Tiresias

The Most Famous Prophet of Ancient Greece

Who is Tiresias?

  • the son of Everus and Chariclo (McLeish 611)
  • spent in Thebes, where he helped the town people steer a path between their own wishes and the edicts of the gods (McLeish 611).
  • a blind prophet (Parada)
  • had been lived with two genders each (Hunter)
  • able to understand the language of birds (McLeish 612)
  • able to talk without fear to the ghosts of the Underworld (McLeish 612)

How did he translated into two different genders?

  • hit a female snake while the snakes were coupling and became female (Hunter).
  • after 7 years, he hit a male snake and translated into male again (Hunter).

How did he become the blind & soothsayor?

There are two different accounts:


1. Agreed with Zeus

-When Zeus and Hera were arguing about which gender had more pleasure in love (Zeus said women and Hera said men), Tiresias agreed with Zeus. So, Hera got upset and made him blind, but Zeus gave him the power of prophecy and granted him long time (Parada).


2. Saw Athena's bathing

-After he saw Athena's bathing, Athena made him blind, instead she gave him the gift of prophecy (Parada).

The Death of Tiresias

  • froze and died when he drank a handful of water from a spring, Tilphussa, which drew its icy water directly from the river Sytex in the Underworld (McLeish 612).
  • still had prophecies even after the death (McLeish 612).

Tiresias with two snakes

This is the one scene that Tiresias hit the female snake and transformed into a woman (McLeish 611 & Parada).

Work Citation

1. Hunter, James. "Tiresias." Tiresias. N.p., 3 Mar. 2009. Web. 08 Nov. 2014.


2. McLeish, Kenneth. Myth: Myths & Legends of the World Explained & Explored. New York: Facts on File, 1996. Print.


3. Parada, Carlos. "Tiresias - Greek Mythology Link." Tiresias. N.p., 1997. Web. 06 Nov. 2014.


4. "Tiresias." Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia (2014): 1p. 1. Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. Web. 8 Nov. 2014.