Sunday, June 16, 2013

TFBT: Zeus' Aversion to Autochthons

 I start to suspect that Zeus was a damn racist. He seems to have never liked a true human woman!”
                              Maya M.  in Maya’s Corner

 Most of the great mortal families and city-states in Greek Mythology claim descent from some demi-god who traveled to another land, conquered or colonized it, married the local nymph and created a great kingdom.  Kings are commonly called “sons of Zeus”.  When my friend Maya says “true human woman” she refers to a member of those rare genealogies unpopulated by deities.  These are the native people, the indigenous people, the earth-born, in the Greek language; the autochthons.

 Carlos Parada, in a great article on “Autochthonous” in  Greek Mythology Link, lists seventeen autochthons; Amphictyon,  Aras, Castalius,  Cecrops,  Coresus,   Cranaus,  Erichthonius,  Evenor,  Indus,   Lelex, Lycaon,    Palaechthon, Pelasgus,  Periphas,  Phigalus,   Phlegyas and Tyllus . 

Parada did not list the Sparti who were literally born from the earth after Cadmus seeded the fields of Thebes with dragon’s teeth.  Among them I found the first exemption to “Maya’s Law” about Zeus' aversion to autochthons.   Antiope was third generation autochthon with only a nymph in her genealogy. Her sons were the god-like (and heir-less) Amphion and Zethus.    

Other authochthon families either faded into obscurity as I followed their family tree, while others quickly intermingled with the divine.  The relative hold outs for racial purity are the families of;
·        King Amphictyon  of Attica and
·        King Lelex of Laconia. 

I continued to surf the genealogy tables.   I noticed another family prone not to mingle with the fickle gods;
·       The descendants of  Hellen and his three biological sons;  Aeolus, Xuthus  and Dorus.   Hellen’s three sons represent three of the Greek dialects Aeolian, Achaean and Dorian.   (Ion his step-son was an adopted demi-god and was the eponymous founder of the Ionian dialect.) 

Amphictyon reigned prior to Ionian becoming the dialect of Attica, Lelex was an Achaean king.  So  Maya’s Law” should actually say; that Zeus (and the rest of the gods) has a marked preference for mating with Ionians and barbarians.  Or more simply put; “Zeus prefers Ionian women!”

See also;  TFBT:The Divine Aversion to Death and Nyctophobia


  1. Great post! I am glad that my casual remark sparked such a systematic study.
    BTW, how do you classify Hellen? There is some controversy about whether he was son of Deukalion or Zeus. I wonder why nobody comments the "rumours" that his father was Zeus. Either way, I consider him a hybrid of 3/4 divine, 1/4 human origin (from his grandmother Pandora).

  2. Maya,

    Looks to me like Hellen was descended from Deukalion, which makes him mostly divine. I just tossed his family in the mix, but it was so noticeable how the gods avoided intermingling with his family.