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June 19    Scripture

Mythology & Beliefs: Proteus
In Greek and Roman Mythology, Proteus was a sea god; assumed various shapes when called on to prophesy.

Proteus in Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (Πρωτεύς), the prophetic old man of the sea (ἅλιος γέρων), occurs in the earliest legends as a subject of Poseidon, and is described as seeing through the whole depth of the sea, and tending the flocks (the seals) of Poseidon (Hom. Od. 4.365, 385, 400; Verg. G. 4.392 ; Theocr. 2.58; Hor. Carm. 1.2.7; Philostr. Icon. 2.17). He resided in the island of Pharos, at the distance of one day's journey from the river Aegyptus (Nile), whence he is also called the Egyptian (Hom. Od. 4.355, 385). Virgil, however, instead of Pharos, mentions the island of Carpathos, between Crete and Rhodes (Georg. 4.387; comp. Hom. Il. 2.676), whereas, according to the same poet, Proteus was born in Thessaly (Georg. 4.390, comp. Ace. 11.262). His life is described as follows. At midday he rises from the flood, and sleeps in the shadow of the rocks of the coast, and around him lie the monsters of the deep (Hom. Od. 4.400; Verg. G. 4.395). Any one wishing to compel him to foretell the future, was obliged to catch hold of him at that time; he, indeed, had the power of assuming every possible shape, in order to escape the necessity of prophesying, but whenever he saw that his eudeavours were of no avail, he resumed his usual appearance, and told the truth (Hom. Od. 4.410, &100.455, &c.; Ov. Art. Am. i. 761, Fast. 1.369; Philostr. Vit. Apoll. 1.4). When he had finished his prophecy he returned into the sea (Hom. Od. 4.570). Homer (Hom. Od. 4.365) ascribes to him one daughter, Eidothea, but Strabo (x. p.472) mentions Cabeiro as a second, aud Zenodotus (apud Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1500) mentions Eurynome instead of Eidothea. He is sometimes represented as riding through the sea, in a chariot drawn by Hippocampae. (Virg. Georg. 4.389.) Another set of traditions describes Proteus as a son of Poseidon, and as a king of Egypt, who had two sons, Telegonus and Polygonus or Tmolus. (Apollod. 2.5.9; Tzetz. ad Lyc. 124.) Diodorus however observes (1.62), that only the Greeks called him Proteus, and that the Egyptians called him Cetes. His wife is called Psamathe (Eur. Hel. 7) or Torone (Tzetz. ad Lyc. 115), and, besides the above mentioned sons, Theoclymenus and Theonoe are likewise called his children. (Eur. Hel. 9, 13.) He is said to have hospitably received Dionysus during his wanderings (Apollod. 3.5.1), and Hermes brought to him Helena after her abduction ( Eur. Hel. 46), or, according to others, Proteus himself took her from Paris, gave to the lover a phantom, and restored the true Helen to Menelaus after his return from Troy. (Tzetz. ad Lyc. 112, 820; Hdt. 2.112, 118.) The story further relates that Proteus was originally an Egyptian, but that he went to Thrace and there married Torone. But as his sons by her used great violence towards strangers, he prayed to his father Poseidon to carry him back to Egypt. Poseidon accordingly opened a chasm in the earth in Pallene, and through a passage passing through the earth under the sea he led him back into Egypt. (Tzetz. ad Lyc. 124; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 686.) A second personage of the name of Proteus is mentioned by Apollodorus (2.1.5) among the sons of Aegyptus. - A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, William Smith, Ed.

Proteus in Wikipedia In Greek mythology, Proteus (Πρωτεύς) is an early sea-god, one of several deities whom Homer calls the "Old Man of the Sea"[1], whose name suggests the "first" (from Greek "πρῶτος" - protos, "first"), as protogonos (πρωτόγονος) is the "primordial" or the "firstborn". He became the son of Poseidon in the Olympian theogony (Odyssey iv. 432), or of Nereus and Doris, or of Oceanus and a Naiad, and was made the herdsman of Poseidon's seals, the great bull seal at the center of the harem. He can foretell the future, but, in a mytheme familiar from several cultures, will change his shape to avoid having to; he will answer only to someone who is capable of capturing him. From this feature of Proteus comes the adjective protean, with the general meaning of "versatile", "mutable", "capable of assuming many forms". "Protean" has positive connotations of flexibility, versatility and adaptability. The earliest attested form of the name is the Mycenaean Greek 𐀡𐀫𐀳𐀄 po- ro-te-u, written in Linear B syllabic script.[2]...

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