Thalia: Meet Zeus' Daughter in Greek Mythology

14/12/2021

     Thalia is, in Greek Mythology, one of dozens of daughters of the thunder god Zeus. This "demigod" appears in the Percy Jackson movie saga and became well known from there. Learn more about Thalia below.

Thalia in Greek Mythology:

     Thalia (meaning "joyful" or "the flourishing one", from the ancient Greek: to blossom, to be verdant) was one of the Nine Muses of Greek Mythology, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, daughter of Oceano and Thetis.

     Thalia was the muse of comedy, depicted wearing a comic mask and carrying boughs of ivy. She is sometimes shown also carrying a shepherd's crook, crowned with ivy, paved with borzeguins and with a mask in her hand. Many of her statues have a trumpet or mouthpiece, instruments that served to support the voice of authors in early comedy.

     According to the pseudo-Apollodorus, she and Apollo were the parents of the Coribants. Other ancient sources, however, gave the Coribants different parents.


What were the Coribants?

     Coribants were minor deities whose ancient centers of worship were to be found on the islands of Rhodes and Cos and in the Anatolian interior. Later, the term came to refer to participants in specific rites that involved dancing and frenzy, spreading to Ionia, Crete, and Athens.

     Despite the resemblance to other telestic dance practices, which led to the occasional identification by some writers of antiquity, the Corybantic rites are not originally confused with the orgiastic mysteries of the cabyri (kabeiroi, sometimes referred to as the Great Gods of Samothrace).

     Related to rites of passage and local gods, or curettes (kouretes), protective warriors of Rhea and Zeus, but later the Coribants suffered syncretism with the latter and, from the sixth century BC, were identified with "Asian Coribants" followers of the Cybele or also assimilated in the mythology of the later Orphic-Bachic mysteries.

Thalia in Percy Jackson:

     Thalia Grace is the Greek demigod daughter of Zeus by the mortal Baryl Grace, and the older sister of the Roman demigod Jason Grace. She was turned into a pine tree on Half-Blood Hill, which still defines the boundaries of Camp Half-Blood to this day. She was later brought back to life with the Golden Fleece. She is currently the Lieutenant of the Huntresses of Artemis.


Myth:

     Remembering that the Percy Jackson saga does not follow Greek Mythology in an official way, many of the characters are created or adapted.

     Zeus left the Grace family (as is the custom of the gods) and Baryl Grace became unstable. When Thalia was about seven years old, Zeus returned in his Roman aspect, Jupiter. Thalia noted that Zeus in his Roman form was more fatherly and strict with her and spoke Latin frequently. Within a year, Jason Grace, a Roman demigod son of Jupiter, was born.

     Jupiter felt obligated to keep showing up at Beryl Grace's house to please her, but he left a second time because she insisted that Jupiter grant him eternal beauty or a visit to Olympus. When Thalia was nine and Jason was two, her mother took them on a picnic, but when Thalia went to the car with the picnic basket, Hera took Jason to Lupa, the trainer wolf of the Roman demigods.

     Thalia was heartbroken by her brother's "death" and called his disappearance "the last straw" for her mother and ran away from home, never to return.

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