A son of Uranus and Gaea, a Titan and brother of Cronus, Oceanus, Coeus, Hyperion, Tethys, Rhea, etc.1 According to Apollodorus2 he married Asia, the daughter of his brother Oceanus, and became by her the father of Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Menoetius, who was slain by Zeus in the war against the Titans, and shut up in Tartarus. Other traditions call the wife of Iapetus Clymene, who was likewise a daughter of Oceanus, and others again Tethys, Asopis, or Libya.3

Hyginus, who confounds the Titans and Gigantes, makes Iapetus a Giant, and calls him a son of Tartarus. According to Homer4 Iapetus is imprisoned with Cronus in Tartarus, and Silius Italicus5 relates that he is buried under the island of Inarime.

Being the father of Prometheus, he was regarded by the Greeks as the ancestor of the human race — the genus Iapeti. His descendants, Prometheus, Atlas, and others, are often designated by the patronymic forms Iapelidae (Iapeliades), Iapetionidae (Iapetionides), and the feminine Iapetionis.6



  1. Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library i, 1.3; Diodorus Siculus. Historical Library v, 66.
  2. The Library i, 2.3.
  3. Hesiod. Theogony, 507 ff.; Tzetzes on Lycophron, 1277; Orphic. Fragments viii, 21 ff.; Virgil. Georgics i, 279.
  4. Iliad viii, 479.
  5. xii, 148 ff.
  6. Hesiod. Theogony, 528; Ovid. Metamorphoses iv, 631; Pindar. Olympian Odes ix, 59.


  • 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.