Sea Monster Mania


Although Poseidon is the best known of the Greek sea deities, there were plenty of others lurking under the water. Two who put in an appearance in Rick Riordan’s The Mark of Athena are Phorcys and Keto, children of Oceanus and Tethys, who are specifically identified with the dangers lurking under the sea. Keto’s name is also the Greek word for a whale, and Phorcys might have been associated with seals. Phorcys is described as having spiky skin, the tail of a fish, and the forelegs of a crab, while Keto seems to have been more or less human in her typical form. Not only do they preside over a plethora of sea monsters both real and mythical, but their offspring also tended toward the monstrous. These included the Gorgons, the eye-sharing Graeae, and Echidna, who herself was the mother of other monsters with the nasty Typhon. The nymphs Thoosa and Scylla, the former of whom was the mother of Polyphemus and the latter turned into a monster, are also usually identified as daughters of Phorcys. There appears to be a general theme that even land monsters are associated with the sea in some way, probably because the sea was a common representation of chaos. I guess there’s not much else to say about these two, but you should certainly be wary of gods who have so many monsters in their thrall.

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