titans
Part 4: Descendants of Chaos
Creation Myths
Hesiod's Theogony
Olympians: Emergence

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