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Pallas was a Titan god of warcraft and a deity of the ancient Greek pantheon. He was born in the Golden Age of Greek mythology, the period before Zeus and the rest of the Olympian deities came into power. Pallas was also regarded as a deity who presided over the springtime campaign season.
Who Was Pallas?
In Greek mythology, the Titans were the gods that ruled before the Olympian deities came into existence. Hesiod’s Theogony states that there were twelve Titans, the children of the primordial deities Uranus (god of the sky) and Gaia, his mother and the goddess of the Earth.
Pallas was the son of the first generation Titans Eurybia, the goddess of power, and her husband Crius, the god of heavenly constellations. His siblings included Perses, the god of destruction, and Astraeus, the personification of the winds and dusk.
Pallas was famous as the god of warcraft and battle and he was often compared to the Olympian god of war, Ares, since they both possessed similar traits. Pallas’ name was derived from the Greek word ‘Pallo’ meaning ‘to brandish’ or ‘to wield’ which is fitting since he is typically depicted wielding a spear.
Pallas and the Oceanid Styx
Pallas was married to Styx, the Titan goddess of the River Styx, the river of immortality. It was in this river that the famous Greek hero Achilles was submerged by his mother Thetis in an attempt to make him immortal.
Together, Pallas and Styx had four children, all of whom were closely associated with war. These children were:
- Nike – the female personification of victory
- Zelos – the god of emulation, jealousy, envy and eager rivalry
- Kratos (or Cratos) – the god of strength
- Bia – the personification of raw energy, force and anger
In some accounts, Pallas was said to have been the father of Eos and Selene, the personifications of the dawn and the moon. However, these goddesses were more commonly known as the daughters of Theia and Hyperion instead of Pallas.
Pallas in the Titanomachy
The Titanomachy was a ten-year long war that took place between the Titans and the Olympians. During the war, Pallas was said to have fought against the Olympian king of gods, Zeus, but his wife and children became Zeus’ allies. Although there’s not much information about the great Titanomachy, it is known that Zeus and the rest of the Olympian deities defeated the Titans and rose to power.
After the war was over, Zeus imprisoned all those who had opposed him and continued to do so, in Tartarus, the dungeon of suffering and torment, where the prisoners were carefully guarded by Hecatonchires, gigantic creatures with a hundred hands and fifty heads. Some sources say that Pallas, too, was imprisoned with the rest of the Titans.
Pallas and Athena
According to the myth, Pallas tried to rape Athena, the goddess of wisdom and battle strategy. However, Athena overcame the war god and ended his life. She decided to use his skin (which was goat-like since Pallas was in the form of a goat when this incident took place) like a protective shield. This shield was known as ‘aegis’ and Athena used it during the Gigantomachy (the war between the Olympians and the Giants) as well as in other battles. Athena also took Pallas’ wings and attached them to her feet so that she could travel by air.
Athena is also known as Pallas Athena, however, the exact origin of this epithet is unknown. It could refer to the goddess Athena’s close friend, Pallas, daughter of the sea-god Triton, whom she killed by accident. Alternatively, it could be in reference to Pallas, the Titan, whom she killed during the Titanomachy and whose skin she used as a protective shield.
Worship of Pallas
Although Pallas was worshipped by the ancient Greeks as the Titan god of war, there were no temples or other places of worship dedicated to him. According to some ancient sources, people would build small altars in their homes to make offerings to Pallas, but his cult was not extensive.
Not much is known about the Titan god Pallas, since he wasn’t a very popular character in Greek mythology. Although he was overcome by Athena, the aegis that was made from his skin continued to protect the goddess in all battles from then on.