Bia Greek Goddess was the personification of force, rage, and raw energy who lived on Mount Olympus with Zeus. Though they were Titans, Bia and her family fought alongside the Olympian gods during the 10-year war between the Titans and the Olympians. After the Olympians won, Zeus recognized her efforts by rewarding her and her family handsomely. Discover the mythology of Bia and how she and her family won Zeus’ respect and become his constant friends.
Who Is Bia?
Bia is a Greek Goddess who was the personification of raw emotions such as anger, rage, or even power. She lived on Mount Olympus, where Zeus lived. Later on, she was one of the Olympians who fought for Zeus and got rewarded.
The Family of Bia
According to Greek mythology, the Titan Pallas and his wife Styx, the ocean nymph, gave birth to four children including Bia. The others were Nike, the personification of victory; Kratos the symbol of raw strength and Zelus the goddess of zeal, dedication, and eager rivalry.
The Mythology of Bia
Though Bia is not popular in Greek mythology, her story is mentioned in the Titanomachy that took place over 10 years. The Titanomachy was a war between the Titans led by Atlas and the Olympian gods led by Zeus.
The war started when Cronus overthrew Uranus and tried to consolidate his power by eating his own children. Once Cronus’ son Zeus was born, his mother (Rhea) hid him from Cronus and sent the young boy to be raised by a goat called Almathea on the island of Crete.
Bia Fights for Zeus
Once Zeus was old enough, he gathered his other siblings and they rebelled against Cronus. Since Cronus was a Titan, he rallied the other Titans such as Atlas and they mounted a defense against the Olympians led by Zeus.
However, some Titans such as Pallas and his offspring, including Bia, fought on the side of the Olympians. Their contribution to the cause of the Olympians was significant and Zeus did not forget to reward them for it.
Zeus Rewards the Bia and the Titans
Bia and her siblings got the reward of being the constant companions of Zeus himself and they lived with him on Mount Olympus. They got the opportunity to sit alongside Zeus on his throne and effect judgment whenever and wherever Zeus required. Her mother, Styx, was given the honor of being the deity by which all the other gods took an oath including Zeus himself. Any deity who swore by the Styx and went against it suffered punishment, therefore, the oath was binding.
According to the myth of Semele, Zeus swore by the Styx to fulfill any request that Semele (his consort) might make. After swearing, Semele then asked Zeus to reveal himself in his full glory because prior to that, Zeus always appeared in a disguise. Zeus knew the repercussions of the request; it would lead to the death of Semele. However, since he had already sworn by the Styx to grant her any request, he had no choice but to reveal himself to Semele which led to her death.
Other prominent Titans who got rewarded for their efforts during the Titanomachy included Prometheus and his brother Epimetheus. Prometheus was given the special responsibility of creating mankind while Epimetheus, was rewarded with creating and giving names to all the animals.
The Titans who rebelled were imprisoned in Tartarus (the Underworld) and Zeus tasked the Hecatonchires (giants with 50 heads and 100 hands) to guard them. As for Atlas, the leader of the Titans, Zeus punished him to hold up the heavens for eternity.
Bia Enforces Prometheus’ Punishment
One instance, according to Greek mythology, where Bia and her siblings enforced a punishment was when Zeus punished Prometheus for stealing the fire of the gods. According to the legend, after Zeus asked Prometheus to create mankind and give them gifts, the Titan went away and started sculpting a figure. This impressed Athena who breathed life into the figure and it became the first man.
Epimetheus, on the other hand, carried out his duties with zest and vigor and created all the animals, and endowed them with some traits of the gods. He gave some animals the ability to fly while others got scales on their bodies. Epimetheus gave other animals claws to aid tree-climbing and gifted others the ability to swim. When Prometheus finished creating man he asked his brother, Epimetheus, for some of the gifts so he can bestow them on his creation but Epimetheus had exhausted all available gifts.
