Greek gods and goddesses have complex connections. While the lineage of most deities is well-known thanks to the likes of Hesiod and other poets, not all family connections are cut and dry. Some details of divine heritage are murky at best, leaving some gods to get lost by the wayside.
One such example is Lelantos. Lelalantos is a younger Titanes. He is a second-generation Titan, falling into an awkward period of Greek mythology. He’s wasn’t born to primordial deities and didn’t have a significant role in the Titanomachy or succession myth.
The only surviving details of Lelantos come from a single source. As a result, his history is essentially lost to the sands of time. Even still, he did continue his divine lineage, paving the way for his offspring to leave a lasting impression on ancient Greece.
The Origins of Lelantos
There’s not a ton of details about Lelantos. The only source of information about this long-lost Titan god comes from “Dionysiaca.” The 48-book epic is the principal work by Nonnus of Panapolis. It was written around the fifth century.
Earlier works didn’t survive, so Dionysiaca is the only reliable source of information we have about Lelantos.
According to Nonnus, Lelantos was the son of Coeus and Phobe. Coeus and Phoebe are two first-generation Titans who came from Uranus and Gaia. They were siblings, but such relationships were common in Greek mythology. This is especially true for younger Titanes, as very few beings existed.
Coeus and Phoebe had a couple of other children. The two most notable are Leto and Asteria. Leto famously gave birth to Olympic gods Apollo and Artemis after earning the ire of Hera. Meanwhile, Asteria gave birth to Hecate.
Interestingly enough, Lelantos is absent from most family trees. Most accounts of early Greek mythology only state Leto and Asteria as the offspring of Coeus and Phoebe. Lelantos is never mentioned until the works by Nonnus.
Lelantos: The God of the Air
There could be a reason why Lelantos never appears in retellings of Greek Mythology. This Titan god represented the air. He was the god of air, the unseen, and the ability to stalk prey. The Titan god represented the vigilance of unseen hunters who stayed as light and quiet as air to take down their targets.
His very existence was to be unobservable. Even his name translates to such ideas. The rough translation of “Lelantos” is “to escape unnoticed.”
Some scholars believe that Lelantos did exist during the more tumultuous chapters of Greek mythology. But because he personified the nothingness of air, he did not appear in any physical form.
The legacy of Lelantos is non-existent. There are no artistic depictions of the god or stories that involve him.
Even if he remained unseen by all accounts, Lelantos still had a family. He married Periboia, who was an Oceanid born to Oceanus and Tethys. Periboia was one of more than 3,000 Oceanid nymphs, so she didn’t have much significance in Greek mythology either.
The two had a single child. Her name was Aura, and she would have a slightly stronger presence in the mythos than her parents.
Aura was a minor goddess. She was a nymph, and her name meant “breeze.” Nonnus also covers Aura’s story in “Dionysiaca.” He notes early on that she’s a daughter of Lelantos, and it’s implied that Aura’s mother is Periboia. However, he later identifies her as daughter of Cybele. Either way, the events of her life play out quite tragically.
In the final book of the epic poem, “Dionysiaca 48,” Nonnus tells a story of how the god Dionysus forced himself upon Aura. Dionysus was the god of winemaking and festivities. At the time, the daughter of Lelantos was a close companion of Artemis.
The two had a seemingly positive relationship. However, that didn’t stop Aura from poking fun at the Olympian goddess. She reportedly teased Artemis’ figure and beauty, hurling insults that would enrage the goddess.
After teasing Artemis, the Greek goddess of hunting sought to get revenge on her companion. She goes to Nemesis, the goddess of retribution. He arranges to strike Dionysus with uncontrollable feelings for Aura. Instead of trying to seduce the nymph, Dionysus drugs her and forces himself upon her.
Dionysus quickly flees, leaving Aura to wake up with no knowledge of her attacker. In a fit of rage, she slaughters any man she sees. Aura realizes she’s pregnant and tries her best to kill herself. However, she’s unable to and eventually gives birth to twins. She successfully kills one baby, but the other is whisked away by a guilty Artemis. Eventually, Aura drowns herself and is turned into a spring by Zeus himself.
That child would grow up to be Iacchus. Iacchus was another minor figure who played a small part in the Eleusinian mysteries.
- Lelantos is also known as “Lelantus.”
- Lelantos is the Titan god of air and the unseen. He also represents the hunter’s skill of stalking prey.
- The name “Lelantos” roughly translates to “go unobserved” or “escape unnoticed.”
- Lelantos is the son of Coeus and Pheobe.
- The Titan god married Oceanid Periboia and had one child, Aura.
- Lelantos appears in “Dionysiaca,” the most well-known work of Nonnus. It was written in the 5th century and is the only surviving work that contains Lelantos.
- He may be the namesake of a vast plain called Lelanton in Euboia.
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