HEKATEROS (or Hecaterus) was the daimon (spirit) of the hekateris--a rustic dance of quickly moving hands--and perhaps of the skill of hands in general. He married a daughter of Phoroneus, the very first man, and sired ten children--five Daktyloi (Dactys) or "Fingers" and five Hekaterides or "Moving Hands." His grandchildren included the Kouretes (Curetes), Satyroi (Satyrs) and Oreiades (Oread Nymphs).
|Perhaps GAIA, thought nowhere stated
|[1.1] THE HEKATERIDES (by the daughter of Phoroneus) (Hesiod Catalogues Frag 6)
THE DAKTYLOI, THE HEKATERIDES (by the daughter of Phoroneus) (Strabo 10.3.19)
[2.1] OAXOS (by Ankhiale) (Servius on Virgil's Eclogues)
Hesiod, Fragments of Unknown Position Fragment 6 (from Strabo 10.3.19) (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th to 7th B.C.) :
"But of them [the daughters of Hekateros] were born the divine Oreias Nymphai (Mountain Nymphs) and the tribe of worthless, helpless Satyroi (Satyrs), and the divine Kouretes (Curetes), sportive dancers."
Strabo, Geography 10. 3. 19 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Hesiod says that five daughters were born to Hekateros (Hecaterus) and the daughter of Phoroneus, ‘from whom sprang the mountain-ranging Nymphai, goddesses, and the breed of Satyroi, creatures worthless and unfit for work, and also the Kouretes, sportive gods, dancers.’"
Strabo, Geography 10. 3. 22 :
"Sophokles [Sophocles, tragedian C5th B.C.] thinks that the first male Daktyloi (Dactys) were five in number, who were the first to discover and to work iron, as well as many other things which are useful for the purposes of life, and that their sisters [probably the Hekaterides] were five in number, and that they were called Daktyloi (Fingers) from their number [ten]."
Hekateros' name is connected with the Greek words hekateris, a dance of swiftly moving hands (kheirôn kinesis) and hekatereô, meaning to kick the rump with one heel after the other in a dance. Hekateros was also a word meaning each of two, or with both hands. Alternatively the name might mean "the marvellous hundred", from the words heka, hundred and teras marvel, and refer to the hundred skillful fingers (daktyloi) of his ten sons and daughters.
Hekateros was perhaps identified with Seilenos, the old god of the rustic dance. Both were named as the grandfather of the Oreads and Satyrs. Hekateros also appears to be related to the dancing Kourete Pyrrhikkhos and also the centaur Kheiron (both hekateris and kheiron kinesis beings names for the same rustic dance). Alternatively Hekateros may have been related to the Hekatonkheires, who in Athenian cult were described as ancient fertility spirits.
- Hesiod, Fragments - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
- Strabo, Geography - Greek Geography C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.