Web Theoi
TITYROI
 
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Τιτυρος
Τιτυροι
Tityros
Tityroi
Tityrus
Tityri
Of the Shepherd's
Flute (tityrinos)
Flute-playing Tityrus | Athenian black-figure kylix C6th B.C. | Antikensammlungen, Munich
Flute-playing Tityrus, Athenian black-figure
kylix C6th B.C., Antikensammlungen, Munich

THE TITYROI (or Tityri) were flute-playing rustic daimones in the train of the god Dionysos. They were related to the tribes of Satyroi, Seilenoi and Lenai, and like those daimones were depicted as furry little men with assine ears, pug noses, and tails. The name Tityros appears to be derived from 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 for a rustic character.

The Boeotian giant Tityos, who attempted to violate the goddess Leto and was slain by Apollon, may have been have originally have been imagined as one of the Tityroi.

PARENTS
Probably the same as the Satyroi, though nowhere stated

TITYROI A CLASS OF SATYROI

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 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."

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. 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.]


TITYROS AS A RUSTIC

The bucolic poets 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 [here a rustic] to drive them on. My well-beloved Tityrus, 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.'"


TITYOS OF EUBOIA

Tityos, a giant 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] 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 (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."


Flute-playing Tityrus | Greek vase painting
T50.1 TITYRUS
FLUTE PLAYER
Flute-playing Tityrus | Greek vase painting
T60.4 TITYRUS
FLUTE-PLAYER
Tityrus & Maenad | Greek vase painting
T60.13 TITYRUS,
MAENAD NYMPH
Tityrus & Dionysus | Greek vase painting
T60.14 TITYRUS,
DIONYSUS

Sources:

  • Homer, The Odyssey - Greek Epic C8th B.C.
  • Theocritus Idylls - Greek Bucolic C3rd B.C.
  • Strabo, Geography - Greek Geography C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
  • Aelian, Historical Miscellany - Greek Rhetoric C2nd-3rd A.D.
  • Virgil, Eclogues - Latin Bucolic C1st B.C.