The early Greeks, with their
extraordinary power of personifying all and every attribute of Nature, gave a
distinct personality to those mighty wonders of the deep, which, in all ages,
have afforded matter of speculation to educated and uneducated alike. Among
these personifications we find Thaumas, Phorcys, and their sister Ceto, who
were the offspring of Pontus.
Thaumas (whose name signifies
Wonder) typifies that peculiar, translucent condition of the surface of the sea
when it reflects, mirror-like, various images, and appears to hold in its
transparent embrace the flaming stars and illuminated cities, which are so
frequently reflected on its glassy bosom.
Thaumas married the lovely
Electra (whose name signifies the sparkling light produced by electricity),
daughter of Oceanus. Her amber-coloured hair was of such rare beauty that none
of her fair-haired sisters could compare with her, and when she wept, her
tears, being too precious to be lost, formed drops of shining amber.
Phorcys and Ceto personified
more especially the hidden perils and terrors of the ocean. They were the
parents of the Gorgons, the Graea, and the Dragon which guarded the golden
apples of the Hesperides.