Coeus (Koios, Polos)

Titan god of intelligence and farsight

Coeus was the Titan god of intelligence and farsight, meaning that, due to his inquisitive mind and desire to learn, he was with gained knowledge and understanding able to see beyond the obvious. He was also identified as the god of wisdom and heavenly oracles. Coeus was also known as the Pillar of the north pole from which the constellations revolved and therefore, controlled the axis between Heaven and Earth.

Together with his other three brothers Crius, Hyperion and Iapetus, they presided as the Pillars of holding Heaven and Earth apart. He was one of six sons of Uranus and Gaea and is mentioned by Apollodorus as one of the five brothers, all but Oceanus, who participated in rebellion against Uranus and later attacked him. When they overcame him, the four brothers probably held him down, while Cronus castrated him.

His latin name was Polos or Polus and according to Hyginus the name Coeus was used for giant instead of titan. They are clearly two different characters mentioned by not only Hyginus, but also by Virgil, another latin author.


In the time of war, Coeus fought bravely with his brothers against Olympians, but was after defeat imprisoned in Tartarus like the rest of his brothers. When in Tartarus, according to Valerius Flaccus, Coeus had escaped free of his adamantine bonds and in his madness wanted to escape from the underworld and reach heavens, seeking revenge. But was in the end restrained by Cerberus, the three-headed beast, which guarded the gates of the underworld and prevented anyone from leaving.

However, according to Aeschylus' lost play , he was later released by Zeus from Tartarus with the rest of the titans. Also, it is said by some researchers that Coeus then fled back to his north pole and became known as the north star.

Prophetic family

As mentioned above, Coeus was also the god of heavenly oracles. He was believed to be hearing the prophetic voices of his father Uranus(heaven), just like Phoebe could have heard the prophetic voices of her mother Gaea(earth). Together they had two daughters who inherited the powers of their parents. Leto was the goddess of modesty and motherhood and was associated with prophetic power of light and heaven, while Asteria was the goddess of oracles and prophecies.

She was associated with the prophetic power of the night and the dead. Leto represented the light time of the day, while Asteria represented with the night-time of the day. These contrary qualities were also passed to their descendants. Apollo inherited the power of the light from his mother Leto, while Hecate inherited the power of the night from Asteria.

Still there is no source with clear statement of Coeus being prophetic except having a prophetic family. Being able to predict the future in his case might have come from his intelligence and divine knowledge that he was so eager to gain from his predecessors. Perhaps, that is why he was also identified as the god of wisdom. Having knowledge is one thing, but being able to truly understand it and use it for predicting future natural occurrences and events is being wise.



[1] "Greek Gods"

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