6226: Statue of Themis found in Rhamnous in the temple of the goddess. By the sculptor Chairestratos (according to the inscription on the base). Beginning of the 3C BC. National Archaeological Museum, Athens.
The Titaness Themis introduced the ordinances
that concern the gods, and instructed men in the
ways of obedience to laws and Peace.
Themis delivered oracles at Delphi until Apollo, the lovely son of Leto, came to the city,
killed the serpent Python which guarded the oracle,
and sitting in the tripod, took over it. It is told
that Leto did not give Apollo her breast when he
was born; but Themis, who was there, poured Nectar
and Ambrosia with her own hands for him to taste.
Some say that when Apollo, still a child,
killed the serpent that guarded the prophetic
shrine, Gaia gave birth to Dream Visions of the Night, who told
men the present and the future while they were
asleep in their beds. In this way Gaia took the office of prophecy away from Apollo. But Apollo went back to
Olympus and asked Zeus to
restore his right, and Zeus took away from mortals the truth that appears in
sleep, giving back the privilege to Apollo, and restoring in
mortal men the confidence in prophecy.
Themis, the second at Delphi
Others say, however, that between Themis' office
and Apollo's, Phoebe 1 the Titaness, delivered oracles at Delphi. Themis was then
the second one to deliver oracles at Delphi, and that is why
the Pythian Priestess could say:
Themis about Thetis
this prayer of mine, I give the place of highest
honor among the gods to the first prophet, Gaia; and after her to Themis, for she
was the second to take this oracular seat of her
mother, as legend tells. And in the third
allotment, with Themis' consent and not by force,
another Titan, child of Gaia, Phoebe, took her seat here. She gave it as a birthday gift to Phoebus (Apollo), who has his name from Phoebe." (Pythian priestess. Aeschylus, Eumenides 1).
Zeus and Poseidon had been
rivals for the hand of Thetis, but when Themis
prophesied that the son born of Thetis would be
mightier than his father they withdrew, and Thetis
was in time married to Peleus, giving birth to Achilles.
Themis and the TITANS
Themis told the Titan Prometheus 1 (who
called her "mother", but so he called Gaia too, as some will have
it that Gaia and Themis
were one and the same) not to join the TITANS in their war
against the OLYMPIANS,
because in that war, the clever not the brute,
would prevail. When Prometheus 1 was
punished by Zeus and bound to the Caucasian rock, Themis prophesied that a descendant of a Danaid (Heracles 1), none of them yet born, would deliver him.
Goddess of oaths lives in Olympus
Themis was deemed guardian of men's oaths, and
for that reason she is also called goddess of
oaths. She lives in Olympus close to Zeus, who is described as
the real all-seeing as he whispers words of wisdom
to Themis when she sits leaning towards him. But
some affirm that it is thanks to Themis that Zeus rules in the sky.