Web Theoi
THEIA
 
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Θεια Theia Theia Sight, Prophecy

THEIA was the Titan goddess of sight (thea) and shining light of the clear blue sky (aithre). She was also, by extension, the goddess who endowed gold, silver and gems with their brilliance and intrinsic value. Theia married Hyperion, the Titan-god of light, and bore him three bright children--Helios the Sun, Eos the Dawn, and Selene the Moon.

Under the title Ikhnaie, "the tracing goddess," Theia possessed an oracular shrine in the region of Phthiotis in Thessaly. Her sister-Titans were likewise oracular goddesses--Phoibe held Delphoi, Mnemosyne Lebadeia, Dione Dodona, and Themis shared the four.

PARENTS
OURANOS & GAIA (Theogony 132, Homeric Hymn To Helios, Apollodorus 1.8)
OFFSPRING
HELIOS, SELENE, EOS (by Hyperion) (Theogony 371, Homeric Hymn To Helios, Apollodorus 1.9, Hyginus Pref)

ENCYCLOPEDIA

THEIA (Theia). A daughter of Uranus and Ge, one of the female Titans, became by Hyperion the mother of Helios, Eos, and Selene, that is, she was regarded as the deity from which all light proceeded. (Hes. Theog. 135, 371 ; Pind. Isthm. v. 1; Apollod. i. 1. § 3, 2. § 2; Catull. 66. 44.)

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Hesiod, Theogony 132 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"She [Gaia the Earth] lay with Ouranos (Sky) and bare deep-swirling Okeanos, Koios and Krios and Hyperion and Iapetos, Theia (Sight) and Rhea, Themis and Mnemosyne (Memory) and gold-crowned Phoibe and lovely Tethys. After them was born Kronos."

Hesiod, Theogony 371 ff :
"And Theia was subject in love to Hyperion and bare great Helius (Sun) and clear Selene (Moon) and Eos (Dawn)."

Homeric Hymn 31 to Helius (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th - 4th B.C.) :
"Helios (the Sun) whom mild-eyed Euryphaessa (Wide Shining), the far-shining one (phaithonta), bare to the Son of Gaia (Earth) and starry Ouranos (Heaven). For Hyperion wedded glorious Euryphaessa, his own sister, who bare him lovely children, rosy-armed Eos (Dawn) and rich-tressed Selene (Moon) and tireless Helios (Sun)."

Homeric Hymn 3 to Delian Apollo 89 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th - 4th B.C.) :
"Leto [on the island of Delos] was racked nine days and nine nights with pangs beyond wont. And there were with her all the chiefest of the goddesses, Dione and Rheia and Ikhnaie and Themis and loud-moaning Amphitrite and the other deathless goddesses. Then the child leaped forth to the light, and all the goddesses raised a cry. Straightway, great Phoibos [Apollon], the goddesses washed you purely and cleanly with sweet water, and swathed you in a white garment of fine texture, new-woven, and fastened a golden band about you." [N.B. The "chiefest of the goddesses" are the Titanides. Amphitrite stands in place of Tethys, Dione is equivalent to Phoibe, and Ikhnaie "the tracing goddess" is Theia.]

Pindar, Isthmian Ode 5. 1 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"Mother of Helios (the Sun), Theia, goddess of many names, thanks to thee men ascribe to gold a strength exceeding all other powers that are. For ships that sail the seas in rivalry and racing chariot steeds for thy honour, O queen, rise to the height of wondrous deeds amidst the whirling wheels of struggle. And in the contests of the Games, he reaps that prize of glory that all hearts desire."

Stesichorus, Fragment S17 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric III) (C7th B.C.) :
"[Helios] went down into the cup of solid gold, so that he might cross over Okeanos and reach the depths of holy, dark night and his mother [Theia] and wedded wife and dear children."

"Ouranos (Sky) ... fathered other sons on Ge (Earth), namely the Titanes: Okeanos, Koios, Hyperion, Kreios, Iapetos, and Kronos the youngest; also daughters called Titanides: Tethys, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoibe, Dione, and Theia." - Apollodorus, The Library 1.2

"The Titanes had children ...Hyperion and Theia had Eos, Helios, and Selene." - Apollodorus, The Library 1.8-9

Strabo, Geography 9. 5. 15 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Ikhnai [in Phthiotis, Thessalia], where Themis Ikhnaia is held in honor."
[N.B. Ikhnaia is Theia. Themis is paired with her as she was with the Titanesses Phoibe and Dione at Delphoi and Dodona.]

Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From Hyperion and Aethra [were born] : Sol [Helios], Luna [Selene], Aurora [Eos]."

Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Θεια Theia Theia Divine Inspiration,
Prophecy (theiazô)
Θεα Thea Thea Sight, Seeing
(thea, theaomai)
Ιχναιη Ikhnaiê Ichnaea Tracing, Tracking
(ikhneuô)
Ευρυφαεσσα Euryphaessa Euryphaessa Wide-Shining
(eury-, phaethô)
Αιθρη Aithrê Aethra Clear Blue Sky,
Ether (aithrê)

NOTES :

1. The ancient Greeks believed that the eyes emitted a beam of light, much like a lamp, which allowed one to see whatever it fell upon. Hence Theia the mother of sight (thea), was also the mother of light-beaming sun, moon and dawn.

2. Theia was also apparently a female aspect of the protogenos Aither, the bright upper air, or shining blue sky. Again, a suitable role, for a daughter of Heaven, and mother of the Sun, Moon and Dawn.

3. Theia, like her sisters Themis, Dione and Phoibe, was also an oracular goddess. Her name is connected with the word theiazô, "to divine or prophecy." The Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo equates her with Ikhnaie, "the tracing goddess," who possessed an old oraclular shrine in Phthiotis.


Sources:

  • Hesiod, Theogony - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
  • The Homeric Hymns - Greek Epic C8th-4th B.C.
  • Pindar, Odes - Greek Lyric C5th B.C.
  • Greek Lyric III Stesichorus, Fragments - Greek Lyric C7th-6th B.C
  • Apollodorus, The Library - Greek Mythography C2nd A.D.
  • Strabo, Geography - Greek Geography C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
  • Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.