Greek Mythology >> Bestiary >> Satyrs >> Tityri (Tityroi)


Greek Name

Τιτυρος Τιτυροι


Tityros, Tityroi

Latin Spelling

Tityrus, Tityri


Of the Flute (tityrinos)

Flute-playing Tityrus | Athenian black-figure kylix C6th B.C. | Staatliche Antikensammlungen, Munich
Flute-playing Tityrus, Athenian black-figure kylix C6th B.C., Staatliche Antikensammlungen

THE TITYROI (Tityri) were flute-playing, rustic daimones in the train of the god Dionysos. They were closely related to the Satyroi (Satyrs), Seilenoi (Silens) and Lenai (Lenae), and like those daimones were depicted as small, furry men with assine ears, pug noses and tails.

The name Tityros was derived from the Greek word tityrinos, a double shepherd's pipe. According to Eustathius (1157. 39) Tityros was simply the Doric word for satyr. There was also a Mount Tityros near Kydonia (Cydonia) in Krete (Crete). The bucolic poets often use the name Tityros for a rustic character in their poems.

The Boeotian giant Tityos, who attempted to violate the goddess Leto and was slain by Apollon, may have been have originally been a Tityros. The satyr Marsyas could also be classified as one.


Probably the same as the Satyroi, though nowhere stated



Strabo, Geography 10. 3. 7 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"The Satyroi (Satyrs), Silenoi (Silens), Bakkhai (Bacchae), and Tityroi (Tityri) . . . are called Daimones or ministers of gods."

Strabo, Geography 10. 3. 10 :
"The [daimones called] Silenoi (Silens) and Satyroi (Satyrs) and Bakkhai (Bacchae), and also the Lenai (Lenae) and Thyiai (Thyiae)and Mimallones and Naïdes Nymphai (Naiad Nymphs) and the beings called Tityroi (Tityri), [are attendants] of Dionysos."

Strabo, Geography 10. 3. 15 :
"They [the poets] also invented some of the names by which to designate the ministers, choral dancers, and attendants upon the sacred rites [of Rhea and Dionysos], I mean Kabeiroi (Cabeiri) and Korybantes (Corybantes) and Panes and Satyroi (Satyrs) and Tityroi (Tityri)."

Aelian, Historical Miscellany 3. 40 (trans. Wilson) (Greek rhetorician C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
"Note that Dionysos' companions in the dance were Satyroi (Satyrs), called by some Tityroi (Tityri). They received this name from the trills (teretismata) which the Satyroi enjoy, and the Saytroi got their name from the word ‘to grimace’ (sesêrenô)." [N.B. These etymologies are late inventions.]


Flute-playing Tityrus | Sicilian red-figure lekythos fragment C4th B.C. | The J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu
Flute-playing Tityrus, Sicilian red-figure lekythos fragment C4th B.C., The J. Paul Getty Museum

The bucolic poets sometimes use the name Tityros for a rustic in their poems. There are numerous examples, including:-

Theocritus, Idylls 3. 1 ff (trans. Edmonds) (Greek bucolic C3rd B.C.) :
"I go a-courting of Amyrallis, and my goats they go browsing on along the hill with Tityros (Tityrus) [here a rustic] to drive them on. My well-beloved Tityros, pray feed me my goats; pray lead them to watering, good Tityros, and beware or the buckgoat, the yellow Libyan yonder, will be butting you."

Virgil, Eclogues 1. 1 (trans. Fairclough) (Roman bucolic C1st B.C.) :
"You, Tityrus [here a rustic], lie under the canopy of a spreading beech, wooing the woodland Muse on slender reed, but we are leaving our country's bounds and sweet fields . . . Tityrus, at ease beneath the shade teach the woods to re-echo ‘fair Amaryllis.’"


The giant Tityos (Tityus) of the island of Euboia resembes a Tityros.

Homer, Odyssey 7. 324 (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"That is the furthest point [the island of Euboia (Euboea)] of all--so say those of our people who once set eyes on it when they carried yellow-haired Rhadamanthys to visit Tityos son of Gaia (Gaea, the Earth)."

Strabo, Geography 9. 3. 14 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"And a cave called Elarion is to be seen in the island [of Euboia], named after Elara the mother of Tityos; and also a hero-temple of Tityos, and certain honors which are paid to him."

Thumbnail Tityrus Playing Flute

T50.1 Tityrus Playing Flute

Sicilian Red Figure Vase Painting C4th B.C.

Thumbnail Tityrus Playing Flute

T60.4 Tityrus Playing Flute

Athenian Black Figure Vase Painting C6th B.C.

Thumbnail Tityrus & Maenad

T60.13 Tityrus & Maenad

Athenian Red Figure Vase Painting C5th B.C.

Thumbnail Tityrus & Dionysus

T60.14 Tityrus & Dionysus

Athenian Red Figure Vase Painting C5th B.C.





A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.