ANKHIALE (or Anchiale) was the Titan goddess of the warming heat of fire. She was the wife of Hekateros, the titan-god of the hands, and mother of the metal-working Daktyloi, literally the Fingers. These rustic gods lived on the slopes of Mount Ida (either the Kretan or Phrygian mountain), and together represented the power of fingers and hands to create and utilise fire. Indeed, it was Ankhiale's own brother Prometheus who stole fire from heaven for mankind.
ANCHI′ALE (Anchialê), a daughter of Japetus and mother of Cydnus, who was believed to have founded the town of Anchiale in Cilicia. (Steph. Byz. s. v.) Another personage of this name occurs in Apollon. Rhod. i. 1130.
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1. 1120 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"The many Idaian Daktyloi of Krete. They were borne in the Diktaian cave by the Nymphe Ankhiale as she clutched the earth of Oaxos with both her hands."
Strabo, Geography 10. 3. 19 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Further, one might also find . . . these Daimones [i.e. the Kouretes, Satyroi & Oreiades] . . . were called, not only ministers of gods, but also gods themselves. For instance, Hesiod says that five daughters were born to Hekateros and the daughter of Phoroneus [Ankhiale ?], `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.'" [N.B. Phoroneus was the first man sprung from the earth.]
Strabo, Geography 10. 3. 22 :
"Sophokles [Greek C5th B.C.] thinks that the first male Daktyloi 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 [the Hekaterides?] were five in number, and that they were called Daktyloi (Fingers) from their number [ten]."
Stephanus Byzantium s.v. Anchiale (from Athenodorus of Tarsus) (Byzantine Greek Lexicon C6th A.D.) :
"Ankhiale, daughter of Iapetos, founded Ankhiale (a city near Tarsos): her son was Kydnos, who gave his name to the river at Tarsos: the son of Kydnos was Parthenios, from whom the city was called Parthenia: afterwards the name was changed to Tarsos [a city in Kilikia]."
Ankhiale's name may have been derived from from the words ank- a prefix meaning "to reveal or uncover", and khlia and alee meaning "warmth" and "heat". The name may contain a double meaning, with a further reference to ankalê, a bundle (of firewood) carried under the arm.
The couple Hekateros and Ankhiale were grandparents of a variety of rustic gods, namely the Satyroi, Oreiades and Kouretes. As such Hekateros was probably closely identified with the earth-born Seilenos and Pyrrhikhos--Seilenos was the usual grandsire of these demi-gods in myth. In the account describing the parentage of Oaxos, he is also confounded with the god Apollon--the names Hekateros and Hekatos (a common epithet of Apollon) were quite similar.
Ankhiale herself may have been identical to the Kretan Nymphe Akalle who is also located in the vicinity of Mount Ida. The pronunciation of their names was quite similarly.
Other commentators suggest that Ankhiale was Rheia, who during her labour with Zeus, clutched the Earth with bent arms (ankalê), and prayed for assistance. In sympathy Gaia (Earth) birthed a clutch of fully-grown armed warriors to protect her, i.e. the Kouretes.
- Hesiod, Catalogues of Women - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
- Apollonius Rhodius, The Argonautica - Greek Epic C3rd B.C.
- Strabo, Geography - Greek Geography C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
- Stephanus of Byzantium, Ethnica - Byzantine Greek Leixicon C6th A.D.
Other references not currently quoted here: Servius on Vergil's Eclogues 1.66