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For the minor planet, see 65489 Ceto.

Ceto (also Keto, from Greek: Κῆτώ, "sea monster") is a primordial sea goddess in Greek mythology, the daughter of Gaia and Pontus. Ceto was also variously called Krataiis ("mighty") and Trienos ("three-times"), and was occasionally conflated by scholars with the goddess Hecate (for whom Trienos and Krataiis are also epithets). As a mythological figure, she is most notable for bearing by her husband Phorcys a host of monstrous children, collectively known as the Phorcydes. The asteroid 65489 Ceto was named after her, and its satellite after her husband.

This goddess should not be confused with the minor Oceanid also named Ceto -- who appears in Hesiod's Theogony as a separate character from Ceto the daughter of Pontus and Gaia—or with various mythological beings referred to as ketos (plural ketea); this is a general term for "sea monster" in Ancient Greek, from which the name Ceto is derived.[citation needed]

Ceto in ancient texts

The goddess Ceto aiding her father Pontus in the mythological war known as the Gigantomachy - ca. 166-156 BC - Gigantomachy Frieze, Pergamon Altar of Zeus

Hesiod's Theogony lists the children of Phorcys and Ceto as Echidna, The Gorgons (Euryale, Stheno, and the famous Medusa), The Graeae (Deino, Enyo, and Pemphredo), and Ladon, also called the Drakon Hesperios ("Hesperian Dragon", or dragon of the Hesperides). These children tend to be consistent across sources, though Ladon is sometimes cited as a child of Echidna (by Typhoeus) and therefore Phorcys and Ceto's grandson.

Apollodorus and Homer refer to Scylla as the daughter of Krataiis, with Apollodorus specifying that she is also Phorcys's daughter. Apollodorus also refers to Scylla as the daughter of Trienos, implying that Krataiis and Trienos are the same entity. Apollonius cites Scylla as the daughter of Phorcys and a conflated Krataiis-Hekate. Stesichorus refers to Scylla as a daughter of Phorcys and Lamia (potentially translated as "the shark" and referring to Ceto rather than to the mythological Lybian Queen).

The Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius cites Phorcys and Ceto as the parents of The Hesperides, but this assertion is not repeated in other ancient sources.

Homer refers to Thoosa, the mother of Polyphemus, as a daughter of Phorcys, but does not indicate whether Ceto is her mother.

Pliny mentions worship of "storied Ceto" at Joppa (now Jaffa), in a single reference, immediately after his mention of Andromeda, whom Perseus rescued from a sea-monster. S. Safrai and M. Stern suggest in The Jewish people in the first century. Historical geography, political history, social, cultural and religious life and institutions the possibility that someone at Joppa established a cult of the monster under the name Ceto. As an alternative explanation, they posit that Pliny or his source misread the name as cetus - or the Syrian goddess Derceto.[1]

Notes

  1. ^ Colitur illic fabulosa Ceto. Pliny, Book 5, chapter 14, §69; this same paragraph will be referred to as v.14, v.69, V.xiv.69 - and v.13 (one of the chapter divisions is missing in some MSS). For Ceto as a transferred name, see Rackham's Loeb translation; for emendations, see The Jewish people in the first century. Historical geography, political history, social, cultural and religious life and institutions. Ed. by S. Safrai and M. Stern in co-operation with D. Flusser and W. C. van Unnik, Vol II, p. 1081, and Oldfather's translation of Pliny (Derceto).

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also ceto

Contents

English

Proper noun

Ceto

  1. (Greek mythology): Wife of Phorcus and mother of Medusa and the Gorgons. She was a hideous sea-monster.

Derived terms

Anagrams

  • Anagrams of ceot
  • cote

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