Before Zeus and the reign of the Olympian Greek gods, there were the Titans. These large, powerful beings provide the foundation for many of the stories of Greek mythology. Theia was one of the original twelve Titans, born to Uranus and Gaia.
Theia was the Titan goddess of shining and light, associated with all that glimmers. She endowed gold, silver, other metals, and gems with their radiance and intrinsic value. In fact, Pindar’s odes described Theia as the goddess after whom people beheld gold as the most valuable shining object.
Like her sisters Phoebe and Themis, Theia was also an oracular goddess associated with prophecies. She was the prophetic deity of a shrine in Thessaly. Additionally, Theia was closely tied to sight because the ancient Greeks believed her eyes emitted beams of light that helped them to see with their own mortal eyes. Because of her connection to light, she is often depicted as a beautiful woman with long hair and light surrounding her (or light held within her hands).
Theia married her Titan brother, Hyperion, the god of light. Together, they bore three children: Helios the sun god, Selene the moon goddess, and Eos the dawn goddess. Helios lived in a golden palace at the far east of the earth and he pulled the sun from east to west every day in a golden chariot drawn by four winged horses. Selene had power over the moon and rode in a chariot drawn by a pair of winged steeds, often depicted wearing a golden cloak. Eos awoke each morning from the edge of Oceanus and her golden rays would overcome the morning mist and lingering shadows of the night; some myths say she rode in a winged-horse drawn golden chariot, while others say she had white wings and could fly herself.
Hyperion and his brothers were the gods responsible for creating mankind. Each Titan gave humans one of their senses. Hyperion, which means “he who watches from above,” gave men the sense of sight. Theia, his wife who was closely associated with sight, was able to support this gift to mankind.
Eventually, the Titans who once ruled the world were overthrown by Zeus and his siblings after a decade-long fight for power. The Olympian gods took over ruling and were revered by the ancient Greeks.
With the many stories of Greek mythology, which is your favorite?