Clymene: The Enigmatic Titaness of Fame

In the vast and intricate tapestry of Greek mythology, Clymene, a lesser-known Titaness, holds a modest yet intriguing position. Her story, woven through the ancient tales, provides a glimpse into the complex familial relationships among the divine beings.

Clymene Key Facts

ParentsOceanus and Tethys
SiblingsOther Oceanids
OffspringAtlas, Prometheus
Other namesAsia
Roman nameClymene
The Goddess ofFame and Renown
SymbolsNot specified

Name and Etymology

The name Clymene, in its ancient Greek origin, carries a resonance of renown or fame, perhaps a reflection of her lineage rather than personal deeds. The Roman adaptation of her name remains the same, a rare consistency in the often varied translations of divine names between Greek and Roman mythologies.

The epithets and alternative names for Clymene are sparse, perhaps a testament to her lesser-known status among the pantheon of Greek deities. Yet, the name Asia, shared with the continent, hints at a broader significance, possibly an ancient acknowledgment of her lineage’s impact on the world.

The etymological journey of Clymene’s name, while not as richly documented as some other deities, provides a small yet fascinating window into the interplay between divine narratives and earthly recognitions. It’s a modest reflection of how ancient civilizations sought to understand and explain the world around them through the lens of the divine.

John William Godward, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Clymene Origins

Clymene, one of the elder Oceanids, holds a unique position as the Titan goddess of fame and renown. Born to Oceanus and Tethys, she is part of a divine lineage that predates the Olympian gods and goddesses. Her marriage to the Titan Iapetus brought forth notable offspring, including Atlas, the bearer of the heavens, and Prometheus, the cunning Titan who stole fire for humanity.

Also known as Asia, Clymene embodies the essence of Anatolia, or Asia Minor, in one of her guises. This dual identity enriches her narrative, intertwining her with the geographical and cultural tapestry of the ancient world.

The ancient Greek vase painting depicting Clymene as a handmaiden of goddess Hera during the Judgement of Paris further illustrates her role in the divine narrative. In this portrayal, she likely personified the gift of fame offered by Hera to the prince, showcasing her dominion over renown and fame.

Clymene’s Union with Iapetus and Their Children

Clymene’s marital alliance with the Titan Iapetus unfolds a significant narrative within the Greek mythological realm. This union was not merely a divine conjugation but a genesis of key figures who would later play pivotal roles in the grand tapestry of myths and legends.

Relationship with Iapetus

The bond between Clymene and Iapetus transcends a mere marital alliance, birthing a lineage of Titans who would significantly influence the narrative of Greek mythology. Their union is a testament to the intertwined destinies and familial alliances that often characterize the divine narratives of ancient Greece.


Among their offspring, Atlas emerges as a figure of endurance and stoic acceptance. Condemned to bear the heavens on his shoulders for eternity as a repercussion of siding with the Titans during the Titanomachy, his tale intertwines with many other mythological narratives. His interaction with Hercules, who sought the golden apples of the Hesperides, is one such tale that further cements Atlas’s position within Greek mythology.


Prometheus, another illustrious son of Clymene and Iapetus, embodies the spirit of defiance and benevolence towards humanity. His audacious act of stealing fire from the gods to aid humanity led to his eternal torment, yet it also established a lasting legacy of ingenuity and rebellion against divine authority. Prometheus’s tale is filled with themes of sacrifice and knowledge as well as the eternal quest for freedom. Furhtermore making him a revered figure in Greek mythology.

Epimetheus and Menoetius

Epimetheus and Menoetius, though not as renowned as their brothers, carry their unique tales within the mythological narrative. Epimetheus, whose name translates to afterthought, contrasts sharply with Prometheus’s foresight, showcasing the diverse characteristics within the same lineage. Menoetius, on the other hand, is a lesser-explored figure, yet his name, associated with doomed might, hints at a narrative of tragic heroism, a common theme in Greek mythology.

The tales of Clymene’s offspring not only enrich the narrative of Greek mythology but also reflect the diverse and complex nature of divine and human interactions within these ancient tales. Through her union with Iapetus and the consequential lineage, Clymene’s narrative extends beyond her persona, resonating through the deeds and tales of her offspring.

Depiction And Characteristics

Scarce visual representations exist of Clymene, and no specific set of symbols or attributes are associated with her. However, as a Titaness, people might have envisioned her similarly to other Titans—majestic and larger-than-life. Moreover, she likely embodied the raw, untamed forces of nature, a common representation of the Titans.

Hyanthe and Clymene Offering a Sacrifice to Venus
Toussaint Dubreuil, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Clymene Personality

Clymene’s personality is not well-documented in the myths. However, through her offspring’s actions, one might infer a lineage of defiance, ingenuity, and a certain benevolence towards humanity. These traits, manifested in Prometheus’s actions, hint at a complex interplay of characteristics that might have defined Clymene’s persona in the ancient narratives.

Clymene, being a Titaness, would have had the divine strength and immortality that were characteristic of the Titans. However, the specifics regarding her powers or domains are not well-documented. Consequently, this leaves her divine attributes largely open to speculation.

