Greek Mythology >> Greek Gods >> Titans >> Anchiale (Ankhiale)


Greek Name




Latin Spelling



Revealing Warmth?

ANKHIALE (Anchiale) was the Titan goddess of the warming heat of fire. She was the wife of Hekateros (Hecaterus), Titan-god of hands, and the mother of the metal-working Daktyloi (Dactyls), "the Fingers." These rustic deities together represented the power of the human hand to create and utilise fire. Ankhiale's brother, Prometheus, famously stole fire from heaven for man.



[1.1] PHORONEUS ? (Strabo 10.3.19)
[1.2] IAPETOS (Stephanus Byzantium s.v. Anchiale)


[1.1] THE DAKTYLOI (Apollonius Rhodius 1.1120)
[1.2] THE DAKTYLOI, THE HEKATERIDES (by Hekateros) ? (Strabo 10.3.19)
[2.1] KYDNOS (Stephanus Byzantium s.v. Anchiale)
[3.1] OAXOS (by Hekateros or Apollon) (Servius on Virgil's Eclogues)


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 Daktyloi Idaioi (Idaean Dactyls) of Krete (Crete). They were borne in the Diktaian (Dictaean) cave by the Nymphe Ankhiale (Anchiale) 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 (Curetes), Satyroi (Satyrs) and Oreiades (Oreads)] . . . were called, not only ministers of gods, but also gods themselves. For instance, Hesiod says that five daughters were born to Hekateros (Hecaterus) and the daughter of Phoroneus [presumably Ankhiale (Anchiale)], ‘from whom sprang the mountain-ranging Nymphai (Nymphs), goddesses, and the breed of Satyroi (Satyrs), creatures worthless and unfit for work, and also the Kouretes (Curetes), sportive gods, dancers.’" [N.B. Phoroneus was the first man who was born directly from the earth.]

Strabo, Geography 10. 3. 22 :
"Sophokles (Sophocles) [Greek tragedian C5th B.C.] thinks that the first male Daktyloi (Dactyls) 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 [probably 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 (Anchiale), daughter of Iapetos (Iapetus), founded Ankhiale (a city near Tarsos) : her son was Kydnos (Cydnus), 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 (Cilicia)]."


Ankhiale's name was perhaps derived from from the Greek words ank- meaning "reveal" or "uncover", and khlia and alee"warmth" and "heat". The name is surely also connected with the word ankalê--a bundle of firewood carried under the arm. Combined, the various terms, invoke the image of the firemaker who uncovers the heat of flame that is hidden away inside wood.
The couple Hekateros and Ankhiale were grandparents of a variety of rustic gods, namely the Satyroi, Oreiades and Kouretes. As such Hekateros was probably identified with the earth-born deities Seilenos (Silenus) and Pyrrhikhos. Seilenos, in particular, was the usual grandsire of the Satyroi in myth. In the account which describes the parentage of Oaxos, Hekateros is further confounded with the god Apollon--the names Hekateros and Hekatos (a common epithet of the god Apollon) were quite similar.
Ankhiale herself may have been the same as the Kretan Nymphe Akalle who was also located in the vicinity of Mount Ida. The pronunciation of their names was certainly quite similarly.
Some commentators suggest that Ankhiale was Rheia who, during her labour with Zeus, clutched the Earth with bent arms (ankalê) and prayed for help. In sympathy Gaia (the Earth) birthed a clutch of fully-grown, armed warriors to protect her--the Kouretes.





Other references not currently quoted here: Servius on Vergil's Eclogues 1.66.


A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.