Thetis, mother of Achilles: her role in the Trojan War and her relationship with Zeus

In the fascinating meanders of Greek mythology, the figure of Thetis shines with particular brilliance. A nereid with remarkable powers, Thetis is a marine deity often overshadowed by her heroic son, Achilles. Yet her influence on the Trojan War is undeniable, woven from divine interventions and complex relationships with the Olympian gods, Zeus in particular. Moreover, understanding her relationship with the ruler of the gods opens up perspectives on the tragic fate of her son and the events of the Trojan War. This article delves into the legend of Thetis, examining the scope of her role and mythological legacy.


Thetis' identity

Thetis, niece of Ocean and Tethys, is listed in the divine genealogy as one of the most distinguished Nereids, the nymphs of the salt waters. Her birth stems from a complex divine heritage, filled with powers and prowess. Her union with the mortal Peleus gave birth to Achilles, the warrior of unrivalled strength and bravery.

Thetis in the Iliad and other ancient texts

  • Her presence in Homer's Iliad: Thetis appears as a loving and protective mother figure, imploring Zeus to grant her son glory.
  • Literary evocations of Thetis outside the Iliad**: other texts such as Greek tragedy and epic offer further glimpses of this enigmatic figure.
  • Cultural influence and intertextuality** : The figure of Thetis has traveled through time, inspiring numerous authors and artistic works.

Thetis and the Trojan War

Thetis meticulously involved herself in the Trojan conflict:

  • She wraps her son in the most precious armour to protect him.
  • She plays a pivotal role, notably when she asks Zeus to give the Trojans the upper hand to honor Achilles.
  • Thetis' interactions with gods and heroes demonstrate her will and influence.

The relationship between Thetis and Zeus

  • Mythological background to their connection : The bond between Thetis and Zeus is ancient and complex, sculpted by divine prophecies and commitments.
  • The implications of their dynamic on Achilles' destiny: Thetis' intervention with Zeus has direct repercussions on her son's life.
  • The impact of their relationship on the events of the Trojan War : Their interactions shape the course of the war, influencing gods and mortals alike.

Achilles' fate: The influence of Thetis

  • Thetis' role in the prophecy of Achilles' fate: She is intimately linked to the prediction hovering over her son's head.
  • Thetis's attempts to change or delay Achilles's fate**: Her efforts to alter her son's destiny illustrate the extent of her maternal love.
  • The armor forged by Hephaestus: At her request, the divine blacksmith creates impenetrable armor for Achilles, a masterpiece of art and protection.

Thetis after the Trojan War

After the fall of Troy, Thetis continues to play a role in tradition:

  • Her post-Trojan existence implies further divine influences and interactions.
  • Thetis reappears as a muse for artists and authors, perpetuating her image through the ages.
  • The influence of Thetis on literature and culture is still very much alive, nourishing the collective imagination.


The figure of Thetis remains anchored in our memories as a divinity of power and compassion. Her legacy, passed down through the prism of Achilles and her involvement in the Trojan War, continues to intrigue and inspire. Thetis still resonates today, proof of the unfailing interest we have in the enchanting world of Greek mythology.