Tiresias appears as the name of a recurring character in several stories and Greek tragedies concerning the legendary history of Thebes. • TIRESIAS (noun) Sense 1. In Greek and Roman mythology, there are many kinds of nymphs. Classified under: Nouns denoting people. Tiresias is a blind prophet who helps Odysseus see what danger awaits him on his way home. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. On his journey, he eventually stopped at the spring Telphusa near Haliartus, and drank from its infected waters; it was the last thing he did on Earth. Years later, a bitter argument erupted between Zeus and Hera over the matter of sexual pleasure; apparently, the sovereign couple couldn’t agree over who – men or women – find more enjoyment in the act of making love. Teiresias: GreekMythology.com - Jan 23, 2021, Greek Mythology iOS Volume Purchase Program VPP for Education App. When Tiresias returned to the site of the transformation seven years later to see if the “spell” could be reversed, Tiresias did indeed see the same snakes coupling and was changed back into a man. Omissions? Once Teiresias’ assured his reputation in the case of Narcissus, people from all over Greece started visiting him to find a solution for their problems. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Tiresias, in Greek mythology, a blind Theban seer, the son of one of Athena’s favourites, the nymph Chariclo. In that work, Tiresias retained his prophetic gifts even in the underworld, where the hero Odysseus was sent to consult him. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: ). T. S. Eliot used Tiresias as an integral voice in his modernist poem, "The Waste Land". Tiresias is a blind prophet who is a character in Greek mythology, the half-supernatural son of the shepherd Everes and the nymph Chariclo. The Antigone quotes below are all either spoken by Tiresias or refer to Tiresias. In this case, Teiresias was roaming through either through the rocky crags of Mount Cithaeron (in Thebes) or through the mountain valleys of Cyllene (in Arcadia). However, too angry to take notice of the old seer, he realizes too late that, though blind, Teiresias could see more than him from the start; and that he himself, though with sight, had been blind for the most part of his life. Unfortunately for him, just a few moments before he made that fated decision, Athena and Chariclo had unbuckled their robes and plunged for a refreshing cooldown in that very same spring. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Amphitryon went to Teiresias to find out if Alcmene was lying to him, and the seer quickly cleared everything up: it was Zeus, disguised as him, that lay with Alcmene one night before Amphitryon came back. In Sophocles' Oedipus the King, Oedipus, the king of Thebes, calls upon Tiresias to aid in the inv… "From Mrs Tiresias" Track Info. From fruits to winged sandals, test your knowledge in this study of Greek and Roman mythology. Find out more about Teiresias in Sophocles' powerful tragedy ''Antigone.'' The figure of Tiresias recurs in later European literature, both as prophet and as man-woman, in such works as Guillaume Apollinaire’s Surrealist play Les Mamelles de Tirésias (first performed 1917; “The Breasts of Tiresias”) and T.S. He's in tune with the mind of Apollo and receives visions of the future. Since Teiresias was in a unique position to arbitrate, they turned to him for the answer. In both cases, however, after a courteous greeting, Tiresias meets with insults and rejection. As Odysseus reaches the Underworld he slits a sheep’s throat and lets the blood poor from it into a large pit. Besides longevity, another of Tiresias’s features involves his having lived as a man, then as a woman, and then as a man again. The next soul that appears to Odysseus is Tiresias, the blind prophet. Tiresias is a common character in Greek literature. Tiresias A blind prophet who has guided the kings of Thebes with his advice and counsel. He'll know all the birds in the sky, those of good omen and those whose flight presages doom. Zeus counteracted that curse of blindness by adding 7 more lifespans onto Tiresias' life. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Tiresias. After drinking the blood of the animals, the seer warns Odysseus not to harm the cattle of Helios, foretells him his future wanderings and his eventual victory over his wife’s Suitors in Ithaca, and, finally, consoles him that he will die “a gentle, painless death far from the sea… in ripe old age.”. Among the ancient authors who mention him are Sophocles, Euripides, Pindar, and Ovid. Puzzled at first, then angry, Oedipus insists that Tiresias tell Thebes what he knows. Even though he's blind, he can see better than any of those around him. When Narcissus’ mother asked him about the fate of her son, the fortune teller predicted that he would live a long time, as long as he didn’t set his eyes on his own reflected image. Disgusted by the scene, he struck them and wounded at least one of them. During that time, he was the most well known prostitute. Teiresias is kind of a cranky old fellow. He tells Odysseus that Poseidon is punishing the Achaens for blinding his son Polyphemus. Knowing that the truth will bring Oedipus great pain and suffering, Tiresias doesn’t reveal what he knows but speaks these lines to Oedipus instead. One story holds that Hera and Zeus disagreed about which of the sexes experienced more pleasure during sex, with Hera arguing that the answer was men, by far. However, his punishment came with subsequent rewards: the gifts of foresight and long life. "The blind prophet of Thebes, judged to the eighth circle of Fraud. Tiresias' daughter Manto is also assigned her punishment here. Since Teiresias saw what no mortal was allowed to ever see – a naked goddess – Athena immediately took the boy’s eyes. The blind prophet of Thebes, Tiresias was the son of the nymph Callirrhoe, and was the high priest of Apollo. I will give him a great staff to guide his footsteps, and I will give him time, a long term of life, and he alone, when he dies, will walk among the dead, wits intact, honored by Hades, host of the dead.”. Chariclo begged her to help him, so Athena, instead of restoring his ability to see the physical world, gave him the ability to see the future. Related to Tiresias, you could say that the the ‘ infrastructure’ to which you respond is the the container along with its inherent forces and the archetypes you encounter in it. Tiresias was the main character in several of the most important Greek stories.He foretold a black future for Narcissus. Among the ancient authors who mention him are Sophocles, Euripides, Pindar, and Ovid. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Left: Blind prophet Tiresias - Right: Tiresias as a woman - Credit: Public Domain And the ontopieosis results in the hybrid, Tiresias- a hybrid that has the facets of multiple archetypes. Another story links Teiresias’ prophetical powers to the extraordinary story of his sex change. Who led the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece? 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