Glaucus  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Glaucus was a Greek prophetic sea-god, born mortal and turned immortal upon eating a magical herb. It was believed that he commonly came to the rescue of sailors and fishermen in storms, having once been one himself.

Love life

According to Ovid and Hyginus, Glaucus fell in love with the beautiful nymph Scylla and wanted her for his wife, but she was appalled by his fish-like features and fled onto land when he tried to approach her. He asked the witch Circe for a love potion to make Scylla fall in love with him, but Circe fell in love with him instead. She tried to win his heart with her most passionate and loving words, telling him to scorn Scylla and stay with her. But he replied that trees would grow on the ocean floor and seaweed would grow on the highest mountain before he would stop loving Scylla. In her anger, Circe poisoned the pool where Scylla bathed, transforming her into a terrible monster with twelve feet and six heads.

Euanthes and Theolytus of Methymna also recorded an affair between Glaucus and Ariadne: according to Athenaeus who cites these authors, Glaucus seduced Ariadne as she was abandoned by Theseus on Dia (Naxos). Dionysus then fought Glaucus over Ariadne and overpowered him, binding his hands and feet with grape vines; he, however, released Glaucus when the latter disclosed his own name and origin.

According to Mnaseas, again cited in Athenaeus, Glaucus abducted Syme on a journey back from Asia, and had the island Syme named after her; according to Aeschrion of Samos, Glaucus was the lover of the semi-historical Hydne.

Glaucus was reported to have had male lovers as well: Nicander in Europia mentioned Nereus as one, while Hedylus of Samos (or Athens) wrote that it was out of love for Melicertes that Glaucus threw himself into the sea. Yet according to Nicanor of Cyrene's Change of Names, Glaucus and the deified Melicertes were one and the same.

It is not known if Glaucus had any children, but Pausanias mentions Glaucus of Carystus as an alleged descendant of Glaucus the sea god. Virgil seems to indicate the Cumaean Sibyl, Deiphobe, as a daughter of Glaucus.

In literature and art

Aeschylus wrote a play on Glaucus, entitled Glaucus Pontius ("Glaucus of the Sea"), now lost. A work entitled Glaucus also belonged to Callimachus (it is unclear though which Glaucus was its subject).

The Roman author Velleius Paterculus made mention of Plancus, who performed in the role of Glaucus at a feast.

Scylla et Glaucus, an opera by Jean-Marie Leclair, was based on the myth of Glaucus' love for Scylla recorded in Ovid.

A statue of Glaucus was installed in 1911 in the middle of the Fontana delle Naiadi, Mario Rutelli's fountain of four naked bronze nymphs, located in the Piazza Repubblica, Rome.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Glaucus" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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