Clymene Symbols

The association of specific symbols with Clymene is not well-established in the mythological texts. However, the broader symbolism carried by her offspring, particularly Prometheus with the flame of knowledge, and Atlas with the globe, extends an indirect yet profound symbolic representation to Clymene, as the mother of such influential figures.

Clymene Roles And Responsibilities

As the Titan goddess of fame and renown, Clymene’s narrative extends beyond her familial ties to embody a broader theme prevalent in Greek mythology—the quest for recognition and the enduring legacy of one’s deeds. Her presence in the Judgement of Paris, albeit as a handmaiden, reflects the allure and the promise of fame, a theme that resonates through many Greek myths.

Her guise as Asia, portraying her as the eponymous goddess of Anatolia, further expands her narrative, intertwining her with the geographical and cultural essence of the ancient region. This dual identity, as Clymene and Asia, enriches her narrative, offering a glimpse into the multifaceted portrayal of divine entities in Greek mythology.

Moreover, the confusion between Asia-Clymene and Asia-Hesione, the wife of Prometheus, adds another layer of complexity to her narrative. It reflects the intricate and often overlapping relationships among the divine beings in Greek mythology, each carrying their unique yet interconnected tales.

The sun-god Helios cherishes his love for the nymph Clymene, who, despite sharing a name and parentage with the wife of Iapetus, stands as a distinct individual. This distinction, moreover, sheds light on the intricate and nuanced narrative inherent in Greek mythology. Here, names and identities often unravel deeper, intertwined meanings, thereby enriching the mythological tapestry.

Myths about Clymene

Clymene’s presence in Greek mythology is primarily highlighted through the actions of her children. However, there’s more to her story. Her marriage to Iapetus is a notable aspect. Additionally, the birth of their children plays a significant role. These events are integral parts of the larger mythological narrative.

The Tale of Prometheus

Prometheus’s tale, one of the most enduring myths from Greek mythology, is a direct reflection of Clymene’s lineage. His audacious act of stealing fire from the gods and the subsequent punishment is a narrative rich with themes of defiance, sacrifice, and the eternal quest for knowledge.

The Burden of Atlas

Atlas’s tale, bearing the weight of the heavens, is a somber narrative of divine punishment and the inexorable fate that binds both gods and humans. His story intersects with other mythological narratives, further weaving Clymene’s lineage into the broader mythological narrative.

Representations Of Clymene In Art

The artistic representations of Clymene are sparse. However, her legacy is visually carried through the depictions of her offspring, particularly Prometheus and Atlas.

Hyanthe and Clymene
Toussaint Dubreuil, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Mentions in Ancient Texts

Greek mythology is a vast and intricate domain, with numerous texts from antiquity shedding light on the tales of gods, goddesses, and other divine entities. While Clymene may not be as prominently featured as some other figures, her mentions, albeit brief, in ancient texts provide a glimpse into her position within the Titan lineage.

Hesiod’s Theogony (circa 700 BC)

Hesiod, a revered ancient Greek poet often considered a contemporary of Homer, penned Theogony around 700 BC. This seminal work actively explores the origins and genealogies of the Greek gods, laying a foundational narrative for much of Greek mythology. Within Theogony, the text mentions Clymene as the wife of Iapetus, and notably, the mother of prominent Titans like Prometheus and Atlas. Moreover, this narrative significantly contributes to our understanding of ancient Greek divine lineage.

Quote from Theogony:

“And Iapetus took to wife the neat-ankled mad Clymene, daughter of Ocean, and went up with her into one bed. And she bare him a stout-hearted son, Atlas: also she bare very glorious Menoetius and clever Prometheus, full of various wiles, and scatter-brained Epimetheus.”

Apollodorus’s Bibliotheca (1st or 2nd century AD)

Apollodorus of Athens, a scholar and grammarian, is credited with Bibliotheca, a comprehensive work of mythology likely composed in the 1st or 2nd century AD. In this work, Clymene’s marriage to Iapetus and the birth of their significant offspring are recounted, echoing the narrative from Hesiod’s Theogony.

Hyginus’s Fabulae (1st century BC)

Gaius Julius Hyginus, a Latin author and scholar from the Augustan age, compiled Fabulae, a collection of Roman myths and legends. Though primarily focused on Roman mythology, Fabulae also touches upon Greek myths, including the lineage of the Titans. Clymene’s mention in Fabulae aligns with the narrative provided by Hesiod and Apollodorus, reinforcing her position as the mother of Prometheus and Atlas among others.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who were Clymene’s children?

Clymene, together with Iapetus, had four children: Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Menoetius, each of whom played significant roles in Greek mythology.

Was Clymene worshipped in ancient Greece?

There isn’t substantial evidence to suggest a widespread worship of Clymene in ancient Greece, as she is a lesser-known Titaness.

How is Clymene related to the Olympian gods?

Clymene is related to the Olympian gods through her siblings Cronos and Rhea, who are the parents of Zeus, the king of the Olympian gods.

Featured Image Credit: Hendrik Goltzius, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo of author


Evangelia Hatzitsinidou is the creator and author of which has been merged with She has been writing about Greek Mythology for almost twenty years. A native to Greece, she teaches and lives just outside Athens.