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Pontus (mythology)

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In Greek mythology, Pontus (or Pontos (Πόντος), English translation: "sea") was an ancient, pre-Olympian sea-god, one of the protogenoi, the "first-born". Pontus was the son of Gaia, the Earth: Hesiod [1] says that Gaia brought forth Pontus out of herself, without coupling. For Hesiod, Pontus seems little more than a personification of the sea, ho pontos, "the Road", by which Hellenes signified the Mediterranean Sea.[2] With Gaia, he was the father of Nereus (the Old Man of the Sea), of Thaumas (the awe-striking "wonder" of the Sea, embodiment of the sea's dangerous aspects), of Phorcys and his sister-consort Ceto, and of the "Strong Goddess" Eurybia.[3] With the sea goddess Thalassa (whose own name simply means "sea" but is derived from a pre-Greek root), he fathered the Telchines. Compare the sea-Titan Oceanus, the Ocean-Stream that girdled the earth, who was more vividly realized than Pontus among the Hellenes. Nevertheless, Pontus was apparently personified in a description of a painting by the third century CE rhetorician Philostratus the Elder, Imagines[4]

In a Roman sculpture of the second century CE Pontus, rising from seaweed, grasps a rudder with his right hand and leans on the prow of a ship. He wears a mural crown, and accompanies Fortuna, whose draperies appear at the left, as twin patron deities of the Black Sea port of Tomis in Moesia.


  1. Hesiod, Theogony, 116.
  2. The Black Sea was the Greeks' ho pontos euxeinos, the "sea that welcomes strangers".
  3. Hesiod, Theogony, 233.
  4. Imagines 2. 15 2; ( on-line translation by Fairbanks).

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

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