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Τελχῖνες). A family or a tribe said to have been descended from Thalassa or Poseidon, whence Eustathius gives them fins instead of feet (ad Hom. p. 771). They are represented in three different aspects:


As cultivators of the soil and ministers of the gods, in which capacity they came from Crete to Cyprus, and from thence to Rhodes, where they founded Camirus, Ialysus, and Lindus. Rhodes, which was named after them Telchinis, was abandoned by them because they foresaw that the island would be inundated. Poseidon was intrusted to them by Rhea, and they brought him up in conjunction with Caphira, a daughter of Oceanus. Rhea, Apollo, and Zeus, however, are also described as hostile to the Telchines. Apollo is said to have assumed the shape of a wolf, and to have thus destroyed the Telchines, and Zeus to have overwhelmed them by an inundation (Ovid, Met. vii. 367).


As sorcerers and envious daemons, their very eyes and aspect are said to have been destructive. They had it in their power to bring on hail, rain, and snow, and to assume any form they pleased; they, further, mixed Stygian water with sulphur, in order thereby to destroy animals and plants.


As artists they are said to have invented useful arts and institutions, and to have made images of the gods. They worked in brass and iron, and made the sickle of Cronos and the trident of Poseidon (Diod.v. 55; Pausan. ix. 19, 1; Strabo, pp. 472, 653; Tzetz. Chil. vii. 124). They seem in general to suggest the gnomes of the Northern mythology and the genii of Oriental folklore. They may be compared also with the Idaei Dactyli. See Dactyli.

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