prophetic sea-god who protected sailors and fishermen in difficult times during storms

In mythology there are several figures named Glaucus, probably the most famous mythological tale is of Glaucus the fisherman.

Glaucus was fishing in the river, he hauled in his catch, and on emptying his net noticed the fish he had already caught were reviving, and escaping back into the water, wondering what was causing this to happen, he took a closer look and realized he had emptied his catch on a patch of strange herbs on the river bank.

Glaucus picked a handful of these strange herbs, and on tasting them had an urge to enter the river, he plunged in, and no sooner had he entered the water he had changed into a sea-monster with sea-green hair, huge broad shoulders and a fish-like tail. His transformation was accepted by the gods, and so Glaucus became immortal, a sea-god.

One day he spied a beautiful girl, Scylla, a favorite of the water-nymphs, and fell instantly in love with her. Scylla on seeing Glaucus ran away, and no matter how he tried she kept on rejecting him.

Felling sorry for himself Glaucus went to the island of Aeaea to confide in Circe, she was a sorceress and had the power to cast spells. Glaucus told Circe of his love for Scylla and of her rejection for him, he also told Circe that he could never love anyone else except Scylla.

Circe, who was very fond of Glaucus felt angered by this, and made her way to the island of Sicily, where Scylla lived. While Scylla bathed in a small spring, the jealous Circe poured a potion of herbs into the water, then cast her spell.

From the lower half of her body Scylla grew six monstrous dogs, but the upper half remained intact. Totally appalled by the appearance of her body she hid herself away in a grotto on the straits of Messina, and there she stayed, but she could not stop the monstrous dogs from devouring unsuspecting sailors who steered to close to her cave, and Glaucus continued to pursue Scylla but to no avail.



Having been cured of his affliction by Procris, King Minos of Crete would father a number of children with his wife Pasiphae, with one such son being Glaucus.

Whilst still young, Glaucus would disappear, for the son of Minos had chased a mouse (or a ball) into a storage room, and had fallen into a jar of honey, and had drowned in it.


Unable to find his son Glaucus, Minos was advised, possibly by the god Apollo, that only the individual who could make an appropriate comparison between a cow in Minos’ herd and another object would be able to find Glaucus.

At the time there was a calf in Minos’ herd who changed its colour between white, red and black, but the seers of Crete were stumped to make an appropriate comparison but then a stranger solved the riddle by stating that the cow was like a mulberry, a fruit that started off white, went red, and then ended up being black.

This stranger was Polyidus, the son of Coeranus and descendant of Melampus; and so it was left to Polyidus to locate Glaucus.

Many feared that Glaucus had fallen into the sea from one of Crete’s cliffs, but Polyidus looked closer to Minos’ palace, and there observed an owl attempting to keep bees away from a storage room.

Looking into the storage room, Polyidus found the jar of honey, and Glaucus dead within it.


Minos now demanded that Polyidus restore Glaucus to life, but Polyidus was a seer not a healer, and thus did not have the skill to do so. Minos though believed that Polyidus was unwilling, rather than unable to resurrect Glaucus, and so the body of Glaucus and Polyidus were locked in the storage room together.

Not knowing what to do Polyidus waited, and then a snake slithered past approaching the body of Glaucus, Polyidus took his sword and killed the snake before it could touch Glaucus. Minutes later a second snake emerged, and observing the first snake dead, went away, only to return with a herb in its mouth. The second snake covered the body of the first in the herb, and the dead snake was reanimated.

Polyidus now knew how to bring Glaucus back to life, and the seer covered the body of Glaucus in the same herb used by the snake, and so Glaucus was alive once more.

Some tell of Polyidus being richly rewarded by King Minos for bringing Glaucus back to life.


In keeping with the more tyrannical version of King Minos though, Polyidus was not richly rewarded for his service, but instead was tasked with tutoring Glaucus in the art of divination.

With no way of leaving Crete without the permission of King Minos, Polyidus set about his task and soon Glaucus knew all that Polyidus knew. Now free to leave, Polyidus embarked upon his ship, but before he left, he commanded Glaucus to spit into his mouth; as Glaucus did this, so all he knew was forgotten.


Only vague mentions of Glaucus, son of Minos, occur subsequently, although it is suggested that the Cumaean Sibyl, named Deiphobe, who was encountered by Aeneas, was the daughter of Glaucus. It was also suggested that the sea-god Glaucus was the father of Deiphobe, which would link into the prophetic ability of the sibyl and the sea-god.

It was also said that Glaucus had led an army into Italy at a later date.


The various GLAUCUS in Greek Mythology

In Greek mythology, Glaucus (Ancient Greek: Γλαῦκος, means "greyish blue" or "bluish green" and "glimmering") was the name of the following figures:

Glaucus, a sea-god

Glaucus, one of the twelve younger Panes, offspring of Pan. He came to join Dionysus in his campaign against India.

Glaucus, son of Sisyphus and a Corinthian king.

Glaucus, husband of Laophonte and father of Leda in some variants of the myth. He may be the same as Glaucus, the son of Sisyphus if hypothetical deduction of genealogy be used.

Glaucus, son of King Minos of Crete.

Glaucus, a mythical Lycian captain in the Trojan War.

Glaucus, a Trojan prince and one of the sons of King Priam by an unknown woman.

Glaucus, son of Antenor, one of the Trojan elders. He was rescued during the sack of Troy by the intervention of Odysseus and Menelaus.

Glaucus, one of the suitors of Penelope from Dulichium.

Glaucus, one of the Dolionians, a people living in northwestern Asia Minor. He was killed by Jason when the Argonauts came to the country.

Glaucus, son of Aretus and Laobie. He joined Deriades, along with his father and brothers, against Dionysus in the Indian War.

Glaucus, a son of Aepytus.


[1] "Encyclopedia Mythica"

[2] "Greek Legends and Myths"

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