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KLYMENE
 
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Κλυμηνη Klymenê Clymene Fame (klymenos)
Ασιη Ασια Asiê, Asia Asia Of Lydia or Anatolia
Clymene, handmaiden of Hera | Athenian red-figure hydria C5th B.C. | Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe

Clymene, Athenian red-figure hydria C5th B.C.,
Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe

KLYMENE (or Clymene) was the Titan goddess of renown, fame and infamy. She was one of the elder Okeanides, wife of the Titan Iapetos, mother of the Titanes Prometheus and Atlas and the ancestress of all mankind. Like the Titan-wives she was probably an earth-goddess, her name bringing to mind "Klymenos," a common euphemistic title of the god Haides.

Klymene was also named Asia, and in this guise portrayed as the eponymous goddess of the region of Anatolia (i.e. Asia Minor). It should be noted that it was only later that geographers applied this name to the continent.

Klymene was also depicted as a handmaiden of the goddess Hera. In the vase-painting right she stands beside Hera at the judgement of Paris, and probably symbolises the fame of rulership which Hera promises the prince in return for the golden apple.

Asia-Klymene was frequently confounded with Asia-Hesione the wife of Prometheus. It is also unlikely that she was ever identified with the nymph Klymene loved by the god Helios, despite their common name and parentage.

PARENTS

[1.1] OKEANOS & TETHYS (Hesiod Theogony 507, Apollodorus 1.8, Nonnus Dionysiaca 38.108)

OFFSPRING
[1.1] ATLAS, PROMETHEUS, EPIMETHEUS, MENOITIOS (by Iapetos) (Hesiod Theogony 508, Apollodorus 1.8)
[1.2] PROMETHEUS, EPIMETHEUS (Lycophron 1282 & 1411)
[1.3] PROMETHEUS, EPIMETHEUS (by Iapetos) (Hyginus Preface)

ENCYCLOPEDIA

A′SIA (Asia). A daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, who became by Japetus the mother of Atlas, Prometheus, and Epimetheus. (Hesiod. Theog. 359; Apollod. i. 2. § 2, &c.) According to some traditions the continent of Asia derived its name from her. (Herod. iv. 45.) There are two other mythical personages of this name. (Hygin. Fab. Praef. p. 2; Tzetzes, ad Lycoph. 1277.)

CLY′MENE (Klumenê). A daughter of Oceanus and Thetys, and the wife of Japetus, by whom she became the mother of Atlas, Prometheus. and others. (Hesiod. Theog. 351, 507; comp.Virg. Georg. iv. 345; Schol. ad Pind. Ol. ix. 68; Hygin. Fab. 156.)

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Hesiod, Theogony 346 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"She [Tethys] brought forth also a race apart of daughters, who with lord Apollon and the Rivers have the young in their keeping all over the earth, since this right from Zeus is given them. They are . . . Hippo and Klymene, Rhodeia and Kallirhoe [appearing in a long list of names] . . . Now these are the eldest of the daughters who were born to Tethys and Okeanos, but there are many others beside these, for there are three thousand light-stepping daughters of Okeanos scattered far and wide, bright children among the goddesses, and all alike look after the earth and the depths of the standing water."

Hesiod, Theogony 508 ff :
"Iapetos took Klymene, the light-stepping daughter of Okeanos, to be his wife, and mounted into the same bed with her, and she bore him."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 8 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"The Titanes had children. Those of Okeanos and Tethys were called Okeanides : Asia [i.e. Klymene], Styx, Elektra, Doris, Eurynome, Amphitrite, and Metis."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 8 - 9 :
"The Titanes had children . . . Atlas (who holds the sky on his shoulders), Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Menoitios, whom Zeus struck with a thunderbolt in the Titan battle and confined to Tartaros, were all sons of Iapetos and Asia."

Lycophron, Alexandra 1282 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"[Referring to the region of Anatolia named for the goddess :] The unhappy mother of Prometheus."

Lycophron, Alexandra 1411 :
"[Again referring to the region named Asia after the goddess :] The mother of Epimetheus."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From Iapetus and Clymene [were born]: Atlas, Epimetheus, Prometheus."


Clymene & Hera | Greek vase painting
O7.1 CLYMENE, HERA
     

NOTES :

Klymene's husband Iapetos (the piercer) appears to be the Titan-god associated with mortality, so Klymene may represent the fame that mortals strove for in order to obtain a lasting memorial in death. Indeed, the masculine form of her name, Klymenos, was a popular epithet for the god Haides, and had clearly chthonic associations.

She was also sometimes named Asie. This term was originally used to describe the Anatolian peninsular (modern day Turkey) rather than the entire Asian continent. Even more specifically, Asia was the name given to the old Lydian empire, a region often associated in myth with her sons Atlas and Prometheus.


Sources:

  • Hesiod, Theogony - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
  • Apollodorus, The Library - Greek Mythography C2nd A.D.
  • Lycophron, Alexandra - Greek Poetry C3rd B.C.
  • Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.