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In Greek mythology, Phorcys (also Phorkys, from Greek: Φόρκυς), is a god of the hidden dangers of the deep. He is a primordial sea god, generally cited (first in Hesiod) as the son of Pontus and Gaia. According to the Orphic hymns, Phorcys, Cronus and Rhea were the eldest offspring of Oceanus and Tethys.[1] Classical scholar Karl Kerenyi conflated Phorcys with the similar sea gods Nereus and Proteus.[2] His wife was Ceto, and he is most notable in myth for fathering by Ceto a host of monstrous children collectively known as the Phorcydes. In extant Hellenistic-Roman mosaics, Phorcys was depicted as a fish-tailed merman with crab-claw fore-legs and red-spiked skin.

The Phorcydes

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.

The Bibliotheca and Homer refer to Scylla as the daughter of Krataiis, with the Bibliotheca specifying that she is also Phorcys's daughter. The Bibliotheca 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 Libyan 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.


  1. Kerenyi, p. 42.
  2. Kerenyi pp. 42-43.


  • Kerenyi, Karl 1951 (1980). The Gods of the Greeks.

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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Phorcys. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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