The Telchines are mysterious, magical spirits who rule the island of Rhodes. Sea spirits, their mother is Thalassa. The Telchines are magicians, shamans, and smiths. As befitting these occupations, they are discreet spirits, very protective of their secrets, including their identity. It’s not even clear how many Telchines there are: reports vary from four to nine.
The Telchines invented metalworking. They raise storms, control the weather, produce miraculous animated statues and, according to one myth, forged Poseidon’s trident. (They may also have crafted the sickle used to castrate Uranus.) They are credited with producing the first images of the deities.
According to Greek myth, Poseidon was not swallowed by Kronos. Instead, Rhea rescued him and brought him to Rhodes where he was raised, guarded, and initiated by the Telchines with the assistance of Kapheira who may or may not be the same spirit as Cabeiro. Eventually the Telchines left Rhodes. One myth suggests that, being prophetic spirits, they foresaw the Great Flood and abandoned Rhodes for higher ground. An alternative suggests that Rhea brought them to Crete to help guard Zeus. A third suggestion says that Zeus feared their power and magic. He had them thrown into Tartarus and gave Rhodes to Apollo.
The Telchines are sometimes described as dwarfs. They are sometimes depicted with canine heads and fish flippers instead of hands.
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.