Greek Mythology >> Greek Gods >> Rustic Gods >> Mountain Gods >> Aetna (Aitna)


Greek Name

Αιτνη Αιτνα


Aitnê, Aitna

Latin Spelling



Mount Etna

AITNA (Aetna) was the goddess of the volcanic Mount Etna in Sicily, southern Italy. She was the mother by Zeus of the Palikoi (Palici), gods of geysers and hot-water springs.

The giant Typhoeus or Enkelados (Enceladus) was buried beneath her bulk. His restless turnings were the cause of earthquakes and lava-flows.



[1] OURANOS & GAIA (Simonides Frag 52, Scholiast on Theocritus 1.65)
[2] BRIAREOS (Scholiast on Theocritus 1.65)


[1] THE PALIKOI (by Zeus or Hephaistos) (Servius on Virgil's Aeneid 9.584)


AETNA (Aitnê), a Sicilian nymph, and according to Alcimus (ap. Schol. Theocrit. i. 65), a daughter of Uranus and Gaea, or of Briareus. Simonides said that she had acted as arbitrator between Hephaestus and Demeter respecting the possession of Sicily. By Zeus or Hephaestus she became the mother of the Palici. (Serv. ad Aen. ix. 584.) Mount Aetna in Sicily was believed to have derived its name from her, and under it Zeus buried Typhon, Enceladus, or Briareus. The mountain itself was believed to be the place in which Hephaestus and the Cyclops made the thunderbolts for Zeus. (Eurip. Cycl. 296; Propert. iii. 15. 21 ; Cic. De Divinat. ii. 19.)

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Pindar, Pythian Ode 1. 15 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"That enemy of the gods, who lies in fearsome Tartaros, Typhon [Typhoeus]the hundred-headed, who long since was bred in the far-famed Kilikian (Cilician) cave. Today the cliffs that bar the sea o'er Kumai (Cumae) and Sikilia's (Sicily's) isle, press heavy on his shaggy breast, and that tall pillar rising to the height of heaven, contains him close--Aitna (Etna) the white-clad summit, nursing through all the year her frozen snows. From the dark depths below she flings aloft fountains of purest fires, that no foot can approach. In the broad light of day rivers of glowing smoke pour forth a lurid stream, and in the dark a red and rolling flood tumbles down the boulders to the deep sea's plain in riotous clatter. These dread flames that creeping monster sends aloft, a marvel to look on, and a wondrous tale even to hear, from those whose eyes have seen it. Such is the being bound between the peaks of Aitna in her blackened leaves and the flat plain, while all his back is torn and scarred by the rough couch on which he lies outstretched."

Simonides, Fragment 52 (from Scholiast on Theocritus 1.65) (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric IV) (C6th to 5th B.C.) :
"Aitna (Etna) is a mountain in Sikelia (Sicily), named after Aitna, daughter of Ouranos (Heaven) and Ge (Earth), according to Alkimos (Alcimus) in his work on Sikelia (Sicily). Simonides says that Aitna decided between Hephaistos (Hephaestus) and Demeter when they quarrelled over possession of the land."




Other references not currently quoted here: Servius on Virgil's Aeneid 9.584, Euripides Cyclops 296, Cicero On Diviniation 2.19.


A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.