The fables and figures in Greek mythology profoundly impact modern storytelling. Despite their divine nature, gods and goddesses had complex relationships that inspired tales throughout history. Even today, you can see connections with contemporary literature and concepts covered in retellings by Hesiod, Homer, Apollodorus, and more.
While figures like Zeus, Aphrodite, and the other Twelve Olympians are well-known the world over, other legendary figures are worth remembering, too. Lesser-known deities are all but lost to the sands of time, but their legacy continues to inspire. One example of a forgotten figure in Greek mythology is Eurybia.
Eurybia is the goddess of the mastery of the seas. Not to be confused with more powerful deities like Poseidon, the sea goddess had a smaller role in the mythology. However, her time serving with the Titans paved the way for other legends to unfold.
The Origins of Eurybia
There’s not a ton of concrete information about Eurybia out there. Poets did not cover her extensively, as she’s considered a minor goddess. Her primary function was to explain the ancestry of more recognizable figures. More on that soon.
Most retellings of Eurybia pull information from Hesiods “The Theogony.” It acts as a trusted source for immortal lineage from the earliest primordial deities to later generations of the Olympians.
According to Hesiod, Eurybia was the progeny of Pontus and Gaia. These Titans are primordial gods, serving as some of the first beings to inhabit the planet. Pontus was a pre-Olympian sea god. According to the legend, he was born from Gaia, who was also his consort. However, some accounts say that the sea god was born without coupling.
Gaia is the personification of the Earth. She’s considered the ancestral mother of all living things. Not only did she give birth to the sky and sea, but she was also the mother of the Titans, giants, and many recognizable beasts.
Together, Pontus and Gaia created many children. Their progeny includes Eurybia, Nereus, Thaumas, Phorcys, and Ceto. The pairing’s offspring are sea deities, holding powers that pertain to the ocean, navigation, and external forces.
Eurybia was the goddess of the mastery of the sea. Unlike her siblings and other ocean gods, Eurybia didn’t deal too much with the water. Her powers revolve around external forces like constellations, winds, and seasonal weather.
She could affect the seas and how sailors navigated. If she wanted to assist those adrift, she could control how constellations rose on the horizon. The position of the stars played a critical part in ocean navigation. If she wanted to punish sailors and prevent them from reaching their destination, she could change the seasons and send blasts of winds to pummel ships. Her powers were profound, allowing her to cause destruction or create peace with a single breath!
Alongside her siblings, she governed the seas and took charge of anyone who entered in. Eurybia was not the first or last sea goddess. More powerful deities, such as Poseidon, had a firmer grip on the oceans. However, Eurybia worked alongside nymphs and other gods to preside over the vastness of the oceans before Olympians rose to power.
Marriage and Children
The Titan sea goddess married Crius. Crius was a Titan god of the constellations. He was the progeny of Uranus and Gaia. While he didn’t share the same father as Eurybia, they both came from Gaia. As a result, they were half-siblings.
Together, Eurybia and Crius gave birth to a few children, extending her lineage with multiple grandchildren. Most scholars agree that her biggest contribution to Greek mythology is her ancestry. Most of her children play a more significant role in future tales than she or Crius ever did.
Eurybia had three sons. The first was Astraeus. He was the god of stars and planets. Next was Pallas, which was the god battle. Finally, there was Perses. Perses was the Titan god of destruction.
Astraeus would go on to marry Eos. She was the Titan goddess of the dawn. She rose from her home at the edge of Oceanus every morning to illuminate the world. Astraeus and Eos created many grandchildren for Eurybia. These included the Anemoi, the Astra Planeta, and Astraea.
Astraea was the virgin Greek goddess of purity, innocence, and justice. The Anemoi were the four winds Boreas, Notus, Eurus, and Zephyrus. The Astra Planeta were the wandering planets Phainon, Phaethon, Pyroeis, Eosphorus, and Stilbon.
Perses, the Titan god of destruction, married Asteria. Asteria was the dark goddess of necromancy. Together, the two gave birth to Hecate. Hecate is, arguably, one of the most recognizable of Eurybia’s children. She has associations with magic, witchcraft, night, necromancy, and all things mystical.
Lastly, there’s Pallas. Pallas married Styx. She’s the eponym of the Underworld river and the daughter of Tethys. The pairing gave birth to a slew of children. They include Zelos, Nike, Kratos, and Bia. Pallas and Styx were even the progeny of monsters like the Scylla, Lacus, and Fontes.
As mentioned earlier, Eurybia is most known for her children and grandchildren. Despite her abilities to master the sea, it was your ancestors that brought this Titaness the most recognition.
She also inspired many things in our modern world. The most significant is the Eurybia Divaricata flower. More commonly known as a white wood aster, this showy flower grows naturally in North America. It’s also cultivated in Europe. This plant is often confused with Symphyotrichum Cordifolium, as they both belong to the Asteraceae family. However, the Eurybia Divaricata is defined by its narrow, heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges. It also has pure white flowers surrounding a bright yellow pistil.
G.L. Nesom first discovered the plant. The exact reason for the plant’s name isn’t known. Some believe Nesom specifically named it after the Titan goddess, comparing the splash of white flowers with an expansive sea of ocean foam. Others think it comes from the Greek words “eurys” and “baiso.” They mean “wide” and “few,” respectively.
The flower is abundant in many places, acting as a native plant that some consider a weed. The plant has winding stems and somewhat sharp leaves outside of bloom time. The plant lives in dry woods or open clearings. When it blooms in the late spring, the plant erupts in a sea of white that you can’t help but appreciate.
The interesting thing about the Eurybia Divaricata is that it returns year after year. Even after cold kills the visible part of the plant, buried rhizomes form groups of clones. Once the weather warms up, the rhizomes branch out and become woody enough to produce a new plant.
- Eurybia is the goddess of mastery of the sea. She primarily took control of external factors that affected sailors, such as where constellations appeared and the strength of the winds.
- Eurybia is a Titan goddess belonging to the second generation of Titans.
- She is the wife of Titan Crius.
- Eurybia is the progeny of Pontus and Gaia.
- Eurybia is the mother of Astraeus, Perses, and Pallas.
- Eurybia’s primary role in Greek mythology is as an ancestor to more significant figures. The Titan goddess had many grandchildren. Many have associations with elements of the sea, which comes from Eurybia’s powers.
- The Titan goddess inspired the name of an herbaceous plant native to North America called Eurybia Divaricata.
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