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Greek sea god
• The myth of Proteus: Commonly
known as the "Old Man of the
Sea". Son of Okeanos and
Tethys. He was a shepherd of
sea creatures
• The symbol of Proteus ;
• Proteus had the ability to
change shape at will, a common
trait of Greek sea deities. He
was also known for his oracular
powers and vast knowledge he
often changed his appearance
form man to dragon
• but had to be forced to divulge
any of his knowledge. In such
circumstances, he would use all
his skills as a shape-shifter to
• Proteus was said to live either
on the island of Pharos near the
mouth of the Nile, or on the
island of Carpathus between
Crete and Rhodes.
• According to Homer (Odyssey
iv:412), the sandy nation of Pharos
situated off the coast of the Nile
Delta was the home of Proteus, the
oracular Old Man of the Sea and
herdsman of the sea-beasts. In the
Odyssey, Menelaus relates to
Telemachus that he had been
becalmed here on his journey home
from the Trojan War
• . He learned from Proteus' daughter,
Eidothea ("the very image of the
Goddess"), that if he could capture her
father he could force him to reveal which
of the gods he had offended, and how he
could propitiate them and return home.
Proteus emerged from the sea to sleep
among his colony of seals, but Menelaus
was holding on to him, though Proteus took
the forms of a lion, a serpent, a leopard, a
pig, even of water or a tree
• Proteus then answered
truthfully, further informing
Menelaus that his brother
Agamemnon had been murdered
on his return home, that Ajax
the Lesser had been
shipwrecked and killed, and
that Odysseus was stranded on
Calypso's Isle Ogygia.
• According to Virgil in the fourth
Georgic, at one time the bees of
Aristaeus, son of Apollo, all died
of a disease. Aristaeus went to
his mother, Cyrene, for help; she
told him that Proteus could tell
him how to prevent another
such disaster, but would do so
only if compelled.
• Aristaeus had to seize Proteus
and hold him, no matter what he
would change into. Aristeus did
so, and Proteus eventually gave
up and told him to sacrifice 12
animals to the gods, leave the
corpses in the place of
sacrifice, and return three days
• When Aristaeus returned after
the three days he found in one
of the carcasses a swarm of
bees, which he took to his
apiary. The bees were never
again troubled by disease
• Proteus was yet another god of
the sea. He was not nearly as
well known as both Poseidon or
Oceanus, and was pretty much
known more as their servant.
• Proteus had the great ability to
change his shape at will. He
was also known as a type of
mystic and would answer your
questions if you managed to
capture him.
• However, Proteus would change
shapes as often as possible to
escape their grasp
• Menelaus and Aristaeus were
the only two to capture him. He
told Menelaus that in order to
get off the coast of Egypt he
should pay honor to the god
• Aristaeus was a god enamored
with bees and their keeping,
and sought from Proteus one of
the greatest ways of
accumulating more. Proteus
told him to sacrifice cattle to
the gods Out of the rotting
corpses of the cattle came
great swarms of bees.