Manto (Greek Mythology)

Manto (Greek Mythology)

There are two figures in Greek mythology named Manto, one a daughter of Tiresias, the other a daughter of Heracles. The name "Manto" derives from Ancient Greek "Mantis", "seer, prophet" (<PIE "*men-", "to think").

Daughter of Tiresias

Manto was the daughter of the prophet Tiresias and mother of Mopsus. Tiresias was a priestess of Hera who was transformed into a male in later myths when Zeus became more dominant, but whose role as a seer and prophet remained unchanged through the change. The original tradition of Tiresias as a woman must have been quite strong and since it could never be suppressed completely, was explained as his being able to change from one to the other. Oracles were the domain of priestesses even when a layer of priests was established over them much later, the priestesses remained the prophets at the oracles.

During the War of the Epigoni, a later myth relates, Manto was brought to Delphi as a war prize. Apollo sent her to Colophon to find an oracle devoted to him. She married Rhacius and gave birth to Mopsus (although by some accounts Apollo was the father). In Roman myth, Manto went to Italy and gave birth to Ocnus (father: Tiberinus, the genius of the river Tiber). Ocnus founded Mantua (today's Mantova) and named it after his mother.

Daughter of Heracles

Manto was also described in a late myths as a daughter of Heracles. A myth claims that Mantua was named after her ("Virgil X, 199").


*Virgil. "Eclogae ix.59-60".
*Isidore. "Etymologai xv.1.59".
*Statius. "Thebais iv.463-468, x.597-603".
*Pomponius Mela. "De chorographia i.88".

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