In Greek mythology, Coeus (//; Ancient Greek: Κοῖος, Koios, "query, questioning") was one of the Titans, the giant sons and daughters of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth). His equivalent in Latin poetry—though he scarcely makes an appearance in Roman mythology—was Polus, the embodiment of the celestial axis around which the heavens revolve.
|Coeus or Koios|
|Titan of intellect, the axis of heaven around which the constellations revolved and probably of heavenly oracles|
|Member of Titans|
|Parents||Uranus and Gaia|
Like most of the Titans he played no active part in Greek religion—he appears only in lists of Titans—but was primarily important for his descendants. With his sister, "shining" Phoebe, Coeus fathered Leto and Asteria. Leto copulated with Zeus (the son of fellow Titans Cronus and Rhea) and bore Artemis and Apollo.
Given that Phoebe symbolized prophetic wisdom just as Coeus represented rational intelligence, the couple may have possibly functioned together as the primal font of all knowledge in the cosmos. Along with the other Titans, Coeus was overthrown by Zeus and the other Olympians in the Titanomachy. Afterwards, he and all his brothers were imprisoned in Tartarus by Zeus. Coeus, later overcome with madness, broke free from his bonds and attempted to escape his imprisonment, but was repelled by Cerberus.
|Coeus' family tree |
- Ovid in Metamorphoses (VI.185) alludes to Coeus' obscure nature: "Latona, that Titaness whom Coeus sired, whoever he may be." (nescio quoque audete satam Titanida Coeo): M. L. West, in "Hesiod's Titans" (The Journal of Hellenic Studies 105 [1985:174–175]) remarks that Phoibe's "consort Koios is an even more obscure quantity. Perhaps he too had originally to with Delphic divination", and he suspects that Phoebe, Koios and Themis were Delphic additions to the list of Titanes, drawn from various archaic sources.
- Specifically in the surviving epitome of Hyginus' Preface to the Fabulae; the name of Coeus is repeated in the list of Gigantes.
- Such as Hesiod, Theogony 133; Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke 1.2–1.3; Diodorus Siculus, 5.66.1.
- Hesiod included among his descendents Hekate, daughter of Asteriē, as Apostolos N. Athanassakis, noted, correcting the OCD, noted (Athanassakis, "Hekate Is Not the Daughter of Koios and Phoibe" The Classical World 71.2 [October 1977:127]); R. Renehan expanded the note in "Hekate, H. J. Rose, and C. M. Bowra", The Classical World, 73.5 (February 1980:302–304).
- Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo, 61; in the Orphic Hymn to Leto she is Leto Koiantes, "Leto, daughter of Koios".
- Hesiod, Theogony 404 ff; Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke 1.8.
- Valerius Flaccus, "Argonautica" 3. 224 ff
- Hesiod, Theogony 132–138, 337–411, 453–520, 901–906, 915–920; Caldwell, pp. 8–11, tables 11–14.
- Although usually the daughter of Hyperion and Theia, as in Hesiod, Theogony 371–374, in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes (4), 99–100, Selene is instead made the daughter of Pallas the son of Megamedes.
- According to Hesiod, Theogony 507–511, Clymene, one of the Oceanids, the daughters of Oceanus and Tethys, at Hesiod, Theogony 351, was the mother by Iapetus of Atlas, Menoetius, Prometheus, and Epimetheus, while according to Apollodorus, 1.2.3, another Oceanid, Asia was their mother by Iapetus.
- According to Plato, Critias, 113d–114a, Atlas was the son of Poseidon and the mortal Cleito.
- In Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 18, 211, 873 (Sommerstein, pp. 444–445 n. 2, 446–447 n. 24, 538–539 n. 113) Prometheus is made to be the son of Themis.