Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Telchines

In Greek mythology, the Telchines (Greek: Τελχῖνες Telkhines) were the original inhabitants of the island of Rhodes, and were known in Crete and Cyprus.

Their parents were either Pontus and Gaia, or Tartarus and Nemesis, or else they were born from the blood of castrated Ouranos along with the Erinyes. In another story there were nine Telchines, children of Thalassa and Pontus; they had flippers instead of hands and dogs' heads and were known as fish children.

They were regarded as excellent metallurgists: various accounts state that they were skilled metal workers in brass and iron, and made a trident for Poseidon and a sickle for Cronus, both ceremonial weapons. By some accounts, their children were the goddesses Ialysos (Ἰαλυσός), Kamiros (Κάμειρος) and Lindos (Λίνδος). The Telchines were entrusted by Rhea with the upbringing of Poseidon, which they accomplished with the aid of Capheira (Καφείρα), a daughter of Oceanus. Another version says that Rhea accompanied them to Crete from Rhodes, where nine of the Telchines, known as the Curetes, were selected to bring up Zeus.

The Telchines were associated and sometimes confused with the Cyclopes, Dactyls and Curetes.

The gods (Zeus, Poseidon or Apollo) eventually killed them because they began to use magic for malignant purposes; particularly, they produced a mixture of Stygian water and sulfur, which killed animals and plants (according to Nonnus, they did so as a revenge for being driven out of Rhodes by the Heliadae). Accounts vary on how exactly they were destroyed: by flood, or Zeus's thunderbolt, or Poseidon's trident, or else Apollo assumed the shape of a wolf to kill them. They apparently lost one of the titanomachias, the battles between the gods and the Titans.

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