When Prometheus asked Zeus, he only laughed and said that the humans did not require the godly traits. This angered Prometheus because he loved his creation and therefore he tricked Zeus when he found out he declared that no human should ever use fire. This severely affected the humans as they couldn’t cook nor keep warm and they became weak. Prometheus had pity on humans and stole some fire from the gods and gave it to humans.
Bia Ties Prometheus to A Rock
Zeus found out what Prometheus had done and punished him to be tied to a rock and having a bird eat his liver. Zeus assigned Kratos to tie Prometheus but Kratos proved no match for Prometheus. It took the intervention of Bia to finally tie Prometheus to the rock. The bird came and ate Prometheus’ liver but it grew overnight and the bird came back to eat it again.
This cycle continued every day which caused Prometheus excruciating pain.
According to Plato, Bia and her brother Kratos were guards of Zeus who struck fear into the heart of Prometheus as he considered stealing the fire of the gods. However, Prometheus was able to evade them and make his way into the building of Hephaestus, the god of fire. As we are already aware, Prometheus was successful in stealing the fire and handing it over to mankind.
Other Appearances of Bia
Bia, the Greek goddess of strength, made an appearance in one of the works of the Greek philosopher Plutarch where she was mentioned by Themistocles, the Athenian general. According to the narrative, Themistocles started extorting money from allied cities, probably to help unite Greece. This inconvenienced the allies and they complained bitterly but Themistocles wouldn’t listen. Rather, he insisted on sailing from one city to the other demanding money.
In one account he went to the island of Andros in the Greek Cyclades archipelago on his usual rounds to demand money. In a bid to force money out of the Andrians, Themistocles claimed that he came in the name of two gods: Peitho the god of persuasion and Bia the god of compulsion. The Andrians also replied his saying that they had two deities of their own: Penia the god of poverty and Aporia the god of powerlessness. These gods, the Andrians told Themistocles, have prevented them from giving any money to him.
Uniqueness of Bia
Bia, unlike her siblings, was not a major goddess in Greek myths but played major roles nonetheless. She was often described as the silent goddess and she appeared in only two Greek myths: Prometheus and Titanomachy. However, her role in these myths cannot be understated as she helped Zeus with her power to defeat the Titans. Her level of help was so great that Zeus thought it necessary to make her one of his guards and enforcers.
Also, her role in punishing Prometheus was significant because without her Kratos would have failed to tie the Titan. Bia brought her power to bear as she held Prometheus down and tied him to enforce the will of Zeus. Bia was very instrumental in the reign of Zeus due to her raw strength, power, and force. Thus it is not far-fetched to conclude that Zeus’ reign as king of the gods would not have been successful without the influence of Bia.
Bia Greek Goddess Symbol and Art Depiction
The symbol of Bia is unknown but she is depicted alongside her brother Kratos in a late 5th Century vase painting. The artwork showed a scene in a lost play by the Greek tragedian Euripides which depicted both Bia and Kratos punishing, the king of the Lapiths of Thessaly. The siblings are also depicted in 18th and 19th Century Romantic artwork showing the punishment of Prometheus as described in Kratos Greek mythology.
In Roman literature, Bia is referred to as the Vis goddess and had the same power and influence as her Greek version. Today, there are several online stores that claim to sell the Bia Greek goddess statue.
Bia Greek Goddess Pronunciation
The name of the goddess is pronounced as |Baia| and she embodies raw strength, force and power.
This article has looked at the myth of Bia, the Greek goddess of power and strength, and her roles in Greek myths. Here is a recap of all the Bia goddess facts:
- Bia’s parents were the Titan Pallas and the sea-nymph Styx who had three other children including Kratos and Nike.
- Bia and her family fought alongside Zeus and the Olympians during the Titanomachy and their exploits helped Zeus win the war against the Titans.
- Thus, Zeus rewarded them by making Bia and her siblings his permanent companions and guards who enforced his will.
- Bia chained Prometheus to rock after Zeus ordered him to be punished for stealing fire from the gods.
- The Roman version of Bia was Vis but Vis still retained all the characteristics of her Greek version.
Bia was not a major god but her role in ancient Greek myths could not be overlooked or understated.