Of Anthedon in Boeotia, a fisherman, who had the good luck to eat a part of the divine herb which Cronus had sown, and which made Glaucus immortal.1 His parentage is different in the different traditions, which are enumerated by Athenaeus; some called his father Copeus, others Polybus, the husband of Euboea, and others again Anthedon or Poseidon. He was further said to have been a clever diver, to have built the ship Argo, and to have accompanied the Argonauts as their steersman. In the sea-fight of Jason against the Tyrrhenians, Glaucus alone remained unhurt; he sank to the bottom of the sea, where he was visible to none save to Jason. From this moment he became a marine deity, and was of service to the Argonauts. The story of his sinking or leaping into the sea was variously modified in the different traditions.2
There was a belief in Greece that once in every year Glaucus visited all the coasts and islands, accompanied by marine monsters, and gave his prophecies.3 Fishermen and sailors paid particular reverence to him, and watched his oracles, which were believed to be very trustworthy.
The story of his various loves seems to have been a favorite subject with the ancient poets, and many of his love adventures are related by various writers. One story goes that he fell in love with Scylla, the daughter of Phorcys, but she spurned his love. He turned to Circe for help but she fell in love with him herself and removed the competition by poisoning Scylla, transforming her into a horrible monster.4
The place of his abode varies in the different traditions, but Aristotle stated that he dwelt in Delos, where, in conjunction with the nymphs, he gave oracles; for his prophetic power was said by some to be even greater than that of Apollo, who is called his disciple in it.5
This deified Glaucus was likewise chosen by the Greek poets as the subject of dramatic compositions, and we know from Velleius Paterculus that the mimus Plancus represented this marine daemon on the stage.
- Athenaeus, vii, c. 48; Claudian. De Nuptiis Honorii et Mariae x, 158.
- Bekker. Anecdotes, p. 347; Scholiast on Plato's de Legibus x, p. 611. Ovid. Metamorphoses xiii, 898 ff.
- Pausanias. Description of Greece ix, 22.6.
- Ovid. Metamorphoses xiv, 1-74.
- Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, i, 1310; Tzetzes on Lycophron, 753; Eustathius on Homer, p. 271; Ovid. Metamorphoses xiii, 904 ff.; Servius on Virgil's Georgics i, 437; on Aeneid iii, 420; v, 832; vi, 36; Strabo. Geography p. 405.
- Images i, 15.
- For further descriptions of his appearance, see Nonnus. Dionysiaca xiii, 73; xxxv, 73; xxxix, 99; Scholiast on Euripides' Orestes, 318, 364; Statius. Silvae iii, 2, 36; Thebaid vii, 335 ff.; Velleius Paterculus, ii, 83.
- Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.