EURYNOME was the first Titan-queen of heaven who ruled Olympos beside her husband Ophion. The pair were wrestled by Kronos (Cronus) and Rhea for their thrones and cast defeated into the earth-encircling River Okeanos (Oceanus).
Eurynome's name means "Wide-Ruling" or "She of Broad-Pastures" from the Greek words eurys "wide" or "broad" and nomos "ruling" or nomia "pasturelands."
She was perhaps identified with Eurynome the mother of the Graces.
FAMILY OF EURYNOME
OKEANOS (Apollonius Rhodius 1.503; Pausanias 8.41.4)
EURY′NOME (Eurunomê). 1. A daughter of Oceanus. When Hephaestus was expelled by Hera from Olympus, Eurynome and Thetis received him in the bosom of the sea. (Hom. Il. xviii, 395, &c.; Apollod. i. 2. § 2.) Previous to the time of Cronos and Rhea, Eurynome and Ophion had ruled in Olympus over the Titans, but after being conquered by Cronos, she had sunk down into Tartarus or Oceanus. (Apollon. Rhod. i. 503, &c.; Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 1191.) By Zeus she became the mother of the Charites, or of Asopus. (Hes. Theog. 908; Apollod. iii. 12. § 6.) 2. A surname of Artemis at Phigalea in Arcadia. Her sanctuary which was surrounded by cypresses, was opened only once in every year, and sacrifices were then offered to her. She was represented half woman and half fish. (Paus. viii. 41. § 4.) There are four more mythical personages of this name. (Hom. Od. xviii. 168; Apollod. iii. 9. § 2.)
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
EURYNOME QUEEN OF HEAVEN
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 503 ff (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"He [Orpheus] sang of . . . How, in the beginning, Ophion and Eurynome, daughter of Okeanos (Oceanus), governed the world from snow-clad Olympos; how they were forcibly supplanted, Ophion by Kronos (Cronus), Eurynome by Rhea; of their fall into the waters of Okeanos."
Lycophron, Alexandra 1191 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"Him [Zeus] who is lord of Ophion's throne . . . his mother [Rhea], skilled in wrestling, having cast into Tartaros the former queen [Eurynome]."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 2.563 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"[Zeus gloats over the body of the vanquished giant Typhoeus which was sent by Gaia (the Earth) to champion the vanquished Titanes :] Kronides (Cronides) laughed aloud, and taunted him like this in a flood of words from his mocking throat : ‘A fine ally has old Kronos found in you, Typhoeus! Gaia could scarcely bring forth that great son for Iapetos! A jolly champion of Titanes! . . . Bring back Astraios to heaven; if you wish, let Eurynome and Ophion return to the sky, and Kronos in the train of that pair!’"
EURYNOME NURSE OF HEPHAESTUS
Eurynome and Thetis nursed the young god Hephaistos (Hephaestus) in a cave beside the River Okeanos (Oceanus) after he was cast from heaven by his mother Hera. Thetis is probably a substitute here for Tethys "the Nurse", wife of Okeanos. Eurynome "Of Broad-Pastures" was also the mother of Kharis (Charis) the bride of Hephaistos--see the other Eurynome. Tethys and Eurynome may have originally been regarded as one goddess namely Tethys-Eurynome "Nurse of the Earth's Broad-Pastures."
Homer, Iliad 13. 397 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"[Hephaistos (Hephaestus) was cast from Olympos by the goddess Hera in disgust at having borne a crippled son :] Then my [Hephaistos'] soul would have taken much suffering had not Eurynome and Thetis caught me, Eurynome, daughter of Okeanos (Oceanus), whose stream bends back in a circle. With them I worked nine years as a smith . . . working there in the hollow of the cave, and the stream of Okeanos around us went on forever with its foam and its murmur. No other among the gods or among mortal men knew about us except Eurynome and Thetis. They knew, since they saved me."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 41. 4 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Homer mentions [Eurynome] in the Iliad, saying that along with Thetis she received Hephaistos (Hephaestus)."
CULT OF EURYNOME
A fish-tailed goddess named Eurynome was worshipped at Phigalia in Arkadia. Her exact identity is unclear but she could be Eurynome wife of Ophion, Eurynome mother of the Kharites, Tethys wife of Okeanos, the river-goddess Neda, or even a watery Artemis.
Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 41. 4 - 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The river Lymax (‘After-Birth’) falls into the Neda [in Arkadia]. Where the streams meet is the sanctuary of Eurynome, a holy spot from of old and difficult of approach because of the roughness of the ground. Around it are many cypress trees, growing close together. Eurynome is believed by the people of Phigalia to be a surname of Artemis. Those of them, however, to whom have descended ancient traditions, declare that Eurynome was a daughter of Okeanos (Oceanus), whom Homer mentions in the Iliad, saying that along with Thetis she received Hephaistos (Hephaestus). On the same day in each year they open the sanctuary of Eurynome, but at any other time it is a transgression for them to open it. On this occasion sacrifices also are offered by the state and by individuals. I did not arrive at the season of the festival, and I did not see the image of Eurynome; but the Phigalians told me that golden chains bind the wooden image, which represents a woman as far as the hips, but below this a fish. If she is a daughter of Okeanos, and lives with Thetis in the depth of the sea, the fish may be regarded as a kind of emblem of her. But there could be no probable connection between such a shape and Artemis."
1. Eurynome was probably the same as the Titanis Tethys whose river-god sons nurtured the pastures (nomia). Eurynome's husband Ophion "the Serpent" was similar to Tethys' husband Okeanos who in classical art was represented with a serpentine-fish tail in place of legs and holding a snake (ophis).
2. It is likely that Ophion and Eurynome, daughter of Okeanos (World-Stream), were also equated with Ouranos (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth). In the Orphic Theogonies Gaia was the daughter of Hydros (Water), a primordial being similar to Okeanos. In Hesiod Kronos "wrestles" Ouranos for the throne.
3. Eurynome wife of Ophion was also identified with Eurynome mother of the Kharites by Zeus. Both were pasture-godddesses and the Kharites presided over the blooming of spring. She was also a nurse of Hephaistos who like Eurynome in the Orphic myths was cast from heaven into the river Okeanos.
4. In the Orphic Theogonies, Ophion and Eurynome were apparently equated with the primordial deities Khronos (Chronus) and Ananke and the bi-gendered being Phanes.
- Homer, The Iliad - Greek Epic C8th B.C.
- Apollonius Rhodius, The Argonautica - Greek Epic C3rd B.C.
- Lycophron, Alexandra - Greek Poetry C3rd B.C.
- Pausanias, Description of Greece - Greek Travelogue C2nd A.D.
- Nonnus, Dionysiaca - Greek Epic C5th A.D.
A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.