In Greek mythology, Typhon (ancient Greek: polytonic|Τυφῶν, "Tuphōn"), also Typheus/Typhoeus (polytonic|Τυφωεύς, "Tuphōeus"), Typhaon (polytonic|Τυφάων, "Tuphaōn") or Typhos (polytonic|Τυφώς, "Tuphōs") is the final son of Gaia, fathered by Tartarus, and is the god of wind. Typhon attempts to replace Zeus as the king of gods and men. Typhon was described as the largest and most grotesque of all creatures that have ever lived, having a hundred serpent heads. He was defeated by Zeus who crushed Mount Etna on him.


Hesiod narrates Typhon's birth:

:"But when Zeus had driven the Titans from Olympus,:"mother Earth bare her youngest child Typhoeus of the love of:"Tartarus, by the aid of golden Aphrodite." —Hesiod, "Theogony" 820-822. In the alternative account of the origin of Typhon (Typhoeus), the Homeric Hymn to Apollo makes the monster Typhaon at Delphi a son of archaic Hera in her Minoan form, produced out of herself, like a monstrous version of Hephaestus, and whelped in a cave in Cilicia and confined there in the enigmatic land of the Arimi— "en Arimois" ("Iliad", ii. 781-783). It was in Cilicia that Zeus battled with the ancient monster and overcame him, in a more complicated story: It was not an easy battle, and Typhon temporarily overcame Zeus, cut the "sinews" from him and left him in the "leather sack", the "korukos" that is the etymological origin of the "korukion andron", the Korykian or Corycian Cave in which Zeus suffers temporary eclipse as if in the Land of the Dead. The region of Cilicia in southeastern Anatolia had many opportunities for coastal Hellenes' connection with the Hittites to the north. From the first reappearance of the Hittite myth of Illuyankas, it has been seen as a prototype of the battle of Zeus and Typhon. [W. Porzig, "Illuyankas und Typhon", "Kleinasiatische Forschung" I.3 (1930) pp 379-86.] Walter Burkert and Calvert Watkins each note the close agreements. Watkins' "How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of Indo-European Poetics" (Oxford University Press) 1995, reconstructs in disciplined detail the flexible Indo-European poetic formula that underlies myth, epic and magical charm texts of the lashing and binding of Typhon.

The inveterate enemy of the Olympian gods is described in detail by Hesiod ["Theogony" 820-868] as a vast grisly monster with a hundred serpent heads "with dark flickering tongues" flashing fire from their eyes and a din of voices and a hundred serpents legs, a feature shared by many primal monsters of Greek myth that extend in serpentine or scaly coils from the waist down. The titanic struggle created earthquakes and tsunamis. ["The whole earth seethed, and sky and sea: and the long waves raged along the beaches round and about, at the rush of the deathless gods: and there arose an endless shaking." (Hesiod, "Theogony").] Once conquered by Zeus' thunderbolts, Typhon was cast into Tartarus, the common destiny of many such archaic adversaries, or he was confined beneath Mount Aetna, also known as Mount Etna, (Pindar, "Pythian Ode" 1.19 - 20; Aeschylus, "Prometheus Bound" 370), where "his bed scratches and goads the whole length of his back stretched out against it," or in other volcanic regions, where he is the cause of eruptions.

Typhon is thus the chthonic figuration of volcanic forces, as Hephaestus (Roman Vulcan) is their "civilized" Olympian manifestation. Amongst his children by Echidna are Cerberus, the serpent-like Lernaean Hydra, the Chimera, the hundred-headed dragon Ladon, the half-woman half-lion Sphinx, the two-headed wolf Orthus, and the Nemean Lion.

Typhon is also the father of hot dangerous storm winds which issue forth from the stormy pit of Tartarus, according to Hesiod.

His name is apparently derived from the Greek τύφειν (typhein), to smoke, hence it is considered to be a possible etymology for the word "typhoon," supposedly borrowed by the Persians (as طوفان "Tufân") and Arabs to describe the cyclonic storms of the Indian Ocean. The Greeks also frequently represented him as a storm-daemon, especially in the version where he stole Zeus's thunderbolts and wrecked the earth with storms (cf. Hesiod, Theogony; Nonnus, Dionysiaca).

Since Herodotus, Typhon has been identified with the Egyptian Set (interpretatio Graeca). In the Orphic tradition, Typhon leads the Titans when they attack and kill Dionysus, just as Set is responsible for the murder of Osiris. Furthermore, the slaying of Typhon by Zeus bears similarities to the killing of Vritra by Indra [Let me now sing the heroic deeds of Indra, the first that the thunderbolt-wielder performed. He killed the dragon and pierced an opening for the waters; he split open the bellies of mountains. ("Rig Veda" 1.32.1)] (a deity also associated lightning and storms), and possibly the two stories are ultimately derived from a common Indo-European source.



*Walter Burkert, "Greek Religion" 1985
*Robert Graves, "The Greek Myths", (1955) 1960, §36.1-3
*Karl Kerenyi, "The Gods of the Greeks" 1951
*Calvert Watkins, "How to Kill a Dragon" 1995, 448-459

External links

* [http://www.theoi.com/Gigante/Typhoeus.html Typhoeus at Theoi] compiled sources of myth in classical literature

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • typhon — [ tifɔ̃ ] n. m. • tiffon 1531; tifon 1571 (d apr. it. tifone); chin. dial. t ai fung « grand vent », par le port. tufaô, ar. tufân; typhon en 1643, par confus. avec typhan (1504), du gr. tuphon « tourbillon » ♦ Cyclone des mers de Chine et de l… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Typhon — TYPHON, ónis, Gr. Τυφὼν, ῶνος, (⇒ Tab. V.) 1 §. Namen. Diesen schreibt man bald Typhaon, bald Typhöus, bald auch wohl Typhos, Gr. Τυφῶς, und leitet ihn denn von dem griechischen Worte τύφειν her, welches soviel, als räuchern, oder entzünden,… …   Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon

  • Typhon [1] — TYPHON, ónis, Gr. Τυφὼν, ῶνος. 1 §. Namen. Dieser ist wohl ursprünglich ägyptisch, und kann nach solcher Sprache aus Theu, der Wind oder Geist, und ph hou, böse oder schädlich, zusammen gesetzet seyn; da denn Theu ph hou einen bösen oder… …   Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon

  • typhon — 1. (ti fon) s. m. Nom qu on donne, dans les mers du Japon, à une sorte de tourbillon qui est fort dangereux pour la navigation. •   Plusieurs auteurs ont confondu le typhon avec l ouragan, BUFF. Hist. nat. pr. th. terr. Oeuv. t. II, p. 275.… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Typhon — Typhon, Typhoeus Ein Über Drache mit hundert feuerspeienden Köpfen und hundert verschiedenen Stimmen, den Gaia* dem Tartaros* gebar. Zeus* bezwang das Monster in einem dramatischen Kampf und schleuderte es in die unterste Unterwelt (Hesiod,… …   Who's who in der antiken Mythologie

  • Typhon — Ty phon, n. [Gr. ?, and ?. See {Typhoon}.] (Class. Mythol.) 1. According to Hesiod, the son of Typhoeus, and father of the winds, but later identified with him. [1913 Webster] Note: By modern writers, Typhon is identified with the Egyptian Set,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • TYPHON — Gigas, de quo sic seribit Homer. Hymm. in Apoll. v. 300. s. Iunonem aegre ferentem, quod Iuppiter sine se ex capite Minervam peperisset, Caelum ac Terram precatam fuisle, omnesque Deos superos et inferos, ut posset et ipsa sine maris congressu… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Typhon — [tī′fän] n. [L < Gr Typhōn, lit., whirlwind: see TYPHOON] Gr. Myth. a monster, variously regarded as a son of Typhoeus or as Typhoeus himself …   English World dictionary

  • Typhon [1] — Typhon (Typhāon, Thyhos, Typhōeus), 1) Dichterbild, theils den verderblichen Sturm u. tödtenden Südwind, theils den heißen Dampf, wie er aus Erdspalten u. Vulkanen kommt, bezeichnend. Nach der Griechischen Mythe war T. der jüngste Sohn des… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Typhon [2] — Typhon, 1) so v.w. Wasserhose; 2) (engl. Typhoon), wirbelwindartiger Orkan in Südasien, eine Corrumpirung des chinesischen Wortes Teifuhn (s.d.). Einer der stärksten T e der neueren Zeit wehte 27. Juli 1862 in der chinesischen Provinz Canton u.… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Typhon [1] — Typhon (engl. typhoon), Wirbelsturm, s. Teifun …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.